This is my first go at liveblogging, so be sure to cut me some slack. After a bit of confusion about entry and registration, I made it into the #fashion140 conference and took my seat (front row, of course). While we waited for the rest of the attendees to trickle on in, Jeff Pulver and Lily Berelovich gave their intro. I’ve highlighted some of the key moments from the first half of the conference, including what important lessons there are to be learned about social media marketing in the fashion industry.

Consumers First, Sales Later

The first speaker, Morin Oluwole of Facebook, gave some branding tips for using Facebook pages. Just as we here at DragonSearch practice, and 99% of the social media industries understands, Facebook is most successful used for marketing when conversation and relationships are a priority.

My favorite speaker (so far, we’re only halfway in) was Dmitri Siegel of Urban Outfitters. Why, you ask?  Because as a national brand he stressed the importance of spending your money on the consumer experience rather than measuring ROI. Dmitri highlighted that his most important RPI in social media is not sales (we know how much marketers love sales), however, it is total interactions. Dmitri also stressed the importance of QUALITY followers & fans over QUANTITY of followers & fans.

My big takeaway from Dmitri’s speech was: only measure what you can measure. Too often companies spend their time and money trying to figure out exactly how much money they are earning. In reality, this is extremely expensive in itself to measure in social media. The more brands focus on their consumers and the less on sales results, the greater the experience for their fans and higher the level of brand loyalty.

Women, Social Media & The Fashion Industry

A few months ago I watched a TED speech that discussed how grossly underrepresented women are in online marketing. With that background knowledge, I was blown away when Johanna Blakley of the Norman Lear Center for Entertainment was quick to point out that women make up the majority of social media users. In fact, women account for 57% of Flickr and Twitter users according to comScore.

Johanna also pointed out that these statistics are very neatly organized in comScore’s “Women on the Web” report. Take note, online media marketers. Acknowledging that social discussion has become a major player in buying decisions is important. Even more interesting is finding out that women account for 60% of purchases of male clothing. Apparently the female social and buying power is pretty intense…how about we use that power towards electing a female president?

Social Media Psychology

Despite having the “time’s up” music rolled on him not one, but twice, psychologist Tom Guarriello highlighted some interesting concepts when analyzing social media marketing.Guarriello highlighted that fashion is indeed a form of self-expression that has taken it off the streets and online by permeating social media. He also noted that there will be 1 trillion mentions of brands online in 2011.

Going further into the psychology of social caring, Guarriello noted that what social media users care about most are things that fall under the “Social Needs” portion of Maslow’s Hierarchy. These needs include:

The presentation also highlighted the 6 basic emotions: fear, anger, disgust, sadness, surprise,  and joy. Fear, anger, discuss and sadness are all negative emotions, while surprise is neutral and joy is the only positive emotion. Brands are continually fighting against the negative emotions to create the only positive emotion for their costumer base.

How Social is Changing Retail Shopping

A few different leading names in eCommerce spoke in regards to the changing face of shopping. Joe Zee of Elle stressed how, as Creative Director, tools like Twitter how keep industry professionals at the top of the game by making news and fashion trends instantaneous. Greg Bettinelli of Hautelook touched on how flash-sale websites are creating a demand for products based on exclusively. His social media policy for Hautelook was to crawl, walk, run….and then sprint.

John Carles of Style Find stressed the transition of editorial into eCommerce and vice versa. Where editors once stressed products that would make the consumer happy, they are now recognizing the importance of appealing to the consumer while simultaneously promoting favored products. Carles also highlighted that simple search engine-fed shopping offers way too many options. Personalized and individualized shopping, according to both John Carles and Richard Stanton of Sense of Fashion, is the future of how consumers shop.

Advantages of Social Media in Current Events and Branding

The trending theme of the Fashion Snoops panel, as well as fashion blogger Yuli Ziv, is that social media, specifically Twitter, is an influential tool in the spread of news and opinions in the fashion industry. Once frowned upon in the fashion industry, bloggers and tweeters are now playing influential roles in what is trendy and in style.

Fashion Snoops’ street style editor focused on how Twitter and blogging help trendsetters and watching internationally stay up-to-date with global trends. Social media has allowed mainstream trends to be adapted locally and regionally. For many speakers at #fashion140, Twitter is their primary industry resource for new, whether is be for runway coverage or red carpet events.

Daymond John, founder of FuBu, and Amanda Ruisi, founder of AKPR, both stressed the importance of self-branding in the social media realm. With the focus on celebrity, they discussed the importance of ensuring that your social media presence is ubiquitous with your desired brand image. According to Daymond, there should be two-to-five words that sum up how you want your brand perceived online(ex: Nike-Just Do It, McDonald’s-I’m Loving It).


That about sums up the first half of the #fashion140 Conference. What are some concerns or objections you have faced in using social media to market within the fashion industry?


Side note: I’d like to thank Dmitri Siegel for leading me to the Selleck Waterfall Sandwich blog. It has truly made my day.