Social Media: Nobody Does It Better

The fashion industry has embraced social media in all its instantaneous glory.

The fashion industry has embraced social media in all its instantaneous glory

The fashion industry has embraced social media in all its instantaneous glory.

Photo By Miles Donovan

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Collections issue 11/14/2011

Fashion aims to be at the cutting edge, but in the days of round-the-clock tweets, Facebook updates, editorial content, multiplatform strategies and image-driven Instagram and Tumblr posts, it’s hard for designers to keep up with the constant change in the social media world. Some are doing it a lot better than others.


OVERALL PERFORMANCE: On Oct. 11, Burberry took the coveted top spot in the third annual Digital IQ Index compiled by New York University think tank Luxury Lab, or L2. The index ranks fashion brands according to online competence. One of the first to livestream its runway shows to a global audience a few years ago, Burberry’s success in digital was attributed by L2 to a global site launch this year that received strong e-commerce ratings. In April, the company was also one of the first to launch a mobile-commerce site, and it’s also offered buying off-the-runway of certain items. The brand has more Facebook fans (more than eight million and climbing), YouTube uploaded views and Instagram followers than any of its industry peers. It is second only to Yves Saint Laurent for the most Twitter followers with 564,400. YSL has more than 603,000 followers. The brand is also active on Instagram, where it has almost 100,000 followers. “Digital communication is at the forefront of both the way we engage and connect internally with the company and externally to all the Burberry communities around the world on different creative platforms; be it Art of the Trench, Acoustic, Bespoke or our own social media pages,” Burberry chief creative officer Christopher Bailey says. “It allows for a cohesive and consistent point of view that is dynamic, inspiring and engaging—and as an old (over 155 years old) and  young (young teams) company, it is an authentic, exciting and natural way for us to communicate.”


Shenan Reed, co-founder and chief media officer of Morpheus Media, a Createthe Group company, believes that “transmedia storytelling”—or using the various social media platforms to tell a story in a way that’s fitting for each medium—is paramount to a retailer’s digital strategy, and that Bergdorf Goodman excels at this. For example, it took advantage of Instagram’s growing popularity and used the medium as the basis for a recent social media project. To coincide with the opening of its newly renovated and expanded shoe department, a “Shoes About Town” project was introduced August 26, and users were encouraged to Instagram photos of shoes against cityscapes and other creative backdrops. The images appeared on an interactive map of the city on the store’s 5th/58th blog, and the photos—also hashtagged with #BGShoes—became part of an in-store installation. Currently, the store is active on Twitter, Facebook, its 5th/58th blog on, YouTube, Foursquare, Tumblr, Instagram and Hunch.

The human element is key to keeping the voice of the brand consistent throughout the various channels, according to Mallory Andrews, Bergdorf’s senior vice president of sales promotion, marketing and public relations. “Our entire social strategy relies upon a fully integrated team. They ensure that everything we present on our social platforms reflects Bergdorf Goodman in a friendly, appropriate voice,” Andrews says. “People want responses to what they post on our Facebook page, and sometimes they need assistance after the store has closed. Even in the digital world, you want to make a human connection. And it is our priority to maintain that relationship within all of our platforms while tailoring content to each community.”

Among these initiatives were a “Dress Bergdorf Goodman’s Linda Fargo for Fashion Week” challenge earlier this year on Polyvore, a community fashion site known for its “sets” and collages created with content aggregated from fashion outlets that span the Internet. In the challenge, users competed to design sets using clothing items curated by Fargo for a chance to win a $2,500 shopping spree and a ticket to Michael Kors’ fall fashion show. According to Polyvore’s September Intelligence Report, the site boasts more than 4.8 billion engagements for the month of September and over 10 million unique visitors.

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