The global use of social networks increased by 3.4%, to 36.6 million users in 2017. You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again anyway: effective marketing is an essential part of your fashion brand’s social media strategy. With 98% of online shoppers also social media users and over half of all of them following brands, your social platforms now have an incredibly significant role to play in your customer’s purchase journey. Getting it right the key to growing your business. It’s a chance to find out more about your audience and customers. It’s a chance to show them who you are.
The typical online shopper now follows a fragmented journey – across online and offline – with up to fifteen different touchpoints, before making their purchase. Social comes as the top “research channel” for the v. valuable Millennial and Gen X-ers (16-34-year-olds). Fashion is inherently social. Your user searches your brand’s name via hashtag on Instagram to see what it looks, they read reviews of your product and customer service on Facebook, they watch How-To styling guide on YouTube. Social media in the fashion industry is an opportunity to close the loop between the branded content you put out into the world and your customer’s purchase.
In a previous post, we talked in more about measuring the relationship between content and commerce. You can find that here. But for now, let’s take a look at five important considerations for social media marketing for fashion brands.
1. Create meaningful, platform-specific content
If you’re thinking about marketing a clothing line on social media, it’s important to recognise your social content forms a key research phase. But it’s not necessarily the final stop in your customer’s purchase journey. This should inform the type of content that you offer your audience. Don’t overload your users with buy now CTAs or links to site. Use your social channels as a way to offer them insight into your product, tell stories and get to know your brand.
There’s a lesson that fashion could learn from good digital publishing here, and it’s one about the type of content that you put out there. A super insightful comment from Refinery29 co-founder and Christene Barberich, interviewed for Business of Fashion: “Fashion and publishing are both very malleable mediums for telling a personal story, evoking an emotion, shaping a voice or identity… more than ever, it’s important to create content and share real-life experiences that have a sincere and worthwhile impact” In the same way that good journalism relies on personal stories, good brand storytelling in fashion relies on you being able to translate what your brand looks like in the personal lives of your customer into content.
Sure, there’s a time and a place for campaign assets and Look book or editorial photography. For the most part, fashion brand’s social media campaigns should be meaningful content that’s specifically intended for social. Commission a photographer specifically for Instagram, edit your videos so they’re short enough to be viewed in the feed, create blog posts that load in Facebook as opposed to taking the user away.
2. Find the right combination of paid and organic
It has to be said that there’s no hard and fast rule when it comes to the right balance between paid ads and organic social content. It depends on your user, it depends on your brand, it depends on what your brand means to your users. With Facebook’s recent News Feed changes deprioritising organic content from publishers and brands, the reality is that you may need to invest more in paid to get your social content in front of an audience.
2018 is all about contextual marketing. You might think that onlinepharmacytabs you’ve just about nailed an effective targeting strategy – but take the time to think again about when and where (and with what type of content!) you’re hitting them. Work with your digital creative agency to find the right balance between paid and organic.
3. Consider building C2C into your business model
Peer-to-peer sales might seem a little retro but, in the beauty sphere, we’ve seen something of a Renaissance. Contemporary brands have built success on a digital revamp of the old Avon-style model, powered this time around by social media.
It’s no surprise that social selling thrives in social media. Facebook’s new Facebook Group Community Pages seem a particularly good fit for the network selling model. And social selling works. Just ask Beauty Counter, the safe-ingredients touting brand founded in 2011 which relies largely on direct sales through a network of around 25,000 independent consultants. They were on track to generate around 225 million in annual revenue in 2017; they don’t spend any money on traditional advertising.
Similarly, cult brand Glossier found a way to translate its blog community-based roots into a clever C2C model. They now offer a referral scheme which entitles customers to 10% off when they refer a friend plus a more formal representative scheme – around 500 hand-selected “reps” at the moment.
Fashion brands have been a little more hesitant to adopt this as part of their strategy, particularly brands focused mainly on ready to wear pieces. But that’s not to say there’s no place for C2C in fashion. We already knew that customers have become an active social marketing channel in their own right. Think about the ways that you could use empower your customers to become a sales channel too.
4. IRL Events = Original Content
With traditional print advertising on its way out, there’s a big number of luxury brands reshuffling their marketing efforts – increasing their investment in digital marketing as well as events. Right now, Burberry has the most evenly distributed spend, with 34% of their budget going on events, 33% on print and 33% on digital. There are important synergies between events and digital.
Treat everything that you do offline – whether that’s pop-up stores, preview shows, dinners – as an opportunity to create content yourself and prompt attendees to produce their own. Remember that your customers are now all valuable co-creators. A report showed that Gucci has 700 official posts on Instagram in comparison to 48, 800, 000 mentions via hashtag. The conversation about your brand is going on whether you like it or not. If you do like it (you probably do…), then find a way to integrate your digital content strategy with your events marketing strategy.
5. Think about conversations with your customer
Social isn’t just a content publishing platform or an audience building tool. You should also consider social as a key customer service platform. Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger are both essential when it comes to communicating with your customers – big brands are now investing in chat bots for Messenger. 90% of our digital time is now spent on email and messaging platforms. The chatbot is a natural and intuitive interface that can help to enhance your user’s journey.
Prioritising social messaging apps as a key part of your strategy can also be a growth driver – luxury clothing rental brand Le Tote plans to find their way into the lucrative Chinese market through social and messaging app WeChat.