After analyzing nearly 23K posts, we’ve identified how the top Fashion brands on social media are getting their audiences engaged.
Despite showing up fairly regularly, Fashion brands struggled with engagement on social media platforms this past year. On Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter they had nearly the lowest engagement rates of all industries surveyed for our 2023 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report. On TikTok, however, they found more success with engagement rates right around the all-industry median.
As we head into a new year, it’s not a bad idea for Fashion brands to reflect on why they’re falling behind other industries and think of ways to connect better with their target audiences. To help with this, we’ll take a look at the brands in the fashion world that stand above the rest. Let’s see what stories the numbers tell us about the latest trends from the top Fashion brands on social media.
Top Fashion brands on social media
Top Fashion brand on Instagram: FIGS
We couldn’t talk about the best fashion brands on Instagram without mentioning FIGS, who pulled off an engagement rate nearly 3x the industry average of 0.29% at 0.83%. The Californian brand known for its stylish scrubs and medical apparel had the highest engagement rate of any brand in this landscape despite only posting around six times per week, about half the landscape average. This reminds us that quality content should take precedence in our marketing strategies.
Trending audio sounds and relatable content were the most powerful tools in FIGS’ Instagram marketing arsenal this year. Their followers were big fans of the brand’s day-in-the-life and “POV” Reels that highlight an everyday struggle or experience their target audience knows all too well. One of their especially popular Reels features a healthcare professional wearing scrubs, naturally, coming off a 12-hour shift and struggling to think of anything other than hospital sounds. The post brought in 14.8x more engagement than usual, including over 500 comments from followers laughing and tagging their friends.
Nearly all of FIGS’ top Instagram posts were Reels in this style, some from their team and others reposted from other creators (always tagged for credit.) They’re an excellent example of how brands can entertain their audiences while subtly drawing attention to a product.
FIGS posted relatively similar numbers of Reels and Carousels this past year, while they rarely posted single photos. In the end, their Reels brought in the highest engagement, with carousels coming in second, right on par with what we saw for the overall landscape. So, despite Instagram’s move to balance out photo and video content, Reels continue to be a powerful medium for brands to engage with followers.
Other important tools brands used on Instagram were hashtags and interactive giveaways. In this landscape, Instagram posts that didn’t feature hashtags performed, on average, 3.52x worse than those that did. Of the most widely used tags, #Pride had the highest engagement rate by follower, reflecting the importance of inclusivity for today’s brands. #Giveaway was another popular tag that paid off in the engagement department. Getting potential customers to comment, like, and share posts for the chance to win their products helped brands bring in 4.35x more engagement than the landscape’s average.
Top Fashion Brand on Facebook: Wildfang
While brands in this landscape only managed an average 0.017% engagement rate by follower on Facebook, about a third of the all-industry median, Wildfang focused on their community to pull off a .058% average engagement rate by follower. They were one of the least active brands on Facebook, posting less than once per week compared to the landscape average of 7 posts a week, but what they did choose to share was always rooted in their core values.
The Portland-based clothing brand is all about challenging gender norms in fashion and supporting the LGBTIQA+ community in the process. Their commitment to inclusivity shines through on social platforms, where they express their support for Pride Month, raise money for nonprofits like The Trevor Project, and speak out against injustice. After several states criminalized drag shows, Wild Fang decided to organize and break a Guinness World Record for the longest drag show at 48 consecutive hours. DRAG-A-THON, as the event was called, showed that the brand’s commitment to its community is just as active offline as it is on. One of the comments left on a post about the event sums up just how successful it was, beyond breaking a world record, “Every time I think I can’t love Wildfang more, you up the game.”
Fashion can be an influential venue for self-expression, and Wild Fang is all about using it to support and strengthen their community. Knowing the power of celebrity collaborations (and choosing the right ones at that), Wild Fang teamed up with Brandi Carlile to raise money for the singer’s nonprofit organization, The Looking Out Foundation. The post announcing the partnership included a giveaway for those who donated, and ended up being their most successful, with a 0.31% engagement rate. As we’ve seen time and time again, giveaways are a great way to get followers engaged, and those tied to an important cause are even better.
Despite having the fewest Facebook page followers of any brand in this landscape, Wild Fang grew their following by 5.37% and pulled off the highest engagement rate by follower. Pretty impressive. Their success reflects a shifting landscape in which consumers are increasingly interested in buying from brands that share similar values. This is something brands in all industries should be conscious of as they continue to develop relationships with their audiences.
