How social media managers became the fashion frontline

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For years, they played a supportive role in fashion brands’ marketing teams. Now, social media managers have moved into the frontline — a process accelerated by the Covid-19 global lockdowns.

“No other role is as visible, and viewed with as much frequency, as the social media team,” says Farryn Weiner, a veteran social media executive who earlier in her career launched the Michael Kors Instagram account from her personal iPhone.

“Stakeholders, customers, your CEO and your CEO’s daughter — they are all viewing your work on a daily basis,” says Weiner, who now runs Farrynheight, a marketing agency based in New York. “Social media teams are the frontline of brands.”

Social media has become an integral part of a brand’s infrastructure, says Linz Shelton, who recently ended a five-year stint as a global social media director, also working at Michael Kors. She highlights the “tremendous” ROI from social marketing. “Instagram,” she says, “is the new shopping mall.”

Posting products on Instagram can work a treat. When British brand Rixo posts, it regularly sees triple-digit growth week-on-week, even if the product isn’t new season. Jessica Warch, co-founder of new Antwerp lab-grown jewellery brand Kimaï, is one of many new players to put significant resources into the development of a social media presence. “Instagram shapes the business as a whole,” she says.

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