social media platforms


By BoF Team and McKinsey & Company

As traditional engagement models struggle on established social media platforms, fashion players will need to rethink their strategy and find ways to maximise their return on marketing spend.

This article appeared first in The State of Fashion 2020, an in-depth report on the global fashion industry, co-published by BoF and McKinsey & Company. To learn more and download a copy of the report, click here.

LONDON, United Kingdom —  The collective reach of the social media giants is staggering. Facebook reported 2.5 billion monthly active users in September 2019, and both Instagram and WeChat have more than a billion users each. Yet, growth seems to be slowing and users are spending less time on some of the major platforms: in the US, average daily time on Facebook fell to 37 minutes a day from 41 minutes in 2017.

Stagnating enthusiasm has not stopped advertising rates and revenues rising at the big platforms. According to one report, the average digital ad cost has risen 12 percent in two years, but digital ad expenditure rose 42 percent, helping analysts forecast Facebook’s revenue in 2019 above $69 billion at the time of writing, up 70 percent from 2017 and equal to all print media ad spending. However, visits to those advertisers on social media have risen only 11 percent.

The challenge is that advertising overload might be hurting engagement. Global consumer-goods giant P&G discovered that people spent less than two seconds on average looking at its ads on mobile feeds — and that those ads appeared too often. Chief brand officer Marc Pritchard explained in the Wall Street Journal, “We’re trying to reduce the amount of times we reach the same person over and over again.”

The data suggests that it is time for brands to rethink their social media strategy. Specifically, they need to re-evaluate how to exploit existing platforms more effectively, capitalise on the rise of new platforms and understand how to generate direct sales through social platforms.

The typical route to reach a large audience on existing platforms such as Instagram is to either build followers organically or borrow followers using influencers — both these routes are starting to wobble. UK cosmetics company Lush realised that its organic newsfeed content reached only 6 percent of its online followers and became tired of fighting the platforms’ own advertising algorithms. It decided to shut down its social media accounts to regain ownership of its communication by relying on brand-owned channels instead. While this may be an extreme step to take, it demonstrates the lengths that some brands are willing to go to try to overcome current challenges on social media.

The harsh reality is that it is increasingly hard to excite and inspire audiences who are overwhelmed and overstimulated.

While an incredible 86 percent of companies use influencer marketing, the engagement rate for such sponsored posts on Instagram dropped from 4 percent in Q1 2016 to 2.4 percent in Q1 2019. Facebook’s and Twitter’s numbers are even worse at 0.37 percent and 0.05 percent respectively. The harsh reality is that it is increasingly hard to excite and inspire audiences who are overwhelmed and overstimulated. Going forward, a static image displaying a product with a model or influencer will no longer cut it. Industry executives believe that the top trend shaping the fashion industry within the next 12 months will be a rise in the importance of “storytelling” and marketing strategies that resemble media productions.

Arnold Ma, chief executive of creative digital agency Qumin, suggests players should move up the influencer funnel, partnering with individuals or other brands who truly live the lifestyle and can tell an authentic story, rather than blindly paying popular more generic influencers to promote their products.

Ralph Lauren adopted this approach when it worked with fashion publication Highsnobiety for its 50th anniversary. The published advertorial followed the impact the brand had on designers, collectors and the fashion industry from the Ivy League to the streets of Brooklyn.

Another tactic to grab consumers’ attention is to use social media to tap into the drop culture typically associated with streetwear labels. Consumers’ desire to be in the know and to have an exclusive product drives a large part of the purchase. Last year, for example, Burberry released a limited-edition Ricardo Tisci T-shirt available only on Instagram and WeChat for 24 hours. The company used the hype around this drop to release more limited-edition designs available on social media or exclusively in its London flagship store for just 24 hours.

As data shows, it is getting harder to stand out in established social media. Fashion players need to understand how to gain traction on newer platforms. 70 percent of fashion executives believe that increased exploration of and spend
on new media platforms versus more “traditional” platforms will be crucial to their companies. At the same time, executives are showing hesitation, and only 8 percent are choosing to increase spend on TikTok, the biggest emerging platform with more than 800 million downloads and a user base skewed under 30.

Creating convincing content is critical on a platform like TikTok: the landing page is a constant stream of short videos sourced globally and compiled by artificial intelligence.

