As social media matures as a marketing channel and more and more brands find themselves on it, it never ceases to amaze us how some fashion brands find themselves skyrocketing in popularity via unorthodox strategies.
For some, whether they are strategies or happy accidents is up for debate, as it isn’t readily obvious.
However, one thing is clear. Instagram is bringing an entirely new approach towards launching fashion brands. In an industry that long depended on connections, fashion shows, and seasons, a new generation is emerging — helped greatly by fashion social media marketing.
Instagram gives the ability for anyone to be discovered and for anyone to reach the masses. It’s effectively democratizing a typically exclusionary industry. As with most things that have a low barrier to entry, all of this becomes a double edged sword. Huge amounts of competition also means that it’s more difficult to get noticed.
What does this mean for fashion as a whole? It’s always been a massive and multifaceted industry, and it looks like there’s room for a new way of thinking. Many brands now follow a model that is almost reminiscent of software design more than it is of fashion. Collections are released in small parts, sometimes called “drops” throughout the year. Certain garments are given an iterative approach to improvement, with each new release slightly better, more comfortable, and more well-fitting than the last.
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why fashion social media marketing is so effective.
Honest Customer Sentiment
The center of all of this is the unparalleled ability to gauge honest customer sentiment via social media engagement. Comments and likes, otherwise termed “engagement”, are more telling than any focus groups ever were. Friends and family might say white lies to praise your line or brand, but your followers won’t.
You can quickly gauge what products are driving the most reaction and what products aren’t. You can even test out reactions to photos and videos of samples prior to full manufacture.
If a major influencer (defined here as someone with many social media followers) or celebrity features your product, you’re going to get a lot of attention. That translates to sales.
This sort of quick route to mass awareness was hardly available in the past, at least not without significant capital to advertise or just happening to get extremely lucky. Sure, it’s not common even now, but it’s much more possible.
Content Creation at Your Fingertips
You have an ability to create great content anytime, anywhere. Any recent smartphone will have photo and video capabilities rivaling a decent dedicated camera. You can quickly disseminate news and photos of new products, of the behind-the-scenes, and you have a constant finger on the pulse of your brand.
Great photography is extremely important, and if you know what you’re doing, you’ll be able to give your brand a very legitimate and authentic feel.
Metrics, Metrics, Metrics
You have numbers on everything, and you can see what works and what doesn’t. You can know everything down to the times your followers are active, what other kinds of accounts they like, what sorts of hashtags are generating the most attention, and so on.
You can take those numbers and iterate on your strategy and constantly improve. If you were putting up a billboard 25 years ago, how are you supposed to gauge what works?
All of this can be self-taught via Google and trial-and-error. This (again) lowers the barrier to entry dramatically. And as mentioned before, this is a double-edged sword, as the amount of competition is huge.
However, there are too many small brands and businesses with less-than-stellar approaches here, and a little research and teaching yourself can go a long, long way with looking legitimate, trustworthy, and setting yourself apart from the crowd.
Small and Quick to Move
Small companies, startups, and entrepreneurs have a huge speed advantage here. While larger companies can have years of ingrained ways to go about certain things, new brands can turn on a dime and utilize all of the above (customer sentiment, metrics, DIY marketing) to give themselves a real shot to short circuit the fashion phenomenon.
It’s difficult to say what the future will bring as fashion social media marketing matures. Larger companies will be in the game as much as small ones, new features will be used in innovative ways (Instagram Live and Stories, for example), and new and young faces will emerge with new styles and legions of followers.
For now, it’s quite interesting to watch as new brands grow, with some skyrocketing to bigger places and some falling by the wayside. That might be one thing about fashion that won’t change soon — people are always on to something newer, trendier, and better.