By  on November 3, 2010

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or another social networking platform, apparel and retail brands are taking money from their traditional ad spend and placing it with these Web tools to reach new consumers. On the Internet, it’s all about avoiding ad lingo and keeping the message “organic and viral.”

“Where you can, be less formal,” advised Twitter chief executive officer Dick Costolo.

He pointed to the Dolce & Gabbana Twitter feed and compared it to Stefano Gabbana’s personal account as a good example. The official Twitter page for Dolce & Gabbana, which has almost 40,000 followers and features a picture of Madonna, has several kinds of tweets, such as party pictures, behind-the-scenes photos from a fashion shoot and friends of the brand, such as Naomi Campbell.

On Gabbana’s personal account, which has even more followers, with more than 53,600, he links back to the company account frequently and also injects a more casual and conversational personality into many of the tweets. “Where he can, he’s less formal and it just comes across as authentic and reinforces the brand account,” said Costolo, who also praised @dkny and @oscarprgirl. Both Twitter users work in public relations for their respective brands and have managed to build a relationship with thousands of new customers. The tweets run the gamut, from posting pictures to makeup tips. On Tuesday, @oscarprgirl tweeted: “An eye-opening trick I’ve been using for years — line your eyes all the way around in a beige or nude pencil. Trust.”

Costolo said industry professionals should also look to West Coast media monster Ryan Seacrest as a prime example of how to best use the platform. He said Seacrest will post pictures of red-carpet shots as well as less flattering backstage pictures of himself. “He doesn’t care if a picture is posted with him scratching his head. He has a very sophisticated sense of how to use it,” said Costolo. “He won’t do anything that’s too staged. Brands that get that are good with the platform. You need to have a conversational tone instead of sounding like a Google ad word.”

Costolo spoke to fashion brands on how to use Twitter to further monetize their brands, but the number-one question for Costolo following his presentation was how Twitter plans to do the same thing. “It’s a fairly easy proposition,” he noted. “Promoted tweets are often retweeted more often than organic tweets. We have an ad platform where people are incredibly engaged and we are going to expand it.”

But if a company wants to pay for a “promoted tweet,” it has to be something that has already been tweeted from the account. In other words, it cannot be written expressly as an advertisement. And, like Google, Twitter will experiment more with providing key words to advertisers so they will appear at the top of any search list.

Going forward, Costolo said Twitter will continue to look to its followers and their suggestions to update the platform. “We then embrace the way the community has organically changed, it always works,” he said.

Twitter users are responsible for coming up with hashtags, for example. Twitter has in excess of 160 million registered users that produce more than 100 million tweets per day. Costolo acknowledged that there are many dabbling in the platform without formally being a part of it and he’s working on ways to make the site easier for people to engage in.

“We want to embrace and help the community leverage from it and benefit from it,” he said. “We hope Twitter will become the sharing and discovery platform in your connected world. The thread of communication across all of your experiences.”

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