H&M, Topshop, Forever 21 head fashion social media chart

Which brands win the race on social media? Well two big European names topped a new fast fashion list from ShareIQ, a visual content performance platform for brands. The two biggies are H&M and Topshop (well, actually Topshop and Topman combined) with the data showing that the Swedish giant gets nearly 1,000 engagements per image (EPI) it posts on social media channels and Topshop gets nearly 600.


Topshop


The analysis looked at the first nine months of this year and at how brands share visual content on social media platforms in the US, and how successfully they get consumers to engage with content across Pinterest, Instagram and the web in general.

It found that H&M has about 20 times the content performance of the lowest-performing of brands such as Mango, Gap and American Apparel, measured by EPI. And it’s clearly well ahead of second-placed Topshop/Topman too. In third place, Forever 21 is just short of 400 EPI, while Zara has 190, Uniqlo 161, Old Navy 70, Mango 52, Gap 48 and American Apparel only 41.

With fast fashion being a key category in the fashion sector, ShareIQ found that successfully competing for the fast fashion consumer’s attention depends on “quality of the content and especially the seeding strategy.”

“People engage with and buy from brands that share compelling visual content in authentic ways,” said CEO Brian Killen. “The brands that are winning and getting real ROI on Instagram, Pinterest and other social platforms put exciting ‘lifestyle’-type images in the feeds of real influencers who get high engagement - not just celebrities.

“And we’re seeing marketers recognise this opportunity to create and target new audiences from those who engage with their content and convert sharers and ‘likers' into buyers.”

So what actually is it that interests consumers? For a start, imagery with varied backgrounds excited interest more than “static” lookbook-style photos and “brands with smart seeding strategies see a greater return on their visual content investment.”

While H&M and Topshop headed the EPI list, ShareIQ found that Forever 21’s overall strategy was among the most successful. It said that Forever 21 got 53 million Instagram engagements from just 1,017 posts and H&M got 39 million Instagram engagements from only 486 posts.

By contrast, Zara, managed only 1.9 million engagements from 1,700 images on Instagram but it was much more successful on Pinterest.There it enjoyed over five time the number of ‘re-pins’ (ie shares) per image that Forever 21 got, even though the US retailer is generally very successful through this channel.

The data also showed that it’s not all about follower count. Zara has16.6 million of them on Instagram but only converted that into 12.7 million engagements. With 13.5 million followers, Forever 21 turned them into 53 million engagements. And while H&M, Zara, and Forever21 have about same number of followers on Pinterest, their performance varies widely. Meanwhile Uniqlo, Mango and everyone else have small numbers of followers and negligible Pinterest engagement.

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