Défilé de Haute Couture Stéphane Rolland (automne-hiver)

Remember the days when “being social,” meant one was going out on the town or chatty with guests at a soiree? Today, the phrase has taken on a new level of interaction, one that doesn’t require any face time at all- it only requires Wi-Fi. Social media is an essential moving part of business these days and whether you’re a whiz with technology or not, it’s a consumer evolution that cannot be ignored.

 

Social media is the new RSVP for brands and companies. Except in this world, there is no limit to the capacity and one does not need to fret over the catering selection. This gathering of guests comes with an appetite for special news, exclusive offerings and loyalty to a brand– as well as the need consumers have to be in-the-know– now. This is the very secret sauce of Facebook or twitter, it’s right now information that can provide not only details on the collections in store but provide an inside scoop to the world around the cut and sew.

 

The demographics of participating “social butterflies” are expanding, the leading growth bracket? Ages 45-55 years old- and it’s not just to check out their family’s scrapbook, this age group is using social media to connect with old friends, discover exclusive offers at their favourite store or simply to pass time… time that any smart business leader would love to occupy.

 

Fashion retailers are quickly learning however that simply building a fan page does not work. Some brands have resorted to offering off-price sales; this also does not work for the long term. Social media, Facebook particularly is not embraced as a discount platform, instead as an “exclusive” platform. What can you provide your customer with that is distinctive and special, that they cannot receive anywhere else? What will you provide that will intrigue them, possibly followed up with a visit to the store?

 

As Facebook approaches 1 billion users, it is certain that most companies will become active participants. In the near future, the platform will roll out company timeline pages, in effect making it easier for retailers to allow fans to express on their Facebook pages how they feel about products directly from existing Web sites.

 

Companies can either “push” their message out or empower users to “pull” friends into their Facebook networks, becoming brand advocates in the process. “Pull” messaging is really where it’s at and brands must convert consumers to become pioneers sharing information about a brand and its products with their friends.

 

While it seems that everyday there is a new platform one “must be on”, from Facebook to Twitter, Tumblr and most recently Pinterest, it’s about discovering what works for your business and what addresses your consumer’s habits as well as your target consumer’s lifestyle. It also requires teams to think outside the bricks and mortar box. After decades of using hemlines, Italian silks and tangible materials to intrigue the fashion customer, it is time to layer in new social media to the mix.

 

What a store looks like in their windows must be what they look like online and on in the chosen social playgrounds. Brands are exploring new, smart ideas everyday to ensure they are ahead of the curve. There are constant style updates businesses need to adjust on Facebook for example or developing applications that can get the user to your business faster is becoming more popular.

 

Unlike being at a party where one can be caught in an uninteresting conversation with no exit, on Facebook and Twitter, it’s as easy as pressing a button to exit with no feelings hurt. This is why it is essential for businesses to maintain a level of good old fashioned cool when it comes to conversation starters and subjects on all platforms that relate to your target audience. A successful social scene will offer hot off the press news, brand announcements and exciting event coverage that invites the participant into a world they may not have access to otherwise. When all this is achieved, it becomes a soiree sure to be LIKED, and with a growing number of views on your brand or business, you are sure to increase the awareness of your service and ultimately see results on your bottom line.

Mark Gould of Milli
Providing a Fresh Perspective for Burlington and Hamilton.

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