Over the past few weeks the way fashion industries use social media outlets has been dissected. From celebrity endorsements to the world’s most renowned designers, a conclusion has been made: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are the reason audiences feel inspired to purchase your product. In a world where millennials are taking over, fashion industries are constantly striving to reach audiences of all demographics. Not only are we able to scroll, text and swipe with the touch of a finger, but we can watch and live stream, too. Everything is given to us right in the palm of our hands through our electronic devices and social media profiles.
We live in a world where celebrities are idolized and followed on every social media account possible. Who knew that “Keeping up with the Kardashians” would not just be a famous reality TV show, but instead literally mean keeping up with Kylie. Millennials want to be the first to comment, repost, favorite and purchase Kylie Jenner’s new makeup line right off of her Instagram photo within seconds of her post. Social media has given one of Kylie’s 78.7 million followers on Instagram a whole knew meaning. Audiences feel connected and involved like never before. Fifteen years ago, who would have predicted that professional athletes such as Tom Brady and David Beckham would be the faces of UGG and H&M? We live in a society that loves to watch professional athletes on the field as much as we do on the billboards. How are long-time, brand-name designers adapting to the social media culture? A hashtag like “#InstaKors” seems to do the trick.
Our century is surviving through the ability to stay connected. Individuals are a tweet away from the newest trend. This is creating new reputations for the fashion industry and allows them to reach constituent groups with a different outlet, creating a whole new era.
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.
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.
Fashion is a 1.2 trillion dollar global industry, with more than 250 dollars spent annually on fashion in the United States, according to industry analysts. With that being said, fashion labels need to be reaching audiences of all incomes across their social media platforms. Fashion will always be important and present in society, it is how the designers work to make their mark in the social media field that will help get their name out and respected while still being an affordable product.
Value-seekers who do not want to sacrifice style in the equation, are shopping at fast-fashion chains such as H&M, Forever 21 and even Target. The reality is that these cheap-chic brands are picking up more shoppers and have more traction. Not only does their high-quality for low-price ratio keep buyers happy, but also their constant engagement on social media. With Twitter and Instagram at the top of the charts for all three fashion lines, followers have said that posting online links and coupon codes on the brands social media accounts makes them eager to check out the latest trends. Frequent buyers have also stated that when they are notified about an upcoming sale on either Twitter or Instagram, they are more likely to purchase clothing right away.
Nowadays, why purchase one shirt for 50 dollars at a high-fashion store when you can buy a pair of business casual pants, a nice blouse and ballet flats at H&M all for the same total price? It’s all about shopping the looks for less! The media, such as a number of fashion blogs, are constantly offering suggestions for discount and imitation products that are very similar to designer brands, but half the cost. While this is good for average income and lower income consumers, high-fashion designers are losing money on their products and losing their importance in our society.
Hashtags (#) have become a mainstream way for people to see what trending topics are popular at the moment, and also a way for people to click on their own hashtag and see who else is talking about the same thing. Consumers using peer-to-peer communication to talk about brands on social media is vital for a company’s success, since peers trust each other more than any other source. Lately, trends have been created more-so by bloggers and peer influencers than through traditional advertising.
Aerie (an underwear company) has effectively used hashtags to create conversation amongst their targeted demographic of younger women (teens through twenties) mainly through their chosen medium of Twitter. The hashtag #AerieREAL represents their campaign which has targeted average-sized girls who want to see their own body type reflected in models as opposed to the stereotypically beautiful size zero models. Their slogan “The Real You Is Sexy,” is showcased by getting everyday girls to model for them and not retouching their imperfections. They brilliantly appeal to most young women because the majority don’t have “perfect” bodies and want to wear Aerie’s underwear because they are inspired by so many women embracing their true selves. Aerie has created a lot of brand association with this hashtag and even encouraged girls to post untouched photos of themselves on Instagram using their hashtag. Sales went skyrocketing after this campaign and they even saw a 13% increase in new customers.
