Instagram 101: Making your brand’s presence felt on Instagram

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Is your business on Instagram?

Instagram is a social media platform solely built for photo-sharing, which is also expanding to video-sharing. The biggest mistake your fashion brand can make is to do exactly the same thing that you’re doing across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media sites. Instagram is a different social media platform and you can’t recycle the same images you put on other social media platforms.

The social media platform boasts of 200 million users. Furthermore, Instagram generates more engagement than Facebook and Twitter.

Source: http://www.mercurycreative.net/

Instagram’s power lies in its visual aspect, hence you want to ensure that your fashion brand is leveraging Instagram in the best manner possible.

Your Brand

The first step – define your brand on Instagram. As a fashion brand, who do you want to be on Instagram? There are several levels your brand can be identified with.

  • You – You, who are the owner who can become the face your brand.

  • Your Employees: You can allow your brand to be defined by your employees.

  • Your Products: Or, you can plainly focus on the services or products you are selling.

Each level has an advantage. Bringing you and your employees to the forefront on Instagram allows your brand to have a strong personality, while having your products in the forefront can entice your followers to make a purchase.

End Goal

What is your end goal on Instagram? Only when you have an end goal in place, can the rest of your Instagram strategy follow.

Under the most ideal circumstances, your presence on Instagram should be to solely generate interest and engage followers. When your fashion brand is able to engage followers well, good sales would soon follow.

However, you are investing time, money and resources on maintaining an Instagram page, so you may want to increase traffic to your website, increase footfalls to your store, and overall increase sales.

Along with the brand, you wish to present, your end goal plays a defining factor on your Instagram strategy.

Make Instagram Shoppable

If the end goal of your brand is to increase sales, then make sure your products can be bought on or through Instagram. Unlike Facebook and other such social media platforms, you can’t sell your products directly on Instagram.

There are some workarounds for that.

Soldsie

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Soldsie engages your audiences and makes sales. When you upload a product picture on your Instagram profile, followers who want the clothing piece can comment ‘Sold’ and a checkout invoice will be mailed to them.

Reference Code

Zara puts the reference code along with their posts.

zara.png

This makes it quite easy for their followers to find the product on their site.

Like2Buy

Similar to Soldsie, Like2Buy is another option for your followers to purchase the fashion product. Your followers click on the image and they are taken to your website to make the purchase.

Frequent, Duplicate Pictures

Posting recycled pictures that you’ve already used is easy, but be prepared to have followers unfollow your brand.

Recycling pictures that you have already posted tell your followers one, big message:

That’s just bad for your brand image. It reveals that your fashion brand does not want to take the extra step of engaging your followers with fresh images.

Posting new content can be quite challenging if you don’t have any new fashion clothing or accessories to offer. Here are some workarounds for that.

  • Same Product, Different Angle: Changing the angle, lighting and filter simply give you a new image to post even though the product is the same.

  • Different People: Your followers like to see different people, so stop using the same model in every picture. This also gives you the opportunity to click an image of the same product with a different model and a different pose.

With the same product, you can click multiple pictures by introducing variation to the setting, the background, the people, the lighting and the angle. All of this simply adds variation and freshness to your Instagram profile.

Wrong Hashtags

Nothing says ‘noob’ like a wrong hashtag usage. Putting up incorrect hashtags tells your followers that you don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t know how to use Instagram.

So, how do you use hashtags?

Number of Hashtags:

Instagram allows a post to have up to 30 hashtags. Should you tank it up with 30 hashtags? The answer is – no. Have 5 to 10 hashtags. The number of hashtags can improve your reach and engagement, but too many would just be detrimental to your brand, once again showcasing that you don’t know what you’re doing.

Use with Relevance

Do not throw in every hashtag or ‘cool word’ that comes to your mind. Narrow down on relevant hashtags for the particular picture.

Brand Hashtag

Creating a hashtag for your fashion brand is an excellent idea. You can create a hashtag for your fashion brand or a particular fashion line.

Learn from Others

The best way to learn how to use hashtags is by learning from how others.

All Hashtags, no Content

Yes, Instagram is all about images and hashtags, however, that’s no reason for you not having any content at all. A small write up along with your image can provide contextual information for your followers. It can answer such questions as:

  • What is this fashion clothing?

  • Who is the model?

  • What emotion does this fashion clothing have?

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The content write up along with image generated lots of attention and engagement from the followers.

Feature your Audience or User Generated Content

Get your customers and followers to click pictures of them using your product or service. Your brand can share these pictures. This is an excellent way to tell your audience that your brand is down-to-earth and in touch with customers.

You also utilize the social media circles of your customers as they would be would be excited to be featured by your brand.

Keep up the Quality

In an attempt to keep your Instagram page alive and active, you may compromise on the quality of your pictures – DO NOT let that happen.

Quality pictures, wherein you ensure the lighting, filter, frame, color and more, is captured in the right balance are a must. Good photographs are staged and that requires time. Ensure sufficient time is dedicated to clicking good pictures. You want your fashion brand to be defined by quality.

As a business, you are expected to have a presence on Instagram. Utilize these pointers to make sure that you are making the right moves on the social platform.

Ali Salman is an online marketing strategist who have worked with Coca-Cola, Extreme Pita, Mucho Burrito, KIA, Honda and other Fortune 500 companies. Ali Salman now heads Rapid Boost Marketing - Canada's fastest growing search marketing agency. RBM clients include Fortune 500's and medium size businesses across North America. Ali as RBM CMO leads his team in building and managing quality, high-performing and cost-effective interactive campaigns and programs for our company's customers and partners. In his career, he has significantly improved campaign performance for large brands such as Government of Alberta, Liberal Party, Workopolis, Cathay Pacific, as well as medium to large retailers and high-tech B2B-enterprise niches. Ali and his team develop online promotional concepts that spark viral growth through search and social media for RBM clients, devising strategies that use search engines and more to reach key demographic segments in the ways they're most likely to be receptive. Ali Salman also oversees corporate marketing initiatives for Rapid Boost Marketing, including strategic communications counsel, public and analyst relations and client education programming.

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