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How to Make Photo and Video Content that Beats Other Fashion Brands

Updated: Oct 27, 2021


how to use social media, digital advertisement, influencers, sponsorships, video content, blogs, fashion photography, promotions, lifestyle, audience research, SEO, and other fashion marketing tactics.

Social media is an imperative for successful brands. Because every brand produces excellent content at such an astonishing rate on such a broad scale, it can be intimidating for a smaller brand to face the Goliath. In this article, however, we'll go over some elements of visual content that will help your clothing brand surpass your competition.


How to Make Competitive Photo Content

There are two aspects to photography in fashion:

  1. Products

  2. Brand


The goal of photographing products is to sell it to the consumer, and it therefore demands that you showcase the unique details of an item. These are the kinds of photos you use on your catalogues. The most crucial consideration here is what equipment you need to get high quality photos (at the time of this writing I've got a post on that topic in the making).


A quick side note: as an advertiser I've also noticed that a lot of high performing visual content on social media will use a bright, solid color as the backdrop to grab the viewers attention. I've seen &Collar and Chanel execute this brilliantly.


The other aspect of photo content that has to do with the brand is the aspect traditionally referred to as fashion photography. Fashion photography showcase the lifestyle, goals, community, and personalities associated with your brand. It demands models, backdrops, and settings (what's going on in the photo) that align with it. These are the kinds of photos that you use on your Instagram feed and on the homepage of your website.


The crucial consideration with branding photography is what defines your brand. Blogger and serial entrepreneur Yuli Ziv gives some very practical advice on this: define what your brand's mission is, or what its values are, in a mission statement. This usually is and should be based on your own values and beliefs. Then she recommends picking out a few specific key terms that define your brand—we'll say 5 for the sake of the exercise. Use this set of rigid guidelines as a tool to guide your fashion photography.


How to Make Competitive Video Content

Video is the most consumed form of content on the internet, especially with TikTok breaking into the scene in the last year. TikTok also drove a large wedge between short form and long form video. We'll discuss both forms here.

Kellen Anderson, digital advertiser. I run Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google Ads, and other social media ads. Blogs on how to grow or start a clothing brand.

An understanding of cinematography and its facets is necessary to truly make unique and attention-grabbing video, but it's also beyond the scope of this blog. Instead, we'll go over some of the different types of video content and how to use video on certain platforms.


Long Form Video

Long form video largely has its place on Youtube, Facebook, and IGTV. In order to be successful, this kind of video demands high quality picture and lighting. There are many types of video content that you can make, each better suited for connecting to certain audiences than others.


First, there are style guide videos, as done by Levi's and JC Penny; also lifestyle tutorials, like this Adidas video. Most other formats can be put under the 'fashion film' category, things like trailers or ads, with some good examples being Chanel and Dior; entertaining content, as by Vans and Nike; or stand-alone short films like Converse's "Really Cool Converse Club" and H&M's "Come Together" (both available on Youtube).


The proper personnel, equipment, brand concept, audience insight, and a proper medium to publish the video are all required to decide which forms you'll use and how to use it best.


Short Form Video

Short form video is largely centralized on TikTok, but Instagram and Youtube are gaining a foothold in it. (TikTok ultimately takes the cake, however. Adam Mosseri, the CEO of Instagram, admitted in an interview in June that they're superior in both entertaining the consumer and uncovering new creators.)


TikTok provides a set of content creation guides for business accounts in their Creator Portal. They recommend that a business make videos showcasing their products and also remind you that funny content in the most successful on the app and will attract the most viewers.


I've seen remarkably few brands try to make funny TikToks, but I have seen many brands and business try to make other kinds of videos.


We'll start with a poor example: Volcom. They have their own verified TikTok account and it consists of skateboarding and lifestyle videos. The numbers on their videos are self-explanatory and they bring to mind the advice given by the TikTok guidelines: make videos of your products to get the most value out of the app.


I happened upon a better example when I first opened the business account welcome message. They have an article that mentions a handbag brand from Indonesia that almost exclusively made videos focused on their products, and their revenue thanked them for it because many viewers were naturally interested in handbags.


