Why Retail Brands Love Social Media in 2015
Social media is considered to be the most powerful tool in order to build your business online. Particularly within the fashion industry, it is a widely used marketing strategy to manage market shrinkage in fashion and luxury markets.
The financial crisis in 2008 affected retailers drastically because they faced the problem of convincing consumers to purchase when even the rich had cut back and finding it difficult to plan for the next season when retail stores were declining sales. Because of this, fashion brands found themselves producing much smaller orders due to the lack of sales.
Social media after the recession
In 2009, social media used by the fashion industry emerged. It allowed customers to converse with brands which proved to increase sales massively. Nowadays, everyone uses some form of social media - as it is a much easier way to interact. Social media builds the brand by developing involvement and engagement. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram give fashion brands ways of connecting with their customers with the features of Instagram and Twitter Direct Message and of course be able to write a comment on a brand's Facebook page.
Blogs globally are updated frequently with new fashion concepts/ideas - which are much more accessible by being at your fingertips, literally - unlike fashion magazines and tv programmes which are published either weekly or monthly. Furthermore, the blog's reliability is due to the opinion and point of view of those who are interested and spread the word / share the blog posts on their social media accounts. Within the past 2 years, fashion IPhone/Android apps are much more common and offer up-to-the-minute deals, latest trends and allowing customers to shop directly from their mobile devices.
Fashion houses - the new lifestyle brands?
Statistics show that 30% of posts across the industry of fashion - revolve around lifestyle - meaning the brand is selling a lifestyle which the user can achieve along with the product. Brands will attempt to target a customer and tell them a story which will appeal to them.
For example, Christian Dior created a "Secret Garden Versaille" storyline - painting a very luxurious picture of their latest collection by producing a Youtube Video and posting behind-the-scenes photos on their Instagram page.
In Stephanie Meyers' "6 Social Media Tricks of Fashion Brands" article - she reiterates the importance of using photos on your social media accounts, the exact words she used were "Pictures are worth 1,000 tweets" because over the past year Instagram, Pinterest and Vine have become increasingly more popular. Meyers said that "the product related conversations on Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr are mostly organic - not driven by brands but emerging from people." Pinterest is responsible for 23% of social media purchases. Moreover, she feels it is important to "Tailor your Message" emphasising that fashion brands are successful because they know how "to segment their messaging, so they're able to talk to different key interests." The Pivot Conference called Michael Kors "the brand to follow" because the brand presents luxe products and lifestyle shots on its Instagram page.
Austin Paley stated in his "Fashionably Social: The Most Successful Fashion Brands on Social Media" blog that 10 of the biggest fashion brands on Pinterest combine to create a total of 462,000 shares, 94.6 million impressions and 3,500 repins per day only creating 400 pins per day collectively - providing your business with hard sales.
Another interesting article I stumbled across was Nicole Giordano's "Why Using Social Media to Increase Sales is Not as Simple as Some Like to Pretend" - she feels that people think "if you want to build buzz around your product, you need to get into the hands and onto Instagram feeds of the right bloggers, editors and other elitists who make frequent appearances in street style photos".
But she also feels that "there are a lot of designers out there trying to be seen and sending your first set of samples to the fashion elite in hopes of an Instagram shot or two - is an expensive experiment." So, she stresses "designers tell me all the time how frustrating it is that things aren't happening faster with social media and I always say "focus on the followers you have, share with them because they are the ones who will spread the word."
Therefore, it is important to not focus on how many followers you have, but the relationship you're building with the existing ones. Customers will feel more secure with the brand if they can interact with them on social media, especially because social media is a massive part of people's everyday lives and it is a much easier way of getting in touch than the traditional email.