The advent of social media has transformed the way most businesses approach building out their marketing strategies. Over time, this has been especially prevalent in the fashion world. With fashion’s inherent storytelling DNA, marketers have tapped into the power of platforms like Instagram to take their visual storytelling to an entirely new level.
Today’s PLANOLEADER can attest to this, as she’s approached social media from different vantage points throughout her career. Enter Lucie Zhang, the Associate Director of Social Media at Vogue.
Before working at the cherished publisher, Lucie cut her teeth in digital-centric roles in both agency and brand environments. These unique experiences ultimately helped her shape a more adaptable approach to building social strategies that are mindful of cultural trends and expectations. As a result, Lucie believes that experimenting with different content mediums and engaging in an ongoing dialogue with customers is essential for brands hoping to achieve success on social media in 2020. Read on as Lucie shares more about this idea, how she’s seen the social landscape change, and what excites her the most about working at Vogue.
Please introduce yourself!
Hi! I’m Lucie Zhang, and I’m the Associate Director of Social Media at Vogue.
Before Vogue, what were you up to professionally? What role did digital play in your job description, and what have been some notable moments throughout your career so far?
Digital has always been a part of my job description. My first three jobs were at agencies (Ruder Finn, Attention, and KCD) before I went in-house to work on the social team at Ralph Lauren, and then to Vogue. Social media was becoming a force of marketing when I entered the job market in 2010, and I naturally fell into specializing in it between my interest in it and the growing need for expertise in the field. When I first started working in social in 2010, we were building Facebook tabs, which sounds archaic now! It’s been fascinating to see how behaviors, platforms, and industries have changed over time—and as a result of one another.
How would you describe your days at Vogue, and how much has your job evolved since first joining the team? Is there a particular project you’ve worked on that makes you incredibly proud?
I first started at Vogue as the social media manager dedicated to Vogue Runway, which is the fashion shows channel of Vogue.com that used to be Style.com. Over nearly four years here, my role has expanded as the team (and the number of accounts we manage) has grown. Now, my team and I oversee four Instagrams (@voguemagazine, @voguerunway, @voguebeauty, and @vogueweddings), two Facebook pages, two Twitter accounts, two Tumblrs, Pinterest, and more. We also just hit the 25 million follower mark on @voguemagazine’s Instagram, which is something we are all proud of because it shows the reach of our voice on social. Vogue is obviously an iconic publication, and we’re proud to be able to translate the authority we’ve had in print for decades into our daily content strategy on social.
How much would you say the approach to content has evolved over the last few years? How has this extended to Vogue’s Instagram content specifically?
It’s become much more of a 24/7 news operation. Social (and the news) never stops. So we’ve adapted our own strategy to be at the forefront of what’s happening in the world today, whether that’s highlighting climate marches or covering live red carpets or profiling emerging creatives around the globe.
Video also seems to be at the forefront of Vogue’s Instagram strategy. What value do you think it adds vs. traditional static imagery or content?
I think it’s very important to have a mix of content types on Instagram, especially because video is often able to convey a story through movement in a way static imagery can’t. We’ve also become known for a few of our video series, such as 73 Questions and Beauty Secrets. I think people return to our video content—both short and long-form—because of our unique POV and access.
Fashion is an inherently visual medium, but from a business perspective, how do you think the rise of social media has impacted the industry’s approach to building brands today?
Social media has often been said to have democratized fashion, and I think that’s more or less true. Having a social presence allows brands to share their narratives and brand culture directly with their consumers—and also to receive real-time feedback from their audience. A lot of brands have been able to harness the marketing power of social media effectively, so much so that social has replaced more traditional avenues of advertising. A lot of trends also now emerge on social media. Put another way: when I first started working in the industry in 2010, social still seemed a bit optional to brands to include as part of their marketing mix. Now it’s mandatory to at least consider social, if not prioritize it.
What are your recommended best practices for professionals working at iconic publishers like Vogue who are looking to create exciting and memorable content for their audience?
- Stay true to your vision and the stories you believe in.
- But think outside of your bubble, seek diverse perspectives, tap into the array of voices on the internet, and move boldly forward.
- Stay flexible on your strategy and be willing and able to pivot if needed. Learning what doesn’t work is almost as important as learning what does.