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Instagram tips for retailers

Tips from Paul Bidder, Managing director at Colony Commerce

1. Find your unique visual focus. Instagram is a place for retailers to experiment with the visual medium and inspire their followers to do the same. Retailers can cultivate their own unique visual identity and surprise and delight their followers with new and distinctive approaches to visual data.

2. Keep the content fresh. The images users generate on the platform have a very ‘arty’ but genuine feel to them, which can also provide strong content for user-generated promotions which retail brands could even potentially use themselves, just as womenswear brand Kate Spade did for its first ad campaign.

3. Let followers get a glimpse behind the scenes and get to know the real brand culture. A great way to gain followers is to create content that offers a ‘sneak peek’ or different perspective of the brand, which you can’t get on other platforms.

4. Get creative. Surprise and delight your followers and inspire them with new content and challenges. Just by providing a creative focus for users, brands have achieved huge follower growth. Simple themes and competitions work well – by providing a simple brief with a memorable hash tag, which can be answered in a visual medium and appeals to the ‘artsy’ followers. By their nature, followers love to be part of something and have the opportunity to stand out from the crowd, so create a competition which allows them to do this.

5. Don’t treat Instagram as just another social network. Take time to understand who follows you and tailor your strategy accordingly. The aim should be to develop a community of visual ambassadors for your brand – individuals who cannot go in-store without photographing/ tagging new products etc. Via this brand building, soft sales can be generated.

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