The fashion industry has long waved goodbye to the snobbery and elitism that was once associated with its fashion houses, designers and industry professionals. No longer is there a Devil Wears Prada-like editor sitting in a gold-plated throne making pronouncements about what people should wear.
Since new technologies have allowed just about anyone to establish a global voice, we’ve witnessed the hierarchical structure of the fashion industry break down. The voices of industry professionals are overpowered by bloggers and fashion brands have flocked to social media as it seems us every day shoppers prefer to purchase from a voice that engages and interacts, rather than snubs.
With that being said…
What are You Doing to Engage with Customers?
In fact, I’ll just go ahead and tell you the first of three things you should be doing…
1.Establish a Strong Social Media Presence
From Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Instagram, brands are not only using social media to engage with customers, but also to amplify, and prolong, the hype around new collections, events, sales, fashion updates, promotions, holiday opening hours and just about everything else brand or fashion-related.
Not only do the likes of Facebook and Twitter connect brands and retailers to their target consumers, it allows them to connect on a personal level by establishing a genuine interaction between brand and client, which in turn builds consumer trust and loyalty.
So by promoting your brand on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you’re opening up the door to boundless advertising. Customers on both a local and global scale can ‘like’ and ‘share’ your products into oblivion, which rapidly builds brand awareness and as a result can dramatically influence overall sales.
Now, for the important part…
The 4 Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media
Promote your Products
Feel free to post multitudes of well-thought out tweets, statuses and photos of everything to do with your brand, along with the occasional “Like and Share to Win” campaigns to engage with your customers. I don’t think I need to elaborate on how “Like and Share” campaigns are off the scale in terms of raising brand awareness.
Tip: Don’t go overboard on advertising, there’s only so much a person can handle in one day.
Interact with Followers
The whole idea of social media for businesses is to engage with customers and increase loyalty. Try to respond to as many followers’ comments or queries as possible, a simple “Thanks, we’re glad you liked it” will do. A little acknowledgement can go a long way and personalizes their entire experience.
- Keep up in the News-feed
Even when business is quiet, keep your brand in sight by sharing fashion/celebrity/anything-at-all fashion related news with your followers. However don’t mistake this as giving you the go-ahead to jam up the homepage, research shows that 47% of Facebook users un-like brands because they clutter the news-feed. Be consistent, not overwhelming.
Analyse, analyse, analyse
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all provide free analytics platforms for serious marketers who want to measure the effectiveness of their brand’s posts, campaigns and blogs. Stats are provided for the number of impressions, likes, link clicks, retweets, favourites and overall engagement rate of the social media page. The benefit of these tools is that they allow you to see what posts work better than others, customer’s interests, what grabs attention and then optimize your content strategy based on your findings. You’ll be a marketing-pro in no time.
Abandon your Page
Don’t create a social media page and abandon it after 2 hours of adding basic info and a couple of friends. Nothing destroys brand image more than a pathetically-attempted Facebook page. A page with 10 friends, no profiler, no posts, 2 groups, and 3 followers doesn’t exactly scream “OUR CLOTHES ARE FLYING OFF THE SHELVES”.
Constant repetitive advertising is painfully dull and being honest, looks a little desperate. Try to strike a balance between advertising and entertainment. Social media is geared towards fan acquisition not direct sales.
Let out Frustration in Public
So a highly unstable customer decides to rip you to shreds on your Facebook page, claiming your material quality, sizing, delivery service, and general state of existence is the laughing stock of the fashion world. Although you may want to comment on his/her lack of unhinged mentality and clear lack of fashion sense from their profile pic, DON’T.
Respond in a calm, sincere manner with plenty of alternative suggestions and advice. One wrong word and you could fall victim to a blown out of proportion rant that goes viral.
Go on a Following Spree
Always have your number of followers higher than the number of pages you’re following. It just looks better, end of.
Remember: Social media sites can act as a platform for customer service whether you want them to or not, and as a result play an increasingly important role in influencing consumers` online purchasing decisions. So be prepared for opinions, reviews, feedback, complaints – customers don’t hold back when it comes to expressing themselves online. #nofilter.
A Little Social Media Inspiration – Topshop
At 2012’s London Fashion Week, Topshop teamed up with Twitter and Facebook to achieve the largest ever online audience of a live-stream fashion show. Topshop’s collaboration with social media allowed them to create one of the most personalized and accessible fashion shows to date…
Over 200 million people were exposed to content from the runway via social media, and viewers could click on clothes and accessories as they came down the catwalk to purchase the looks before they hit the stores in January. Needless to say, the first dress on the catwalk sold out before the end of the show.
Ah, the infinite possibilities of social media…
Keep an eye out for Part 2 of Customer Engagement for Fashion Retailers; Why you need a Blogger, coming soon.