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Top Fashion Brands on TikTok: Oh Polly
TikTok was where Fashion brands really shined, pulling off the highest engagement rates of any social media platform, and leading this landscape is Oh Polly. The UK-based boutique known for their collections of dresses and going-out outfits pulled off an impressive 10.0% engagement rate per view, over 3x the landscape’s average. They also grew their following by 125% in this period. So, what’s their secret? Posting consistently and using simple video editing to show off their products.
Oh Polly’s videos, which they posted on average 27 times per week compared to the landscape average of around five times per week, occupied nearly all the top spots of any brand on this list, and of these top posts, very few featured faces or even real people. The attention lies solely on the dress in question, sometimes hung on a mannequin or simply placed on a piece of fabric. The videos cut from clip to clip, showing off different angles of the item, and always use a glittery filter, which is helpful in both creating a cohesive effect throughout their content and playing into their identity as a fun, glamorous, and girly brand. They also like to keep their TikToks short and sweet, with most of their most successful videos lasting between 7 and 8 seconds.
Another way Oh Polly was able to rack up those engagements was by using strategic hashtags. #Glitter and #SparkleSeason were used in their top ten most engaging videos, which is quite on-brand for them, while holiday season-themed hashtags were also very popular. #Wishlist was the big winner as the most widely used tag with the highest engagement rate. On TikTok, as well as other social platforms, topics related to anticipated releases, like “coming soon” and “new collection,” were also pretty popular. Audiences seem to respond very positively when brands create a sense of novelty with their launches, so don’t be shy about creating hype or putting out teasers.
The data tells us that audiences are more likely to interact with content on TikTok. So, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for brands to focus their efforts here, where they’ll see higher ROIs. One way they can do this is by tapping into followers’ conversations about the latest industry trends and issues. This can help you shape brand awareness, create more authentic content, a core value for Gen-Z consumers, and, very importantly, avoid seeming out of touch with your audience. To understand the greater scope of public sentiment, a social listening tool can really come in handy. It tracks all mentions of your brand and selected topics so you can monitor telling conversations in real time. You might uncover some insight that influences your TikTok strategy moving forward.
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Top Fashion Brands on Twitter: Good American
While brands posted mostly frequently to Twitter, around 20 times a week, they were met with the lowest engagement rate by follower of any platform at 0.038%. One brand that made its mark on Twitter this year was Khloe Kardashian’s Good American. With an average engagement rate over 2x the landscape average, the celebrity clothing line frequently used photos to snag readers’ attention. Tweets that featured the reality star turned founder were by far their most popular content.
Whatever the subject of their tweets, Good American always includes a link to their website to make it easy for readers to learn more, like in this post about the brand’s Bodyglove swimwear collection. Making content more accessible is one of the most effective ways to increase engagement on Twitter.
Inclusivity through exclusivity was an interesting theme that popped up throughout Good American’s social media marketing strategy. On Twitter, they created the #GoodSquad hashtag and social media campaign to “promote inclusivity in the fashion industry” by featuring women of “all backgrounds, shapes and sizes.” They’ve made it a point to appeal to all kinds of women while promoting a sense of belonging and empowerment, frequently using words like “squad” and “girl boss.” When the brand used the #GoodSquad tag to promote their casting calls and send out messages about body positivity, they saw their average engagement rate by follower climb to 0.13%.
We also want to give a special shout-out to UNIQLO, who is behind the five Twitter posts with the highest engagement rates in this landscape. These posts all featured special manga collections, some only available for a limited time. Once again, followers’ intrigue with the announcements of new drops was reflected in engagement numbers. These collections, which likely opened UNIQLO to manga fans who had never engaged with the brand, show how brands can reach a wider audience organically.
Here are a few notes on how we put together this analysis. With the help of Rival IQ, we looked at nearly 23K Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Twitter posts between October 31, 2022, and November 1, 2023. The 13 Fashion brands surveyed have followers ranging between 300,000 to over 103 million and include all brands featured in this article, as well as Anthropologie, Abercrombie, Athleta, FIGS, House of CB, na-kd, Sézane, Vans, and Zara.
To identify the trends from the top Fashion brands on social media, we paid special attention to key metrics such as engagement rate, posting frequency, post type, follower growth, and hashtags.
Note: When we talk about engagement rates, we refer to a post’s measurable interactions, including likes, retweets, comments, shares, etc., divided by the total number of followers. Here’s the formula:
Engagement rate = [total engagement] / [total number of followers]
Wrapping it up
Fashion brands struggled to increase engagement numbers this past year. Nevertheless, the trends we looked at today from the top Fashion brands on social media provided good starting points for others to draw inspiration and reach their target audiences. Time and time again, we saw the value of interactive experiences, like contests and giveaways, and the power of voicing brand values. Brands also stirred up engagement by getting social media users excited for exclusive collections and upcoming drops.