This approach challenges the traditional view of the need to build an audience, but does require extremely high-quality content to stand out. Not that brands always need to create this content themselves. Uniqlo appealed to TikTok users to upload videos of themselves wearing their favourite item from the company’s UT line. The best videos appeared on monitors in Uniqlo stores around the world.

There are many other emerging social media networks, including those focused on gaming such as Fortnite or Tencent’s mobile game Honour of Kings, which have fast become integral to youth culture. Fortnite has more than 200 million users and is free to play, but made a sizeable chunk of its $2.4 billion in revenue last year by selling avatar skins. Nike was quick to see the potential and started selling branded skins on the platform. In China, brands such as Mac Cosmetics, L’Oréal and Hong Kong jeweller Chow Sang Sang have all partnered with Honour of Kings, which has more than 200 million registered players of whom more than half are female (and women mobile gamers are 79 percent more likely to make an in-app purchase).

Ultimately, all the content creation needs to lead to sales, and social commerce is growing fast. By 2023, it could account for a fifth of all online sales in China — a staggering $166 billion. Brands are cooperating with social-media messaging super-apps such as WeChat, livestreaming platforms such as Yizhibo and Kuaishou and social-commerce platforms such as Xiaohongshu
to introduce and sell products.

Ultimately, all the content creation needs to lead to sales, and social commerce is growing fast.

Other social media platforms have been progressively incorporating commercial functions. Pinterest has its catalogue, while Instagram has evolved its checkout and augmented reality functions, letting customers “try-on” Ray Ban glasses or Mac lipstick. A wide range of messenger apps use chatbots to generate direct sales rather than just serving as a customer service channel. Nowhere, however, is as advanced in social commerce as China.

One app that may offer us a glimpse into the future is Douyin, TikTok’s counterpart in China. Douyin, which is extremely popular with young people, has just launched a game-changing in-video search function through which users can zoom in on clothing, or other items in the video, and link through to related content and even directly purchase products — all from within the app. These are not videos that are actively selling or promoting products, but rather regular user generated content — any post from anybody could become a potential sale.

Overall, in light of consumers’ growing apathy — and sometimes antipathy — towards traditional social media advertising models, we expect fashion brands in 2020 to significantly re-evaluate their strategies in a quest for meaningful returns. This means having a deep understanding of which platforms and networks their target consumers are engaging with, both in terms of region and demographics. Brands will start to establish content creation as a discipline within their organisation, focusing on engaging and tailored content that can work across a range of channels. Brands must also be prepared to exploit the new sales-orientated functions of platforms, as well as develop chatbots in combination with messenger apps to generate more immediate online sales.

At the time of writing, TikTok was said to be under national security review in the United States.

By BoF Team and McKinsey & Company

Sourced from BOF


Marketing efficiently online can guarantee major business success. Marketing is the number one way to increase a companies credibility, popularity, and sales made online. Behind marketing, there are some tricks that businesses should now in order to create a successful marketing campaign. The true base behind marketing is directly targeting the right demographics and capturing their consumer attention. Read below the 9 most powerful ways to market your business online.

9 Powerful  Ways to Market your Business Online

1-Social Media Platforms. Sharing links and unique content on the top social media platforms is a great way to market your business. The truth is, there are billions of users that share things at least once a day on social media. Social media makes it possible for people of all professions to connect together around the world, thus, producing worldwide exposure.  The average person will automatically relate a companies credibility to its social media follow 90% of the time. Aside from earning a great group of followers, social media is also an SEO factors. Websites that use social media constantly are seen to be more active on the web, thus, producing positive results for SEO.

2-Pre Advertisement. Before an upcoming event or product launch that your business may have, it is a great idea start advertising ahead of time. This will build up suspense until the even actually arrives, thus, making it ever more popular. Releasing press releases of this upcoming event will generate a good amount of online buzz and increase event popularity.

3-Website Content Writing. Blogging is king in 2017. This year, blogging is the number one way to increase website visibility in search engines and gain more website viewers. With every new blog created and released online, a new link will be generated. This will be indexed somewhere in google’s search engine directory and eventually get viewers. The more blogs a website has, the more viewers it will obtain. Blogging is also a great way to prove domain trust and increase domain authority online. With quality content, search engines can rule that a website is unique and specifically related to their keyword of choice. It is proven that blogging on schedule brings greater results.

