We attended a Social Media Week event this week at London College of Fashion, led by a team of lecturers at the college as well as industry marketers and bloggers. The panel discussed the tactics they thought brands should employ to deliver a successful Instagram strategy, here are the nine tactics that stood out to us:
1. Showcase your company's culture and let your customers see behind the scenes
Many of the customers of fashion brands are going to be fans of fashion and keen to see behind the scenes of an industry that they perceive to be glamorous - brands should showcase the workings of their brand to their customers (e.g how a designers studio and moodboards look, how their stylists work) and feature the employees that represent their brand well.
2. Use Guest Instagrammers
From your own brand's stylists, to famous photographers and bloggers - Guest Instagrammers can increase awareness and grow your follower base. During their SS12 catwalk show, Burberry enlisted the most followed Instagram user in the UK, Mike Kus, to run their Instagram account. He was tasked with photographing behind the scenes and the show itself for all of Burberry's followers, and Kus's 120,000+ followers were encouraged to see the stream.
Mike Kus Announces to his followers that he will be taking over the Instagram account
3. Host contests and competitions
Karinna Nobbs (a lecturer in Fashion Branding and Retail Strategy at London College of Fashion) highlighted Nasty Gal as a brand who do Instagram contests and competitions well. For their Super Nasty Magazine Contest they asked their fans to submit their best photos to be in with a chance to have them featured in their magazine. They received 13,000 uploads and decided to feature more photos than originally planned due to the high calibre of submissions.
4. Turn Instagram ♥'s to sales.
Karinna Nobbs highlighted Nasty Gal as a great example of a brand using Instagram well as they have turned Instgram ♥'s to sales. The brand regularly post images of models in their products to drive visitors to their site - more importantly they use models that reflect their real customers. They're young and cool and the style of the photos have the feel of those used on personal style blogs. The images of the models in the products are therefore realistic and attainable which can increase the customers determination to buy the product.
5. Bring offline events to the online
Followers of fashion brands are likely to want to gain an insight into fashion events. From catwalk shows to smaller scale events that celebrate brand partnerships, brands should use Instagram to show their brand events and the guests in attendance - particularly if they are well known or reflect your brand well.
6. Product posts Vs. editorial posts
Karinna Nobbs argued that the successful brands struck a balance between posts that push products and posts which were more editorial (subjects ranging from lifestyle, food and holidays) ensuring there weren't too many of the former posts and too little of the latter. She singled out the Kate Spade account which highlights new ranges, but also include 'what to do in NY' posts which sit nicely with the brand's 'City Guides.'
7. Two way conversation
Respond to commentators so a 2 way conversation develops. Whilst it isn't practical to respond to every single commentator perhaps pick 2 or 3 per post. This shows your brand is listening to customers.
8. Tie Instagram into your Ecommerce site
Kat Duffy (a blogger and researcher) referenced a nice example of a brand using fans Instagram shots to drive sales on their ECommerce site; Free People gave each individual item a unique hashtag and encouraged customers who had bought an item to upload it to Twitter and Instagram. They then displayed these photos next to the product images on their ecommerce site so potentially buyers could see how the item looked on ''non-models.'
9. Finally stay excited!
It's not enough to run one campaign and then forget about Instagram - make sure you're uploading great content regularly and consistently. Alongside this try and run exciting competitions and campaigns to spike interest in your brands Instagram account.