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Fashion Brands Ramping Up Facebook Presence

While labels initially moved at a glacial pace into the social-networking space, they are now making small commitments to test the waters.

FASHION FRIENDS: GM may be tiring of Facebook, but the fashion world still seems to love it.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that GM will end its $10 million ad spend with the social-networking site after finding it had little impact on consumers’ car purchases. But for a number of reasons, don’t expect advertisers in the fashion business to follow suit. First, few, if any, fashion companies are spending that much to advertise on the social-networking site at this stage. In fact, most fashion and retail brands have only recently begun spending with Facebook and are still evaluating whether it’s paying off. Also, the bar is set much lower to advertise on Facebook, compared with print, because it’s much cheaper. Fashion brands initially moved at a glacial pace into the social-networking space, but now they are making small commitments, such as spending $40,000 to advertise on the site, to test the waters.

Even fashion Web sites have been relatively slow to advertise on the soon-to-go-public social-networking site. For example, Gilt Groupe only started advertising with Facebook 45 days ago. The flash-sales site has used Facebook since its launch as an engagement tool to connect with customers, but the ad spend is a recent addition to its ad budget. Chief marketing officer Elizabeth Francis said its commitment to Facebook is a small portion of the overall ad budget but is growing quickly. “It has been great so far,” she said. “We’re using it as a tool to find new users and target existing customers for special promotions and brand events. The ad spend is ramping up quickly there.”

And fashion brands continue to find Facebook a key in building their fan bases. The latest Facebook Fashion Index from Stylophane showed that Burberry was back on top in “post likes” last month, generating 321,000 such nods of approval. This was comfortably ahead of Dior (244,000), Gucci (170,000) and last month’s leader, Louis Vuitton (163,000), and also 141.8 percent higher than the British brand’s 133,000 March level, sixth highest for the month. Other noteworthy increases in post likes in April included the Japanese brand Satisfaction Guaranteed, up 154.4 percent to 157,000, sixth highest, and Diesel, with a 188.1 percent spike to 61,000, good enough for 18th place on Stylophane’s leaderboard.