In order to develop a successful social media strategy, retailers must understand two things about their target customers: browsing and buying preferences across all channels; and the media and communication outlets they use most frequently to learn about brands and products. This knowledge especially is helpful for fashion retailers, as more consumers are leveraging Facebook, Pinterest and blogs on a daily basis to obtain information about new apparel and jewelry collections.
Preferred social channels and networking behaviors support the subtle differences between Fashionistas and Social Shoppers, the study revealed. Fashionistas primarily access blogs and message boards to garner insight on new, emerging trends and must-have items. In fact, 62% of this consumer group said these communication outlets influenced purchases in at least one fashion category. Social Shoppers, however, are more inspired by content they see on Facebook (72%).
“Research results confirm that in order to reach both of these customer segments, retailers really need to be present in both blogs and Facebook,” Rosner said. “Social intelligence can help retailers understand where their most valuable consumers go to get ideas, and then determine the most effective content to push out, and make digital marketing more relevant.”
Although blogs and Facebook are the clear social leaders, Instagram and Pinterest are gaining more consumer interest and attention, largely due to their focus on highly visual, and at times aspirational, content.
Approximately half of all respondents — 52% of social shoppers and 49% of fashionistas — indicated that they look to Pinterest for product inspiration. Overall, the social network is most effective for consumers searching for special occasion clothing (28%) and costume jewelry (29%). While on Instagram, 45% of social shoppers and 36% of fashionistas are influenced to purchase a product in at least one category, with costume jewelry (21%) and cosmetics (21%) listed as the most popular among both groups.
“Pinterest and Instagram are tied neck-in-neck regarding their impact among female consumers,” Rosner noted. “Both sites are very visual and still are relatively new. However, Pinterest has risen to a point of significance very quickly and although I think that’s very interesting, it’s not super surprising.”
In addition to the consumer research, NetBase provided a checklist of the top four social media tactics:
- Know who influencers are and what they’re saying on blogs and message boards, and respond to the thoughts and perspectives accordingly;
- Turn to Facebook, both for marketing and social intelligence;
- Invest in Pinterest to promote aspirational products and brand stories; and
- Understand the nuances of all social media channels and how they can be leveraged for specific categories and customer segments.