With over 1 billion monthly active users, the power and scale of Instagram can’t be denied, especially when it comes to fashion brands. Yet, with countless fashion brands desperately seeking to connect with and convert their target audiences on the platform, how in the world of social media marketing can your brand stand out?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Instagram marketing for fashion brands can be fast-paced, competitive, and – let’s face it – downright intimidating. Fashion brands like Jacque Mus have nailed Instagram – as evidenced by their iconic catwalk through the lavender fields of Provence or their viral collaborations with fashion icons like Kendall Jenner.
Yet it’s not always e-commerce brands with enormous marketing budgets that can pull off Instagram marketing magic. Fast fashion US-based retailer Nasty Gal has unleashed a killer Instagram marketing strategy over the past decade, combined with bright, energetic content. The result? A vibrant Instagram feed that is full of compelling visuals.
Even smaller brands like Australian-born clothing brand Meshki have been able to carve out a niche on Instagram with their firm stance on body positivity and inclusivity. The brand has now amassed over 2.1 million Instagram followers.
So, how can your brand stand out? How can you supercharge your Instagram marketing strategy for success, all while staying true to your brand values?
Maybe you’re just starting out and need to focus on building an audience and connecting with them, and fast? Or maybe you’ve already tried your hand at Instagram marketing but it’s just not yielding you any solid results yet?
Either way, we’ve pulled together the top ways fashion brands can boost their Instagram marketing strategy and up their Insta game. Read on to find out more!
The Rise of Instagram Marketing for Fashion Brands
So, why is Instagram marketing so successful for fashion brands in particular? Well, the visual nature of Instagram and the ease of sharing and connecting means that the platform is perfectly suited to fashion brands and their followers.
When it comes to fashion, everyone has an opinion. Instagram makes it easy to share those opinions, start conversations, and develop dedicated fashion communities.
But don’t take our word for it; Lyst called Instagram the “most powerful” fashion trend of 2018. i-D magazine claimed that “no other platform has defined visual culture, and especially fashion, with such visceral omnipotence”.
In fact, Instagram marketing is now so integral to the fashion world that we are starting to see Instagram influencing fashion, rather than the other way around. Fashion brands all over the world have started to create bright, outrageous “Insta-worthy” outfits; bold colors, loud logos, and outlandish feathers all make high-performing content Instagram. This kind of apparel is sure to stall the scrolling thumb and sell like hotcakes on the platform. On the other hand, subtle tailoring and neutral-colored fabrics may not always grab the attention of the Instagram fashion pack.
In the same token, Instagram has leaned into the popularity of fashion on the platform, introducing features like shoppable posts and collaborative Instagram posts. All this makes it easier for influencers and collaborators to connect with brands on the platform – and vice versa!
How Can Fashion Brands Level Up Their Instagram Marketing Strategy?
If fashion brands want to stand out on the Insta feed, all they have to do is create eye-catching “grammable” content, add some CTAs, and upload their products to Instagram Shop, right? Well, no…. not quite.
It takes time, strategy, and effort to convert all those “likes” to conversions and drive sales on a continuous basis.
Instagram marketing, when done well, can unlock access to a seamless path to conversion for fashion brands to take advantage of – BUT, all of this has to be done strategically.
As with any other marketing channel, businesses first need to understand (and then connect with) potential customers, establish a point of difference, and make the customer journey as simple as possible. Even small businesses can score a piece of the Instagram pie if they take the time to understand and connect with their target audience.
To get you on the straight and narrow, keep reading. We’ll uncover our top Instagram marketing tactics that can help brands in the fashion industry see success. Along the way, we’ll explore the best of the best fashion brands who have perfected the Instagram marketing game.
1. Optimize Your Profile and Your Instagram Shop
First things first – optimize your Instagram profile. After all, there’s no point in sending countless potential customers to your profile if it’s a big old mess once they get there.
If you’ve already done this, consider whether or not you could still make some improvements to your page. Be sure to check the following:
- Is your Instagram username easy enough to find? Ideally, your username should simply be your brand name, or your brand name with a country-specific suffix on the end, such as au (for Australia) or eu (for Europe)
- Do you have a clear, compelling display picture and a cohesive feed with clear visuals?
- Is your Instagram shopping set up correctly with all your products (or, at the very least, your best-selling products) included?
- Are you posting regularly?
- Are you posting Instagram Stories regularly?
- Have you saved your best Stories to Highlights Reels on your Instagram profile?
- Does your Instagram bio clearly communicate what your brand is all about? This is probably less important for well-established global brands, but for new fashion brands or lesser-known labels, you need to tell people what you’re all about! For instance, Billy J Boutique, below, has clearly outlined who their brand is and what they’re all about in their bio. Think of this in the same way you think about SEO. Include any of the main keywords that people might search for when they are looking for brands like yours
- Do you have an Instagram hashtag strategy? Are you using up to 30 relevant hashtags for each feed post, including branded hashtags?
2. Utilize Instagram Stories
If you’re not utilizing Instagram Stories to their full potential, you’re missing out! As it’s available in a different section to the main feed, posting Instagram Stories gives you even more chances of being seen by your audience, and offers powerful opportunities to connect with your audience with full-screen visual content.
What could be better?
If you’re not too sure what kind of Stories content to post, try one of the below ideas:
- Show a “behind the scenes” or BTS snippet of your business. That might include making products, visiting customers, or offering a glimpse into a new service you’re launching
- Post a video with a sneak peek of an upcoming collection
- Turn your existing blog content into a series of Stories, with text or voiceover to explain
- Show an “on location” video when you’re shooting your next collection
- Post about an upcoming sale
- Post a “how-to” tutorial about styling one (or more) of your products
- Repost user-generated content (with their written permission, of course!)
- Use Stories as a way to educate your customers by posting information about your products or services
To get more mileage out of your Instagram Stories, you can also post your Story as a Reel or add it to your Highlights page
Check out more unique Instagram Stories examples here.
3. Update the Highlights on your Instagram Profile
In the past, some brands felt that Instagram Stories were a little redundant. After all, sure, Stories can be highly engaging, but what’s the point of sinking money into a content format that is only available for 24 hours?
Then Instagram released the Highlights bar. Located underneath a user’s Instagram bio, the Highlights bar allows users to save their best Stories in these Reels, which can be labeled according to what they contain.
In doing this, Instagram users can extend the life of Instagram Stories for longer than 24 hours and save important or high-performing content.
For instance, the clothing e-commerce giant, Revolve, has added various Reels in their Highlights bar. These categories feature content about events like New York Fashion Week, as well as Highlights for various collaborations and campaigns they have run.
If you wanted to add your own Highlights Reel, here’s how:
- Head to your Instagram profile, hit the icon with three lines at the top right-hand side of your profile, and select “Archive”
- Browse through your Stories. When you find one that you want to add to a Highlight, simply select the heart icon called “Highlight” at the bottom of the screen
- Either add to an existing Highlight or create a new one by hitting the plus icon labeled “New”
- Label your Highlight and add any image you like. You can always change these selections later
- Your new Highlight should then appear on your profile and you can add new Stories to it, or add archived Stories in the same way
There are so many different Highlight Reels you could add, but many fashion brands will add Highlight Reels and add them to the below categories:
- UGC Content
- Competitions and giveaways
- Seasonal clothing or collections
- Information about sustainability or production processes
- Press clippings
- New clothing arrivals
4. Hey, You! Create Attention-Grabbing Content
Now that you’ve optimized your Instagram profile, it’s time to think about content. Your content really is the bread and butter of your success on Instagram.
Your content strategy should guide your content creation efforts, so if you haven’t yet created one, now is the time!
Succeeding on Instagram starts and ends with relevant high-quality content. Above all, each piece of content you create needs to hit one of the five E’s:
- Engage; by using tips, how-to guides, tutorials, or free trials
- Entertain; by bringing your brand story to life. Use storytelling methods such as long-form content, video content, audio, or Instagram carousels
- Educate; by using Instagram Stories, Highlight Reels, or carousels
- Empathize; understand your target audience’s pain points and try to provide solutions to those problems
- Encourage; nurture your community and keep up the dialogue. Keep leads warm and build lasting relationships via Instagram and your other channels
You might not see success straight away, but, if you continue experimenting, you’ll soon discover the content that works for your brand.
For instance, clothing brand Cotton On posts a combination of flat-lays, lifestyle content, user-generated content, helpful video content, and campaign images.
Brands like Folk Clothing, however, are speaking to a slightly different demographic. The brand posts a combination of product images and videos educating Instagram users about sustainability and design.
5. Create Influencer Marketing Campaigns
When it comes to fashion brands on Instagram, influencer campaigns can be a powerful way to promote your products and expand your reach to the masses. Even micro-influencers can be integral when it comes to getting your brand name out there.
Some marketers have got Instagram influencer marketing down to a fine art. Brands like Farfetch collaborate with everyone from designers to artists and influencers to expand brand awareness. Not only does this create unique and engaging content, as we see below, but it also means that these collaborators are sharing the content on their channels with their expansive audiences, meaning campaign content quickly goes viral.
NAKD Fashion is another clothing brand that embraces influencer marketing, collaborating with micro Instagram influencers to well-known mega influencers with millions of Instagram followers.
By giving their influencers discount codes, as they have with influencer Freya Killin, they are able to see which influencers are successfully able to convert their audiences.
Influencer content can also provide marketers with an additional content stream. You can add influencer content or user-generated content to your existing content calendar to further promote your products. Each pic or video that an influencer generates is one that you don’t need to create yourself!
Get creative with your influencer content; ask them to create how-to tutorials, styling videos, gift guides, and more! Just be sure to establish clear metrics for measuring your influencer campaigns before they launch.
You can assess reach, engagement, review comments, and you can measure the number of sales and their basket size, if your chosen Instagram influencers have been given a unique discount code.
6. Embrace Your Creative Side
Let’s face it; Instagram is THE social network that the fashion pack uses. But that also means that it can be a highly competitive landscape, full of other fashion brands clamoring for the attention of their chosen demographic. Therefore, you need to stand out with creative content!
Instagram Stories offers endless opportunities for marketers to get creative. Utilize Polls, Questions, and Quizzes on Instagram Stories to get your audience to interact.
This can also be the perfect way to get your audience involved. It can open up conversations with your followers about anything from your products and services to what users would like to see on social media. This dialogue can be an important source of feedback and inspiration and can even feed into pricing, customer care, and product development!
With your feed posts, experiment with creative video content, tutorials, cinemagraphs, colorful photoshoots, and unique editing effects. Use trending content and other brands’ content as inspiration. Just remember; the goal here is to try to create something unique, not to copy other brands.
To launch her latest collection for SS22, Vera Wang created a series of short, surreal videos featuring close-up shots of garments from her new collection on models. The camera sweeps over, above, and around the model to capture the garments from all angles, resulting in a hyper-modern, hyper-realistic view of the clothing.
7. Encourage User-Generated Content
Like influencer marketing, user-generated content (or UGC) provides fashion brands with a steady stream of content and allows users to engage with the wider fashion community. UGC is any content derived from users. On Instagram, that’s usually content like a video review, a tutorial, a vlog, or photos of a brand’s products or services.
If you’re completely new to UGC, you can start with a small campaign and then record your learnings. Then, over time, you can start to build larger campaigns based on what worked – and what didn’t!
When done well, UGC can amplify your reach and engagement rates, draw prospects into your funnel, and generate amazing content that you can re-share – with permission, of course.
