DESIGNERS should think about the importance of their brand names and the influence they have on people’s subconscious minds, American social media guru Tim Maurice Webster said in Durban today.

He was giving a presentation about the power of social media at one of the knowledge-sharing sessions on the final day of the three-day Africa Fashion Exchange hosted by the KZN Fashion Council at the Greyville Racecourse Convention Centre.

The visiting expert, who has visited South Africa 68 times in 10 years from his home in New York and whose fourth book “Personal Brand Intelligence” is in the bookshops, specialises in how to get brands into people’s brains. “You have got to engineer desire. People don’t know what they want,” he said in an interview later. He told the audience that everyone had a dream-self: what their hair looked like, what their build was, where they lived. As a brand, designers had to get closer to people’s minds, create an intimate relationship with their social media followers.

If they can move, entertain and inspire them and provide an escape from their “struggling self”, it would take them closer to their followers’ dream-selves. “Life is tough and hard and you have got to be clear about your social media. If your page gives people the opportunity to escape this complex world-and buy something beautiful-your social media is on its way to an amazing place,” he said. Although people might have thousands of social media followers, 80% of them would never see their posts as they were either too busy or offline. He said that if someone like TV show host Trevor Noah posted everything he did and about everyone he met, it would take the thrill away from reading about him. He wondered if they were chasing their followers away by posting too much “or are you helping them to get closer to their dream-self?”

They should assess their real values and post about that, he advised. He said later that people often did not think through what they were posting on what was effectively a micro-publishing platform. He only posted two-three times a week as he did not want to overwhelm people.

“I want to offer value and hopefully, the message gives some level of escape,” he said, adding that he thought that postings should be about quality rather than quantity. On the question of the common mistakes that entrepreneurs make about social media, one of the session’s panellists, Nox Luthuli, the founder and managing director of Bloom Marketing, advised the audience to separate their brand profiles from their personal ones. That way, they would ensure that their strategies did not overlap, diluting their messages.

Fashion designer, Sandile Mlambo, who had been involved in Project Runway, said that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter people were not the same and he adjusted his posts to speak to the different