The omnipresence of social media has led to a serious uptick in user-generated content for all fashion brands, but how it’s used (or not) for official purposes differs across company lines.
Although customers are attracted to the authenticity it implies, the lack of image control such content affords can be problematic for certain brands — especially those in the luxury space — which hope to maintain a spotless image. However, even if it’s kept off of official brand feeds, this content can still inform business decisions behind-the-scenes.
At Glossy’s Hot Topic event on data strategy in New York City yesterday, we asked four brands in attendance to weigh in on how they’re using user-generated content.
Jodie Chan, director of marketing and communications at Altuzarra
Compared to a luxury ready-to-wear brand [like ours], accessible beauty brands can benefit from user-generated content more. From a luxury standpoint, [designer] Joseph [Altuzarra] is very closely involved in how we communicate, so unless it’s something that feels right and that doesn’t have that high-low mix, it’s a bit tough. That’s not to say [there’s no room for it] — we’re looking into platforms like Pinterest that feel very natural for us to be on, and Instagram stories, where it’s more ephemeral. We’re definitely open to it, it just depends on the right time and platform.
Hannah Hendler, director of operations and partnerships at Caraa
[User-generated content is] actually a big conversation that we’ve had in terms of what we want to do with our Instagram at large: Do we want it to be inspirational or more everyday? The way we settle it is that we love to see women wearing our bags, but we typically don’t use them as static posts — we’ll put them on Instagram Stories or Snapchat instead.
It’s partially due to [lack of brand control over the imagery], but we also attract a lot of different women and really want our Instagram to be more cohesive, with only our content.
We’re learning from it, too. Other than ambassador programs that we have, we really don’t know who’s buying our bags most of the time. As a largely direct-to-consumer brand, [with products that are so] specialized and with high-end pricing, seeing how women are wearing our bags, what they’re wearing them with, and what events they’re taking them to is all extremely useful information.
Sarah Tanner, US public relations director at Lyst
Our social media team analyzes what types of posts have performed best historically, whether that is user-generated content or our own content. What we’ve found so far is that it’s a mix. [A lot of the results have to do] with timing and the brands that are featured.
Brands do come to us to ask what works and what doesn’t, in terms of placement optimization — is it something on your homepage? Is it a social post? It’s in our interest to support them, because we want to drive sales both for them and for ourselves. Our business survives on a revenue share for every sale we generate, so we are invested in their success, but at the end of the day, we care about Lyst user data for Lyst.
Felix Mollard, Lacoste
We do use it selectively. We invite our customers to share their experiences at events or with our products with the global audience — it’s a good way to communicate new collections. We [don’t post them on our account], but we use hashtags to aggregate all of the [relevant] pictures into one feed. Those hashtags will be [geared around] a certain product or event. For example, we are the main sponsor of the Miami Open, which just finished a few weeks ago, and we started a hashtag called #BeautifulTennis that we encouraged customers to use at the games and a Lacoste “salon” nearby.