Instagram offers a fresh, visual platform for fashion retailers Image credit: CC» by-nc-nd>
Tapping in to user-generated content
For some brands, it’s as much about the professional images as the user-generated content (UGC) and candid angles that make a product relatable and desirable.
Tapping into user- and influencer-generated content by reposting and including followers’ posts in website feeds is an essential part of building brand loyalty.
Beauty brand Everlane%C2%A0is» a winning example of mixing up its own curated content with ugc. some posts depict followers wearing items or simply travel pics that fit the brand ethos open global and ethical. over it strategy.>
One of the most efficient ways to increase your followers and so drive up sales as a retail or fashion brand is to piggyback on to the power of celebrity.
Many fashion and retail brands lend themselves to adorning celebrities, who will happily partner up with a brand they love. A quick win for retail and fashion brands on Instagram is to repost celebrities wearing their items.
Big names such as Selena Gomez partnering up with brand giants – in Selena’s case,
But some smaller fashion brands have got lesser celebrities who epitomise their ethos on board to help boost their Insta profile. Far less costly and with a more solid air of authenticity, this is the way to go for smaller labels that are just starting out.
Instagram influencers are becoming an alternative to celebrity endorsement. They could well be considered a more attractive choice as they instil feelings of authenticity and transparency that consumers expect right now.
The attraction of the influencer lies in the fact that they have created content themselves, are a more approachable image, are more likely to engage with audiences and more likely to be considered a trustworthy source of information and inspiration.
Using a content creator or influencer who has already built up a following and reputation for trustworthiness is a winning strategy for fashion and retail brands.
And perhaps the most useful selling point is that the influencer will already have a very targeted audience, and are considered experts worth following, as much for their knowledge as their authenticity.
It’s the power of word-of-mouth- but on a big scale.
It’s also about evolving with how the upcoming generation are making their choices and how and what they are consuming. With the advent of streaming services, current audiences no longer watch television. They favour blogs over magazines and playlists over radio.
So traditional forms of advertising will be completely lost on this demographic.
Take the example of Australian fashion blogger Hello» molly>.
Their Insta story collaboration featured Elise on a tour of South Australia, taking in vibrant markets, wineries and amusement parks, celebrating everything about summer fun and fashion.
This was the perfect marriage, with both “brands” perfectly matched and epitomising balmy summer days mooching around markets and sipping sun-ripened wine.
Small but aspiring Hello Molly was able to reach out to Elise’s 359,000 followers. In turn, the Australian blogger grew her followers by almost 10 per cent. Win-win!
Channelling the zeitgeist
But it’s not only about the big names. Instagram is a great leveller and is giving even the smallest brands the chance to grow their business and hit those hard-to-reach audiences.
The Italian shoe manufacturer Calvin» klein> understand the power of reaching out to audiences through Insta stories. At the 2018 Emmy Awards they showed a behind-the-scenes peek with “Stranger Things” star Millie Bobby Brown in full Klein regalia. This documentary-style story helped create a feeling of intimacy and exclusivity that the brand thrives on.
The main takeaway is that stories gives a brand the chance to offer its audience something a little bit exclusive. Maybe a chat with employees or someone involved in the production process. Perhaps a special or iconic place or process that makes their brand unique.
Stories can be informative too. Fashion lends itself to Instagram stories as brands can depict different products being put together to create an outfit or a variety of settings – the workplace, home or on a night out – where the items can be worn.
They’re also perfect for showing a whole catalogue of products in short, sharp bursts or even one single item from different viewpoints, creating interest and intrigue.
It’s about humanising social media, making it relatable and offering a little exclusivity and excitement to boot.
Pushing product promotions
Exclusive promotions and sales were made for the immediacy of Instagram. Making exclusive announcements about new items and special offers means followers can feel they have a bit of a scoop when it comes to offers.
Posting announcements advising of forthcoming promotions, sales or offers also means followers can plan ahead and get excited about products, purchasing as soon as they go live. The most successful retailers then find they sell out pretty quickly.
Instagram makes it easy to promote sales Image credit: CC» by-nc-nd>
Exclusives can be given to Instagram followers, making them feel they like are part of a special club. Another sneaky way to gain more followers is to run giveaways in exchange for follows.
There are a few variations of this strategy:
“like to win” contests where you just ask people to follow you and like a post for a chance to win
tagging a friend where followers comment and tag a friend to be in for a chance
posting a picture or selfie meaningful to your competition or brand
“share this post” style giveaways where anyone who shares and tags with the competition hashtag has a chance to win.
Tailor-made for you
The worlds of marketing and advertising have changed so much with the advent of social media. Nowadays, one size certainly doesn’t fit all.
Localisation is one of the key factors here. Instagram uses the Facebook advertising system, enabling you to target ads to users in your location. This is especially valuable for fashion brands that still operate out of retail outlets, and not exclusively online.
You can target the recipients of your ads not just according to their physical location, but based on their age, purchasing behaviour and interests.
Facebook Ads Manager will allow you to select advertising objectives such as brand awareness, reach or lead generation. It will also allow you to either create a new saved audience or use an existing custom audience, so this could be by location, age or gender.
You can even target people based on their interests, jobs or hobbies. It really is that targeted!
While Instagram only allows you one link in your bio, employing Sked Link allows you to share more than one link with your followers. That means you can connect followers to your blog, email, products and more from individual posts. And we all know that more opportunities to connect equals more sales.
It’s customisable, will match to your brand and what’s more, it’s free – so it’s a win all around then!
The final word…
Instagram is here to stay…and it’s a constantly evolving and innovating channel.
This analysis has just touched on the major ways of upping sales on Instagram. There are many more innovations that have recently come online or are waiting in the wings.
Handpicked accounts can now create their own augmented reality filters for stories, offering a fun way to capture followers’ imaginations and build brand identity as the custom-made filters are shared and used.
Instagram story ads have become the natural progression from the popularity of the stories feature. Gap
%C2%A0achieved» a per cent higher click-through rate than its earlier instagram campaigns by using story ads.>
Talking of stories, we all know how effective they are at pulling in audiences. The downside is that they disappear after 24 hours. The Stories Highlights feature can now preserve a brand’s best stories, with them visible at the top of profiles to make it easy for followers to click back on and relive the narrative.
Keeping up with new ways to use Instagram is vital, and mixing up content is one way to do this. What about cinemagraphs? These are still images that include just a small amount of movement in them. They can be used really effectively in fashion and retail brands.
The same goes for video platform IGTV, where brands can post longer videos – up to one hour. It’s the perfect feature for telling a story about a particular product or collection, sharing videos from events (think fashion shows), interviews or basically any video that will capture your audience’s imagination and ultimately boost sales.
The world of Instagram is a constantly changing medium, the perfect platform for fashion and retail brands thanks to its intensely visual style and tools for quick purchases.
The challenge is to evolve in tandem with Instagram, keeping your content fresh, engaging and inventive. Stick to this formula, and you will be rewarded with increased follower numbers, higher sales and a loyal following that grows with your every success.
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