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Social fashion pioneers, such as ASOS and Topshop, understand that social media isn’t all about ‘Likes’ or follower stats.
There has to be a reason beyond ‘engagement’ for a fashion brand to use a social channel: it has to contribute to customer loyalty, customer service, or sales.
We’ve been looking at what some of the most social fashion brands are doing on social media, and whether they’re going beyond the number of ‘likes’ to creating engagement that has a real impact on business.
Social customer service
I like this approach: it has a clear goal, and customers know what to expect. It also takes any customer niggles off the main branded sites, which in my view is important for both the brand and the customer.
If I want to preview a new collection, or get the latest offer on Twitter, I don’t want to see an endless stream of ‘can you confirm when my jeans are being delivered’ posts. Equally, the brand doesn’t want all their Facebook fans seeing ‘I still haven’t received my top! What are you going to do about it’ posts.
Fashion brands and Pinterest
Pinterest may not appear to have the capacity for customer engagement that Facebook does, but it can be a great way to bring various social platforms together, and its visual nature works perfectly with the fashion industry.
Brands are starting to find ways to engage pinners. Victoria’s Secret created the #VSTeenyBikini board where followers can share their Victoria’s Secret bikini picture via their Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter account. Over 20,000 of the brands almost 27,000 Pinterest followers are following the board.
American fashion brand, Anthropologie uses one of its Pinterest boards to share store window displays it has created, over 93,000 people follow the board, repin and comment on the pictures.
Luxury brand Calypso St Barth gave pinning power over one of its boards to the fourth most followed pinner and flew her out to St. Barth to live pin their fashion shoot.
We’re yet to see definitively how any of this translates to sales, but the fact that re-pinning is controlled by consumers rather than by brands could be a great way for brands to see which of their products are being well-received, so there might be an interesting role for Pinterest in research and development.
The Burberry US bespoke site offers customers the chance to design their own trench coats – and thus upsell (in some cases significantly).
Customers can add to the basic design with a choice of style, colour, fabric lining, and even monograms and ‘bling’. I tried this (purely for research you understand), and it’s pretty easy to treble the price of a basic trench coat.
Ted Baker’s ‘Ted’s Drawing Room’ campaign adds a personal touch to shopping, which I imagine is to increase loyalty (and get them some good PR in the process). Customers pose in front of an Instagram photo booth, and a chosen 100 are immortalised in artwork created by a team of fashion illustrators.
The customer gets to keep a signed, framed illustration, and the brand gets to use the art in stores.
Fashion brands and Tumblr
Tumblr is pretty much the perfect blogging platform for fashion brands. Topshop encourages fans to submit photos of themselves, and employs a roving photographer who asks customers for permission to take their pictures for the site.
Does flattery increase loyalty? Or the hope of being ‘spotted’ attract more customers? Probably. Alexander McQueen’s MCQ, uses Tumblr to post campaign pictures, stream video and offer a sneak peek behind the scenes of the brand, giving customers exclusive content and a feeling of being in the know, which can’t hurt loyalty.
But the actual figures on sales are harder to come by. I’d love to know if anyone has good examples of a fashion brand attributing a hard increase in sales to social media engagement.