However, the idea for QM Fashion has been living in my head ever since I saw a photograph of famous designer Ralph Lauren wearing a rare and original WWII American M-1942 Paratrooper Jacket in a fashion magazine at the dentist office (there were no other magazines available mind you). I saw the photo and I realized that the uniforms and the equipment that I grew up loving and collecting were in fact popular with an entirely different community of people, aside from “nerdy” collectors and reenactors that I had grown to love. These two distinctly different groups of people, fashionisatas and military collectors/reenactors, both sought after and purchased the same uniform pieces, but bought them in different ways and for different prices.
With this knowledge in hand things started appearing to me in my daily missions, from Montreal to Paris. All of a sudden, I was seeing the same types of jackets and boots I had seen on living historians at reenactment weekends on Parisans/Montrealers going about their daily lives. No one was calling this phenomenon out or even acknowledged what was happening in either communities. I hope to do just that through my blog QM Fashion.
In regards to the social media aspect of QM Fashion, it has been a true eye opener. I have learned a lot about how Twitter and Facebook can truly make or break a blog and how if used effectively, can compliment it nicely. Amongst Twitter and Facebook, another key aspect for drawing visitors to QM Fashion has been Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on Google. In the world of history, and especially military history, there are so many key words that people search for, especially of images that continue to bring visitors to my blog. I have learned the importance of naming everything, from links to photos, to increase my ranking on Google with SEO. By using the same SEO date information used for QM Fashion, I can further promote my family’s military store’s website. The two projects will eventually be further developed and compliment each other.
Being active is the most important thing to remember about social media, especially for businesses. Consistently updating Twitter, Facebook, and your blog is essential and what it really comes down to is creating content. The more content created, the more there is to offer a visitor and the more for a search engine to catalog. Being pro-active with Twitter and other blogs is a must; commenting and replying with these two social media tools is essential for being “found.” Reaching out to people via these tools creates a connection, one that is observable to each of your connections and also to the public. These connections beget more connections. The observable connections and interactions create hype and publicity, which both draws more visitors to see your blog or website.
Overall this experience has shown me that these connections can lead you to some pretty interesting people and opportunities. A few tangible examples of these connections are some excellent exchanges with fellow bloggers and an army surplus store requesting to be featured in my blog. These examples are showcased below.
An army surplus store, @army_surplus “Denbigh Army Surplus ltd”, in North Wales, United Kingdom, requested to have a product of theirs featured in my blog in response to the post on military caps. In the United Kingdom! do you believe that? That’s an excellent example of how far reaching these social media tools are. I have initiated contact with them and I would be happy to do a feature for them.
Shown below is the effect of SEO in action through key military/fashion related words.
QM Fashion’s Key Words above
There is a clear correlation between keywords and the top posts.
The amount of visitors to the blog has grown exponentially and continues to increase with each and every post, (content creation). Between the three social media tools I utilize to promote my blog, I would say the most successful is Facebook and SEO keywords on Google. Twitter plays more of a role in identifying the types of people that actually visit the blog, but the majority of visitors are routed through either Google with search words, my personal Facebook or T.F. Quilty Co.’s Facebook Business Page.
Before beginning the QM Fashion blog project, my goals for the end of the semester were:
MAY. 7. 2011-
1. Total of 75 Blog Posts (This is my 21st Blog Post)
2. Total of 100 Twitter Followers (90 @AlexQMFashion Followers)
3. 20 WordPress subscribers ( 4 Subscribers, only two I didn’t know)
4. Website Created and fully operational (T.F. Quilty Co.’s Website is 75% operational)
5. 100 Likes on the QM Fashion Facebook Page (224 Likes on WWIIQM)
As you can see, not every single goal was accomplished, but I came awfully close to just about every one. I would have to say that before beginning this project, I was overly optimistic about how much content I could actually produce. This may have been the most important lesson I have taken away from this project, knowing my abilities. Creating content is one thing, but creating quality content takes time and I have learned that in blogging, quality content can make all of the difference. I believe though that I have worked hard and achieved what I set out to do in creating a personal brand. I took my passion and built a brand around it.
Consistently there are about 500 visitors per week.
I will continue to blog and my intentions for QM Fashion is for it to become another department of T.F. Quilty Company, my family’s Army Navy Surplus business in Chicago, IL. T.F. Quilty Co. currently sells vintage military items, but eventually I believe there is an opportunity to venture into the fashion industry, and creating a buzz for military fashion will be yet another one of the many functions of the QM Fashion blog.
What QM Fashion has taught me as a newcomer blogger and Twitterer, is the true power and influence of social media in regards to promotion and getting information to the public. That being said, you need to have the content to support the promotion and I believe that my niche of military fashion is specialized enough to offer some pretty insightful content to visitors. The project has provided me with an excellent blog and outlet for showcasing my daily military fashion finds. I know that if I keep on my toes when it comes to updates and developments in social media tools and services, I can develop QM Fashion into a reputable fashion resource and a successful referrer website to my family’s business website, T.F. Quilty Co.
I hope to continue providing my visitors with new and insightful content for as long as I can still see shades of green and military style pockets in the fashion magazines, runways and on the streets of Paris and New York.
Never fear! I will continue practicing safe blogging here at T.F. Quilty Co.‘s QM Fashion!