Last night was our first ever event in partnership with Social Media Week that focused on how fashion brands are driving sales through social engagement. We had an amazing turnout and were humbled by the incredible feedback– some even called it “the ultimate #fashiontech” event for Social Media Week! (Thanks @IWoreThis.) Here’s a recap of the discussion, what topics were touched on and what we can anticipate for social media’s and brand sales moving forward.
The night kicked off with a demo from our client and good friends at Olapic where they shared what sets them apart in terms of bridging the gap between social and commerce. By now our readers know that Olapic provides e-commerce sites, brands and publishers with all the tools they need to collect consumer generated images and then engage them with the end result of leveraging the power of Instagram whereby users and customers can then shop these same pictures. Some of their brands are even seeing an average increase in sales of about 5%. We couldn’t be prouder!
It was time then to move on to the Q&A segment of the evening. Our panel consisted of: Samantha Lim, Digital Brand Strategist, Grace Atwood, Director of Social Media at BaubleBar, Farryn Weiner, Digital and Social Media extraordinaire, and Cannon Hodge, Social Media Manager at Bergdorf Goodman.
Moderated by none other than our very own Liza Kindred, we knew we’d be hitting some serious topics, talking big data, and touching on the those little business things that just make us laugh. We immediately learned that each of these women and brands are on at least 7 social media platforms. Some include the typical Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, but Cannon shared that Bergdorf’s 12 platforms include China’s Weibo and Tudou. Now that’s thinking ahead!
After speaking on the basics of social media, we moved into a more general area. “What is it that your companies are looking for [in terms of social media and ROI]?” Samantha Lim told the audience that creative engagement is always key when conducting yourself on all social media platforms. We agree. After all, the key point in the term “social media” is the word “social,” its entire foundation is to communicate and when you’ve got a fan/consumer base that’s looking to engage, it can be detrimental to your social media initiatives to ignore those prompts. Cannon said that it’s important for Bergdorf’s to bring customers “in.” Meaning, her brand looks for social awareness and creates experiences on social media so that the consumer feels like they’re on the inside. Also, breaking down the boundaries is important to Bergdorf’s. “Customers should be able to get in touch with us,” Cannon said, “that’s why we include contact information in some of our posts.” Farryn moved directly into data. She said, “measure everything… believe in the power of data.”
As metrics and measures moved front and center, Liza asked, “What tools are you looking at? What are some of the benchmarks you’re assessing?” Farryn wanted the crowd to know that a major takeaway throughout her time growing in her career is that consistency is key. She advised startups to pick a metric that works for their particular goals, and then stick with it. It’s important to be able to measure data overtime through monitoring comparison and trends. Another tool mentioned seemed obvious but we’re so happy Samantha Lim said it. Google Analytics. This is the best way for startups to become acquainted with monitoring the data that comes with social media engagement — it’s the best crash course to learn what’s working and what’s not.
It was time then to talk about sales. Liza asked each panelist, “What platforms drives the most sales [for you]?” The common view resonated. Pinterest! Now, this makes sense. For the brands participating in our panel, it’s logical that a platform such as Pinterest would drive sales. Why? Well, because think of the all the components of such a platform. The pinboard-style image sharing tool is, by comparison, quite unique. Not only does a platform like this inspire greater creativity for future uploaded pins, it is a catalyst for sales in fashion because users want to look and feel the way those people in the images are portrayed. Another platform that garnered attention in the sales segment was Facebook. Grace Atwood told the audience that Facebook works when brands have a well-known face attached to a campaign. She mentioned the BaubleBar and Nina Garcia partnership being one of the best moves they’ve ever made. Her public persona really pushed attention to a number of their social platforms.
Seamlessly ending the night of all things social media, we were pleased to have a keynote presentation by friend and brand rockstar, Julie Fajgenbaum. She is the former VP of Brand and Social Media at American Express so we knew we were in for an amazing ride. By far the most important points of her presentation included her talk on understanding one’s brand. We couldn’t agree more. Sometimes, social media managers are faced with the task of communicating the message of a company they don’t truly understand, or specialists turn a blind eye to the things associated with their brand. In the publishing industry, for instance, Julie talked magazine brands ignoring those annoying inserts that fall out when you’re reading them. What she said was that while the inserts aren’t made by the magazine title, including them in the publication is representative of the brand. Perhaps creating a situation that the magazine doesn’t want to be aligned with. All in all, branding and social media need to work harmoniously together in order to ensure proper marketing at any level, including social media. //
By the end of it there were a few things that were clear: social media will only continue to grow in complexity, engagement is essential and only truly successful when companies produce creative content with a the right balance of spontaneity and brand awareness, and maybe it’s time we start looking to our Asian counterparts for some social media inspiration. The platforms we engage on are meant to encourage communication and once it become multi-lateral, you know you’ve started doing something right. Summing up the night, however, we want to leave you with a bit of advice from one of our panelists: when in doubt post something about puppies, liquor, beauty or… The President! Amazing, and noted.
It was an incredible night and we’d like to give a special thanks to those who made it even more special! Thank you LIMCollege for opening your doors to our guests and us. The space was amazing. And a special shout out and thanks to Cayrum, who without their delicious honey and ginger infused rum it couldn’t have been a party heard ’round the social media hemisphere.
Leticia Domenech was a Writing and Copy Editing Intern at TWF. Did we leave you wanting more? Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.
Featured image by Grace Atwood via Instagram.