Fashion has been deeply divided along gender lines since humans began clothing themselves, but that is in the process of changing. Gender neutral designing is becoming more common, and the traditional model of separating men and women’s fashion into two seasons is fading. Gucci announced in April that instead of holding two separate catwalk shows for men and women in 2016, it would combine them into a single event. Just as these changes have been occurring in the highest levels of the fashion sphere, the way designers brand and market themselves on social media has been shifting as well.
A driving factor behind the breakdown of gender-based branding on social media seems to be the need for deeper and more specific audience interaction. The Harvard Business Review wrote an article focused on the concept of crowdcultures, online communities based around a single topic or ideology. These subcultures are often shaped by larger demographic traits such as gender or race but represent more specific interests that can be especially informative to social media marketers. Crowdcultures are useful because they naturally make themselves available to marketing; the communication channels that define their existence provide strategic information and the means to reach that audience.
However, it is impractical and terribly inefficient to create customized marketing campaigns for every niche Internet culture. Effective social media marketing needs to strike a balance between breadth and depth. The choices we make when targeting audiences need to be informed by the wider demographics at play, as well as how well that audience meshes with the corporate identity and image. Social media marketing shines when it is personal in nature because personal connections are what users crave, especially female users.
Identifying who the major influencers are for a targetable audience is an important step in being able to effectively reach that audience. Collaboration with those influencers is the best way to tap into that specific culture and to create a personal and emotional connection with the audience. The connection needs to be more than superficial if it’s going to be effective; a long-term attachment between a subculture and a brand communicates an authenticity that simply couldn’t be accomplished otherwise. The social media marketer’s goal should be to cultivate and develop the relationship between the corporate culture and the consumer culture. A genuine relationship will communicate an emotional value that consumers seek and respect.
By: Wesley Marcum