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Online Influence interviews Heavenly Curves

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Trish Fehon: Welcome, everybody, to our next installment of social media success. I’m here today with Maria Silvestri from Heavenly Curves, Wetherill Park. Maria runs a very successful Facebook page, and I just wanted to interview her today so she can give you some of her tips. Welcome, Maria.

Maria Silvestri: Thanks, Trish. Thanks for the opportunity.

Trish: You’re welcome. Tell us a little bit about your business.

Maria: Okay. Here at Heavenly Curves, we’re all professional bra fitters. As well as a professional fitter, I’m also a breast prostheses fitter, so I fit women that have lost their breasts from breast cancer. We have a huge range, as you can see, of bras. Our ranges start from size 6 to 26 and from a D cup through to an M cup

We also have swimwear, which we’re keep in store all year round, and some corsets and some little sexy and sensible lingerie, as I like to call it.

Trish: Okay. Yeah, we all need sometimes a bit of sensible lingerie.

Maria: Yes.

Trish: Now tell me about your Facebook page. How long ago did you start it?

Maria: Our Facebook page we probably started now about 3 years ago, and we dabbled in it here and there until we actually got the gist of how to work it. It took us a little while to understand our customers and what they actually liked, what they thought was funny and that we could get some kind of correspondence on.

I think outside the square with our Facebook page. You can’t just always put bras and undies in front of people. I like animals, and most of my customers know that I’m an animal person, so I’ll therefore put little gimmicky dogs and cats type things. But I’ll also search the internet on Google for some nice images, some cartoons, caricatures, things that are a little bit different and don’t always relate to my business, but relate to my customers, so they can have a bit of fun with me.

Trish: You just said three really good things that I just want to go back and flesh out a bit. The first one was that you have to play with it and work out what your customers like, but what I like about that is you highlighted, it’s what the customers like, not what you like.

The other thing you talked about was – so that was playing with it to work it out, the customer, and… now I’ve forgotten the third thing, but I’ll remember that in a minute. But if you could tell me a little bit about those two things, the customer and the playing with it a bit.

 Maria: What we did was we threw a few different images up, just saw what sort of correspondence we got back, what sort of reaction, and then I gauged on that. I also gauged what time of the day that we actually got the most back from, and just finding – I suppose trying to work out what sense of humor my customers have, and based on the likes or the shares, then I started to understand my customers.

I often get customers that come in store and go, “I really liked what you put on Facebook last week. That was so funny.” And then also, I usually sit down on a Sunday afternoon and I’ll find some different things, and I’ll program them into Facebook, time, date. But then I also listen to what’s happening on a daily basis in our society and we’ll throw something up that may happen on that day.

I generally try and do two a day if I can, two posts a day. For me, Facebook’s not all about selling. Facebook’s just creating another customer base in some respect, or a fan base. And then people talk to other people, and then they’ll talk about their experience with either our Facebook or our actual business. Recently, we’ve had lots of people say, “So-and-so liked your Facebook site, and then I liked it, and now I’m here.”

Trish: I think it’s the combination of working out what your customers want, and then mixing it up a bit and working out their humor. So it’s not all about you. You and I talked about this earlier. This is one of the mistakes that people make on deciding whether they’re going to continue with their Facebook strategies; they don’t get a lot of response, and so they think, “Oh, look, that hasn’t worked.” But what Maria’s saying here is if you focus on your customer and not on you, then that will come back.

Maria: You get more response.

Trish: New fans and new customers. In terms of promoting your page on Facebook, have you ever – is this all organic, or have you bought, paid for ads, or have you done both?

Maria: We do a bit of a mixture. At the beginning, we probably just did normal posts and organics. If I found something that I’d put up that got an immediate reaction, I would boost it.

And then also, every now and again, I would obviously – if I had a sale or something special that came in store, or if we have an event like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, then sometimes I will set a $100 budget per day and do it for 2 weeks. And then I’m very active on there so that they know and they can see things. I have trialed the $10 a day. Sometimes you get a little bit of response, but I think setting your limit for $100 a day does get you a wider, broader audience.

And narrowing it down to my specific target areas as well really helps us. For me, it’s not about selling overseas; we only sell in Australia, or Australia-wide. For us, we’re professional fitters, so we like people to be in store, so I concentrate on probably  200 kilometer radius around us. Sometimes I will go out further, and then also just pinpointing who is my customer, and targeting that area as well when you’re setting up your specific advertising.

