Social media is more than a way for twenty-somethings to let their friends know what they’re up to every minute of the day. Now it is a vital part of digital and content marketing strategy and it could make a serious difference to a fashion startup’s business.
Realistically, a good social media strategy for a new fashion brand could be a very large part of the reason that it reports success in its first few difficult years.
This is particularly true of fashion startups in London, as the competition in the capital is rife and ruthless. Brands have to do everything they can to stand out from every other company that is fighting for coverage and customers. By having a stellar social media strategy, a business can find one way in which they can try to secure their place in a very difficult industry.
Although social media might still seem like a relatively new practice, this isn’t the case when it comes to marketing, because there are people and departments hired to run social media accounts for global companies. These companies hire social media experts so they can stay competitive within the space and retain an engaging relationship with their customer base.
Why is it so important for startups to have a social media strategy?
It’s important that startups have a solid marketing strategy in general and a strong social media plan should be part of the focus of this overall strategy. This means thinking about things in terms of time, money and capabilities – all the bases should be covered when it comes to integrating social media into a startup’s marketing plan.
Unfortunately, when businesses are young they tend to have little time and few resources. as such social media channels can be one of things that suffer from a lack of preparation. It’s important to think of high quality content to present to consumers, as lacklustre tweets or posts won’t garner any shares.
Social media can also be one of the easiest ways to promote your product to lots of people in your target audience for very little money. What’s even better is that some services are totally free so they don’t need to affect your marketing budget costs.
There are many social media tools now that can take a lot of the drudgery out of social media too. You can use services such as Tweetdeck, Buffer and MeetEdgar to schedule your posts and these services will then post to your social media accounts for you on the various times you have chosen. Using these services means that you don’t have to be chained to your computer or phone as things can tick along without you for a time, giving you peace of mind.
Don’t forget though that social media is reactive, so people will be responding to your posts and tweets and they’ll appreciate your response to their interaction!
Why do fashion startups need social media?
For one very basic reason: free publicity! What social media means for fashion startups is visibility, it’s incredibly important for fashion brands to be able to show off their assets and products and one of the easiest ways to do this is through the magic of Instagram.
Social media is also fast, startups can provide their customers with sneak peeks and viewings of off-the-shelf products right away. Often fashion brands and labels will show off on Instagram when a new shipment of a mystery product has arrived, building anticipation from an audience that doesn’t even fully understand what it’s anticipating.
Connectivity is a huge draw for fashion startups as it allows them to build relationships with their customers that wouldn’t possible through an advert on a webpage or in a magazine. By having a platform that allows customers to talk directly to them, businesses can benefit as they are able to reach out directly to those people and get them to share news about the products and services of the business.
Further to this businesses can gain real insider customer knowledge because they will be able to see what their customers like and don’t like. A company will also begin to get a knack for knowing which type of content their customers like to engage with and at what times of day they are most responsive.
Running successful social media as a fashion startup can also help to ensure that businesses stay on top of their most fierce competition by listening to their customers and keeping a watchful eye over their competitors.
Once a fashion startup has begun to use social media not only to promote their products but to build relationships with their followers by praising them for being brilliant, they’ll have a loyal fanbase who will speak on their behalf.
Lyst is a fashion startup that took the idea of social media and ran with it to create a completely new service for the industry.
Reuters has reported on the creation of Lyst, detailing how its CEO and co-founder Chris Morton drew inspiration from Spotify’s service. He noticed that as a web player, it was recognising the music that he liked to play and then instantaneously used this information to curate playlists of mainstream and lesser-spotted musicians that were tailored to his specific interests.
Netflix provides a similar service for its users, as it keeps track of what programmes and films a user watches and then creates a ticker of suggested films and shows that particular person might like to watch.
Chris realised that this wasn’t a service that was currently available in the fashion industry and set about creating Lyst. This is a website that lets its users shop from a massive inventory, follow designers and create personalised lists of brands from which to buy things.
He refers to the system of Lyst as “a little bit like fashion mix tapes” as the service allows people to make collections of things they know they like and new things they have discovered.
People in general are interested in maintaining an interesting online profile, as well as shopping online, Lyst creates an opportunity for consumers to do both in the one place.
Life is online
This reality now is that a lot of people shop online, as we have said above and it is the aim of fashion companies to channel the customer pathway from engagement on social media to customer purchasing through their website.
Of course it’s not just startups that need to look towards social media to boost their coverage in sales. Fashion companies that have been around for a long time, have had to adapt their business models to include social media as part of their marketing plan and budget.
Long-established and high end retailer Net-a-Porter has launched a social networking app for this very purpose. It took the platform of 300 million active users and gave them the same service of taking and uploading photos, but then added a tool to make shopping easier for the customers.
By shortening the customer pathway in this way, Net-a-Porter has also set about ensuring that customers are more likely to buy its products as they can do everything in the one place, or in this case, in the one app.