Social media and the fashion industry have almost become dependant on each other to maximise engagement and profit. When we immediately think of social platforms and fashion, Instagram is, of course, the biggest and the best. Its unchallenged engagement levels mean that brands can reach their customers faster and to a greater extent. Though Instagram started off as a platform from which individuals could share personal photos; it has now evolved into a key component of brands and organisations’ marketing strategies, and one that is taken very seriously.
Other strategies and platform options do exist other than the way brands boost their own following on Instagram through their own posts or via an influencer. Though I believe, as a prime example of who these marketing technics are trying to hit, that none are as effective, personal and as non-invasive as Instagram. As a quick example, you may have noticed that if you search for something anywhere online, the site will follow you around the web; shoving adverts in the form of cookies onto your feed of Facebook, Instagram or any other site you visit that has space for personalised ads; usually always for the item you nearly bought or similar like it. The idea is to retarget you to the site to hopefully spend some money. This is all done anonymously so it is less creepy than we all thought. This technic along with Google Ads, certainly ensures the item or brand is kept firmly in our minds, and might even convince us after days or re-seeing it, that we, in fact, need to shop from the site, thereby influencing our purchase and boosting revenue for the brand. The strategy can, of course, be seen as an annoyance. Just because I searched for an item once, does not mean I should have it shoved down my throat on social media until I buy it.
A strategy that I believe massively help brands reach their customers through social media is to address them via someone they already know, trust and follow. This way, they may shop from a brand because they have chosen to, not because they have been force fed the information. They willingly clicked on their favourite influencer’s latest Instagram post or YouTube video because they wanted to know more. Two of my most favourite and trusted influencers, SunBeamsJess and Lissy Roddy are shown below in an example of how they and the brands they work with utilise their Instagram feeds and followers to create engagement and profit. They tag the brand and use hashtags to maximise engagement, whilst styling the pieces in their own way, which their followers already know, and love.
Of course, it massively helps if the brand itself already has a strong following, making engagement with them a natural move from browsing influencers’ feeds for fashion tips. At a recent Digital Fashion Futures event, I attended, Mark Leach, head of e-commerce for Missguided highlighted this importance. (Missguided’s following shown below)
Because social media influences what we buy so greatly, we want the relationship between brands and social to stay positive and real. The issue of authenticity is a barrier that needs to be overcome if the marketing strategy is to continue to work. Whether you trust the influencers you follow or not is something you have to decide for yourself. Influencers are under no obligation to divulge the details of their brand deals with their followers. Brands may give them affiliate links to use on their social accounts from which they receive money for every purchase from that link. Or they might sponsor videos where the brand is reviewed. This has the potential to corrupt how truthful their reviews of the items sent to them may be, and therefore lead us in false hope to buying an item they actually do not believe is that great.
In a world where social really commands what we buy online, we must be savvy to those who really are only about the brand deals, so that those brands and the likes of Instagram and YouTube can become more aware of the problem and dismiss it. It is now possible to buy Instagram followers to make it seem like your support and online attention is huge; and so brands want to work with you when in actuality their genuine following is very low and brands get nothing from the deals. Australian YouTube sensation Chloe Morello posted a recent video outlining how you can spot fake followers, which you can find here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M0aNjpaN5cE
Follow MCR Fashion Industry across our social media channels: