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How to harness the power of Instagram


As Instagram reveals new insights into how people shop on the social media platform, the company’s head of fashion partnerships, Eva Chen, exclusively shares her five top tips for converting consumers.

The stats

The stats

Statistics according to Instagram data over 28 days during June 2016

With more than 95 million posts a day from 500 million active users worldwide, and the search #fashion returing over 293 million results, Instagram is proving an increasingly valuable tool for fashion retailers. It is a way to engage and connect with consumers, promoting their brands and targeting valuable fashion savvy customers.

According to new insights released by Instagram, those interested in fashion are more active on Instagram than other users, with UK Instagrammers interested in fashion following the highest number of accounts compared to other European countries and posting three times more often than the average global user.

In addition to being a platform for inspiration, with 45% of UK Instagrammers following fashion brands or businesses to inspire their own looks, Instagram is also driving actual sales.A third of those surveyed by Instagram saying they had bought a fashion item they had discovered on Instagram.

With more than 31 million people using Instagram and Facebook in the UK every day, the platform is a valuable space for retailers. Amy Cole, Instagram’s head of brand development EMEA, says: “Facebook and Instagram are where people first discover, discuss and get inspired by fashion. By combining a retailer’s understanding of their customers with our tools and understanding of people, we can make fashion personal again, but at scale.”

Nicole Barclay, global head of social at Net-a-Porter, describes Istagram hashtags as already being an essential tool for the brand: “They are part of the way we speak, both globally and locally to our audience. we know they are the driver of new and relevant audiences, so they form part of every fashion piece that we put onto instagram.”

However, harnessing the potential of Instagram fashionistas requires a specific approach – focusing on authenticity and creativity more than directly pushing products.

Eva Chen, head of fashion partnerships at Instagram, shares five essentials for retailers targeting the Instagram consumer:

  1. Focus on engagement, not followers: Followers don’t necessarily translate to business impact. It’s not the amount of followers you have, but the passion and engagement that people feel for a brand that matters most. You can have millions of followers, but more important is whether people are engaging with you, such as commenting and tagging their friends.
  2. Tell the authentic story of your brand: From showcasing products on the catwalk to providing behind the scenes access, Instagram helps you tell an authentic story about your brand. Creative tools such as Boomerang, Hyperlapse and now Stories give more creative flexibility to tell your stories in interesting ways and bring your business to life, capturing the full cycle of your product—from the design process to the runway.
  3. Connect with your community: Instagram has opened up fashion and made it more accessible to everyone. The Instagram community is active and robust, so take the opportunity to engage with your followers. Ask them questions and respond to their comments. Re-posting or commenting on someone’s post when they’ve tagged you in it, will build a real connection with your followers, which will in turn drive advocacy and brand love. Also – the Instagram community is incredibly creative - lots of designers and brands are now collaborating with influencers in the community.
  4. Make video the star attraction: Motion is the next big trend and we’re seeing the fashion community increasingly embrace video and our video tools to tell their stories. With video you can bring the craft and beauty of designs to life – you can actually see the sequins twinkle and the fringe move.
  5. Craft a strong visual identity: A strong and consistent brand is vital. Think about the images, the typography, the talent or tone of voice. When someone is scrolling through and sees your posts, you want them to know it’s you. With Instagram Stories you have another tool to communicate who your brand is through moments of spontaneity and joy. Also – don’t forget, people often watch videos on their mobile so designing videos which can be played easily with the sound off and framing the story in vertical orientation, rather than asking people to turn their phone to landscape, are key considerations.

Last month, Drapers caught up with Sophia Webster to find out about her social media strategies. To read the full report from Instagram, click here. 

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