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

BLOGGER COLLABORATIONS: As a brand, Coach was one of the first to partner with bloggers to design, style and blog about new product and to have them appear in its ad campaigns. To date, the brand has launched nine blogger-centric programs—the first of which occurred in November and December 2009, when 30 bloggers participated in holiday-themed posts. The Guest Blogger feature in particular, an ongoing monthly installment launched in October 2010, has been one of the most successful, according to David Duplantis, Coach Inc.’s senior vice president of global Web and digital media. Participants have included Meaghan Mahoney Dusil of Purse Blog, Lindsey Calla of Saucy Glossie, Keiko Groves of Keiko Lynn and Christine Cameron of My Style Pill. Recently, the brand enlisted seven bloggers to celebrate the return of the Coach Duffle. Each blogger styled an iconic bag from the brand, infusing their own sense of style, and posted it. Hanneli Mustaparta paired her cognac 1973 Coach Duffle with white Chloë Sevigny for Opening Ceremony shorts, a white sleeveless Zara top and Karen Walker shades. The Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine took her cherry red bag and wore it with a lace Charles Henry blouse, an Isabel Marant miniskirt and a houndstooth Balenciaga vest.

TWITTER AND FACBEOOK: DKNY PR Girl—whose handle on the medium describes her as “your well-placed fashion source bringing you behind-the-scenes scoop from inside Donna Karan New York & DKNY and my life as a PR girl living in NY”—has managed to garner more than 365,000 followers since she started tweeting for the brand in May 2009. “Our followers are the best judges of how DKNY PR Girl has affected the brand. They are the ones who consistently share the joy that they experience from the brands, whether tweeting an image of a new purchase or joining me in obsessing over our cape dress. They communicate, support and inspire the conversation,” says DKNY PR Girl—who on Oct. 22 outed herself as Aliza Licht via an embedded YouTube video on her Tumblr. “People constantly talk about the return on investment on social media and how to define it. For me, it’s brand evangelism.” Her chatty, youthful voice regularly Tweets as she tunes into Gossip Girl every Monday night, and she’s also been known to gripe about certain celebrities and their demands (keeping them anonymous, of course).

Over at Oscar de la Renta, vice president of global communications Erika Bearman has helped propel the fashion house’s Twitter following into one of the best known in the industry. As the person behind the brand’s Twitter personality, Bearman actively started tweeting under the handle @OscarPRGirl in 2009. Followers on the medium have jumped to over 87,000—increasing nearly 600 percent since September 2010, when the brand had just 12,800 followers.

This month, it was also the first luxury brand to launch a Facebook commerce, or F-commerce, initiative contained entirely on the social network. The brand commissioned social commerce solution 8thBridge to create the Facebook shopping experience for the debut of its $65 Esprit d’Oscar solid perfume ring. While not the first high-end fashion company to introduce an F-commerce component, it is the first to offer a complete commerce experience without leaving Facebook. (Bulgari launched F-commerce in May with jewelry that retailed for $12,000 and up, and Chanel did a limited-time, pre-release F-commerce offer for its Rouge Coco Shine for fans in April. Although shopping and putting the product “in cart” occurred on Facebook, checkout was done through each brand’s e-commerce site.)

With respect to pure numbers, it’s Yves Saint Laurent that tops the list for brands with the most followers with more than 603,000 fans. For the former, a combination of a tremendous worldwide following is probably the main driver and reason for such a large fan base on the platform, as the brand doesn’t have a definitive social media “personality” like DKNY or Oscar de la Renta. @YSL also doesn’t tweet at the same frequency as some of its contemporaries, as nearly three weeks lapsed between Twitter updates last month between Oct. 11 and Oct. 31.

There are only three fashion brands on Facebook that have passed the five million “likes” milestone: Burberry, Gucci and Dior, with 9 million, 5.5 million and 5.4 million fans, respectively. According to L2, each brand’s fan base has grown respectively on the medium by about 450, 290 and 1,400 percent from September 2010 to September 2011. For Dior, though, it’s not just a numbers game, as the brand believes engagement is imperative to achieve success in the digital world, Facebook in particular. “Beyond the great number of fans, what matters the most is that they are extremely involved. We hope that this is a sign that we have succeeded in sharing our passion for the House of Dior,” says a house spokesman. “Information has become something that evolves very quickly. It gets picked up on the brand’s official Web site, then it travels to Facebook, it spreads, it appears on all the blogs, it goes to Twitter, Tumblr, Weibo in China or Kaixin. This is why Facebook has naturally become a major communication medium for Dior.”

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