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FN Summit: Creative Approaches to Online

Social networking isn't a fad anymore, according to fashion execs.

Rebecca and Uri Minkoff Leah Robert Leandra Medine and Katie Abel

Social networking isn’t a fad anymore. It’s now an important aspect of how companies communicate directly with consumers.

In a panel discussion at the FN Summit, Rebecca and Uri Minkoff, Camuto Group’s Leah Robert and blogger Leandra Medine of Manrepeller.com shared with Footwear News Global News Director Katie Abel how they’ve utilized social media tools for their brands.

Rebecca & Uri Minkoff:

Instagram has been a boon for consumer engagement at Rebecca Minkoff LLC. Starting with photographing a shoe of the day, the company now looks at the photo app as a way to drive traffic to its website, as well as to the sites of its retail partners. Instagram initiatives have helped the firm grow its shoe business by 100 percent over last year. “It’s a very unstressful social media form,” said co-founder and CEO Uri Minkoff. “Everyone likes to look at pictures and share them.”

In September, the brand featured amateur photos taken by Instagram users in its first print ad, which debuted in the launch issue of Style.com/Print. Co-founder and creative director Rebecca Minkoff noted that the key to success in social media is authenticity. “What didn’t work [was] when it was solely sales-related and promotional,” she said.

Leah Robert:

Camuto Group’s mission this school year was to use social media to engage college students. Leah Robert, SVP of licensing and marketing, helped develop the company’s comprehensive digital plan, which included partnering with fashion-savvy students to drive awareness about the brand at 10 U.S. colleges.

“What we looked for was how involved these girls were on their campuses in fashion groups,” said Robert. She added that another important criteria for the campaign was to ensure that the ambassadors were active on Instagram, Pinterest and had their own blogs. The initiatives paid off: The firm racked up 3.5 times more Facebook fans than they originally expected.

Leandra Medine:
Leandra Medine has turned her Man Repeller blog into a vehicle to partner with fashion labels, as well as to make a name for herself.

With more than 75,000 followers on Twitter, 100,000 on Instagram and an average of 2 million views on her site a month, Medine said being genuine has also been key to growing her fanbase. “Social media efforts are sort of useless if they don’t seem organic,” she said.

Through the success of her blog, Medine has collaborated with the likes of Del Toro, Rebecca Minkoff, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys. “When I started, I didn’t know I was sitting on an actual business,” she said.

Medine’s first book is set to be released in 2013, and she said other opportunities exist for Man Repeller. “What’s ultimately next for Man Repeller is not to continue to just be a blog but to turn it into a lifestyle brand,” she said.

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