4-Full Screen Subscription. A custom full-screen subscription box is the latest web design trend and new effective way to increase subscribers. Fortune 500 companies are using this method because of its instant results. A cookie based subscription box that opens full screen every time a new visitor enters the page will efficiently increase the number of subscribers.

5-Mobile Optimization. With the high amount of mobile device use, a mobile friendly website has now become a standard in web design. Mobile devices are much handier and people around the world browse the internet through a mobile device regularly. Having a mobile friendly web design can increase website ranks in mobile search engines and satisfy mobile device users. The first way for mobile optimization is to start adding the viewport tag onto the head section of every web page. This tag will state to mobile devices that the website should be converted to a mobile-friendly layout.

6-Bigger, Bolder, Better. The bigger a website is, the better it becomes visually. As previously mentioned, mobile web design has become a standard. This has resulted in bigger website designs. A bigger design has proven to be convenient for the average mobile visitor and visually alluring for al other viewers. The bigger a website is, the clearer the message will become. To achieve a bigger website start by increasing page elements, font size, menu bar, and images. The one-page web design is a modern new layout that has tons of room for bigger design.

7-Online Exclusive Deals. Marketing your products with exclusive deals can make the items even more valuable. Exclusive deals have proven to generate faster sales online. Marketing these deals with the right color choices like red, orange, or blue can do the trick.

8-Public Opinions and Consumer Reviews.  Leaving a website open for public comments and user interaction can increase website engagement flow. The more reviews and comments there are about a website online, the more trustable that site becomes.

9-Customized Images. An image can make a person feel a certain way. When marketing, the feeling should be happiness, vibrancy, possibility, and optimism. Getting clients in the right frame of mind can certainly guarantee a sale. Custom images will attract many followers online.

Marketing online the correct way can guarantee major success. A digital marketing services like Artimization has great knowledge of how important marketing really is. With million of websites online, businesses under the same category fight for the same position. Use the 9 ways above to powerfully market your business online and instantly get one step ahead of your competitors.


Sourced from Thrive Global


Using machine learning to weed out fakery on social media is just the beginning; a lot more needs to be done before influencer marketing on these platforms can live up to its potential – argues Socialbakers’ Yuval Ben-Itzhak

Ever since social media became a critical component of the marketing strategy for any business, the platforms have come under scrutiny. The reasons range from possible interference in the United States’ electoral campaigns to issues around content integrity. ‘Transparency’ has become a major point of discussion and social platforms have taken steps to reduce inauthenticity.

Particularly in an era of fake news, authenticity is key to all social media content and interactions. With Instagram surpassing the billion-user milestone and becoming a leading hub for collaboration, users want to know that the content they see comes from credible, trustworthy sources.

The social media site’s latest move to remove inauthentic likes, followers and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost popularity, has been welcomed. This move raises the bar for authenticity.

Similar to Twitter’s blue badge, Instagram has released its own verification system. Its blue tick is currently available only to notable public figures, celebrities, global brands and other entities. Introducing this update was a great example of a relatively small change that can have tremendous results.

A simple check mark at the top of a profile can communicate to users that the profile is exactly what it says — no strings attached. Updates like these put the user first, which helps create an authentic experience.

Developing a machine learning system, however, is only half the battle won. Instagram will need to continuously evaluate each profile, as they can quickly turn malicious due to third-party apps. With the sheer scale of Instagram profiles, it’s possible that the frequency of evaluations could pose a threat to this new system. One solution could be to provide the date and time of the last review. This allows users to get an idea of how recently the profile in question has been verified.

The fact that Instagram has taken steps to limit undesirable behaviour is sending a message about the platform becoming more vigilant about eliminating illegitimate activity. By doing so, Instagram is showing its commitment to delivering an authentic, “digital pollution” free environment.

It will also have a positive impact on influencer marketing which is expected to become a $10 billion market by 2020. We imagine that marketers able to search for viable influencers confidently, focusing their activities on interacting with real audiences.

However, Instagram isn’t the only platform raising the bar for authenticity. Twitter has also become more vigilant about eliminating illegitimate activity with plans to remove all fake accounts.

At first glance, dwindling numbers for any social media platform can seem concerning. Fortunately, most brands are on board with Twitter’s stance on reducing the number of fake profiles on the platform. And why wouldn’t they be? While it may come as a surprise for brands to see a huge drop in Twitter followers, it’s actually extremely beneficial.

