Fashion Social Media Marketing: Eleven Mistakes Made by Fashion Brands
Avoid these eleven key mistakes and you can drive sales with effective fashion social media marketing
Social media has transformed the way that people discover and interact with brands, research products and shop for what they want. A presence on social media platforms is essential for fashion brands if they want to connect with their target audience. Pretty much every brand is on social media – but that doesn’t mean they all get their strategy and activity right.
At Hitsearch, we’ve been helping fashion brands grow their online presence and sales for many years. Our team of retail specialists help fashion businesses generate more sales, across all digital channels, including social media. We’ve identified the common social media mistakes that we see being made by fashion brands and how these pitfalls can be avoided.
1. Lack of strategy, aims or objectives
A large number of fashion brands fall into the trap of running their social media channels without really having a cohesive plan, targets or ways to measure how it actually impacts on the business. To get the most from social media, a fashion retailer needs:
- To set goals for what you want to achieve – split by the specific platforms and target audiences
- Ensure the goals contribute positively to your overall marketing and business goals
- Allocate budget to content production and paid social ad spend
- Set targets for customer acquisition and agree KPIs for audience growth, engagement, sales and customer service management
- Set SMART objectives:
- Specific – Clearly defined goals that help your team to stay on the same page and leave no room for ambiguity
- Measurable – Set KPIs and metrics to define what success looks like and have targets to hit
- Achievable – Taking into account your time, budget and your starting point in terms of social media presence and audience, are your goals achievable?
- Realistic – Can your targets be hit or are you setting yourself up to fail? Have other brands achieved it?
- Time-sensitive – Set deadlines for every goal (but don’t be afraid to reforecast if things change)
- Agree at least a three-month activity plan for content and promotions that is consistent with your other marketing channel activity, such as broadcast media, website, email marketing and digital paid media.
2. Inconsistency across all social media channels
Some social media channels are a closer fit for certain audience types than others and the content shouldn’t be identical across the board, but that doesn’t mean that certain key elements should lack consistency. It can be confusing to customers if they get mixed messages from different social media touchpoints and can be hard to tell if it’s actually the same business behind the activity. All of your social platforms should have a consistent:
- Page assets
- Contact details, location etc
- Website URL
- Image styles
- Brand voice
3. Not adapting to the different platforms
While consistency is key across all social platforms in terms of key messages, brand voice and anything that gives trust signals, like your contact details and what you say about yourself as a brand, it’s a big mistake to treat all of the various social channels in exactly the same way in terms of specific activity and content. Every different platform has its own nuances that make them different, including things such as:
- Twitter’s character limit and the number of characters that show above a ‘see more’ section on the other platforms
- Instagram’s limitations with links in posts (aside from swipe up feature in Stories for accounts of a certain size)
- Best practice image dimensions/ratios vary for each platform
- Video uploading and playback capabilities vary e.g. time limit of 60 seconds on an Instagram post as well as the best video resolutions for displaying on each platform
- The B2B focus of LinkedIn
- The types of audiences that best connect with each platform and the types of content that resonate with them e.g. TikTok trend videos for younger demographics
While creating bespoke content for every single social channel isn’t always realistic or the best use of resource, taking into account the specific audience you’re trying to reach with this particular social activity will help you to prioritise. Avoid robotically posting the same content across all channels – use the nuances to your advantage and adapt the copy and visual content accordingly.
4. Treating social media like a broadcast-only channel
It’s an easy trap to fall into – to use social media as a one-way marketing channel, but the very nature of these platforms means that this can be harmful to your brand and will very much limit results. Interaction and engagement are what social media is all about – so ensure you have the necessary resource allocated to community management as well as to creating and posting content.
Engaging with your followers is hugely important to social media success. You can get to know key followers who already love your brand. They can become advocates for you online and be a positive voice for your brand so it’s important to let them know that you appreciate them and value their loyalty.
It can also be really beneficial to keep an eye out for well-connected online influencers who engage with your brand via social media, as they can have a big impact on how their followers see your fashion business. Keeping an eye on trolls and other vocal detractors can also be useful – how you handle social media users like this will be visible to all on a public forum so it’s important to get your approach right.
Encourage, acknowledge and reward feedback on your social media content and posts. Responding to comments, including @mentions for useful contributions, can make all the difference to how that individual (and their own circle) will feel about your fashion brand.
5. Not getting your analytics and tracking sorted
Most online transactions with a brand happen after a shopper has multiple contacts with your brand from multiple sources. Social media can have a huge role to play in the user journey, but it doesn’t operate in isolation. Often social media can have an impact at every stage of the conversion funnel – from attracting initial attention to providing more information and then remarketing to drive people back to the site to complete a purchase.
Effective use of analytics in social media will help you to evaluate attribution to the channel as a whole, as well as individual platforms and specific activity – giving you a really granular view on which parts of your strategy are working best and enabling you to calculate an accurate ROI.
To help you keep track of everything important, you can:
- Ensure every social media channel is set up properly and you have decided on UTM conventions to differentiate between different content/campaigns/activity when users land on your website via this social content
- Organise your Facebook and Instagram ad accounts, tracking pixels, product inventory and target audiences under Facebook’s Business Suite.
