Instagram can be a powerful tool when it comes to targeting consumers, particularly in the fashion industry where visuals are key. Content from fashion brands receive 58 times more engagement on Instagram compared to Facebook. However, there can be pitfalls when using Instagram as a marketing tool according to Marlous de Weerd, partner at Amsterdam-based creative marketing agency Daily Sirup.
During the Amsterdam-based trade show, Modefabriek, de Weerd shares her advice on using Instagram branding.
Before embarking on Instagram branding and creating campaigns, fashion brands and retailers must ask themselves two questions: What is my objective? And who is my target audience?
Without a clear idea, companies risk wasting time and budget. Companies should also decide on a content strategy, the themes they want to communicate, and make consistency a priority, said de Weerd. Creating a calendar with future posts might be helpful. Focus is also important because Instagram allows to target specific areas or groups. It can even be used to promote events in a store by targeting a local audience for example.
”When creating visuals and content for instagram it isn’t enough to simply offer products and say ‘buy me’, I am good at this,” de Weerd said. It’s about telling the story behind a product, and what the brand can add, in terms of value, to the life of a customer. Additionally every picture should be a story in itself and not only a display of products. Tell your story through a clean, simple and beautiful creative canvas. Pay attention to details such as lighting, hashtags and captions for a cohesive brand story. Instagram users want you to tell them a story, not sell a product.
Don’t use stock photography, use original visuals and real people, advised de Weerd. It seems logical, but a lot of customers don’t invest in original visuals, she said. Even if it costs money, it’s still import to do a photo shoot to create a genuine feel for your brand. The pictures need to look real and sincere, and in no way like advertised content. People enjoy inspiring, well-photographed content on Instagram. Additionally, don’t use text in pictures as it will come across as an advertisement.
When it comes to paid Instagram campaigns, try to make the buying process as easy as possible for your target group. Instagram shopping is the ideal tool for this as It allows the user to shop without actually leaving the app. De Weerd always advises her clients to stick to one product while using Instagram shopping. Presenting only one item at a time creates much more impact on the consumer than advertising multiple products at once. “You sell more, when you just focus on one great featured product,” she said.
When telling your story, think about partnering with influencers. They have a wide reach of loyal fans who will receive your message. If you’ve clearly identified your target audience, it’s easy to find the influencer who fits your brand.
Influencers, however, can be expensive these days, with some demanding as much as 18,000 US dollars per post, according to a recently published list by Blogmeter and HopperHQ. If budget doesn’t allow an expensive influencer, sometimes it’s sufficient or even better fit for your brand to work with so-called ‘micro-influencers’ to target a specific customer group, commented de Weerd.
The main goal for your brand is that fans of the influencer are getting interested in the promoted product and not in the way the influencer looks. The post by Luxblog for Dutch brand Otentic Perfumes, for example created a lot of curiosity, likes and comments about the promoted fragrance of the company, said de Weerd about the collaboration she initiated.
For newcomers to Instagram and social media advertising, de Weerd advises to invest in professional advice to set-up a strong foundation. Even a one-day course can help to get to know the basics and will save time in the long-run.
De Weerd and eight other experts presented their advice for retailers during the Modefabriek that took place on 8 and 9 July in Amsterdam. The next edition of the fashion trade fair will take place on 20 and 21 January 2019.