The fashion industry is dealing with an important re-evaluation of itself, in a world where digital presence is acknowledged and appreciated as value addition. Being aware, being present and being able to communicate properly with customers on the world web, is the new challenge fashion and apparel companies are facing. Stores, shops and clothing brands are now fully aware of the importance of the digital channels as image builders and lead collectors, and as one of the most valuable customer relationship and commerce tools.
The clothing industry is one of the largest sectors in the global economy and represents an enormous amount of consumer spending worldwide which is globally estimated at a whopping US$2.11 trillion. Competition within the fashion industry was vigorous. With the huge number of endless brands with different positioning and retail strategies, all aiming to capture different segments of the overall market. It’s inevitable that taking advantage of digital marketing and social media has to be paramount.
It’s good to remember that fashion is an industry which has a very short product life cycle and is totally depends on daily changing trends. So digital marketers need to be able to analyze and forecast the fashion trends before the customers switch to the competitors so that the fashion marketer becomes a trendsetter. Social and digital media provide some of the best platforms to acquire and convert customers through measuring and optimizing digital media with the purpose of satisfying customers to retain them to loyalty for lifelong.
As part of digital marketing techniques, social media facilitates many to many communications and it is normally used to promote products and services in a timely, relevant, personal and cost-effective manner. The world of fashion and apparel are leveraging social media due to the fortification of digital marketing together with branding and the innovative usage of technology embedded with the most recent fashion trends. Not forgetting that many social media platforms are visual-centric and heavily utilize images and videos. A match made in heaven!
Apparel consumers are armed with the extensive availability of information, and today’s fashion industry consumers became more knowledgeable and powerful as they are capable of evaluating information and purchase the best option. So making available fashion information and active presence on social media has become an essential component in today’s clothing business. Considering that information from satisfied customers will always be spread quickly over the User Generated Content channels on social media. That’s one of the main advantages of Social Media Marketing, the direct exchange with the consumer and feedback!
But like most digital marketing, it’s dependent on content! Fashion content delivery range from video streaming, blogging, posts, pictures, and other editorial content, as well as the latest collection and product updates. All these contents are weaved around social networking dynamics focused on mirroring the brand identity of the Fashion House or company. With the ever-increasing pressure to communicate with and engage consumers proactively, many fashion brands have solidly integrated social media into their marketing initiatives.
Most focusing on Facebook and Instagram, their unique content strategies are aimed to attract more potential customers and as a result, increase the ratio of visitors to buyers. But content has to be highly unique and attractive. Remarkable content can be reached by creating unique and valuable information to fashion fans and buyers. Interesting videos, colorful pictures, and dynamic audio files can help fashion industry/Online stores websites and social media pages to become more remarkable and engaging for visitors. It is also important to follow competitors’ content techniques and make sure they are different from yours. The right content is the content that people will be glad to share on their social media pages eventually.
Influencer marketing and celebrity endorsement is also a huge feature in social media marketing for the fashion industry. Here social media celebrities are used to advertise brands on their pages and channels to their followers. In some cases, mainstream movie or music celebrities are also used on social media by appearing in casual photos with particular clothes or spotting different brands. This ‘influence’ has been proven to drive sales as many millennials and young people tend to follow celebrities and are influenced by fellow peers.
Other case studies we can cite for use of social media by fashion brands are: live fashion shows streamed on brand websites as well live streaming made available on Facebook and YouTube. Another is when Marc Jacobs, used Instagram to call out for model casting for its 2014 fall collection. Fans who were aspiring models were asked to post their best photos, followed by the hashtag “#CastMeMarc.” The campaign generated more than 70,000 applications from around the world, from countries such as Russia, South Korea, and Australia and had total audiences of up to 31,161,257 on social media channels. This later saw an increase in sales of 21% for Marc Jacobs.
The fashion industry has certain characteristics such as visibility and organic propaganda, which blend seamlessly with those of social-media platforms. The advance of social media and its expanding user base have propelled the fashion industry to become very active online to give brands consistent recognition and followings. To increase brand equity and better connect with current customers. Social media fits the fashion industry’s marketing campaigns very well due to its user- and community-based nature, interactivity, and timeliness, all of which allow for content creation and effortless communication. Which fans thrive on to make decisions, right?
The fashion industry is establishing its presence on a number of visual-centric social media like Instagram and Pinterest. So if you have a fashion brand, an online clothing store, or apparel shop, it’s time to take social media more seriously and think up smart campaigns to create visibility and credibility for your fashion business. Customers require a bonding on a personal and interactive level to become loyal customers. Opportunities and possibilities offered by social media platforms to fashion brands and businesses can be further explored depending on the goals of the owners and employees.