We’ve worked it out. There’s one person running all the social media accounts for every single fashion retailer. Her name is Hermione, she’s 23 years old, she’s so excited to have a job in fashion that she’s forgotten to do anything with her job, and she’s crushingly, soul-destroyingly dull.
Well, guess what, Hermione? The game’s up. Things have moved on. It’s no longer okay to post endless Facebook galleries of your seasonal ‘edits’ (what does that even mean?) or nuts and bolts adverts for your products (pic, naff caption, link, done). If you worked in any other sector, you’d have been laughed out of the social marketing union by now. Just imagine the social bod at Halfords posting pic after pic of mounting screws for roof boxes (“these T-bars are to DIE for!”). He’d be drummed out of the business quicker than you can say: “Oh my god, you literally just bored my eyeballs off.”
But fashion indulges this stuff. It’s meek. It doesn’t seek to engage its audience because it looks down on its audience: “These proles have never seen a pretty dress before. They’ll explode with excitement when they see this one.” But you know what? They don’t. There’s no exploding, no excitement. At best, there’ll be one or two tagged shares (“Debbie Smith, this belt is kinda you.”). At worst, there’s complete and utter radio silence from the audience. And these aren’t tiddly little brands we’re taking about. These are the high street big-hitters, retailers with hundreds of thousands, even millions of followers – all drabbing out the same blah, again and again and again.
There are, of course, exceptions. And we’re lucky enough to be working with some of them. Brands who are tired of the same-old-same-old. Or, if you’ll permit us another spot-the-difference pic, the same-new-same-new…
The brands we’re working with know that it doesn’t matter how many fans and followers you have. If you’re not selling to them in a meaningful way, then you’re just messing around on Facebook for a living. If you’re just posting pictures of your products and hoping people click through to buy, then you’re living in cloud cuckoo land.
And you’re wasting an incredible opportunity. Fashion is the perfect sector for social selling but, to make a success of selling in social, you need to sell in a social way.
Instead of foisting promotions on your audience, you need to give them a say – ask them what they want, then serve that back to them in a bold, imaginative way.
Instead of just expecting people to share with their friends, you need to incentivise them – give them a deal which gets better as more people get involved, offer them rewards for being not just customers but marketers on your behalf.
And, instead of linking to a common-or-garden, vanilla ecommerce store, you need to provide a social transaction – something they can do with their friends, together, which takes the communal spirit of the network they’re coming from and carries them all the way through to the checkout… and beyond.
If you’re not doing that, then you might as well hire Hermione to post the same old stuff she posts on all your competitors’ social feeds. You probably already have.