So like everyone else in the world, I’ve been reflecting on 2017. To be honest, it’s something I try not to do, don’t look back and all that. But when making plans for the year ahead, it’s kind of hard not to. 2017 for us was not the best year we’ve ever had. But it was also fantastic in so many ways. In terms of social media, this time last year, I had the two Facebook pages, “VanityFair” and “CurvyCouture at VanityFair”, to keep me busy, and I was writing consistent blog posts for the website. Then around March/April time, I discovered Snapchat (I know, I always was a late starter) and almost immediately Facebook and the blog took a back seat.
Up until then the social media side of the business was something I HAD to do, not something I particularly enjoyed doing. It was fine, but it wasn’t the highlight of my day. Personally, I don’t really “do” social media, I think I have a grand total of 12 friends on my personal Facebook account, most of them family. So when it came to Vanity Fair, it was something that was just part of the job. But snapchat was a game changer. Within a few weeks, it had become part of my every day in the most casual, relaxed way. When something funny would happen in the shop I’d find myself wanting to tell Snapchat about it! Talking into my phone to a bunch of people who were essentially strangers had become part of my day.
A lot of those strangers have turned into customers. Real life customers who come into the shop and purchase, and customers who buy items from us over the phone after seeing it on Snapchat. I don’t really think that had ever happened with Facebook. Certainly not to the same extent.
I have always been against online selling. I’ve lots of reasons for this, but mainly, I think it leads to loss of jobs, predominantly female jobs. I think it is kind of soulless in a way. It leads to less human contact, which can’t be a good thing for society. And I have no interest in spending my days packing up parcels to send to anonymous people who have seen a picture of something online, but have no idea of how it will look on them in reality. That’s not why I chose to get into retail. I want to meet my customer; I want to see her eyes light up when she finds the perfect dress. One day, I’ll probably have to give in and sell online, but I’m delaying it for as long as I can.
For the moment, selling via social media (Snapchat) is a much more personalised way of selling. Your followers tune into you every day, you share snippets of your day with them and they get to know you a little bit. And although it’s essentially the same thing, I’m packing up a parcel and posting it out, it just feels different. I’m smiling as I write out the address and I’m thinking the next day, oh I hope she likes it. I love getting snaps from her when she tries it on, and it does feel like it has been a personal interaction. I wouldn’t get that from selling via the website, and neither would the customer. And it got me thinking. Selling our type of clothing is all about human contact, and a business in order to succeed, has to have interaction with the customer as it’s main focus.
My team in Vanity Fair are praised daily for the service they provide. Their friendliness, their patience and their absolute determination to find you something that will make you feel a million dollars. There is no doubt that they are what makes Vanity Fair the healthy business that it is. And it has only just dawned on me, all these years later, that that is what social media is about too! The key is in the name I suppose, social. It’s a way for you to be able to interact with the customer who just can’t make the trip to visit you, but it’s more than that. It’s not just posting a picture and seeing how many likes it gets. It should be a relationship.
So for 2018, I’m going to focus more on this blog and you the reader. And on Facebook, I’m going to start doing little videos so followers can get to know the shop better, and you never know, I might even stop ignoring Instagram! (I feel like a bit of an imposter when I open Instagram).
I’ve no idea why I’m writing this post. Perhaps it’s just because if I put it down in text then I kind of have to stick to it! Just thought I’d share one of my New Year’s resolutions with you. I’ve lots more, but I won’t bore you any further. Wishing you all a healthy happy 2018. Xx
P.S. I’ll be back on here very soon, but you can also add us on Snapchat (username vanityfair.ie) or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.