The number of social media users has been on the rise for years. In addition to being a way to maintain contact with acquaintances, social media are increasingly fulfilling a role as an (indirect) sales channel. In 2021, 41 percent of online buyers bought something through social media, according to figures from market research agency Ruigrok Netpanel. For retailers and fashion brands, social media offer many opportunities.
In order to optimally use different channels, it is important to be aware of what is going on in the online world. What developments can you expect as a fashion retailer/brand and how do you respond? FashionUnited talks to Kirsten Jassies - trainer, speaker and author in the field of social media - about the social media trends for 2022.
Social selling increasingly attractive
The Shopping feature on Instagram and Facebook has existed for some time and will gain more and more ground in 2022 according to Jassies. This is partly because Meta (parent company of Instagram and Facebook, ed.) is making the use of the feature more attractive. "Where it was previously complex to get approved, opening a shop is now much easier. There are step-by-step tutorials, making setting up a shop possible for anyone," Jassies said.
In addition, the Shopping function has gained more functionality over the past year. "A brand or retailer could first only upload single items. Now it is also possible to work with collections," Jassies explains. Retailers can group products by item type or collection, making it easier for consumers to find what they are looking for.P>If it were up to Jassies, all retailers and brands would have to use the Shopping function. To do that in the best possible way, Jassies tips the following: "It is important that you show multiple pictures of each product. So don't just take a picture of that one dress on a white mannequin, but also show lifestyle photos where someone is standing in a nice room and wearing the garment. Preferably also use 3D photos or videos, so consumers can see how a garment moves. My Jewellery does this very well, for example."
Selling during a livestream or via direct messages
In addition to the Shopping feature, other ways of selling via social media are becoming increasingly popular. "A very simple way to sell via Instagram is via direct messaging (DM). To do this, take a photo where you number products and have followers send a message if they are interested."
Another social media trend for 2022: selling during live streams. On social media platform TikTok, this is already possible via the separate Live Stream Shopping function. Viewers of a live stream see an icon on screen when products pass by. If they want to buy something, they can click on the icon to proceed to the webshop. Jassies: "With livestream shopping you offer followers an experience that almost feels like personal shopping. As a retailer you can show various items of clothing and give tips on how to combine them. Moreover, livestream offers the option to answer viewer questions directly. One account that does this very well, in my opinion, is 365Fashion."
In any case, betting more on TikTok seems like a good idea for the new year. The American research firm Insider Intelligence estimates that the platform will have 755 million users by 2022. This will make it - after Facebook and Instagram - the largest social media platform. In 2021, TikTok experienced growth of a whopping 40.8 percent, Emerce writes.
Fashion in the metaverse
Another hot topic in the social media world: the metaverse. This is a virtual space that connects all virtual worlds by using the Internet and augmented reality. Last year several fashion companies announced their intention to invest in this in the future.
Jassies also sees many opportunities for fashion companies in this emerging trend: "In the metaverse we will get digital versions of ourselves in the form of avatars. Of course they also have to wear clothes. This is already happening on Snapchat and in the digital universe Roblox, where users have their own avatar that they can dress with clothes from Urban Outfitters and a number of other brands. There are certainly opportunities here for other retailers as well."
Video remains as popular as ever
Finally, Jassies offers a general piece of advice for companies active on social media: keep betting on video. "Moving images give more of an experience and bring your business to life. Especially now that customers cannot physically come to you in lockdown time. Particularly among a younger target group, Stories and Reels on Instagram are enormously popular. Through these short videos you can inspire them in a fun way. For example, make a video to music with clear transitions. On those transitions you can then switch outfits, to show different looks one after the other. Or, for example, show how you can style one item in multiple ways."
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.NL, translated and edited to English by Kelly Press.