Social Media and the Fashion Industry: still an undefined relationship

New kid in town

Instagram is definitely playing the role of the new kid in town, growing very fast, showing a very high level of engagement, far higher than Twitter. It’s the must-have tool for any brand, for any professional, for any business. It’s working very well on engagement: on average if a Tweet engagement is around 5/7, on Instagram we reach a tenfold level.

Is Twitter alive? Yes and kicking

Still, Twitter retains a leading role in many events due to its heritage: almost all the Movie and Music stars have a Twitter account with hundreds of thousands if not millions of followers and they are not willing to lose this large audience.

Simply compare Rihanna audience on Twitter and on Instagram

Rihanna Twitter Followers

Rihanna Twitter Followers

Rihanna Instagram followers

Rihanna Instagram followers

Whenever there is a star around, Twitter is there with an established audience worth millions no matter the rumors about the channel. New York fashion week has always been dominated by Twitter across the last two years because of a massive presence of Movie and Music stars. Paris, between the European locations, is the one mostly replicating the New York model.

Some changes in the structure of the channel have in someway then defended Twitter role from Instagram sharp growth facilitating the share of image.

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This chart shows the progressive evolution of Twitter as a visual media across the last four seasons for the fashion weeks: posts with pictures have grown over text-only posts consistently across all four monitored cities.

It’s the market that is changing, not necessarily the Social Media Channels

Probably, rather than changes within the social media channels the true evolution is in the way the Fashion industry is trying to tackle new ways of interaction with professionals and customers. As a matter of fact, the US Fashion industry seems to be the first to react even if not necessarily in the right way. A sudden drop in brand mention linked to official event hashtag both on Twitter and Instagram. All the actors shift to a more personal approach going away from the hashtag. It’s no surprise that Milan and Paris events do not reflect this trend as these are the two more conservative environments from a communication point of view.

The pressure for a solution can be seen in the growth of the online presence of the brands across the four seasons:

While Magazines remain stable and bloggers seem to be less involved in the events, we see that there is a lower level of noise from the Stores as well, and this may sound unexpected. Truth is, Brands seem to acknowledge that they have to take back a significant share of communication in their own hands and play a better control over the stream of news related to their key events. They have to do it otherwise somebody else will do it.

The process can’t be stopped.