Social Media and the Retail Apparel Industry

When it comes to embracing online social networking, apparel brands and the fashion retail industry have been particularly keen on establishing a solid Facebook presence. For brands such as Zappos, drawing strength from Facebook Timelines is intrinsic to business success. Many other major brands have also figured out that since their customers already spend a considerable amount of time on Facebook as is, they might as well capture customer attention with effective social engagement.

Recent insights published by social media analytics firm Campalyst reveal that the top 10 American clothing and accessories brands on Facebook have an average of 14.7 million people followers. Some of the top names in this regard belong to Converse, Victoria’s Secret and Nike. A similar situation plays out in Europe, where the top 10 retail fashion brands on Facebook get 12.7 million followers on average.

When looking at the top five apparel American and European brands and their Facebook analytics, however, significant differences can be observed. Although Western Europe has a larger population than the United States, European brands tend to attract less followers on Facebook. Another interesting statistic is that the top three European fashion brands also have their own exclusive retail channels. To this effect, the Spanish clothing giant Zara has 19.6 million Facebook followers, Swedish retailer H&M has 16.6 million and British fashion icon has 16.5 million.

US vs European retailers on FacebookThe most common Facebook strategy of fashion brands in the U.S. and Europe is to publish regular status updates that intend to drive traffic to online stores. European brands, however, are more likely to encourage customers to visit their brick-and-mortar retail locations. American brands such as Converse and Nike also use Facebook and other social media platforms to promote their retail partners; this is not the case with Zara, which manufactures and retails its own line of clothing and accessories.

One thing that both American and European fashion brands have in common is the use of tracking tags on the links they publish on their status updates. This is part of behavioral tracking, which allows retailers to get an idea of the browsing and shopping patterns of their social media followers at their online stores.