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Burberry works with Twitter to create social media history

Ashley Turner
Ashley Turner

20 September 2011

Yesterday, Burberry collaborated with Twitter to make social media history! I joined my fellow Tamar retail specialists in watching the live streaming of the Burberry Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear runway show, but what made it extra special is that every look was photographed and tweeted backstage before the model wearing it walked the runway. For the first time in history (or at least that I know of), the general public got to see one of the hottest fashion brand’s collection pieces before the celebrities and fashion industry bigwigs that glamorously lined the front row. Through Twitter, Burberry achieved what people have been trying to do for years: bringing exclusive fashion to the masses and it all happened appropriately during Social Media Week.

‘Tweetwalk’ as it was dubbed was the first event of it’s kind, however I can see this becoming a major trend among fashion houses. For several years now, the subject of fashion has been a social media darling and the fashion industry has welcomed top influencers with open arms. A group of individuals who were once stereotyped as shallow and sometimes even unintelligent now represent some of the more tech-saavy people in the world. Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, blogs or newly created fashionista platforms like What I Wore Today, we’ve been seeing normal people becoming celebrities in the fashion world, collaborating on collections, sharing style tips and writing for famed brands like Topshop and publications like Glamour Magazine.

As a social media specialist, I was particularly intrigued to see how this type of event would effect the number of followers Burberry has on Twitter. A quick check of the account around noon yesterday revealed that the brand had approximately 530,000 followers. By 3:40 pm, the brand was at 531,232 followers so I began tracking the increase closely by the minute. In just under an hour, Burberry gained 162 followers, having 531,394 by 4:35 pm.

By 10:20 am this morning, Burberry had reached 532,829 followers, an increase of approximately 2,829 followers in less than 24 hours. That is pretty impressive by any standards! According to The Guardian, at 4:15 pm, Burberry was the 3rd most popular topic globally on Twitter.

As far as I’m concerned, Tweetwalk has a missing link that I think could’ve gained Burberry even more followers on Twitter. Many of the people I follow were continuously interacting with influencers who attended the show and tweeted their edits and opinions of the collection. I think often times, people aren’t looking to see an entire collection on Twitter, they just want someone they trust to tell them which pieces were the best – a kind of crash course to tide them over before they go home at night and see the photos of the entire show online.

I think the brand might have gotten more benefit from Tweetwalk if they’d taken it one step further by pulling some highly influential celebrities like Alexa Chung and Kanye West out of the front row and putting them backstage tweeting. Logistically, this might be difficult, but if pulled off, this cocktail of celebrity influence mixed with brand influence would be social media magic.

I look forward to seeing if other brands incorporate Tweetwalk or other types of Twitter previews into their fashion shows or launches and how they use it to interact more with the community.

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