Looking Back and Moving Forward

Social media marketers in the fashion industry have an incredible range of opportunities to achieve success for their brands. Clothing is intrinsically an exciting product to sell; it can be highly diverse, deeply intimate and communicate a wide variety of emotions. Your job is to cultivate a unique and enticing identity for your brand and to encourage your fans to engage with that brand, cultivating and innovating right along with you. The bulk of this research blog has been focused on identifying the best practices and latest trends of social media marketing for fashion. Now it is time to take a look at the big picture, and figure out just what to take away from all this.

Before online content is created, you need to know where it is going to go. There are a multitude of social media platforms available with many millions of users, and every platform has its own unique characteristics that determine which content will work best. Making the choice of platform is one of the most important steps in the marketing process, and it is necessary to know which option will maximize the success of your content. An article from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising summarizes quite well the trends that will inform these choices. Because we are working in the fashion industry, social media platforms that heavily feature visual content are often the best choice. Instagram, Snap (formerly Snapchat) and Pinterest are among the most prominent of this platform category. Instagram in particular has become one of the most important social media sites for fashion designers, and another article from LaunchMetrics notes the ways in which the photo-based platform has revolutionized the fashion industry. The quickly accessible volume of photos that will accumulate on any Instagram profile together tell a story; for a designer, they build a portfolio for their brand.

snap
Snap is becoming one of the most effective channels to follow brands on

But things never stay the same for long on the internet. Trends come and go, and it is paramount to understand how and why these changes happen, and who drives them. With consumers and internet users being as resistant as they are to marketing, messages that are perceived as outdated or out of touch with reality don’t stand a chance. Staying relevant means carefully anticipating the changes to come. For example, some trends for 2017 that seem likely to come true are the increasing marketing potential of Snap which has led the charge in allowing for sharing personal and intimate content between consumers and brands, and the continued decline of Twitter. Superficiality seems to be making way for more detailed, nuanced user experiences on social media, and this particular trend means that more will be asked of social media marketing content creators in crafting their messages than ever before.

By: Wesley Marcum

Age is but a Number

Age is one of the most important demographics when it comes to social media marketing. A person’s generation affects how they think, what they value, and all in all how they live their lives. The Baby Boomer generation for example bases their purchasing decisions on the features a product has; they want to know about the product and how it functions. Millennials on the other hand, have a distrust of salespeople and traditional marketing and will base their purchasing decisions on what experiences and benefits the product can bring them. They will also do more research on a product before buying it, for example, reading reviews written by other customers online. This post will discuss the different methods used in social media marketing to reach the Baby Boomer Generation and Generation Y (Millennials).

nextopia_baby-boomers-vs-millennials_ecommerce_infographic2
Infographic comparing Baby Boomers and Millennials’ purchasing decisions

Baby Boomers are currently the fastest growing constituency group with social media use. In 2011, their online use increased by 60%, proving that this is not a group social media marketers should ignore. Research has shown that Facebook is the platform that has the largest percentage of Baby Boomer presence and usage, with 84.9% stating that they belong to/use Facebook on a regular basis, showing that Facebook marketing is a key element when trying to reach Boomers. When marketing to this demographic, it is important to remember that even though they are active on social media, Boomers do not use it in the same way as other generations (such as Millennials). They mainly use it to keep in touch with family and stay updated on current events, so it is vital to keep their content relevant. Advertisements and such should avoid the use of current slang and fads that younger generations are into.

When it comes to targeting Millennials, social media is probably the most important element to include in a marketing strategy. This age group is more or less constantly on their phones, and continuously taking in information on the go. Active on more platforms than any other age group, practically every social media site can be used when pursuing this demographic. Having access to a mobile phone almost 24/7 means that they are able to find information immediately, therefore, content should be quick and easy to access. If this component is ignored, then millennials will get bored and impatient with the site or ad and find something better to do.

Social media can be used in a variety of ways to target virtually any age group. When targeting a certain generation, it is important to consider what they value most and how they spend their time in order for a campaign to be successful. Fashion companies especially should research their demographic thoroughly to find out how they use social media platforms.

By: Kirsten Matthewman

#InstaKors

From giving major labels a bigger profile, to starting the careers of some of the world’s most famous models, social media and the use of mobile applications has become the biggest and best marketing strategy for major fashion labels.  This holds especially accurate for designers like Michael Kors who has always been on top of social media, being the first brand to buy an Instagram ad.

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-29-32-pm
Michael Kors is an active user on Instagram.  Follow is account @michaelkors 

Michael Kors has been actively using Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in order to give his customers and top followers a sneak peak into his hottest and latest trends.  Living in a world where the public expects instant gratification, Michael Kors shows his customers the full range of looks on his social media accounts closer to when they can actually purchase them.

