Fashion Week Social Media Lessons Learned

From New York to London, Milan to Paris, brands have spent the last month trying to amplify the hype around their runway shows. Was it all worth it?

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Tory Burch partnered with Sony this fashion week, becoming the first runway show to be shot with ultra-high-resolution 4K filming. The brand worked with digital creative agency Firstborn to build a microsite at highlighting the spring collection shown Sept. 10. Each look was broken down — from fittings leading up to the show, to behind-the-scenes and details. The content was posted in real time before, during and after a live-stream. There was also a commerce component, and consumers in the U.S. were able to preorder accessories.

According to the brand, views for the spring live-stream were up 81 percent from the fall 2013 one, which aired on the brand’s main Web site,

Beyond live-streaming, Wright also noted that promoted tweets and Facebook posts during New York Fashion Week are “static” for the most part — targeted at fan acquisition instead of retaining them or driving them to a point of purchase. There were exceptions, such as Diane von Furstenberg, DKNY, American Express and Google’s Moto X.

“[These organizations] appeared to have strategy behind their social ad buys for spring 2014. From targeting key word terms to hashtags that then led me to a relevant destination, it brought me to take an action aligned to some higher marketing goal,” Wright said.

DKNY celebrated the brand’s 25th anniversary during London and Milan Fashion Weeks, and the brand promoted the #DKNY25 hashtag from Sept. 16 to Sept. 18. According to Aliza Licht, senior vice president of global communications at Donna Karan, it garnered 773,524 impressions with an engagement rate of 2.51 percent (the industry average is between 1 and 3 percent).

“I could have promoted various parts of NYFW on Twitter, but honestly, there’s so much noise that I wanted to focus on something specific and strategic,” Licht said.

While brands continued to push their messages out on Twitter and Facebook, the spring shows were all about Instagram, with the medium’s four-month-old video capabilities tipping the balance this season for New York University think tank Luxury Lab, or L2, editorial director Johanna Cox.

“As someone who follows the shows pretty closely every season, I never felt more in touch with the front row than I did this past month via those feeds,” Cox said of videos created by Victoria Beckham, Leandra Medine, Net-a-porter and Moda Operandi.

Dannijo worked with Olapic for its fashion week presentation to join the social and e-commerce experiences. The technology, which in July secured $5 million in Series A funding led by Fung Capital USA, allows a brand to take user-generated images or videos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or direct upload, group those assets and present them on its digital flagship with links to product pages.

Dannijo saw a 400 percent increase in photos using the dedicated hashtag #dannijodoesnoir the evening of the presentation, compared with a normal day of culling photos using any brand-related hashtags, and experienced a 35 percent lift in traffic to the site that same night.

Pinterest, which launched its first fashion week hub on Aug. 28, partnering with more than 100 influencers to populate the portal — including Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Nordstrom, Oscar de la Renta, Harper’s Bazaar and 3.1 Phillip Lim — proved to be less relevant when it comes to the real-time nature of fashion shows.

“Pinterest is showing us that where Instagram and Twitter are better for the live aspect of fashion shows, Pinterest is better for the backstory and lifestyle,” Curalate ceo Apu Gupta told WWD of the research conducted by the marketing and analytics agency. “What’s being shared on Pinterest is more aspirational and inspirational. It’s the difference between newsprint and a glossy.”

Exhibiting the differences, blogger Wit & Delight generated the most impressions on Pinterest during New York Fashion Week with 74 million — 60 percent more than Harper’s Bazaar, which had the second-most impressions, with 43 million. Wit & Delight has 2.7 million followers on the platform, while Harper’s has 4.7 million.

“The number of blogs that are driving fashion week engagement is astounding. It makes you wonder if there is a completely changing role in the world of fashion and how it’s being covered,” Gupta said. The study showed that six of the top 10 pins came from bloggers, while just two came from traditional media (InStyle and Harper’s Bazaar).

For example, Wit & Delight and Harper’s Bazaar both pinned the same Diane von Furstenberg dress — and even though the blogger has two million fewer followers than the magazine, her image was repinned more times.

Lauren Conrad nabbed the top spot across several categories, including the top board (ranked by repins per pin) and top pin. She also had the most repinned pin — “New York is always a good idea” inside a black frame.

“From Pinterest to Facebook, Instagram to Bumebox, what brands, consumers, designers and fashion industry folk are now relying on is for the technologies to curate and organize what’s happening at fashion week. It’s so overwhelming that we can’t find and disseminate key information found in these events to make sense out of them,” Wright said.


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