Technology is by far the one thing that has changed the fashion industry the most over the past decade, and in this social media and its many platforms has played – and is playing – a vital role. It can be easier to grasp, how big and established brands go about building their Social Media platforms and online presence with an army of bloggers, celebrities and Online Community Managers, but it’s quite different to a Social Media Strategy for new designers, and how the upcoming fashion designers should go about the task. Below are the 6 most important points to consider:
1/ Your Social Media Strategy is rooted in your brand and its core values and identity. Therefore, the first thing to do, or what you have hopefully already done, is being clear about what you stand for (and don’t stand for). While this may seem like a rather obvious point, it’s crucial to have clear in mind. One of the biggest mistakes a brand can commit is trying to cater for everyone – it’s simply not possible. Is your customer like Rihanna or Michelle Obama, and is your style urban & rebellious or elegant & feminine? Your Design DNA is what must be consistent in all areas regarding your brand, and it’s this you’re ultimately channelling into your Social Media Profile. Therefore; be consistent – and don’t try to say it all.
2/ It’s necessary to have a Social Media Strategy – from Day 1. This is not an over-kill for a new brand, and though you may not necessarily have to write it down, you need to have a clear idea in your mind about translating your Design DNA into a strong, clear and comprehensive way of communicating in this/these media. The good thing about having an actual Strategy and defining one, is that you’re forced to making some choices and actively decide what’s going to happen in the future e.g. what, how often, who is responsible, engagement etc. Therefore; make a strategic plan – even in your own creative way.
3/ Separate your company profile from your personal profile even at an early stage. Again it’s obvious for big brands, where there’s a company profile and the many employed fashion designers have their individual profiles, with last-mentioned most likely being a mix of personal and professional entries. When a new fashion brand is born, it can seem weird to separate from the fashion designer’s profile – especially if this at the beginning is a one-man brand. The reason is that the two profiles at this early stage in essence are one and the same thing. Just as you can’t ‘extract’ the designer from the brand, you can’t ‘extract’ the brand from the designer, and they seem so intertwined that at the beginning, it’s hard to create separate profiles. With time, and as the brand grow – if not in sales at least in identity – it becomes more like a separate entity. Therefore; start the journey as early as possible, so you wont have private photos of your granny’s 90s birthday on your brand profile (unless it’s part of your strategy).
4/ Spend time on your precious followers. These may not all be customers yet, but they could potentially be turned into ones. In any case, they’re all people who, for one reason or another, think that you’re worth their time. This means that they’re already buying into your brand, and that the opportunity is there that they will act as brand advocates and pass on your message through positive Word-of-Mouth. A Social Media Strategy for new designers offers a fun, quick, and inexpensive way of communicating with your fans. No matter what brand, you’re trying to build, you can’t afford not to take advantage of this opportunity. Therefore; prioritise the time to build relationship.
5/ Be innovative about how to create your profile. In a world where big budgets and huge collections seem to help the allure of the Media Profile, and it’s a rather luxurious and polished picture being celebrated on popular platforms like Instagram, it can be hard to find ones own voice in a reality that looks different. Most likely, as a new designer, your office is less flashy (if you are so lucky to have one), the presentations you give are less grand, and you simply have fewer articles in your collections. This calls for action in being innovative about creating you Profile. A good thing to bear in mind is that your customers already came to you in the first place, because you offered something different, and probably not because you looked grand already. Therefore; find the innovative and unique way that you wish to communicate and express yourself.
6/ Be personal and engage. The nature of Social Media is that of seeming – and perhaps to a certain extent being – a more flimsy way of communicating. In reality, with a Strategy, it’s not, but the instant and easy nature makes it seem more casual and easy-going. There are indeed differences, but one thing many of the platforms have in common – like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr etc. – is that of also offering a more personal approach. It’s like behind-the-scenes and everyday snippets of what’s going on. This seemingly intimacy and authenticity are what makes social media so strong. The language spoken there is simply different to more formal publicity and communication, and, also very interesting, it’s multi-way communication. Brands can have their say, but so can the public with the tools as ‘likes’ and comments. Therefore; consider your followers friends and offer them insight into your world as you would to a friend.
See you on Instagram!
Photos are made by fashion designer Dmitriy Pirozhnikov and features the design collaboration with ECO-friendly brand GO.