How the Rules of Social Media are different for Start-up Fashion Brands

Sally LaPointe - Front Row - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014

I was reading this article on Mashable and it talks about how Social Media is failing to drive sales for fashion brands. It makes me wonder – are we talking about all fashion brands?

And what about those people who say – ‘Social Media is only for big brands with deep pockets”.

So, if ‘some’ bigger brands are failing to drive sales from Social Media, does it mean that your brand will fail too?

This is cover-your-ass attitude. I don’t think it’s fair to blame it on a marketing channel. Social Media is working very well for many others. If it’s not working for your brand, there is something wrong in your approach. It’s futile to blame on Social Media.

One of the clients that I had privilege to work with sells beauty products on his website generates millions in revenue from Youtube alone; their entire business is based on driving sales from Youtube (they use it in combination with Instagram & Twitter). They’re a small brand with no offline presence in physical stores and they’re making profits by selling beauty products on Youtube.

If we talk about bigger brands, NastyGal started as an eBay store and its founder Sophia Amoruso generated all her initial customer base from MySpace and she claims that her brand has been profitable since inception.

It’s not just how much money you’re spending to acquire customers on Social Media; it’s also your ability to deliver value to the customers you acquire.

The price that a bigger brand would pay to acquire a potential customer on Social Media (Facebook Fan or a Twitter follower) is same as what a small brand would pay. If you spend $100 and Burberry spends $100 to run a Facebook campaign, both the brands have equal opportunity to acquire a new customers (100-100 because most Social Media Ads run on cost per action basis). So, the what decides the success of your Facebook campaign is what you do with these 100 new potential customers. If these customers don’t buy from you in the next 5 years – it means that either you selected  wrong demographics or you have failed to deliver value to these potential customers on your Facebook page. Don’t blame it on Facebook.

“Social Media is pull marketing – you can’t pull customers until you have the magnet of compelling products and inspiring content.”

Speaking about content – No, I am not talking about high profile content that brands like Burberry produce – Live Streaming of London Fashion Week or Brain Washing Videos of Super Models, etc. Customers today are having hard time combing through all the hashtags to stay on top of fashion. There is so much left for customers to search and figure out, that it’s becoming overwhelmingly hard for customers to know what’s in vogue.

Burberry does that because they’re Burberry; they have a budget allocated for this and they are doing it to position their Brand.

If you’re a start-up, your customers don’t expect such content from you. Such content is an eye wash for you as it sets a superficial content standard set by these bigger brands. Such content standard just doesn’t apply to your business. I can bet whatever you’re selling, only a tiny fraction of your customers would be interested in knowing what’s happening in London Fashion Week.

Rules of Social Media for Start-up brands & established brands are very different. Don’t let the Social Media strategies and failures of bigger & established brands dictate your own.

So, if you’re a Fashion Start-up that has been trying hard to make profits from Social Media and not been able to figure out a way – don’t feel demotivated. Focus on creating value for your customers with the help a rock solid product and inspiring content to sell that product. That’s all you need to succeed on any marketing channel, and social media is no exception.

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