Fashion in Social Media
Paula Gárgoles Saes, Ph. D. Candidate
ISEM Fashion Business School
University of Navarra, Spain
Alica Grilec, Ph. D.
Visiting scholar at CFD - College of Fashion and Design Dubai
University of Zagreb, Croatia
Faculty of Textile Technology
“If we whisper, we can't be heard”
Trevor Beattie (1999)
Trevor Beattie, guru of advertising, in 1999 announced in a quote, that if a brand remains in silence, without the right promotion, it would result in the lack of customer attention. But today, on a market filled with advertisements and promotions, customers also want to be entertained as well as informed, and the right term is called “infotainment” (Easey, 2009: 219). With a rapid development of social media and a numerous information delivered each day, fashion brands should not lose their focus and not forget about basic functions of social media as: promoting the brand and its products and establishing relationships by creating communities of followers (García Medina et al., 2018). More detailed, García-SanMiguel et al. (2017: 27) described six possible activities social networks provide in the fashion industry: build communities (the basis of social networks; sharing, facilitates purchases based on the advice and opinions of close and trusted people); bidirectional conversations and personalization (brands enhancing their image and increase knowledge of their products and promotions); innovation (development of new products; design of new processes or the evolution of business models); new business models (creation and dissemination of disruptive schemes); exclusivity (ability of brands to focus their target audience and generate a social prestige through a very close relationship with customers and a differentiation strategies) and advertising and marketing (reaching mass audiences with a high level of personalization).
Within the fashion industry, almost all brands use social networks as a key tool in online marketing. Usage is extremely popular also for the new fashion designers providing them low-cost advertising possibilities and feeling of global presence and connection. Mostly used strategies in fashion communication include storytelling and the use of celebrities to promote fashion products. The storytelling can be described as the strategy that "seeks to show the processes of creation of collections, the history of the brand, its founders, the current workers, the origin of their materials, to show their parades and events and to show the reality of the back stages” (Romo & Romero, 2017: 20). Among the social networks that are frequently used in fashion are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. According to a study conducted by Metricool in 2017 Twitter is the most frequently used social media while it is an ideal way to manage corporate reputation (Rojas & Alburqueque, 2015: 27).
Twitter: For brands, Twitter has become a social environment essential for its "high degree of interaction and speed when it comes to sharing information, as well as its ability to achieve greater reach" (García Medina et al., 2018, p.58). In the case of luxury brands, brands have figured that they must be present at the social media to be able to quickly respond to the needs of the consumers (Kim & Ko, 2012). And Twitter is a social media with high potential for dialogical communication that can provide quick insight into customers’ feedback, but brands have not yet exploited it deeply.
There are also differences between low cost brands and luxury brands in their Twitter performance. Low cost brands usually include a greater number of links per tweet, interact more with their followers who already ask more questions and content comments more frequently compared with luxury brands. On the other hand, luxury brands have a higher average of retweets but not "like". One of the conclusions is that fashion brands can grow in the dialogical aspect that allows and facilitates the social network Twitter (García Medina et al., 2018).
Instagram: Within the fashion industry, the social network with the highest growth is Instagram. In 2018 Instagram reached 1000 million registered users. It is a photographic application that since a year ago also allows you to buy products directly. For the prominence of the image, users are interested in the industry of fashion, beauty and lifestyle (Alonso, 2015) and it is the most appropriate channel for the promotion of fashion brands through influencers (Segarra-Saavedra & Hidalgo-Marí, 2018). Many girls that began to be known through the blogs, have been converted into Instagramers (idem). Finally, Instagram has given very important solution for users: to give visibility and transparency to the collaborations with the brands of the so-called influencers. For that, Instagram has launched the "Sponsored by" tag.
Facebook: Facebook is the most popular social media with more than 1.5 billion daily active users and 2 billion monthly active users at the end of the year 2018 (Facebook, Newsroom, 2019). On Facebook, users usually post photos and videos, share links and their location, play with friends, and share news (Golbeck, 2015) and for that reason, Facebook include all formats: text, video and image and the possibilities are infinite (Arriaga et al., 2017). Some of the actions that the fashion brands are using with this social media are: “exploring user profiles and identifying segments based on these profiles; distributing discount coupons for purchases in bricks-and-mortar retail stores and promotional codes to acquire products at online stores; organising photography competitions aimed at users; launching actions to enable brand followers to vote for a look among several alternatives; organising lucky draws for items from collections in order to capture leads; and even expanding the databases of companies and organisations” (Arriaga et al., 2017: 514).
Despite of huge possibility of promoting a brand on social media, it is always important to keep in mind primary defined brands vision, mission, strategy and goals. If all of them are aligned with promotion activities, adjusted for target market and content is prepared and placed on social media, success can be guaranteed. Although advertising opportunities have become endless, content must always be carefully developed and analysed in order to avoid misunderstandings on the market. It is known fact that success cannot be achieved overnight – that rule also applies for social networks. Young fashion designers are therefore advised to focus on the content of their posts, the quality of photography, storytelling- from their first sketches to the first garment & first fashion show, then, carefully chosen bloggers, vloggers & celebrities, the regular post updates and appropriate communication with customers.
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