Social media in the fashion industry
Social media in the fashion industry refers to how brands in the named sector connect with their target market through social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. According to Macala Wright Lee, CEO of FashionablyMarketing.Me, “Until recently, the fashion industry has been fashionably late to the social media party, refusing to adopt it at all, or merely adopting one-way communication via social networks and RSS feeds for sales and promotions.” Many brands initially believed social networking would weaken the relationship with consumers, but for most it has turned into a “genuine interaction between brand and client.”. These brands use social media as a contemporary platform to connect with younger demographics.
Becoming a part of the social media network allows companies in the fashion industry to capture a large audience. According to Macala Wright Lee, “The Fashion Industry has adopted social media as a marketing platform to reach their customers online and reignite brand passion and customer loyalty.” The easily accessible, conversational nature of social media makes it an ideal platform for building consumer trust and loyalty - crucial components of fashion marketing. Brands attempt to distinguish themselves in social media by offering promotions, perks, and discounts.
Fashion brands most often utilize social media for advertising. Other uses include reporting news, updates, announcements, events, promotions, and customer service. For example, organizations can use Facebook to promote events and give full news stories. They can use Twitter for shorter updates and announcements. The company decides which sites to use and controls how these sites display their image.
Companies’ awareness of society’s dependence on technology drives them to delve into social media. A study by Morgan Stanley suggests that mobile internet use will surpass that of desktop internet use by 2015. Social media has enabled consumers to feel more “connected” to companies. It has also proven to give more exposure to individual brands.
Facebook developed engagement ads that allow more communication between advertisers and Facebook users. Here are some terms Facebook provides to help advertisers know how engaging their ads are:
- Interactions: Total number of comments, Wall posts, and likes.
- Interactions Per Post: Average number of comments, Wall posts, and likes generated by each piece of content you post.
- Post Quality: Score measuring how engaging your content is to Facebook users. A higher Post Quality indicates material that better engages users.
- Posts: Number of posts your Page has made either on the Wall or in video.
- Page Views: Number of times your Page has been viewed by Facebook users.
- Stream CTR / ETR: This graph is a measure of the Click Through Rate and Engagement Rate for your content appearing in the Facebook News Feed. If a user clicks on one of your posts, that will be counted as Stream CTR. If a user likes or comments on one of your posts, that will be counted in the Stream ETR. Please note that Stream data is based on a sample and therefore is an estimate of your Stream CTR and ETR. (Coming soon)
- Media Consumption: This graph tracks how many photo views, audio plays, and video plays your content have received.
- Discussion Posts: Total number of discussion posts written by fans.
- Reviews: Number of times your Page has been rated in the Reviews application.
Advertising through apps
Mobile apps, on improved smartphones such as the iPhone, allow users to shop brand sales, receive style tips, and customize fashion trend news feeds. Geo-location technology provides a meaningful way for brands to connect with shoppers at the point of purchase, giving them the ability to check-in and find tips, recommendations, offers and prizes, resulting in stronger brand loyalty and spread through word of mouth.
Companies have found ways to utilize apps on both social networking sites and mobile phones.
Gilt Groupe, a private discounted site for luxury clothing, created Android apps to promote their products. According to the Vice President of Product Management for Gilt, “The Gilt for Android App was specifically designed for Android-powered devices. Android users can now shop Gilt sales, preview upcoming sales, and invite friends from anywhere via multiple messaging channels, including sharing the app via QR code. In addition, unique to Android devices, is the Gilt widget which is always viewable on the phone so that Android users can see today’s sales even if they don’t have the Gilt app open.” Gilt has found multiple ways to market itself through just one custom-made app.
Gilt Groupe earns about 4% of its revenue from purchases made from the iPad. Shoppers using the device are increasing their spend at a higher rate than consumers using other devices. The retailer, says 177,000 consumers have downloaded its iPad app. And the average order value for a purchase made from an iPad is about 30% higher than for purchases made from an iPhone.
Facebook allows independent developers to create apps that market for several brands, or custom-develop an app for one brand. The widespread use of these applications is Facebook commerce. Target released an application that allows users to virtually play with the clothing by mixing and matching outfits while trying them on. The merchandise displayed in the game constantly changes to reflect only what is being sold in Target stores. It also increases traffic by linking users to that same item on their website.
Charlotte Russe has a successful social media campaign with a strong following on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Their social media campaign is focused on “user-generated content and social engagement.” Charlotte Russe holds a weekly trivia contest on Twitter, which compels consumers to visit their website. According to Wright Lee, “Charlotte Russe is running ‘Be The Next Charlotte Russe Design Star’ a t-shirt design contest where the winner will have his or her shirt produced and sold online.”.
Diane von Furstenberg
Diane von Fürstenberg is one of the most popular designers on Twitter. According to Hitha Prabhakar, a retail industry expert and principal of The Style File Group, “Within the last year of having a major online and social media presence, von Furstenberg’s online traffic has increased by 13%.” The brand uses the re-tweeting capability on Twitter to capture the attention of their target market.
Louis Vuitton is a late adopter of social media sites, but that has not stopped them from building an advantageous campaign. According to Dana Gers, who specializes in marketing communications for luxury brands, “Louis Vuitton broadcasts its spring 2010 ready-to-wear show live exclusively to Facebook followers, offering a big incentive for recruiting new fans and a reward to its most passionate customers.”
In 2012, Topshop partnered with Facebook to achieve the largest online audience of a live-stream London fashion show. Over 200 million people were exposed to images and content form the runway. A direct impact was seen by Topshop as customers were able to immediately purchase the looks form the runway, with the first dress on the catwalk selling out before the end of the show.
- , Wright Lee, Macala. “5 Ways Social Media Changed Fashion in 2009.” 2010 January.
- California Apparel News. 23 June 2011. <http://www.apparelnews.net/news/retailing/062411-Facebook-The-Next-Retail-Frontier>
- The Mobile Internet Report. Rep. Morgan Stanley, 15 December 2009. Web. 11 July 2010. <http://www.morganstanley.com/institutional/techresearch/pdfs/mobile_internet_report.pdf>
- “New Page Insights: Fan Interaction Graphs.” 5 July 2010. <http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=15215
- “Impact of Social Media on Fashion” January 13, 2013 http://www.fashionstudiomagazine.com/2013/01/fashion-online.html
- Wright, Macala. "Gilt Group Launches New App for Android." FashionablyMarketing.Me. 22 July 2010. Web. 23 July 2010. <http://fashionablymarketing.me/2010/07/gilte-group-android-app/>.
- Rueter, Thad. March 11, 2011 <http://www.internetretailer.com/2011/03/11/big-spenders-gilt-groupe-shop-ipad/>
- Prabhakar, Hitha. “How the Fashion Industry is Embracing Social Media.” 16 June 2010. <http://mashable.com/2010/02/13/fashion-industry-social-media/>.
- Gers, Dana. “Social Climbing: Luxury Fashion Brands Must Embrace Social Media”. 14 October 2009. Forbes.com. < http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/14/social-media-luxury-brands-cmo-network-gers.html>.
- "Fashion meets social media at London Fashion Week" September 18, 2012 http://www.lfpress.com/2012/09/18/fashion-meets-social-media-at-london-fashion-week