Shein is a superior example. As mentioned before on this blog, many micro influencers show off their Shein hauls either by sponsorship or organically and make content on TikTok accordingly. This has contributed to Shein being the number one fashion app on the app store, crushing the competition and taking over 40% of daily active users from its group of competitors.


The TikTok creator articles also state: "You should try telling your story right away with visually interesting footage that could grab someone's attention." Further, "Sincerely enjoying the videos you produce is critical; viewers can sniff inauthenticity a mille away."


Short form video also requires high resolution videos. Both the TikTok Creator Portal and the Instagram Creators account mention that videos of poor resolution are discouraged by the algorithm (they'd usually flop anyways). That said, a small clothing brand owner armed with nothing but an iPhone could very well increase their revenue by a sizable amount with short form video marketing.


Models

Finding an experienced model is always preferred, but can be expensive. A common approach used by small brands just getting their foot in the door is to take an attractive acquaintance and use them to model their clothes. Regardless of the person's modeling experience, if they look good then that's all that matters, right?


This can go both ways. Mike Leisure, a successful fashion marketer, says that this is a bad approach because of how poorly models can perform without the proper experience. On the other hand, this is exactly what Sophia Amuroso did when starting Nasty Gal: she hired one of her friends—a tall, beautiful Thai girl—to model for her, and it worked very well in the early days of the business.


It's fair to say that not every cute girl from off the streets will work well as a professional model, but as long as you know the person well enough you'll be able to judge whether or not they'll be a good model.


Either way, understand that to find the right model for your clothes or products demands finding a model that can express your brand effectively. This doesn't necessarily mean finding a skinny model, or a blonde, (many companies are leaning away from the traditional "beauty standards," in fact) but someone whose personality and nuances align with your brand's image and lifestyle. Again, Yuli Ziv's exercise is a great tool to help with this process.


Finding models isn't terribly difficult either. For starters, you can hire people that you know like Amuroso did (as long as you're careful). You can find models via social media, Google search, Fiverr, local model agencies, large modeling agencies like Elite Model Management, as well as use full-service photography agencies like Ksenia Pro, VSP Studios, or Shootright Studios.


Publishing Content

Publishing content and keeping up with it is particularly important. Experts like Venessa Lau preach on and on about the virtues of keeping to a regular posting schedule, which is minimally debated in the world of content marketing.


A few simple truths stand out though: first, prepare about a month's worth of content in advance. This will not only help you stay consistent but provide a more flexible work load. Second, use a publishing tool. For Instagram alone, Planoly and Later are common tools.


I prefer Loomly myself. I can record a single TikTok, make a copy of it without the watermark using Snaptik, upload it to Loomly, and have it post two weeks later on 3 other platforms without any further action on my part - all for $35 dollars a month (the starting monthly plan, great for a freelancer). This saves me about a half hour every day.


Whether you use a publishing tool or not it is highly recommended that you use an omnipresence strategy. All the major clothing and cosmetics brands do this, as do brands in other fields, and Neil Patel recommends it explicitly as an expert in digital marketing.


There are also agencies that will perform full-service social media marketing for you, such as Sprout Social, Lyfe Marketing, and Disruptive Advertising.


Summary

Understanding the elements of high performing visual content will help you cut through the competition in your social media marketing.

  • Photo content is used for showcasing products and for branding. The former is mostly dependent on technical knowledge with branding is more dependent on how well and how authentically you've defined your brand.

  • Long form video content can take many forms, from tutorials to fashion film. No matter what, you need high quality video and proper consideration of your audience and the medium you'll use to publish.

  • Short form video still requires well-made video, but a simple iPhone is acceptable for this form. Making content that's authentic and tells a visual story is necessary. Making content that's funny is preferred.

  • However you come by your models, make sure they can express your brand effectively.

  • Find an efficient way to publish your content on all major platforms - omnipresence.


Kellen Anderson, digital advertiser. Runs Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google Ads, and other social media ads. Blogs on how to grow or start a clothing brand.



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