Facebook 101: Marketing For Fashion Brands + Retailers
The fashion industry’s largest, most disruptive trend this year has been the adoption of social media. In the hopes of reviving sales, generating larger customer bases and finding more cost effective marketing outlets, fashion brands, designers and retailers have flocked to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube as the social media tools of choice. From small, independent designers to established luxury brands, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube are yielding profits for those who are “getting social” and are willing to talk to the people that buy their apparel and accessories lines.
Of the three industry favorites, Facebook has earned itself as the social media site of choice for fashion aficionados. Anyone can perform a Google search and find thousands of articles discussing how to use Facebook for marketing.
For the fashion industry – whether you’re a designer, a retailer, a magazine, a style blogger, or business professional – how do you use Facebook to effectively market yourself or your products?
Now, don’t cringe! Statistics are really important to help you establish goals, set up strategies, and determine campaign ROI (return on investment). So here’s the skinny on Facebook:
- Facebook has 300 million users, 30% percent (87 million users) are in the US.
- The average Facebook user has 130 friends.
- When a user likes or interacts with a brand or retailer they’re a fan of, they can tell all 130 of their friends that they “like” something the brand is doing. So, if each of those 130 friends has 130 friends, that action potentially reaches 16,900 people on Facebook. The number just goes up from there.
- For every 10,000 fans a brand or retailer has, Facebook estimates that brand or retailer reaches 1.5 million users.
- 47% of retailers increased their use of social media marketing for the holiday season. This increase was seen with Kohls and JCPenney.
- Most retailers are getting 10% or more of their traffic from Facebook.
How Should Brands & Retailers Use Facebook?
Brands are mainly using Facebook for awareness campaigns and customer service oriented feedback. Facebook is also being used for contests, user-generated content (photos, stories, video), games, widget or badge downloads, polls and surveys, special offers, online coupons or access to early/exclusive information or pricing.
Most brands are incorporating a combination of these tactics, making their groups or pages extensions of their websites. Brands have realized that their Facebook groups are micro-communities and brand destinations within the Facebook. That’s exactly what they should be doing.
Some brands are even taking it to the next level by using technologies such as Off The Wall to add e-commerce capabilities within their Facebook pages. Moreover, shopping carts such as Volusion even offer direct product feeds directly to Facebook pages to enable on-page purchases.
How Do Brands & Retailers Establish Themselves On Facebook?
- Establish a business account if you don’t already have one.
- Determine whether a fan page or group is more appropriate for your marketing purposes. For fashion brands, pages are usually better as they’re geared towards building long-term relationships.
- Review Facebook rules regarding business accounts.
- Obtain a Facebook vanity URL so that people can find your brand or store.
- Add basic information to the group or fan page such as links to the company site, events and tradeshows, links to other social sites (YouTube, Twitter) and email or newsletter subscription information.
- Use the photo galleries to create collections for your products. Upload them by each season’s collection, breaking them down into products categories – shirts, dresses, pants and accessories.
- Use the photo galleries to create lookbooks of how you’d mix and match the products in your collections together. If you’re a retailer, you most likely carry a variety of lines, so get creative and add them together. If you’re an individual designer, partner with your other designers and create collections together. Be collaborative. Better yet, ask your fans and friends to help you out (that’s what user-generated content is).
- Post upcoming events including contests, giveaways and sales. If you’re a brand or retailer with a physical store, participate in pop-up events or trunk shows, create events and premieres on Facebook and promote them! Facebook can be used to drive in-store traffic and event participation. To track the percentage of attendance or participation, add an incentive to the event that only Facebook community members receive.
- If you’re a blogger or online fashion magazine site, consider Facebook Connect to add social networking features to your website. Install appropriate applications to integrate feeds from your blog and other social media accounts into your Facebook page.
- Encourage your fans to provide content, photos of how they wear your products, appropriate videos and their stories about how they became loyal customers or die hard fans. The best photos – feature, even make them your fan page profile’s photo for the week (kudos for Dunkin Donuts for thinking of this, everyone loves their 15 minutes of micro-fame, especial on the internet). Great engagement helps create brand awareness.
Food For Thought: The audience that visits a brand or retailer’s facebook group or fan page go there to interact – the key word being INTERACT. They act and interact differently than a customer who goes directly to a website or retail location.
WWD reported that Sephora doubled its sales during one if its Facebook campaigns. That’s incredible! It’s a perfect example of how a brand used social media to drive in-store and online sales. I’ve had similar results with blog contests and sponsored conversations.
How do you make facebook marketing successful? Strategy, implementation and proper campaign execution. It also depends on the product. Sephora, Anthropologie and H&M are going to have very different responses in sales than luxury items from Louis Vuitton or Gucci.
Randi Zuckerberge, Marketing Director of Facebook, has some simple, effective tips for distributing YouTube videos on Facebook that would work in tandem with our tips above.