On the flip side, some companies want to appeal to a fitter body type. While using women of all shapes and sizes works very well for Aerie, companies like Under Armour, or Nike for example, prefer to attract a fitter body type for both men and women. They often use Instagram to post pictures and videos of really slim or fit (and often well known) athletes to show that if you buy their shoes or other products, you can look like them too. Nike also has hashtags such as #justdoit and #nikewomen so when people post pictures with those hashtags, they can see others who have been inspired by the Nike lifestyle so much so that they promote the brand of their own free will. Nike actively uses Twitter and Facebook too to keep an ongoing conversation with their targeted demographic: athletes and aspiring athletes.
It doesn’t matter what body type a given company wants to target. What really matters is that they know where their audience is, what they want to see, and how they can reach them.
Throughout its existence, Calvin Klein has relied on one tried and true principle of marketing: sex sells. It was as true 50 or 100 years ago as it is today. However, social media marketing requires that we go beyond simple portrayals and add some depth and interactivity to supplement these primal laws. Calvin Klein’s latest social media campaign represents a brilliant and highly successful strategy for activating and engaging a fan base.
#MyCalvins was a campaign started in early 2014 which focused on getting social media users and influencers to share images of themselves in Calvin Klein underwear using the aforementioned hashtag. The foundation was a collection of black-and-white photos featuring Justin Bieber and model Lara Stone sporting CK waistband-branded underwear and denim. These images hearken back to Calvin Klein’s advertising past, such as the 1992 print ads featuring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss shot in nearly identical style to the modern renditions. Building off the success of the past allowed this campaign to bring something familiar and effective to audiences before adding the twist of interaction.
Following the release of the photo ads from the brand itself, a number of high profile influencers (such as Fergie and Kendall Jenner) on Instagram put the social media campaign into motion by sharing pictures of their own Calvins. Millions of Instagram- and Twitter-users were inspired by these social media icons and began replicating the images themselves. Before long the Internet was awash in images of young, fit Millenials posing in their Calvin Klein underwear.
Whether judged by its global reach of 469 million or the brand’s millions of new followers across multiple social media platforms, the #MyCalvins campaign was among the most successful hashtag campaign ever seen. While the celebrity endorsements and official marketing releases were important and effective, they were only the keys to the ignition of this marketing machine. It was the 23.5 million fan interactions that made the campaign a major accomplishment, which clearly demonstrates that it is the consumer and not the marketer that makes a social media campaign successful.
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.
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.
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.
Consumers develop their feelings about specific brands based off of how the brand is marketed and how it’s widely perceived. First impressions are extremely important. With luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, some consumers are willing to pay for more than they can afford because of the way the product has been marketed, and if it’s been marketed correctly, a personal attachment can be made between consumer and brand. However, for consumers to view a luxury brand as luxury, studies found that it needs to be marketed as rare, exclusive and “trendy.”
Fashion companies and designers are well aware of the power of social media. In the fall of 2014, Louis Vuitton, an international fashion house who sells mostly handbags, shoes, perfumes, jewelry, accessories, etc. introduced a new collection of handbags on Instagram and tagged the noted photographer who took it (meaning it linked to the photographer’s Instagram page). The photographer, Pelayo Diaz, who had well over 500,000 followers, then reposted the photo to his account. This was savvy of Louis Vuitton because by connecting with an influencer they reached a much wider audience with even more versatile backgrounds and in turn got an overwhelming 60,000 more likes on that picture than on their other ones. This is one example of how Instagram can be a beneficial medium through which designers can promote their products.
Louis Vuitton has used many other mobile applications to advertise like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Whenever they come up with a new collection, they create videos featuring celebrities and models promoting it and spread those videos on social media for people to share. This helps enhance their brand presence worldwide and become visible through lots of different social media vehicles (as opposed to just one) helps them reach a much larger audience. Since Louis Vuitton is more of a high-end luxury brand, and anybody with a phone or computer can use social media, this helps expose them to not only “the elite,” but to all types of potential consumers.