“There is no room for mistakes, the competition is severe. The right image has to go with the right text.”Deema Saidi studied Marketing at the Lebanese American University (LAU). With a committed passion for the arts and everything glamorous, she had the chance to work for prestigious, well-established companies such as Elie Saab, Oscar De La Renta, Missoni, Diane von Furstenberg, Y3, and Furla. Armed with experience in social media for fashion and hospitality, she now resides in the UAE where she works as a luxury and PR marketer.
In this interview, I discuss with Deema the state of online fashion marketing in the Middle East.
What is the biggest challenge, in your opinion, when managing fashion social media accounts?
Fashion social media accounts have a lot of challenges, just like any other product or service you have to make sure that you are consistent with the voice, the brand image and the quality. As you may know, fashion is a form of aesthetics and maintaining the image of a brand and especially if it is a luxury product or a multi brand luxury store.
What are the best fashion brands in Lebanon and in the Middle East, in your opinion?
Krikor Jabotian, Bashar Assaf, Hussein Bazaza, Dima Kassis, Zayan and Madiyah Al Sharqi.
Which fashion blogs in Lebanon and the Middle East do you read the most?
The Fierce Diaries, The fashion Hub, Five Five Fabulous and The Style Drifter.
Why did you stop blogging after moving from Beirut to Dubai?
I did not entirely stop blogging; I still do it every once in a while and I am very active on all social media platforms. I mostly did not have a lot of free time on my hands. My new job in a luxury fashion PR and Marketing was taking all my time. The fashion industry in Dubai is quite different than the one in Beirut as well as there are bigger budgets involved whilst bigger commitment and expectations from the brands. On a personal level, I do not believe in fashion blogging as much as I used to. People are bored of reading; they want to look at a lot of beautiful things in the minimum amount of time possible. If I want to be an influencer, I would rather be it on Instagram.
Who do you think the target audience for fashion brands in Lebanon and the ME is online?
It really depends on the brand and its price point, target audience is everyone. If I follow both LVMH and H&M on social media, that doesn’t mean that I am customer, I could be a potential one, but nothing is definite. Everyone wants to look pretty. However, everyone has their own preference and different levels of purchasing powers. It is hard to specify the behaviors of retail consumers.
What does it take for Middle East fashion e-commerce sites to succeed? Which ones are your favorite?
Creativity, variety, originality, quality, and professionalism. If you cannot deliver products on time, then why even bother. I am big fan of Boutique 1 as well as Sauce and West La who both have recently launched in the region.
Deema’s Tips and Tricks that every fashion community manager should take into consideration
- There is no room for mistakes, the competition is severe. The right image has to go with the right text.
- If a follower messages you, answer them ASAP. Have a proper answer sheet and be consistent when responding to everyone. Remain professional.
- Fashion is a lifestyle. People like to see things that they can relate to. Have more lifestyle images when setting your social media plan.
- Don't get your followers confused; always remain consistent and follow the brand guidelines.
- Always take geography into consideration: Who are you addressing these posts to? Who are your followers? Will they find this offensive?
- Working in the Gulf has taught me a lot when it comes to censorship; some people might be offended by a photo or even a text. Plan this ahead with your brand's headquarters before getting in trouble.