Fashion + Social Media: How Brands Drive Sales

Brand and Social Media

Last Thursday we were of the lucky folks that managed to make our way into the overflowing (in a good way) Third Wave Fashion event for Social Media Week.

Called Fashion + Social Media: How Brands Drive Sales, the event consisted of a presentation by members of the team at Olapic, a panel with four social media managers, and a keynote by the former brand and social media VP at American Express.

We usually find events that are based on the importance of social to be full of fluff, as they rarely share anything close to “how to” or any insights that the average brand owner can’t find with a quick google search.  This was not the case for this event.

Now, we won’t lie, there were definitely phrases like “the importance of engagement”, “the need for authenticity”, and “remain true to your brand” thrown around but they were intertwined with some useful insights, helpful ideas, and actual advice.  We love that Third Wave Fashion’s questions weren’t typical but instead prompted thoughtful answers. And we’ve documented them to share with you here.

Panelists: Cannon Hodge (Bergdorf Goodman), Farryn Weiner, Grace Atwood (Bauble Bar), Samantha Lim (formerly of Fashion Indie)

Fashion + Social Media: How Brands Drive Sales

Measuring ROI

  • “Measuring ROI of social media is like measuring the ROI of a business card.”  Depending on the brand, ROI is measured in different ways. 
  • Audience, engagement, increased followers, global awareness, excitement and brand advocates, cost per fan, cost per acquisition, branding and creating a shared voice, sales and conversion.
  • You should be swimming in data.  There are a lot of data points available to you at little to no cost, use them.
  • You should be listening, learning, and making adjustments for your brand based on what you learn.
  • Measurement Tools and Benchmarks: Have consistency, choose your measurement platform and stick with it for some time in order to get accurate comparisons.
  • Favorite tools include Curalate for Pinterest and Instagram, Sprout Social for Twitter, Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Brandwatch, and Statigram.
  • All panelists agreed that they receive the most sales from one or all of these platforms: Pinterest, Polyvore, Svpply.

Facebook, the New Algorithm

  • Basically, Facebook has made it really difficult for small brands without budgets to make an impact via its platform. It’s the big brands that see the real value and biggest impact. 
  • But it does have value; its ability to segment audiences and speak to them accordingly is great. And people are spending time on FB, so when you do acquire fans, if you can engage them the right way, they are paying attention.
  • Don’t get discouraged by slow and low fan numbers. You have to work harder for them because of the new algorithm.
  • Bergdorfs does not do Facebook advertising because they want authentic fans.
  • FB exclusives have worked well for Bergdorfs.
  • Some tips that work for Bauble Bar: Flat status updates without links get a lot of engagement, include images with every post, put all images in albums.
  • Use phrases like ‘Check this out”.
  • Randomness like movie quotes, puppies, the president, shoes, and liquor tend to get a lot of attention.
  • “Talking about this” is a very important metric, so pay attention.


  • Hashtags look spammy.  
  • Don’t use them for things like #fashion or #shoes.
  • Be strategic and use them for things like events and campaigns (#BGWindows and #ShowUsYourSparkle), or as a punchline to drive home a little joke.
  • They are good for organizing a community and also for contests.


  • Don’t ask people to do more than 1 or 2(at most!) steps in order to enter.
  • Think about ways you can use a contest to help your customer get to know your brand better.
  • Sweepstakes are really promotional so don’t over do it.


  • 6 second videos are OK  but trying to tell a mini story in that time is what is really special.
  • Remember that there is audio on these things!
  • Right now it’s kind of cool but the potential the platform has is what’s really interesting.
  • Early adopters will have a leg up when it gets really good.

How Can a Brand Use Social Media to Change Its Demographic

  • Dive deeper within the brand and share its history.
  • Create a strong voice.
  • Harness human moments to tell its story.
  • Have a definite point of view.

Bonus: Brand + Social via Julie Fajgenbaum, former VP at AMEX

  • A strong brand is the key to social media.
  • Social media is great as a brand warmer.

3 Brand Truths:

  • Scrutiny is high and tolerance is low. The average American sees 3,000 brand images per day. 
  • Branding is not a discretionary act. You cannot decide what is in your brand, everything is in your brand.
  • Your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what your customers think it is.  You can’t tell someone you’re funny, it’s only true if you’re making them laugh.

Consistency is Key:

Personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures. – F. Scott Fitzgerald

  • You control your brand identity not your brand image.
  • What does your brand stand for?
  • What is your brand voice?

What do you think?  Did you learn something? We sure did!

Nicole Giordano

Nicole is the founder of StartUp FASHION, an online resource and community supporting for independent designers around the world with building their businesses. A deep love for the craft of fashion paired with an adamant belief that success is defined by the individual, led her to found StartUp FASHION, where she helps independent designers and makers screw the traditional fashion business rules, create their own paths, and build businesses they truly love. More than anything else, she’s in the business of encouragement and works every day to remind makers and designers that they have something special to offer the world and that they can, in fact, do this thing!

  1. Sarah

    Very useful article, gives me direction. Thanks Nicole

  2. Waqas Ali

    Hi thanks for this useful information, I have just started my own brand,, currently I am focused on Menswear. My first products are Designer Boxers. We are seeing on average 17 views a day on our website and reaching 100+ a day on our facebook page
    Any more hints and tips in converting these views to solid sales with the chance of repeat customers.

  3. Stephane

    Great article and great ROI measurement tools listed here. Definitely requires a lot of effort to build a fb fan base but worth it. I have also noticed that facebook ads does not generate engaged users in most cases. I would also recommend to convert social media followers into subscribers to your mailing list to increase brand awareness and trust. HootSuite is also a great free tool.

  4. Denise @ Alala

    Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for the recap! Lots of great things to think about as we prepare to launch our activewear line next Spring. I’m sure some things will have changed dramatically by then, but this is a great way to keep on top of what’s working!


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