Trish: That’s a really good point, because on Facebook, you have to learn, if you’re going to do this yourself, you have to take the time to learn how to do it. Because there’s a lot of pitfalls, and you don’t want to be advertising your bras to an audience of men, because that would open up a whole different audience that you probably don’t want.

Maria: Yes.

Trish: So Maria, what tips would you give other retailers and business owners in particular?

Maria: As a business owner, you need to step out of your business sometimes and actually look at your business from the outside in and work on your business rather than in your business. I have taken time out to do the Facebook courses and seminars. Some of them sort of duplicate each other, but there’s always something that hasn’t been brought up before that you will find.

I like to say I’m a bit of a vacuum cleaner as far as information goes, because I will take in as much as I can, and then I will sift through what works for us. I haven’t really dabbled in other social media platforms such as Pinterest or Twitter or LinkedIn; Facebook seems to be working for us. I may have a look at Pinterest because it’s very picture-based.

Trish: Yeah, very visual.

Maria: But Facebook has been very, very good for our growth.

Trish: Just in terms of sales, I know I’ve seen on your Facebook page that sometimes you’ll actually sell a product. I know other retailers do that, too. Tell us a bit about that and the successes.

Maria: I found when we first started advertising on Facebook, I was finding it difficult getting people from Facebook to go over to my website and increase my customer base. So when I do my paid advertising, I put a link directly to my website, but then every now and again, if I have a clearance or I have a special line, I’ll actually put it on Facebook, and I find that I will get orders that way rather than trying to direct people to my website.

Trish: Back to your website, yeah.

Maria: It won’t happen. I think the day and age of having it in front of you, sending me an email and saying “What size was that? I want it,” rather than them having to log out of Facebook, log into the website, and do it that way. Or I’ll get the ladies that will go, “You’ve put all these thing on Facebook; this is my size,” and they’ll ring and say “Can I just order it over the phone?”

So I think we are as a society getting a little lazier in some respects, so I think you’ve got to have it there and just make it easy for the customer.

Trish: And we’re all used to having everything we want at the edge of our fingertips.

Maria: Exactly. Mobile phone or laptop.

Trish: We get spoiled. Yeah, and you may have to reach over here to get the phone, but… yeah, we’re all getting a bit lazy.

Maria: We are. And my website’s not mobile compatible at the moment, so it makes it a little harder for people to get through. Whereas when you’re in Facebook and it’s in front of you, it’s simple.

Trish: Excellent. Some of what I’m hearing is first of all, know your customer. Second of all, find out what they actually like on Facebook already by testing it. And then doing a bit of paid advertising. Don’t be afraid to spend money on your business, because it’s your business, and it’s very measurable, whether it works or not.

But overall, the theme I’m hearing is just know your customer and cater to them. It’s all about them, not about you, right?

Maria: And targeting – I think with Facebook, if you go back to when you used to place an ad in the local paper or something, Facebook is measureable, it’s targetable. The local paper isn’t, and you can’t get any feedback out of the local paper, which may cost you $1,100 for a full page for one day.

Trish: Exactly, and you could spend $100 on your Facebook advertising; it’s measurable, trackable…

Maria: Targetable.

Trish: And nobody’s going to say “Oh, I can’t remember where I saw you,” because you know exactly from your tracking. And if you set it all up right in Google Analytics, you can track it and target it very well. Good on you, Maria.

Maria: Thank you, Trish.

Trish: Before we finish up, do you want to just tell us your address and how people can get in touch?

Maria: Heavenly Curves is at Shop 22 Market Town Shopping Centre at Wetherill Park. That’s on the corner of Rossetti Street and The Horsley Drive. We’re opposite the Wetherill Park TAFE.

And as I said, we have professional fitters in store, and also I am an accredited breast prostheses. So if you do know someone that has lost a breast or breasts from cancer, I can fit them with their breast prostheses, and we also have a huge range in store and online.

Trish: What’s the name of your website?

Maria: It’s www.heavenlycurves.com.au, and our Facebook site is https://www.facebook.com/heavenlycurves

Trish: Okay. Thanks so much for your time today.

Maria: Thanks, Trish

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