Removing dead weight from their following increases their chances of acquiring meaningful interactions. It gives them the ability to rebuild a loyal audience that they can count on. It’s true that numbers look good, but, in this case, they’re only for show.

While it is important for brands and influencers to have a solid follower base, the key here is quality – not quantity. Authenticity is increasingly pervasive when it comes to social media marketing. Fake accounts lead to inflated reach and performance numbers which aren’t helping brands or influencers engage in genuine conversations with their audiences.

With so much money on the table, however, it’s no surprise that fraud has become so prevalent. Rooting out fake influencers is a great move. But brands will also need to keep an eye on fake engagement and fake interests.

They can do so by looking at two key data points: the influencer’s performance over an extended time period, and their engagement level per 1,000 fans. In addition, benchmarking the performance of a few influencers over time can help to identify anomalies resulting from fraud.

There is no clear-cut answer that can be prescribed to all social media platforms. Seeing as they have different business models, we can expect that each channel will experiment with different solutions. We’re at the beginning of a new era that will indefinitely evolve as we learn more about what works and what doesn’t. What we’re seeing now are simply the first advancements in online transparency; we can expect more in the near future.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak is the chief executive officer at the analytics firm Socialbakers and is based in Prague, in the Czech Republic


Sourced from Mumbrella Asia

Sourced from

Small business owners wear numerous hats. One minute you’re the CEO, the next minute an assembly line worker, or an end-of-the-day accountant. As a result, your marketing efforts may not get as much attention as you would like. According to the 2017 Small Business Marketing Trends Report created by Infusionsoft, finding time for marketing is the top challenge small businesses will face in 2017.

With such limited time for marketing, it’s imperative for small business owners to work smarter and not harder. The good news is, there are several effective digital marketing trends you can easily take advantage of that will yield a good return on your investment.

Mobile. Mobile is the most upwardly trending platform in media today. Think about it. When are you not in an intimate relationship with your phone on a daily basis. Mine knows more about me than my wife. With more and more consumers using their mobile devices to read email, surf the Web, and check social media, it’s important that each part of your digital footprint is optimized for mobile.

Video. Most social media platforms have video capabilities—and consumers are racking up millions of hours watching this content. Producing videos for Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Snapchat is an excellent way to increase engagement with your audience and inspire brand loyalty. And if the videos are live streamed, that’s even better as it creates a sense of intimacy between you and your followers.

Furthermore, small business owners can derive great benefits from the use of their promotional video, commercial, content tease, or sales pitch as a pre-roll through YouTube’s network. You’ve seen these spots that precede the video you’ve chosen to view. Guess what. They work. Statistics show more and more users are either viewing the entire spot or clicking through to an actionable web page.

Influencers. It’s not a coincidence that businesses turn to celebrities to help market their products: People are most likely to take recommendations from those they trust and admire. But just because you can’t afford to get Kim Kardashian to tweet about your business for $10,000 a pop doesn’t mean you can’t leverage the power of influencers. Chances are there is a social media influencer in your market—like a popular blogger or YouTuber—who you can hire to be a brand ambassador for you. You may even be able to save money by entering into a barter arrangement with that person.

Personalization. If you think that adding your subscribers’ names to your email campaigns is all you need to do to personalize your marketing, you’re not doing nearly enough to build a connection with your audience. In order to truly personalize your digital marketing, you must understand your customers’ habits and preferences—which will go a long way toward getting their attention and cutting through the advertising noise they experience every single day.

Metrics. According to Infusionsoft, 47 percent of small business leaders have no idea if their marketing campaigns are effective or not. To understand what your customers click on and what they share, take advantage of the analytical tools provided by Google and social media platforms. This will allow you to produce more of the content your audience responds to—and eliminate the content that isn’t worth your limited time.

Although trial and error is a natural part of marketing, as a busy business owner, you simply don’t have time to mess around with techniques that aren’t going to be effective. By incorporating these growing strategies into your marketing plan, you can expand your reach while still getting the best return on your time and money investment.


In 2018, every business knows that having a strong social media presence is no longer optional. It’s the most powerful tool available to develop relationships with consumers and to build brands.

But the world of social media never stands still. It’s not just a competition for likes and followers anymore – today, the most forward thinking businesses are concerned with getting consumers to engage with their message in a meaningful way.

