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“I guess it’s easy to talk about McDonald’s and the huge brands doing big things, but BB has been here supporting local brands, so it’s nice to be recognised.”

Women’s fashion brand Beginning Boutique has just topped the Australian eValue list collated by social analytics firm Engagement Labs.

Engagement Labs measures the performance and effectiveness of social media channels through its patented algorithm.

Luxury car brands Audi Australia and BMW Australia took second and third place respectively, while Smart50 finalist Showpo came in at number four, beating out big corporate brands such as Mercedes Benz, Ultimate Fighting Club Australia and Flight Centre.

Sarah Timmerman, founder and director of Beginning Boutique, told SmartCompany the title is a great coup for the brand.

“It’s a really a cool acknowledgement of all the hard work over last seven years,” says Timmerman.

“I guess it’s easy to talk about McDonald’s and the huge brands doing big things, but BB has been here supporting local brands, so it’s nice to be recognised.”

Timmerman launched Beginning Boutique, which stocks Australian womenswear labels as well as its own range, in 2008 and now employs 30 staff from its Brisbane headquarters.

Beginning Boutique has more than 500,000 fans on Facebook, more than 438,000 followers on Instagram and nearly 3000 followers on Twitter and Pinterest.

Timmerman runs the social media channels herself and says social engagement is essential for any online retailer.

“Ever since we started, no media wanted to talk about an unknown brand, so social media was the only place we could go,” she says.

“Being online, people don’t walk past your shop. You have to talk about your own brand.”

Timmerman, who also writes and speaks on the topic of social media, says the three most important aspects of having a successful social presence are consistency in posting and branding, beautiful content and building relationships.

She says she will regularly post throughout the day and night, getting Beginning Boutique’s graphic designer to create great looking posts for the various channels. She answers any questions promptly and always tries to ask engaging questions.

Timmerman checks the Beginning Boutique social media channels each night before bed and each morning before she gets up.

“It’s a huge workload running it, but social is so important, I would never take it out of the equation,” she says.

Her advice to SMEs looking to boost their social presence is to know your audience.

“You really need to stay true to yourself and understand your customers,” she says.

Timmerman also says brands should not be ashamed of posting too much, as fans will never see most of the posts anyway, and suggest brands work with other people in collaborations.

“It [social] is so important, and it can all be free,” she adds.

This article first appeared on SmartCompany.

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