With 25 million followers in total, across the platforms, Michael Kors is always looking to tell his brands story on the applications his fans are using and loving.  His brand worked with Snapchat’s “Stories” feature to launch Fashion Week runway pictures, backstage shots and front-row pictures.  This was so successful that Kors had a super-social Fashion Week show too, streaming the entire show live on the Internet, asking fans to join a chat during the show using the hashtag #AllAccessKors.  This lead to the Michael Kors franchise dominating the social media rankings as the No. 1 fastest-growing and most engaging brand on Facebook.

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-9-15-59-pm
At the end of last year, Michael Kors  debuted “InstaKors,” which lets shoppers make purchases through his Instagram

 

Michael Kors wanted the mix of models for his spring/summer 2017 show to represent diversity.  Backstage, he made his vision come to life by implementing diversity as far as the look of the female models, and their body types.  This is extremely effective in a generation where millions of women struggle with appreciating and accepting their bodies.  The idealized woman in fashion during this decade would need to spend enormous amount of time and energy attempting to achieve something that is not only trivial but also completely unattainable.  With Michael Kors using models of different demographics on his social accounts, he is able to reach a larger target group of customers in the fashion world.

By: Shannon Quinlan

Traditional vs. New Media

Social media has spread to millions of different users and is rapidly changing the ways that corporate communication, advertising and marketing reach their constituent groups. Consumers are waiting for companies to interact with them and use different social media platforms to do so. Before looking directly into the fashion industry, we need to recognize the role social media plays in corporate communication, advertising and marketing as a whole.

The concept of branding includes the association of a company or organization through the use of identity, reputation, and image. Companies have little affect on what their brand image can be, because it comes from the constituent groups. Social media has helped create this brand communication by a feedback loop that allows communication from these constituent groups directly to companies. Corporate communication, advertising, and marketing use the social media platforms to create a positive brand image, reputation, and identity for a company. The companies benefit from using social media for customer responses and brand promotion. Companies can no longer control word of mouth and this puts more emphasis on the importance of social media marketing. The most effective uses of social media are achieved through knowing your audience and using the right social media channels. An effective message through social media needs to use a single voice across channels that gives a clear image of your company. To have an effective social media strategy the company needs to know whom they are trying to reach. This falls along the lines of audience groups, and by using different channels, companies are able to reach a wider audience.

old-vs_new-journalism
A graphic of Old Media vs. New Media

Brand’s are at the center of the company, meaning that a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility must also revolve around the key objectives of the company. Corporate communication, advertising, and marketing promote the company’s impact on the external environment. They analyze what the current trends are, what the people are talking about, and then incorporate this into the company. By staying on track with the buzz of there company on social media they are able to keep this conversation going and evaluate their company from what is being said about them. This feedback stage allows them to evaluate themselves on where they want their objectives to be as well as allowing them for growth in the company.

social_vs_traditional_media_06
Social media is becoming a top influencer 

In the end, corporate communication, marketing, and advertising departments want sales to increase and more consumers to buy into a company or organization, all by promoting the value of a company. By implementing a strategic plan for social media and mass communication, the company can have a conversation with their consumers. This allows the consumers to engage on a personal level and allow a better understanding of what a company is all about.

By: Corinne Schmidt

Shifting Communication Paradigms

We live in turbulent times. The world is only a few decades into the digital age, and yet we have already seen drastic changes in the technological and social characteristics of the online environment. From intranet to internet, email to social media, web 1.0 to 2.0, individuals and organizations have had to learn and adapt quickly to rapidly changing technologies. And there is no reason to believe that change will be coming any slower in the future.

It is incredibly important and often challenging for corporations to determine how to navigate these technologies, especially concerning communication. To be fair, public relations and marketing professionals have done outstanding work so far in adapting their communication practices to new media. However, there is always growth to be achieved and better practices to establish. If we want to measure the success of social media communication in economic terms, consider the following: a July 2016 survey found that a little over half (55.3%) of social media users polled reported that a brand’s social media presence has some effect on whether they buy that brand’s products during the holiday season.

holiday-infographic

It’s safe to say that while basic reach- and awareness-based communication has its place, it is inevitable that corporate communication can and will evolve far beyond this paradigm in the coming years. Lee and Taylor write about homo dialogicus – a communication framework based on conversation between consumer and corporation as equal participants. Essentially, this new model of corporate communication posits that organizations need to talk less and listen more, empathize with their constituent groups and interact with stakeholders, customers and the general public alike in a genuine and respectful manner. If you like the way this sounds but are unsure about how to affect these changes in your business or organization, a good place to start is changing up how your organization communicates internally. These basic tips of creating time for conversation, creating and sharing a lexicon, introducing a dashboard, challenging your colleagues and sticking to meeting times, will help you master internal corporate communication that can be applied to communication with external audiences as well.

Regardless of the industry, understanding how to communicate effectively in the modern online environment is vital. Companies that understand how to not only reach their audiences but engage and interact with them will only become more successful as social media become more complex, more personal, and more powerful. In order to succeed at this communication, we have to look beyond the technology and address the people first.

By: Wesley Marcum