The use of social media in the fashion retail industry is on the rise, particularly the more visual channels – Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube – simply because image is what these brands are selling. While creating a quality social media following is of course part and parcel of any brand’s social media strategy, these channels are providing a new platform for engaging with users, in order to raise brand awareness, drive website traffic and even generate sales.
With that in mind, here are seven ways that you can leverage social media for your fashion retail business:
Take Advantage of User-Generated Content
When it comes to fashion, the great thing about social media is that your consumers can do a lot of the work for you. Well some of the work. If you’re lucky. User-generated content acts as a word of mouth recommendation, with users amplifying your brand by sharing photos of themselves wearing your items.
In addition to these posts reaching their own social following, which can boost your brand’s profile, you can further share these photos with your own social media following which not only makes these customers feel valued, but also provides any potential customers with social proof. In other words, any customers that are in doubt as to whether to make a purchase will be able to identify with real people wearing your products, which in-turn increases the chance of them making the purchase.
If you’re not fortunate enough to already have loads of customers tagging you in photos of them wearing your items, consider running a competition for the best #ootd (outfit of the day), giving them the chance to win a voucher for your site, or something similar.
Show Your Brand’s Personality
Sites such as Instagram is being widely used as a way to provide a behind-the-scenes perspective of a brand, helping users connect with your company on a more personal level. In addition, the images you use on these sites can be used to not only show off your products, but more importantly depict a certain lifestyle, which is something millions of social media users are buying into.
Extend Your Reach
The majority of social media channels offer advertising options for businesses, but Instagram is arguably one of the better platforms for retail brands, thanks to its authentic feel and compelling visuals. By advertising on this channels, you have the potential to maximise engagement in a native style. In other words, in a way that blends in amongst the consumers news feed. By using the ‘Shop Now’ button, users will be taken directly to your site.
Other channels such as Facebook can also be successful for fashion retailer’s looking to promote their brand. Brands can leverage the vast demographic information through Facebook, ensuring that their ads are reaching only the most relevant consumers.
Have a Pinterest Strategy
Thanks to the amount of users curating wish-lists and planning outfits, Pinterest is being used as a highly successful marketing tool by many fashion brands. When using this channel, go beyond simply pinning images of your products, and consider sharing ideas for full outfits, as this is something that many users are interested in. Thanks to Pinterest’s integration with the Etsy marketplace, these users can now simply purchase your items straight from the site.
Provide a Real-Time Customer Experience
As a business, you should try and provide an outstanding customer experience across all social media channels, by replying to pretty much every social media mention. Good and bad. This is not only great for customer service, ensuring that both your existing and potential customers are satisfied with your service, but by being fun and casual (where appropriate), you avoid coming across as dull and corporate, and have the chance to showcase your personality.
While social media channels are still being used as a way to drive traffic to a retailer’s site, some platforms now have the capabilities to enable ‘social shopping’. Basically, enabling users to make purchases directly from the site, in-turn reducing the customer’s path to purchase.
While images are commonly used to enable this social shopping, many retailers are also using video as a direct sales channel, enabling shoppers to purchase directly from YouTube.
Whether you go down the route of leveraging video, setting up a Facebook store, or posting your products on Pinterest, there are huge opportunities to enhance your customer’s experience and generate sales.
Invest in Video
In addition to being used to enable social shopping, videos are also being increasingly used by fashion retailers as a way to promote their products, communicate brand culture and showcase new trends, in a way that enriches the customer experience.
It’s not just the longer length YouTube videos that are being leveraged, however, in fact platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat are now popular amongst fashion brands as a way to showcase short videos (as short as a few seconds), in a bid to catch an audience with an ever decreasing attention span.
A few ways that you can incorporate video into your social media strategy include sharing experiences such as behind-the-scenes footage, creating a short video that showcases your products, creating a buzz around new trends, or driving engagement prior to an event or promotion. Remember that when using Instagram, hashtags can help make your content ‘findable’, therefore make sure you are using the most relevant terms and keywords.
The reality is, when it comes to marketing your brand and increasing your customer base in an ever-evolving digital landscape, social media is the perfect tool. By following our tips and best practices you can ensure that you are expanding your presence, and start maximising the growth of your business.