Thursday, March 14, 2013

Social Media Voguettes

Fashion relies on a visually driven industry and because of this, social media is a beneficiary tool to their business- as long as they use it correctly. I  find it astonishing that magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and Nylon have established its own brands when representing so many others within its pages. What makes one fashion magazine stand out from another? What I've observed so far is that while style is important, content is even more significant to the success of the publication.

Although I love magazines; as a college student I cannot afford to spend money on them, especially when I can find the same content displayed in a visually stimulating and engaging, online environment. Personally, I follow more than 50 fashion bloggers, Websites, and Youtube channels regularly. I also have 10 fashion apps on my iPhone and religiously follow fashionistas on Instagram for blogger style by influential women such as Gary Pepper Girl and Wendy's Lookbook.

While some may consider this a bit obsessive, I believe it is a necessity. Fashion changes at an alarming rate, so it is important to stay ahead of the game. I have found that many of my friends follow the same trends. We all love magazines but would rather access the same content for free online. This is a significant problem that many publications face today.

Just as the fashion seasons come and go, so must publication styles. The fashion industry shapes what the consumers want and how brands are represented to their targeted consumers. One of my favorite publications, Vogue, experiments with some intriguing social media strategies. While I do not agree with the all tactics Vogue uses, some of its efforts deserve an honorable mention.

Vogue's social media capabilities span far and wide. The Vogue brand has 22 magazines published all over the world and each publication seems to have created its own social media campaigns in an attempt to interact with their area-specific consumers. For example, Vogue India created an app called "Vogue 365," which Vogue proclaims: "is the ultimate fashion bible for Indian and international fashion and beauty." Vogue 365 sends users an editorial picture from one of their shoots every day.

Vogue.com also recently introduced the "lightbox" concept. A "lightbox" is similar to pin boards on the social networking site, Pinterest. A consumer's personal "lightbox" includes pictures of products, celebrities, and runway trends of their own liking.  "Lightboxes" allow consumers to share, discuss and explore new trends within the fashion industry with others in the Vogue community (a.k.a. "Voguettes") and creates discussions through its website. 

Vogue reaches outside of their own social media sites on the Conde Nast Style Society. Conde Nast Style Society is an online website in which women who read magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair and Glamour all congregate to discuss fashion. They conduct surveys, polls and even send products to consumers for testing. This is a great site for fashion publications because the members are genuinely excited to be a part of this community. 

It is also a great tool for research for many reasons: Discovering customer interests, researching likes and dislikes, and viewing their competition. Vogue also understands the importance of fashion bloggers. Bloggers are key influencers in the fashion industry. The most popular bloggers have more than one million followers spanning over a wide variety of locations around the world. 

Recently, Miss Teen Vogue published an edition dedicated to nine social media savvy women. By publishing an edition featuring these women, they attracted a large mass of readership through the bloggers' millions of fans and simultaneously created an opportunity to advertise the bloggers' favorite fashion brand. 

You're probably wondering how this affects Vogue as a brand. As Vogue reaches consumers through social media, it gains an understanding of its consumer. Although its desire to sell brands and free advertising space may be the basis of these social media strategies and tactics, Vogue continues to contribute to the publications overall ability to represent themselves as a brand. Vogue strives to be seen as a place where fashionistas can come for inspiration. It wants and needs to find a way to drive their name as well as the brands within its pages. To stay ahead of the game, Vogue needs to continue to refine and enhance its social media efforts. 

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