While Facebook might be what springs to mind when you think of social media, newly emerging platforms should not be overlooked, particularly if you are trying to tap into the international market.

These are some of the social media platforms that growing businesses are embracing in 2018.

Facebook ads

(Image: Getty)

Facebook is changing. At the start of 2018, its relationship with businesses changed to “it’s complicated” after CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced that posts from friends and family would be prioritised in users’ newsfeeds over posts from publishers and brands.

The idea behind this is to make Facebook a more positive experience, by encouraging users to have more conversations and connections with peers. But it’s bad news for brands, who already faced an uphill struggle achieving organic reach.

Facebook ads work on a self-service format
Facebook ads work on a self-service format (Image: Facebook)

With this in mind, B2C businesses should investigate Facebook paid ads. They’ve widened massively in scope – Facebook Messenger and Carousel ads have recently been launched, for example – and offer the advantages of being self-service, highly targeted, budget flexible, and measurable.


In 2018 businesses can't afford to get left behind when it comes to social media
In 2018 businesses can’t afford to get left behind when it comes to social media (Image: Ju Stocker/Getty)

For the B2B market, LinkedIn is where you are likely to reach your most engaged audience. It offers various marketing opportunities, including:

Sponsored Content – this can be targeted to reach an audience of professionals beyond just your LinkedIn Company Page followers.

Direct Sponsored Content – this feature allows you to share content directly in the feed, giving you the ability to personalise and test content without having to originate posts on your LinkedIn Company Page. Make your content more relevant by sending personalised messages to specific audiences. Then test and retest a variety of content in real-time to optimise performance.

InMail – send personalised messages to the people who matter most to your business, with the ability to collect more leads with the lead-gen form.

Dynamic ads – these are customised messages to drive content downloads/page visits and collect quality leads.

Video and Carousel ads are also set to launch shortly, offering yet more opportunity to connect with the clients that matter.


WeChat users spend an hour a day on average using the app (Image: Getty)

There’s a good chance you’ve not heard of WeChat, but it’s a game-changer in China.

With around 938m monthly average users who use it to socialise, buy, game and more, WeChat is a super-app.

On average, users spend more than an hour a day using it, and 40 per cent of Chinese consumers no longer carry cash because they can buy things using WeChat Pay.

The app allows you to localise your offering to Chinese consumers – but you will need partners to help you, and a decent budget.

Setting up a WeChat store and starting marketing will cost in the region of £50,000 – but there is potentially a serious return to be had on that investment.

Instagram Stories

Of the 300 million accounts using Instagram Stories, one-third of the most viewed stories come from businesses, and one in five stories gets a direct message from its viewers.

The possibilities are endless with Instagram stories: Boomerang, live videos, event promotion, user-generated content to increase engagement…..dive in and get creative!

With the ability to target your ads by reach, video views, traffic, conversions, app installs and brand awareness, you can drive business results at the same time.


Vkontakte has 90 million active monthly users
Vkontakte has 90 million active monthly users

When it comes to social media, don’t assume the ‘most popular’ platforms are the most popular.

Whilst Facebook has a presence in Russia (between 13 and 20 million monthly active users, depending on which report you trust), Vkontakte demonstrates that a well-structured social platform that serves the local population can take the lead as the most popular social media site.

On the surface, Vkontakte looks a lot like Facebook and Instagram rolled into one – but there are a few differences that really set it apart

Its embedded MP3 player and playlist tool, for example, is certainly worth investigating for anyone involved in the music industry. With access to 90 million active monthly users on the platform, it’s a potential seam waiting to be mined.

Bristol Social Media Week 2018

Most small businesses acknowledge that social media can be a wonderful way to promote their product or brand, but many are confused by whether they can still rely on organic reach (free posts) or if they should be investing their resources in paid for advertising (pay-to-play). When used properly, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram can become effective and profitable sales tools.

Social Media Week, the leading global conference hosted in over 25 cities worldwide, is coming back to Bristol in February 2018 to upskill and inform the local business community on key issues in media, marketing and technology. Business West is proud to be the official partners of this year’s event and will be taking over Wednesday 28th February with talks from the likes of 2014 Apprentice winner and CEO of Climb Online Mark Wright, Instagram, Aardman, JustEat and many more

By Holly Thatcher

Sourced from Bristol Post