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For compelling social media imagery, take cues from apparel brands

lifestyle music and apparelIf you’re looking for inspiration to boost your social media presence, the apparel industry provides a wealth of tactics. Top apparel brands are masters of engaging with their fans via the visual, and they’re able to customize their message for social channels while remaining authentic. Here are five ways you can immediately add some energy to your visual presence.

1. Focus on real life

Some of the most compelling imagery from apparel makers doesn’t simply show the product. It tells a story about how the product enhances fans’ lives.

On its Instagram feed, Dockers intersperses beautiful product shots with glimpses into typical users’ days.

  • Walking the dogs.
  • Having a beer.
  • Pulling a crumpled March Madness bracket from a back pocket.
  • Relaxing at home.
  • Strolling on the beach.

The focus is on feelings — camaraderie, relaxation, fun — rather than on products.

You may not be a morning person, but you’ll look like one.

A video posted by Dockers (@dockerskhakis) on

2. Customize for the platform

Different platforms call for different approaches to social media imagery. To use your visual content to best effect on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Tumblr and all the others, understanding your unique audiences is critical. Apparel brands strategize how to properly segment their messaging and key into users’ unique interests on each platform.

Louis Vuitton uses the power of Instagram imagery to showcase its high-fashion chops with artful product and location shots. The high-fashion retailer also makes use of stills and video of runway shows and celebrities wearing Louis product.

At the same time, the brand uses Pinterest as a virtual catalog. Since the Pinterest page itself functions as a sort of collage, photos tend toward individual product shots with sparse or simple backgrounds.

3. Engage with followers

Social media is all about conversation with loyal fans, and apparel brands are establishing two-way communication through their imagery. By incorporating user-generated content, fashion brands help fans see themselves using the products — the first step to creating loyalists and evangelists.

American Apparel recently ran an Instagram promotion encouraging customers to show off their bodysuits. The promotion, #WearBodySuits, has generated thousands of user responses.

4. Create captivating themes

Combining beautiful imagery with creative design, some apparel brands use themes and collections to showcase their products.

Fruit of the Loom maintains its somewhat-edgy image with regular creative reboots. On its Instagram feed, the apparel brand intersperses product shots with stills and videos from ads, along with clever collections tagged #UnderthingsOrganizedNeatly.

The collections group items by color, function and season, with witty tags like “Waiting for your cornucopia? We’ll give you all the fruit you need.” A “lemonade” theme notes “When life gives you lemons, dress for the part.”

5. Make it a video event

Many apparel brands have some foolproof content for creating compelling video on social media: Fashion Week and various runway shows. For other retailers, occasions that warrant video might not be so obvious, but you can get creative about using video to connect with loyal fans.

Versace recently made a chair into a video event with its “Where’s the MESEDIA?” campaign on Instagram. Using a short video, Versace asks fans to “follow the journey” of the new chair through “key design destinations.” On Facebook, Fruit of the Loom deviates from its Instagram tactics and uses mostly videos.

Doing a photo shoot for your catalog? Get footage for a “making-of” video. And any event that calls for a press release — opening a new store, a visit from a celebrity, the announcement of a product new line — certainly warrants a video.

Boost your visual content

Even if you’re not crazy about all the looks you see on the runway, you can still take some tips from the apparel industry for improving your social media imagery. By creating stories, incorporating user-generated content, customizing for the platform, and using themes and video, you can add some impact to your social media presence. To keep track of all your compelling imagery, consider organizing your image library.

How to give employees, distributors and retailers access to approved images [Case Study]

Romain with Fiiish Smartimage Image LibraryIf you were the only one that needed access to product, package, and brand images, maintaining an image library wouldn’t be too bad. The challenge comes in when you need to share and coordinate with the others who put the images into catalogues, websites, events, and ads. It makes providing easy access to the approved images critical.

We interviewed Romain Le Bouffo, Communication Manager at Fiiish, to learn about the benefits of moving the Fiiish image library from their server to Smartimage. He shared how moving the packaging photos, product images, and action photos into Smartimage helps save his team time and makes it easier for distributors and retailers to access approved images.

