The fashion industry as a whole is certainly active in social networking, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all model.

This story first appeared in the February 8, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

A roundtable discussion on “Social Commerce Insights” was led by Jon Kubo, chief product officer at 8thBridge, which, in November, released a study called “Social Commerce IQ: Fashion” that analyzed and ranked the top 200 fashion brands based on their use of social media Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Participants on the panel included representatives from two brands that placed in the genius level for social engagement: Aleesha Smalls, senior director for interactive at Iconix Brand Group Inc., and Mirna Bard, director of social media at Guess Inc.

Smalls spoke about the firm’s strategy for Rocawear, which includes a YouTube presence as well as Twitter. The brand has a social networking site at that engages users via news, music and fashion content.

She emphasized that the point of the social networking platform is to “have a conversation outside of e-commerce,” although an e-commerce link to is always present on the site.

Smalls also told the audience that content on Facebook doesn’t have to be the same as what is on Twitter, and probably shouldn’t be. The goal is to optimize Rocawear’s social media presence and give users the ability to engage with the brand via click-throughs for whatever they can get at the moment. She also told attendees that it helps to determine a framework before one begins, such as how conversations are tailored to the brand and the timing of posts.

At Guess, the social media strategy is different. Bird explained it’s primarily Facebook-based.

“The majority of our audience is international, and Facebook allows us to target them faster. And we can geo-target in France and the U.K. The posts there are not visible [in the U.S.] necessarily,” Bird explained.
As for posts, Bird noted that her firm “stay[s] away from” certain topics such as politics and religion because they’re too controversial.

Instead, the firm has a strategy of “playing with the audience and letting them lead. We ask them what they want. A lot of the comments were on products,” Bird said.

Product categories that elicit the most commentary are shoes and handbags, she said. Bird also explained that the questions posed aren’t about showing a shoe and asking one to buy, but asking Facebook fans, “How would you wear this?” That has led to many users sending pictures of what they are wearing, she noted.

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