As social media becomes the new “it” marketing tactic there are inarguably brands that just don’t get it. While many brands are missing their mark with social media there are many who are dead on. One of the brands that definitely gets “it” ,whatever “it” maybe, is Diane Von Furstenberg (DVF). Diane Von Furstenberg found a formula for tapping into the social media realm well before using social media. For those who are not familiar with the DVF brand here is a quick run down. Diane Von Furstenberg created the iconic wrap dress in the 1970’s that took women’s fashion from 1960’s conservative to 1970’s sexy and free. Today, the DVF brand has expanded to ready-to-wear, accessories, and shoes. As Von Furstenberg watched her clothing line grow she began to notice an increased number of young followers. Thus, she began framing her line to appeal and match this new demographic. What better way to reach out to her younger demographic than by joining Facebook. Joining Facebook was simply not enough. Von Furstenberg understood that it was not enough to be present but she knew that she had to engage her consumers.
The DVF brand has been successful in using social media because they use tools such as Twitter and Facebook to talk and listen to their consumers. On the DVF Facebook Fan Page, customers can find videos from latest fashion shows, get exclusive invites to online sample sales, and participate in discussions with other DVF consumers. More than that consumers are able to actively participate on the fan page by uploading pictures of their favorite DVF outfits and send messages to Von Furstenberg herself. While Facebook is used as a tool to promote the DVF brand, Von Furstenberg uses her Twitter to create dialogue directly with her fans. The two social media tools serve two different purposes but all link back to the DVF brand. Customers are not just loyal to the brand they are also loyal to the designer because she has created a relationship with her consumers through social media. The relationship is not a closed system but an open system that is mutually beneficial. Not only do her customers get the inside scoop but she has the chance to hear how her consumers are responding to the brand. That’s the trick-using social media to establish a mutually beneficial relationship.
Where many brands fail in using social media is they have create a closed system. They use Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter as a tool to kick-out out information but fail to respond to their consumers when there is a need to do so. An example of a brand that is not getting “it”,whatever “it” maybe, is Victoria’s Secret (Vickies). Here is why Vickies is not getting it; there are atleast 20 unofficial Victoria’s Secret fan/group pages on Facebook. It is difficult to determine which fan page or group is the real one. Once you finally come across the page it is not updated regularly. You will receive notices when a sale is approaching but you can get that in e-mail. When consumers seek out brands in social media arenas they are looking for dialogue not just notifications.
I believe that the key to social media is finding your brand’s niche and target that niche audience. But more than just targeting that audience you have to engage it. This is where DVF suceeds and Victoria’s Secret fails. Consumers are looking for conversations with their favorite brands. They are no longer just customers but also investors. Therefore, brands are no longer able to treat consumers just as customers but they must communicate with them as investors.