Facebook is inspiring fashion decisions for more than half of women who find fashion and beauty extremely important, according to a new report from NetBase.
“The Buying Influence of Social Channels in Fashion” report found that Facebook along with blogs and message boards are the most influential channels for women making decisions on apparel, and that Twitter was not effective in helping make these decisions. Luxury brands should embrace these channels and look to engage in conversations with consumers to promote products and campaigns via social media.
“Brands should hook consumers on products with Facebook and blogs,” said Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO of NetBase , San Francisco. “Then, give promotions and incentives through Twitter.
“Twitter does not matter for the influence of ‘What should I buy?’” she said. “Twitter is more for “When should I buy?’”
The Buying Influence of Social Channels in Fashion  surveyed 1,005 women in the United States who are at least 18 years old and have a profile on one or more social networks. The data was collected in May and was weighted to reflect the U.S. population.
The report analyzed two different sets of women, the fashionistas and the social shoppers.
Fashionistas are women who responded, “Fashion and beauty are extremely important to me,” and social shoppers are those who responded, “The brands and products my friends use influence my own purchase decisions.”
Facebook plays a large roll in influencing fashion choices, 56 percent of fashionistas and 72 percent of social shoppers said that the social network inspired fashion decisions in at least one product category.
Before women make a fashion purchase, 62 percent of fashionistas and 64 percent of social shoppers consult consumer opinions on online message boards or blogs for help or inspiration.
Image sharing platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are also important factors in purchasing decisions.
Pinterest influences 27 percent of fashionistas’ buying decisions of special occasion clothing, costume jewelry and casual clothing.
Instagram skews in a younger demographic, as it inspires decisions in at least one fashion category for 42 percent of women 18-29 years old.
However, fashionistas and social shoppers did not believe that regular use of Twitter influenced product decisions.
Starting the conversation
Although Twitter seems to not be the source of inspiration for fashion choices, Twitter is still an important aspect of the social marketing puzzle.
“Twitter is important, especially if you want to get information out quickly,” Ms. Rosner said.
“When someone is looking to get influence of what they should wear, Facebook and blogs are No. 1 and No. 2,” she said.
However, brands should incorporate campaigns into all of the media platforms, but expect to engage with consumers the most through Facebook, blogs and message boards.
“Brands should find out who the key bloggers are, where they are, engage in conversation in those locations and then understand what is happening on those platforms so that what you do as a brand is relevant to consumers,” Ms. Rosner said.
“Brands need to listen to the conversations that are happening on Facebook between users and listen to the conversations that are happening directly on your brand page,” she said.
“Digital marketing should strategically mention your campaign across those platforms.”
Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York