- Ensure that your Google Analytics property and view are set up to track everything you want to measure on-site e.g. goals, events, segments are defined etc.
6. Chaotic customer service
Social media is a key way for customers to get in touch with brands when they have questions or if there are issues with an order they have made. Your fashion business needs a clearly defined process for dealing with social media customer service engagements, with roles and responses mapped out so that your internal team can manage this with confidence.
Try to come up with a list of common queries or problems that customers are likely to have, such as:
- Missing orders that haven’t arrived on their due date
- Incomplete orders
- Faulty products
- Voucher codes that don’t work
Agree an internal process for each type of customer service issue, including:
- Who will reply
- Response times e.g. is someone monitoring 24/7? Will the team cover office hours only? What about weekends? Responses sent within a set period? e.g. an hour.
- Drafting standard responses to common queries that can be tweaked for personalisation
- What types of queries should be dealt with publicly and what should be encouraged to private message/DM/email or telephone contact
- What is the internal escalation process if an issue can’t be resolved by the immediate team?
7. Sporadic product promotion
Whilst sales generated directly from social media aren’t the only goal of your social activity, you need to ensure that customers can buy from you via this channel if they wish. This means that your entire product range doesn’t need to only be available via your website, it should also be accessible though Facebook and Instagram too. Having broken or incomplete product feeds is only going to limit your sales via this channel.
Setting up product feeds correctly to Facebook and Instagram ties up a little resource at the beginning, but when done properly it means that updates and maintenance are usually quick and hassle-free.
8. Posting content for content’s sake
A common issue for brands is that they always want to be seen as active and on the ball with what is going on in the world on their social channels. There is nothing wrong with this, but it can often lead to social content that doesn’t really achieve anything or contribute to your overall goals, but still takes resource to create, post and react to engagement on.
When done properly, reactive content can be a real plus for brand perception, so leaving some space for this in your strategy is fine – but focusing disproportionately on this type of content, rather than posts that actively support your wider marketing strategy, can put big limitations on how effective this entire channel can be and the ROI it delivers.
Ensure your main focus is on:
- Creating posts that will engage and inspire your audiences towards one of your main objectives
- Great visuals, with unique images or video if possible to help you stand out
- Ensuring posts educate, entertain or inform
- Posts that help customers to look or feel positively about themselves and your brand/products
- Posts that encourage the user to find out more
Your content isn’t just competing with other fashion brands; it’s also competing with cute cat videos, viral content, celebrity and influencer posts and all of the news and updates from every user’s family and friends. It needs to resonate with your target audience, or your time and money will be wasted.
9. Too much social media on the brand website
Social media is a brilliant way to attract and engage with potential customers when they are in social media mode. However, when they are on your website, they now have obvious buying intent and the last thing you want to do is interrupt this by encouraging them to leave the site and go back to social channels.
Ensure your social media presence complements your website and the style and visual appeal can be similar but treating your website as a way to get people into your social media channels is going to be a barrier rather than a help to sales. You don’t own your social media channels in the same way as you do your website and you don’t benefit directly from people visiting your Facebook or Instagram feed. Mark Zuckerberg and co do their own marketing pretty well – you don’t need to help them out too, at the detriment to your own online sales.
10. Failing to secure brand properties
Social media usage fluctuates and changes over time. 10 years ago, popular platforms included Stumbleupon and MySpace. Today, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn are king, but are always facing challenges from new kids on the block, like the highly addictive TikTok. In 10 more years, this could all look very different again.
It’s important to secure your brand presence across all social platforms that are relevant to your target audience as soon as you can. This helps to:
- Stop other people or businesses securing these assets
- Removes the possibilities of people pretending to be your company and confusing or even defrauding customers
- It means that if platform usage changes, you’re ready to go
- It shows that you’re proactive and these strong social signals and links can assist with SEO
11. Poor partnering or internal management of social media
It wasn’t so long ago that the default setting for any business was to give their social media management to the intern, the apprentice or the work experience kid. Whilst there are some great benefits to getting new and young eyes involved in social media strategy, many brands found to their cost that not taking social media seriously can actually be incredibly damaging to their reputation, as well as meaning that this channel is significantly underperforming.
Successful social media marketing requires multiple disciplines to ensure the channel and all the individual platforms reach their potential and bring in a tangible ROI for your fashion brand. These include:
- Retail experience – understanding how to sell
- Social media strategy knowledge – how to best approach different platforms in relation to your target audience
- Paid social expertise
- Content that engages your audience and is focused on what matters to them
- Effective analysis of the data and how to attribute sales to social media
- Customer service skills
This skillset is quite wide, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need a large internal team dedicated to fashion social media marketing. Partnering with a great agency can be an ideal way to access the necessary expertise in each area for a fraction of the cost.
At Hitsearch, we’re a digital marketing agency with 15 years of experience in working effectively with fashion brands to grow revenue and deliver great results. Take a look at our case studies to see how we’ve helped some of our fashion clients.