Engaging your customers with Instagram

Once a niche mobile app, Instagram is now estimated to be worth $1bn. Since the launch of the Android version, it’s seen the number of users grow from 15 million at the start of 2012, to 80 million just 7 months later – an increase of over 400% in under a year! (Forbes).

Why should you care? Because Instagram is the perfect social match for companies who value visual content. It’s packed with users desperate for pretty pictures to brighten up their day, which fashion brands can provide in spades.

As with any social network, getting started and pushing out a steady stream of content can be daunting. So we’ve taken three successful fashion on Instagram, and dissected their strategy to find out exactly how they do it.

ASOS

Vital statistics: 1,625 photos, 592,448 followers

Strategy: Regular features, creative product shots, and customer-generated content.

ASOS, as you would expect, have Instagram sorted. Their account is the perfect mix of outfit-of-the-day shots, pictures of models hanging out in the office, styling tips, and re-worked product images.

They keep content coming with regular features such as #ThrowbackThursdays, featuring images of 90s fashion icons like Phoebe from Friends and the cast of Saved By The Bell (yes, these looks are fashionable now…)

 

ASOS Instagram

 

The most interesting thing about their feed is that it’s viewable in Facebook. So even if you’re not signed up to Instagram, you can keep track of the images they post. They also use Instagram to promote their Fashion Up! app, which is a weekly downloadable magazine for the iPhone and iPad.

Another key source of their content is generated by their customers. Tag your Instagram photo with #ASOSloves and you could find it edited and re-used in their feed. This is a great way of finding regular content and showing how products are styled in real life.

Key lessons from ASOS:

  • Keep it regular! If you have recurring features users will come to expect and look forward to them.
  • Be creative with your product images – ASOS often feature their clothing and accessories in #ootd shots, on off-duty models, or in specially-edited pictures. In fact, the only thing they don’t do is straight-forward product shots.
  • Use customer-generated content to engage followers (Poq are currently coming up with a social plug-in for our mobile apps that lets you do this – if you’re interested, drop us an email…)
  • Use apps like Diptic to easily create collages which make your pictures really stand out. Particularly good for combining photos from your followers.

 

CONVERSE: MY CANVAS JOURNEY

Vital statistics: 569 photos, 279,514 followers

Strategy: Stay on brand with your images, and use Instagram as a base for other social networks and campaigns.

Converse’s main Instagram feed sticks very closely to their key brand message: #dontbeboring

Everything is tinted and retro-looking, with images of beaten-up trainers, long-haired skaters, and punk bands crowd-surfing (while wearing Converse trainers, natch).

But they’ve also used Instagram in their newest social marketing campaign called ‘My Canvas Journey’, which promotes their line of accessories.

23 Instagrammers (including photographers, stylists, sound engineers, and celebrities) were given a Canyon Duffel bag and asked to document how they customised it and where they took it over 4 weeks.

The bags travelled to fashion weeks, got signatures from rock stars, and made it all over the world, all the while being Instagrammed. It all culminated in an exhibition in Hoxton where the resulting photos were displayed.

 

 

What’s clever about this campaign is the amount of social networks it tied into. By selecting influential Instagram users, Converse could extend their reach massively, not only over a special Instagram feed set up for the campaign, but also over Tumblr and the blogs of their influencers.

The resulting exhibition also guaranteed coverage on fashion websites and blogs, as well as all over Twitter.

my canvas journey from Converse

Converse are obviously best known for their trainers, so launching this campaign as a stand-alone promotion was a great way to get their accessories line better known.

Key lessons from Converse:

  • Use Instagram as a way to generate content you can use on other social platforms
  • Team up with popular users to promote your products, not just on Instagram but all over social networks
  • Consider stand-alone campaigns and Instagram accounts for special promotions

LNCC

Vital statistics: 632 photos, 5203 followers, 251 following

Strategy: Clean, simple and branded

LN-CC is a progressive retail concept comprising of clothing, music & books, combining an evolving online presence with a unique London store, open by appointment only.

 

Their Instagram presence very much reflects this. Their feed is much less chatty and social than Converse and ASOS. In contrast to ASOS, they rely heavily on modelled shots which are also used on their website. But for a smaller brand, they have a fairly high follower count. For LNCC, Instagram seems to be an effective way to announce when new products are in-store or online (and it’s linked to their Twitter account which does the same thing).

instagram lncc

Their Instagram feed gives you a strong impression of their brand. If you didn’t know that they specialise in expensive, cutting-edge design, you’d instantly get the picture after viewing their images.

What this shows is that Instagram doesn’t have to be a huge time-suck for smaller fashion retailers. Maintaining a presence on the platform can still pay off even if you don’t have an army of social media professionals to source and create new images.

Lessons from LNCC

  • Use Instagram to let people know about new product drops.
  • Smaller brands can still benefit from an Instagram feed – think about how you can repurpose content you already have on your website.
  • Think carefully about your brand, and make sure all your uploads reinforce your core image.

 

Getting started on Instagram:

If you’re a fashion brand and you’re not already on Instagram, it’s worth giving it some serious thought. Despite their spat with Twitter (which means that Instagram photos are not automatically displayed on the micro-blogging site), Instagram is still growing and is a no-brainer for fashion retailers who have a wealth of visual content readily available.

Our top tips are:

  • Re-use visual content that you already have to get started.
  • Link your Instagram account to Facebook, and tweet your Instagram pictures to drive engagement between all three channels.
  • Make sure your images are on-brand. Instagram is all about promoting a lifestyle.
  • As with everything, make sure you’re measuring the results. There’s a great post here with some Instagram analytics tools.

Can you recommend any brands using Instagram particularly well? We’d love to know your thoughts!

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