Fashion. Public relations. Social media. What more could a girl like me need? Fashion, PR, and social media are three of my favorite things. The majority of my daily activities, as a graduate student, revolve around reading and learning about, or using one of these three things. Wouldn’t it be great if somehow all three things were integrated, and could be used together to form my dream job?
My dream job isn’t so unrealistic after all. Recently, public relations professionals have determined that integrating social media into brand marketing campaigns is essential to building a successful brand. But a question now exists; can Facebook and Twitter really help build a better fashion brand? Public relations professionals argue, yes, and here’s why.
How Social Media Changed Fashion
In an article on Mashable, Marcala Wright Lee, discussed five ways social media changed fashion:
- Getting cozy in communities- social networks, forums, and blogs all allow for brands to create dialogue with customers. This dialogue does more than just promote sales and events. Social media allows brands to get cozy by generating dialogue based on customer service and feedback.
- Creating niche communities- Facebook and Twitter are great tools for brands to use when trying to market a product to the masses. However, some brands have taken it a step further, creating their own social media components on their websites. These types of brands are attempting to appeal to a more specific audience.
- Embracing mobile apps- with the evolution of social media, brands can now create apps allowing audiences to watch their runway shows, receive style tips, or even shop brand catalogues from mobil phones. Social media has made it possible for people to, literally, shop anywhere.
- The rise of style bloggers- people like me, who have a passion and expertise in the fashion industry, have changed the way fashion is marketed. Bloggers are an invaluable resource, because they can help promote a brand to their already established networks. Thus, increasing the brands network. Many brands sponsor bloggers and use them to endorse their products.
- The impact of user-generated content- social media has created a means for consumers to post product reviews, photo contributions, and their overall opinions of products on blogs and social media sites. As a result, brands are constantly being talked about and, thus, receiving consumer attention.
Prior to social media the fashion industry had a closed relationship with the public. Brands pushed information to consumers through magazines and print advertisements. With the development of social media, and the five impacts it has had on fashion, information has begun to flow more freely between consumers and brands. Consumers can now use social media to pull information and initiate a conversation about a brand. Social media are a brand’s dream tool for three reasons. First, they can use it to target niche audiences. Second, social media helps to enlist the support of opinion leaders through blogs. Third, brands get all the free endorsement they want from content, about their brand, generated by other social media users (obviously this is only a good thing if the content being posted is positive). Why wouldn’t a fashion brand want to use social media?
Why Social Media
So how does this relate to PR? It’s the job of the PR professional to monitor these online and social media conversations. PR professionals must respond to questions and manage conversations, so the image and reputation of the brand are maintained. In today’s world, consumers expect companies to engage them. Consumers want to feel connected to the companies they purchase products from. Social media are tools PR professionals can use to obtain and maintain those relationships and connections with consumers.
Twitter and Facebook have helped to generate more access between fashion brands and consumers, thus, making fashion brands appear more transparent and open. An increase in company transparency will lead to increased consumer trust. Hitha Prabhakar, reported that designer, Diane von Furstenberg, saw a 13 percent increase in online traffic as well as an increase in sales, after the creation of the brand’s social media presence.
The Expert’s Opinions
It is not hard to find a PR firm that is solely devoted to fashion. Examples include, Cameo PR, Seventh House, and People’s Revolution. So how do firms like these apply what I just discussed to brand marketing campaigns, aiming to increase brand engagement and sales. PR Couture provides an explanation of the positive impact social media can have on a fashion brand. Feel free to listen to the YouTube videos and follow along with the slideshow, as a panel from Women’s Wear Daily Magic Tradeshow discusses the benefits of social media.
Frugal Fashion Tip
It’s a short one this week.
Tip: monitor blogs and follow designers on Twitter. Many designers and bloggers will post information about exclusive sales and promotions on their Twitters or blogs. If you monitor social media, you’ ll have access to money saving information.