June '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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26 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 5 Kelly "Rags" Ragland is the owner and operator of Rags to Stitches Productions, a holistic advertising specialty company that provides a range of services, from Web design and development to customized ap- parel. Read his blog at INTERNET STRATEGIES B Y K E L LY " R A G S " R A G L A N D A lthough science isn't everyone's idea of a good time, we've all had to study topics of a scientific manner at least once in our lives. For me, it started while learning color theory in art school and how certain hues can trigger brain reactions in consumers for effective marketing. Interesting topics in advertising class, for example, ranged from police stopping red cars more of- ten than others to why fast food restaurants often use oranges and yellows in their color schemes. These studies in color apply to how the human brain reacts to the elements its viewing. Fast food chains apply the theory that oranges and yellows trigger hunger from the human brain more than neutral colors, and a study of statistics has proven that red cars are stopped frequently because red is translated as an indicator of speed, recklessness, or something alarming. By graduation, I'd learned that a colorblind police officer stops all vehicles primarily based upon the offense and experiences no discernable change in appetite when visiting one restaurant or another. The officer may also be wearing socks that don't match, but that remains my sim- ple hypothesis, yet to be proven. Brain hacks such as these can be used in social media strategies to keep followers en- gaged, encourage sharing, and boost the num- bers of an online audience. They also provide site managers with a fun way to break up the work-life environment that the maintenance of professional social media can present. CURIOSITY When someone experiences a gap between the known and the unknown, the inexplicable de- sire to fill that gap consumes him or her. This is called the information-gap decision theory. Social media posts that offer a compelling question can be effective, especially when the answer is related to one of your products. Want to make sure your followers click on a link you provide on your web- site? Tell them, "Do not, under any circumstances, click this link." Or you can try writing this: "What type of garment sleeve was named after FitzRoy James Henry Somerset, who is said to have worn a coat in this style after the loss of his arm in the Battle of Waterloo?" Would you click on a link to discover the answer? Triv- ia is an addicting brain technique that encourages engagement and participation on social media outlets. By default, our brains can't seem to get enough knowledge. Fact addiction has evolved into an affliction we can satiate by heading directly to the Internet. I was recently explaining to a friend that the Hemi engine had been around for many years before Dodge started branding its product with the term. His brain was offi- cially engaged and ready to settle this, but a quick Google search provided a speedy end to a standard racetrack-induced argument. Try fishing for potential customers on social media with teasers, puzzles, word games, and anagrams. Make the answers related to one of your products and provide a link as a bonus. Lists are also great brain hacks. People like lists: grocery lists, gift lists, bucket lists, and to-do lists. To you, as a publisher of social media content, lists are easy. Try posting, "The top-five reasons you need to wear fleece this month," and in- clude a link to your blog with the answers. You could also break a list into separate posts, teasing followers into watching for each one throughout the day. Hide-and-seek scavenger hunts are also terrific examples of engaging online ma- terial. Hide a coupon on your website and challenge your audience to find it. Get crazy and hide a T-shirt under a mailbox in your area and challenge your followers to go look for it. You can get creative and steer followers exactly in the direction you'd like by using these clever methods. Audio and video provide popular and easily imbedded content on social media, so why not try using them from time to time? We've all left the supermarket at one point, only to return home singing "Muskrat Love" or some other crazy tune not heard in a decade. Get a catchy song stuck in the heads of your followers, and you better believe they'll remember where it came from. Choose wisely. Finally, our brains react to action words as a sign of importance: discover, explore, share, subscribe, join, find. Passive words are simply static on an online user's screen, but words that convey ac- tivity, movement, and emotion resonate in the brain and are more likely to engage and create a stir. Use these buzz terms along with the aforementioned tips in your social media posts to incite inter- est in your products and services today. Tips to Create Social Media Engagement

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