What a Little Black Dress Can Teach Brand Managers About Social Media Marketing

social media marketing

Social Media Marketing is the new black. A worn out phrase, yet it expresses the zeitgeist.

Social Media is a trusted media today, it’s not a fad. Today it’s as necessary in a brand manager’s marketing mix as the little black dress is in any womans wardrobe.

But the similarities don’t end there. Let me explain:

According to Wikipedia, fashion historians ascribe the origins of the little black dress to the 1920s designs of Coco Chanel, intended to be long-lasting, versatile, affordable, accessible to the widest market possible and in a neutral color. Its ubiquity is such that it is often simply referred to as the “LBD”.

social media marketingAs a dress person myself, I totally think the black dress should be the basic in every womans wardrobe. If a woman would be allowed to one piece of clothing only, she should go for the black dress. A black dress has saved me many times when I haven’t been sure of what to wear at the occasion. (Still, I’m always hunting for the ultimate, perfect black dress, but that’s another story. Don’t let us dwell into the psychology of female shopping).

The same applies to social media in a brand managers marketing mix. In the world we know today, social media marketing is the thing. It’s a cornerstone when it comes to promoting products or services, but it also requires certain new skills which I described in my post “8 Reasons Why You Need a Social Media Whisperer in Your Marketing Team“.

3 benefits of a little black dress a brand manager can apply to social media marketing

Social Media Marketing is a Trusted Source

social media marketing
Since 33 % of the Americans follow a brand on social networking sites (socialnomics.net) and 79 % of them are likely to recommend a brand they follow and since 90 % of consumers trust peer opinions (blog.nielsen.com), a well-crafted social media marketing campaign will have a huge impact, both on reach and sales.

It’s not complicated. No one say they got a crappy thing to sell, right? All companies say they have the best, most useful thing for me. I probably don’t need their stuff, but they all try to convince me, more or less successfully, that I do. So, since I know some of them (perhaps even most of them) are lying, my friends opinions about a product will matter a lot more than a company who just want to make a profit.

social media marketingIt’s about trust. A person who recommend something without personal gain, is of course more trustworthy than someone paid for telling me. That’s why a product or brand being recommended by people on social media is much more trusted. Just like a woman always can trust her little black dress, a brand manager should rely on social media just as much. Social media is one of the cornerstones in a brand’s marketing mix.

And to be trusted, you may not write about your brand. You should focus about adding value to your customers lives, not annoying them with your sales pitch. Andrea Cook says in her post 4 Rules for Today’s Social Business Journey that you should publish the kind of content that educates, informs, reaches, attracts, retains and influences the market. She refers to a great example of brand storytelling from the book Content Marketing by Robert Rose:

“The Furrow, a printed publication by John Deere started over 150 years ago. Grown to 1.5 million subscribers and written in 14 languages, do you think John Deere reached this level of circulation writing about tractors? Successful content marketing cannot be limited to writing about your own brand. The Furrow teaches readers how to be better farmers. And, it is a perfect example to teach marketers how to tell stories.

Social Media Marketing Supports a Small Budget

social media marketingSocial media has made it possible even for small brands to do a well-targeted, well-crafted marketing campaign with an almost zero-budget. It’s more about innovation skills, social influence and the ability to build relations online than about money.

social media marketingSocial media is like the black dress in a poor girl’s closet. It’s how you win the battle, no matter how much money you have.

Social media works very different from advertising. While advertising is your opportunity to tell everyone how excellent and outstanding your product or your brand is, social media is about letting a conversation you may initiate but don’t actually control speak for your sake.

Nick Matarazzo, CEO of Jumpstart Automotive Group, shares his favourite example of a social media campaign, the Ford Fiesta Movement, in his article Big Social Media Plans + Small Budget = No Problem:

“The concept is simple enough. Give 100 consumers deemed “agents” a Ford Fiesta for six months, ask them to complete a series of missions and document their experiences — through their own eyes and ears and in their own words – on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. /…/ The campaign garnered 6.5 million YouTube views, 50,000 requests for information about the Fiesta (the majority from new customers) and sales of 10,000 units in the first week of the campaign. The best part? Ford’s initial Fiesta Movement was reported to have cost a tiny fraction of the expense of a typical national television campaign.”

Social Media Marketing is Irreplaceable

social media marketingIf you make people talk about your brand, your reach can be enormous. That’s why the little black dress quote above is so well suited for a social media marketing campaign. It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on advertising; nothing can compete with the reach of social media content going viral.

social media marketingPamela Vaughan gives a good example of social media reach in her blog post Why You Need Social Media Followers Who Won’t Ever Buy:

Indirect exposure to your followers’ personal networks can be an invaluable source of business. Okay, so Frank the Facebook fan may never actually purchase your industrial vacuum cleaner for his teeny tiny small business office. But when his buddy, landlord Lenny, is searching for a new one for the apartment building he owns, Facebook fan Frank might just refer you some highly qualified business. Even if landlord Lenny isn’t the type to participate in social media himself, his good buddy Frank is. Need I say more?”

For the sake of fashion

I guess this post is more readily understood for those who is into dresses and fashion than for those who are not. Therefore, for you who feel you need some orientation in the mysterious world of fashion, I have submitted some useful links below. Feel free to accept or reject!

Image source: madisonbootcamps.com, bigcartel.com, lanvin.com, dress-market.com, karenmillen.com

About the author

Anna Rydne is an award winning and highly skilled communications specialist with +13 years of experience in the field of internal and external communication, PR and marketing. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she treats communication as entertainment. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't funny or relevant enough, people switch channel. Anna has a special interest in personal branding and she believes the road to success is trying. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, she's determined to uncover the secrets of how successful people and companies communicate. She tweets about all things comms, social media and marketing @CoSkills and writes for SteamFeed.com once a month. She holds a bachelor's degree in psychology. Contact her at communicateskills@gmail.com.

9 Responses to What a Little Black Dress Can Teach Brand Managers About Social Media Marketing

  1. Very clever and so accurate! This is the first time i see a dress so well combined with social media!

  2. Love the post Anna, such a great analogy. So easy to understand even a guy can get it. : )

  3. [...] And speaking about blogging and trust, this one is not just for the women in my life. Social Media is a trusted media today, it’s not a fad. Today it’s as necessary in a brand manager’s marketing mix as the little black dress is in any womans wardrobe. But the similarities don’t end there. Hmmm…this sounds interesting. Thanks to Anna Rydne and @coskills for this. http://communicateskills.com/2012/11/08/black-dress-social-media-marketing/ [...]

  4. [...] Social media is a trusted media nowadays – it’s not a fad. Today it’s a necessity in every brand manager’s marketing mix. To dig deeper into the subject, I suggest you move on to the post What a Little Black Dress Can Teach Brand Managers About Social Media Marketing. [...]

  5. [...] Social Media Marketing is the new black. Today it's as necessary in a brand manager's marketing mix as the little black dress is in any womans wardrobe.  [...]

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