A certain school of thought has long prevailed that fashion merchants wishing to maximise the potential of social media for driving sales simply need to turn to those platforms that offer the greatest obvious visual appeal; YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and so on.
This ethos hasn’t been rendered out of date, and the above channels remain potentially very powerful ones for fashion brands. Indeed, our own Instagram advertising packages here at Underwaterpistol continue to deliver high levels of organic traffic, followers and sales for clients.
Recent times, though, have increasingly seen another dimension to the conversation around social media for fashion labels and retailers. After all, on the traditional platforms, some have struggled to eke out the same degree of engagement from their audiences that they might have once managed.
So, at a time when worries are emerging in some parts of the fashion world about users spending less time on the major platforms and their enthusiasm flagging even when active on them, it’s worth asking... which emerging social networks could come to play a crucial role?
It’s almost impossible to avoid TikTok in any conversation about emerging social media platforms; in late April, news filtered through that the app had passed the milestone of two billion global downloads. And yet, there are still signs of hesitation from fashion executives, with recent data indicating that only 8% of them are choosing to increase their TikTok expenditure.
For a platform that is such a noted haven for under-30s, that might seem surprising. Nonetheless, there have been signs of innovation in some clothing brands’ use of the app, such as Uniqlo’s appeal to users to upload videos of themselves wearing items from the brand’s UT range. Uniqlo then selected the best videos to broadcast on monitors in its stores around the world.
It’s been a while since China’s “app for everything” – as it has been described by Fast Company – was a mere WhatsApp clone. The steady broadening of the Tencent-developed app’s ecosystem in the less than a decade since its launch – to encompass every key function from ride-hailing to opulent ecommerce – has helped to cultivate highly engaging fashion and beauty content.
That, in turn, has led to such luxury brands as Prada, Louis Vuitton and Dior finely optimising their strategies for the increasingly influential platform.
The Epic Games online videogame has long been tipped to mean big things for fashion; its players are accustomed to paying for digital clothing through a system of micro-transactions. However, what many brands might not have fully appreciated until recently are the implications it could have for ushering in a whole new era of digital fashion.
Digital fashion, after all, enables everyone to express their identity in more fantastical ways than might ever be feasible in real life. All the while, it also has strong sustainability credentials, providing an answer to concerns about fleeting social media culture’s encouragement of wearing an item once before potentially consigning it to landfill.
Honour of Kings
Another sure sign of what big business gamers are likely to represent well into the 2020s comes in the form of another Tencent product, Honour of Kings, which has become a central part of Chinese youth culture, while also generating serious revenue outside the country.
Such brands as L’Oreal, Mac Cosmetics and Hong Kong jeweller Chow Sang Sang have all joined forces with the multiplayer online battle arena game to capitalise on its more than 200 million registered players, over half of whom are female. The latter is an especially significant detail, given that women mobile gamers are 79% likelier to make in-app purchases.
Remaining on the Chinese theme, Douyin has proved itself to be more than simply TikTok’s counterpart in the country, particularly from the perspective of fashion brands eyeing up what might be next for their involvement in social media.
The platform has an extremely strong following with young people, which made its recent introduction of an in-video search function – enabling users to zoom in on clothing and other items in videos – a highly significant one. This feature also allows for links to related content, and even enables the direct purchase of products without the user having to leave the app.
Whatever results your own brand is gaining from traditional social platforms, it’s well worth being mindful of developments like the above when you are plotting your online marketing strategies for 2020 and beyond. Contact the Underwaterpistol team now to learn more about our Instagram advertising packages and related knowhow and experience.