What Can Be Learnt from the Social Media Strategies of the UK's Top Fashion Retailers?

What tactics and techniques are the UK's top fashion retailers using to engage their customers on social media?  What methods are the most prevalent?  And what methods are the most effective?It's questions like these which Stickyeyes has attempted to answer in a  new study into the social media strategies of 5 of the UK's top fashion retailers - ASOS, Topshop, New Look, River Island and Boohoo.Social engagement - defined as the quality of interaction with potential customers - was measured via 5 metrics: repeat brand engagement, positive sentiment, Facebook 'Talking About This', content engagement and retweets.  This was combined with social volume - a combination of audience size, volume of content and mention volume - to determine an overall social media scorecard. The score for both metrics for each of the 5 brands studied are below:

Stickeyes_Volume_vs_Engagement

As you can see from the chart above, the best volume performers were ASOS and Topshop - with ASOS performing best overall when the volume and engagement metrics were combined.  Both brands have large Facebook and Twitter audiences and are achieving a high level of mentions. Topshop was commended for its Twitter usage, having the highest volume of followers and the most extensive Twitter reach. However, Stickyeyes' study suggests that there's an imbalance in Topshop's strategy - their success in achieving high social volume is not being matched by their social engagement stats.Stickeyes_Social_Engagement_ScoreIn fact, the brand that was commended for having the most engaged audience was New Look, despite having smaller fanbases than both ASOS and Topshop. As you can see from the above graph, despite being outscored by their bigger rivals for repeated brand engagement and retweets, New Look, which puts more focus on its Facebook page, performed better than them for positive customer sentiment and Facebook Talking About This.So what's the secret to a successful social engagement strategy? Here, the study looked at a range of engagement tactics and categorised them into 8 broad categories: price promotions (discounts, sales), product promotions (new stock, new seasons), competitions, customer support, service offerings (free delivery etc), blogger outreach, loyalty scheme related and user-generated.Stickyeyes_Brand_Engagement_TacticsAs you can see from the above graph, price promotion was the most common engagement tactic across all 5 retailers, with Boohoo in particular relying on it heavily. Price promotions were also the most effective tactic for generating positive customer sentiment - unsurprising considering this is the most common reason consumers follow brands on social media in the first place.  Price promotions combined with imminent deadlines e.g. 20% discount for the next 3 hours, were found to be the most effective way to generate retweets too.Competitions, on the other hand, were rarely used - River Island being their main advocate - and were found to be unlikely to generate positive customer sentiment, probably because of the low odds of winning - although they were the 2nd most effective strategy for achieving retweets.However, the brands that were most successful at ensuring high levels of engagement - ASOS and New Look - were those that had balanced strategies with a particularly strong emphasis on proactive customer support  - ASOS Here to Help on both Twitter and Facebook was sited as a prime example.Stickeyes_Negative_SentimentTheir emphasis on customer support helped both brands to manage brand sentiment to the extent that they both achieved the lowest proportions of negative sentiment for customer service (see chart above). New Look's performance in this regard was well ahead of its rivals.Perhaps this is the key to New Look's success in social media engagement. People are more likely to engage with a brand they like and a brand that takes a proactive, honest and visible approach to customer support is going to be well liked. This may then underpin the success of their other social media activity.If you'd like to see the full report, just drop us a line at info@creamuk.com and we'll send you a copy.