The rise of digital technology has facilitated connections and interactions with one and other through the Internet. Hillary Preece of California Polytechnic State University in her 2012 study of examining social media use in fashion found that social media has become integrated as part of mainstream culture and has had an undeniable effect on how a lot industries work. It is an emerging platform and public venue that enables brand recognition and promotes transparency and consumer feedback. Professor Iris Mohr of St Johns University New York in her 2013 study of the impact of social media on the fashion industry states that the industry has embraced social media with whole-heartedness, and it’s use as a tool has surged dramatically since 2009. Preece (2012) states that its adoption of social media has lead to exponential feedback by consumers who recommend styles and trends that ultimately designers and brands more popular. This report will examine social media’s effect on the fashion industry. It will look in depth into the new areas of journalism that social media has pushed fashion into. It will also shine light on what skills future journalists will inevitably require to be part of this changing fashion industry.
HOW DOES SOCIAL MEDIA WORK:
Preece (2013) states that when referred to social media is all the websites or online platforms that enable interaction between those of the fashion industry and customers using the latest social networking technology.Tweets, blogs and social networking sites like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, enabl brands to participate in these trends online and create their connection to audiences. Social media following has grown exponentially in recent years. As of March 2014, there were, according to Social Media News, a leader in social interpersonal media statistics, in Australia alone 13.2 million active Facebook users, 2.5million active Twitter users, 1.6 million active Instagram users and approximately half a million Pinterest users. These sites have increased the interest in word of mouth and viral marketing.
Word of mouth – communication between consumers – is one of the most influential sources of information for consumers in the vast space of the Internet and the plethora of users online, states Mohr (2013). Word of mouth can be viral, such as the 2009 Witchery ‘Man in the Jacket’ Youtube video campaign.
Facebook and Twitter are said to be word-driven social media sites. Facebook has maintained its popularity throughout the years. Twitter is noted for it’s ability to facilitate public conversations, through it’s reply and retweet buttons and straightforward website. Mohr states that the rapid spread of information unites people to a common sphere to exchange views These word-driven social media sites have updated traditional media outlets and values, according to Thomas Roach of Mining Media International (2012). Furthermore Roach (2012) states that nowadays, the latest news can be written and sent out to traditional media sources and then posted online, shared onto a Facebook page where the story can be additionally tweeted or shared with a link back to the original source.
However not all social networking websites rely on their word-dominated content, some pertain a visual-orientated audience. These networking sites along with Facebook and Twitter are also extremely simple to use fit for mobile devices. Instagram is a photo-sharing application that enables users to upload their own images to, and according to Preece (2012), “visually catalog life’s adventures” along with following and liking other users streams. Pinterest is a website thatenables users to ‘pin’ inspiration like pictures and links of interest to virtual pin boards, with liking and sharing capabilities. Preece (2012) also provides that brands are realizing their audiences are spending more time in these new, more visually driven networks like example Instagram and Pinterest.
Traditional media publications have embraced social media in an attempt to engage the fashion public. In their 2012 research journal on public relations and fashion, Leah Cassidy and Kate Fitch of Murdoch University provide that top fashion magazines utilize Twitter for ‘see it first, tweet it first’ fashion news, Instagram for a behind the scenes looks and spoilers and Facebook for feedback.
THE RISE OF THE FASHION BLOGGER:
With 152 million blogs worldwide in 2013 according to business blogger Brandon Gaille, and new ones being created every half a second, equipped with smartphones, stylish clothes and a camera, fashion bloggers are the offspring of the social media revolution. Originally
, they emerged as fashion commentators in the unchartered territory of blogging platforms. Slowly they began influencing trends and shaping brands through their use of the Internet. Their knowledge that web content is shifting to attract audiences visually is a key to the success of their blogs, with most focusing more on their image than words, as seen in the popular Song of Style blog.
Now bloggers are a significant presence in the fashion industry. Brands view bloggers as prized gems and new-age journalists, wizards in their use of social media. From being employed by prestigious fashion magazines such as Vogue to collaborating with designers and modeling, bloggers have marked their descent on the industry.
For journalists and print magazines however, this means a new set of skills need to be acquired to survive is this shift to online content. Business Insider Australia in 2011 states that fashion magazines are not however failing, but fashion blogs are edging out magazines in terms of online influence. Edison Research, who found in a 2013 study that blogs are most influential to those shopper’s who deem fashion to be extremely important to them, corroborates this statement. There are millions of active style blogs worldwide, and are effective due to their different individual points of view that challenge the traditional magazines and critics.
HOW DOES SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE:
Fashion brands are using these social media channels to go into depth in regards to their clients, personalizing their experience and increasing loyalty states So Adaptive (2013), a leading social personalization service. Fashion houses all have websites and Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at the least, and offer intimate behind-the-scenes looks and special glances of collections and shows. Many offer e-shops. Runway shows are now streamed live online, attracting worldwide audiences. Supermodel Cara Delevingne was the first model to take an iPhone video on the runway, instantly uploading it onto her Instagram, demonstrating the integration of social media and the fashion industry. With Internet streaming worldwide, social media also provides no cost advertising for fashion brands, and they are aware of it. Sydney Morning Herald reported in February 2014 on the Marc Jacobs ‘Daisy Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop.’ Instead of trading dollars, a new form of currency was devised; for every Instagram, tweet or post that included the hash tag #MJDaisyChain, a free sample was given, with a weekly handbag giveaway, earning more exposure than any highway billboard.
Sydney Morning Herald also reported that Tommy Hilfiger invited twenty local US Instagramers to the label’s runway show, with backstage access to record the happening’s behind-the-scenes, throwing away the days when it took months for catwalk shows to be displayed to public.
The viral Witchery ‘Man in the Jacket’ Youtube campaign, as mentioned previously demonstrates social media engagement. The story, which was later, revealed to be a hoax, was of a girl trying to find a man she met in a café who left his Witchery Man jacket behind. According to Cassidy and Fitch of Murdoch University (2012), the video received 60,000 views on Youtube, gained mainstream media attention and estimated to make over $8 million dollars in free advertising.
However, with an awareness of the opportunities social media proposes, brands can now influence these fashion trends themselves. Fashion brands designs are not always approved and embraced by consumers willingly, and therefore the ability to keep in mind worldwide trends enables them to understand what the consumer wants. According to Hilary Preece of California Polytechnic University (2012) designers and brands utilize predictive analytic tools to compare fashion trends with topic discussions to forecast future trends and get real feedback on their upcoming designs.
Click on picture for link to Video.
It can be concluded that social media in the fashion industry is revolutionary. The word-driven social media sites Facebook and Instagram have facilitated public conversations and given traditional media outlets new ways of content distribution. Instagram and Pinterest fuel the popularity associated with visually driven networks. These and many other social networks have encouraged and changed the way designers and brands interact with their customers. In conjunction with these networks is the fashion blogger, who are proficient in their use of online social network platforms. They have made a significant impact on the fashion industry by proposing new points of view and challenging fashion critics, as well as creating and influencing trends. Brands have also used these social media tools in different ways when connecting with their customers as seen by Marc Jacobs’s social media currency, Tommy Hilfiger’s connections with local Instagramers and Witchery’s Youtube campaign who all gained free advertising by embracing social media. Analytical tools assess social media and allow brands to predict future trends receive feedback. Social media has also enabled brands to broadcast runway shows live and created the possibility of intimacy between themselves and their consumer’s through behind-the-scenes content in their social media networks. Social media has proposed new skills in which future journalists will need to learn. With social media still evolving, its influence on the fashion industry can only grow bigger and thrive.
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