We save a lot of time. When I say a lot, it’s not enough. It’s a huge amount of time.” Romain Le Bouffo, Communication Manager, Fiiish

Romain shared several key reasons for making the switch to Smartimage. Collections and keywords give Romain the tools to clearly classify the organization of the images and make them findable via search. The ease of sharing and access is another benefit of Smartimage. While images were well classified on their server before Smartimage, Romain was one of the few people who knew where to find the right images. Another benefit Romain highlighted was the clear, large presentation of the images. It provides another way to quickly identify images.
Packaged Fiiish Product
We really enjoyed our interview with Romain and hearing about how he and the Fiiish team use Smartimage. We encourage you to check out the full Fiiish case study on creating an accessible image library.

Updated Social Network Integration: Facebook

Sharing images to Facebook just got easier. Link Facebook to your Smartimage account and share images to where your audience is, directly from where your images are stored. Instead of referencing your go to “Ideal Image Sizes for Social Media Post” and opening the file in Photoshop, we provide the correct image dimensions and allow you to select the best-looking crop.

Select the image you’d like to share on Facebook

In your Smartimage account, search and filter to find the image you’d like to share to Facebook. Hovering over the image, click the Share button > Social, then select the social media site to share to.

Choose how the image displays or use default crop

Smartimage Facebook Integration
Share options for Facebook are Timeline Post, Cover Photo, and Profile Picture. Choose how you’ll be sharing to Facebook and Smartimage provides the appropriate crop ratio. Adjust the crop to how you’d like the image to appear in Facebook. You can zoom in and out, rotate the image, flip the image, and add a background.

Click “Crop and Share” and you’re done

The file is automatically resized, converted and shared to Facebook.

New Social Network Integration: Twitter

Share images to Twitter, directly from where you’re storing them. Link your Twitter account to Smartimage and you can do just that. In addition to Tweeting an image with up to 116 characters of text, you can update your Twitter account’s header photo and profile photo — all from within the Smartimage app. Get started by linking your Twitter account to Smartimage.

Select the image you’d like to share via Twitter

In your Smartimage account, search and filter to find the image you’d like to share to Twitter. Hovering over the image, click the Share button > Social, then select the social media site to share to.

Choose how the image displays or use default crop

Tweets have a 2×1 ratio, your Twitter profile has a 1×1 ratio, and your Twitter header photo has a 3×1 ratio. Select how you want to use this image on Twitter and Smartimage gives you a crop box with the correct ratio. You can then select how you’d like the image to look in Twitter by adjusting the crop. You can zoom in and out, rotate the image, flip the image, and add a background to transparent images.

Click “Crop and Share” and you’re done

The file is automatically resized, converted and shared to Twitter.
Display of Smartimage Tweet in feed

Stay tuned…

Stay tuned for more social network integrations. A revised Facebook integration is coming soon!

Crop photographs for Twitter and other social networks

Robert Capa once said “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” This is great advice for taking better photographs. But sometimes you need to crop the photos you already have to make them better. The images you share on social media are no exception. We have some image cropping tips for more impactful visuals on your social channels.

Crop an image to optimize its display in social media

Ever look up one of these social media image size cheat sheets? Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all present images differently in their feeds. Tired of Twitter cropping off your team’s heads? Tired of your logo being cropped in half? Crop an image before you upload it to social media to control how the image is displayed. When you create the correct ratio for display, you get to select what your followers see. This creates a better experience for them.
logo cropped in Twitter feed

full logo shown in Twitter feed

Crop an image to get rid of distractions

Don’t allow objects in the foreground or background distract from your photo’s subject. Look out for common distractions like a random arm in the side of a frame or clutter in the background. You can use cropping to remove these distractions when they are located on the edge of a frame.

Crop tighter to the subject for more impact

Get up-close and personal to create more focus on the detail of your subject. You can crop a photo so the subject is the only thing in the photo you see or you can take it even further to only focus on one part of the overall subject. By focusing on one part of the subject, the viewer experiences the subject through the finer detail shown.
full image

crop tight
If you’re interested in having the right crop for the right social media channel, check out Smartimage Social Media Sharing.