Social Media Meditation

Industry

A summary of the latest developments in social media for fashion and retail

It was only a matter of minutes (well maybe years) ago when we understood social media to be this pioneering mechanism for the marketing and democratization of fashion. Now, it seems the visual facilities, namely Instagram and Pinterest have become a completely consolidated platform for the promotion, advertising and conversation in the industry. During LFW, shows are streamed live and the constant feed of images relays the front row view in real time.

At the CDFA’s on Monday, the newly allocated award for ‘Fashion Instagrammer of the Year’ was presented to Patrick Janelle (@AGuyNamedPatrick), demonstrating the true, didactic clout of the social medium. The positive and negative opinions from the designers range from social inclusivity and the benefits of customer communication to the copycat, creative dilution issue. Alexander Wang has even noted that the way clothes are now designed has adapted to the preeminence of the two-dimensional experience.

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In retail, the vehicle of choice, or rather, effect appears to be Pinterest with its 58.2 million users. The unique interface of the site gives it a shoppable feel, which retailers like Nordstrom and Target of the USA have picked up on. The former uses viral data to create in store displays with special Pinterest tags to speak directly to their followers. At Target, top ‘pinners’ are rewarded with exclusive party planning privileges.

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The real question, however, lies in the efficacy of social media strategies and its future strength. A recent study by TCS shows that the average company spends around $19 million on social media a year. The returns aren’t as rewarding as one would expect considering the millions and millions of consumers reached every second through said devices. There is talk of new social media platforms, which are more personally oriented, such as ‘Whisper’ but testing the waters looks like a long and potentially risky process.

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Strategic customer inclusion on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest, using benefits, discounts and rewarding systems for the most sharing and liking has proved an effective path for Tesco. Of course, crowdsourcing is also the beauty here, garnering opinions and subsequently brand loyalty and also the appeal to the individual through #selfie campaigns in fashion.

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