Social Media: Nobody Does It Better

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

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

Bergdorf’s also staged a handbag design contest in partnership with Fendi that took place on Facebook and a competition where users entered for a chance to model in the store’s Faces of 5F fall ad campaign. The winner appeared in Lucky magazine’s October issue and starred in a shoppable video. The contest received 1,500 entries, and BG gained 17,000 new fans on its Facebook page.

Gucci was only one of four brands to garner a “genius” label by L2—and in addition to being one of three brands to surpass five million “likes” on Facebook (along with Dior and Burberry) and growing its Twitter following by over 50 percent in the past year—it recently launched on Tumblr and has the fifth most fans on Instagram. The fashion house is also highly active in foreign social networks, including Weibo and Youku in China, as well as a curated stand-alone blog that recently launched. It also has a Japanese Facebook page and a localized blog on Ameba.

But according to Robert Triefus, worldwide marketing and communications director at Gucci, the brand is looking beyond social media networks and putting more emphasis on marrying editorial content with e-commerce. This summer, it unveiled a shoppable video on, and this month, it presented the second edition of its interactive shopping magazine, Gucci Style, for the iPhone and iPad. With more than 750,000 upgrades and almost 300,000 downloads since its launch in August, the app is full of new content and encourages users to shop the current fall collection, discover the world of Gucci and choose from a selection of lifestyle features from travel to food and culture. The brand’s first app launched in October 2009, reaching the one-million-download mark this past March. As of last month, downloads had climbed to nearly 1.5 million.

“These initiatives are all building a new level of direct engagement for the brand. In essence, we are our own media now, allowing us to connect in a much deeper and richer way with our existing and future clients,” Triefus says. “We are literally living in a digital revolution, and if you don’t build the foundations now, you will get left behind, as many luxury brands have been with e-commerce. Ten years ago, no one thought people would buy luxury online. Now, luxury brands are falling over themselves to open e-commerce channels. In a few years, mobile and social commerce may well be the standard way of shopping online.”

Macy’s also executes a multifaceted approach to engage its fans. The response to this spring’s Million Dollar Makeover initiative exceeded the company’s expectations by four times, according to Jennifer Kasper, Macy’s Inc. group vice president of digital media and multicultural marketing. The project was primarily a Facebook activation with components on YouTube, Twitter and broadcast advertising that gave one customer the opportunity to win a whole-life makeover worth $1 million. The retailer thought it would receive about 5,000 entries; instead it got almost 20,000. Macy’s has also used social media to drive traffic in-store. Kasper adds, “When we launched Someday by Justin Bieber this summer, one tweet from Justin had kids sleeping on the street for two nights so that they could buy his fragrance. When Rihanna came to Herald Square this spring, she tweeted an hour before arriving, and 1,000 fans came to see her.”

Dolce & Gabbana—the first to launch a mobile site, to livestream and the first to livestream on a mobile platform—continues to innovate across digital platforms. It revamped its Web site in July, marrying commerce and content, and the brand boasts almost 4 million Facebook and more than 130,000 Twitter fans. The Facebook page mentions its more than 20 social media, Web and mobile-based projects—and its m-commerce app integrates content from all of the above media. Stefano Gabbana, whose personal account has over 150,000 followers—garnered a lot of attention last year for his tweets about, among other things, naked models and his unfamiliarity with Stella McCartney as a designer.

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