Fashion Brand Social Media Strategy in Southeast Asia

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What are fashion brands doing in the Southeast Asian markets to engage with customers on social (esp. insta)?

To answer your question about what fashion brands in the Southeast Asian market are doing to engage with customers on social media I looked at the number of social media/Instagram users from countries in Southeast Asia, then found what seemed to be common themes amongst each Instagram page, I then found strategies that fashion brands use to engage their customers. Through my research, I found that fashion brands in the Southeast Asian market use brand influencers to engage with customers on Instagram. Fashion brands also use contests, shout outs, and being realistic with their followers to engage with their customers.

Brand influencers are people who promote a company's products on their personal Instagram page. These influencers have a large following of people who share similar interests and styles. Brand Influencing has become so popular amongst companies in Southeast Asia that "influencer marketing now accounts for around 30-40% of companies' social media advertising spending in Thailand". The idea behind companies using brand influencers as a mode of advertisement is that although they may sacrifice control over what exactly is said about their brand on social media sites, their products are gaining "access to the poster's influence and credibility with their fans." The engagement an influencer has with their followers gives the followers "a feeling of familiarity" of the products that the influencer is promoting.

"Engagement is measured by the number of times a post is liked, shared, or commented on." This source from Indonesia claims that, "the success of your Instagram marketing should be measured by the engagement rate which you have with your followers." It is suggested that brands in the fashion industry pick a theme for their Instagram page and post quality pictures that their followers can take the time to appreciate and remember as opposed to swamping their page with post after post of their brand. Fashion brands often use campaigns, shout outs, and conversation to engage with customers on their Instagram pages. Another way to engage customers is to keep them "in the loop" through posts on Instagram and by indicating that the brand cares about their customers' perspective of their products, this is often done through hashtags and tagging the brand in photos. When advertising on Instagram, fashion brands are reminded to be subtle but still promote sales and contests amongst followers to boost engagement on your page. Contests generate comments, likes, and shares on a post which promote attention to a brand's Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter page. These comments, likes, and shares "trigger consumer action".

Influencers are used primarily to promote brands and attract followers, likes, and comments to the brand that they are influencing people to purchase and wear. Influencers wear a brand's products in real life, everyday situations, and in realistic settings. Reebonz is an online fashion retailer in Singapore and posts things like bags, shoes, and accessories that "tell a story". For example, "how a Chloe shoulder bag could be your perfect Friday night date accessory". Then they post photos they took in these setting on Instagram and tag the brand(s) that they are wearing in hopes of their followers moving their attention to the brand's page. For example, Vivy Yusof of Malaysia has used Instagram to promote fashion insights. Her Instagram has 827,000 followers and her "photos are usually taken in the "real world" so users can imagine themselves carrying a certain bag or headscarf. They also include comments about a product's quality and appeal." Influencers advertise new trends and vouch for products. Through likes, comments, and shares influencers engage with their Instagram followers on posts which bring followers to brands' Instagram pages.

There are a lot of people who use social media in Southeast Asia. For example, in Malaysia, 73% of internet users have an IG account. For reference, Malaysia use, IG more than Singapore and Hong Kong. "Online media site Tally Press compiled a list of 100 influential Instagrammers in Malaysia, 32 of which have over half a million followers in 2015 (not bad for a country of 30 million)." In 2016, the number of people in the Philippines who use social media jumped 50%.

In short, fashion brands in the Southeast Asian market use social media to engage their customers and followers through competitions, promotions, and brand influencers. Brands and influencers use real life situations to attract people into buying their products.