Creating a UGC campaign is easy, but getting customers to share their content isn’t! For fashion brands, UGC usually consists of shots of consumers wearing garments or featuring them in flat-lay images. UGC campaigns work by simply asking users to share this content. As Instagram is all about sharing pics of ourselves, UGC might simply ask them to go one step further and tag the garments they are wearing or use a campaign hashtag.
If this isn’t enough, however, marketers can incentivize UGC by offering a discount or a prize for the best UGC posted every week or month.
To make it easier to view and collate your brand’s UGC submissions, create a branded campaign hashtag. The hashtag should be easy to remember and should be clearly communicated to customers. Tell them about your UGC campaign in every way you can – send an email newsletter, post about it on your Instagram account, and include the hashtag in your product packaging.
Discover our ultimate guide to UGC marketing here and launch your campaign today!
8. Refine Your CTAs
It’s all good and well creating eye-catching content, collaborating on campaigns with bloggers, and launching a UGC marketing campaign, but how do marketers convert all that activity into dollars and cents?
Well, it’s all about your call-to-action, also known as your CTA.
If Instagram users love your content and like and comment on your posts frequently, that’s great. Some of them might even head straight to your website after seeing your content to shop, too, which is even better! Of course, Instagram Shopping makes the path to purchase that much faster.
But you may not have every single product uploaded to your Instagram Shop yet, especially if you’re a fast-fashion retailer releasing new products every week. Therefore, having clear, compelling CTAs means that your efforts will be far more effective. CTAs on your posts will tell users exactly where to find videos, products, or other information.
For instance, Nasty Gal tells users to head to the link in their Instagram bio to shop new arrivals, like in the post below.
On the other hand, brands like ASOS have such a large range of products that it would prove difficult to keep their Instagram Shop in order. Instead, they add product codes within the caption of each of their feed posts, as in the example below.
9. Utilize Instagram Shopping Features
Instagram Shopping allows you to convert all that engagement into sales and is an important tool for fashion brands wanting to use Instagram as a key sales channel.
To set up your Instagram Shop, first, you need to have an Instagram business account that is connected to a Facebook page. Next, set up a Business Manager account. This will allow you to create your shop in Commerce Manager. If you’ve already created a Catalog on Facebook, you can use that same Catalog to tag products on Instagram.
If not, once your business account is ready to go, then you’re ready to set up your Instagram Shop! You can do this directly through e-commerce platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce. The product information, pricing, and product images will be automatically uploaded to your Catalog.
Or, you can create your Catalog manually by uploading a list of your physical products into your Catalog, complete with product descriptions, images, and pricing information.
Once your goods have been saved in your Instagram Shop, you just need to submit your account for review and turn on Shopping. From there you should be able to start tagging products in your posts and Stories. Try to tag your products in all your product posts and Stories. That said, you don’t want every single post to be a tagged product post! Ideally, you still want to post content that builds your brand as well as entertains or educates your audience.
If you’ve already done all this, you can still continue to optimize your Shop by adding collections and tagging user-generated content in your Shop.
To create a collection, simply head to your Commerce Manager and click “Edit” and “Add Collection”. Simply create your Collection the same way you’d add products, add all the products to your collection and hit “Publish”.
To tag user-generated content in your Shopping tab, simply find a post that has tagged your brand. Hit the three dots at the top right-hand corner of the post, and then hit “Request to feature in shop”. Then the influencer or content creator will be notified of your request. If approved, that image will show up when users hit that product on your Instagram Shop.
Ready to Embrace Instagram Marketing in Fashion?
Fashion brands and Instagram marketing go together like cheese and wine. If you work with a fashion brand not utilizing this highly visual, compelling, and addictive social media platform, you’re missing out!
Hopefully, this guide has demonstrated just how easy it is to create and implement a social media strategy. But no matter how simple it might be, really winning at Instagram marketing does require time and effort. Even once you create an Instagram strategy and start to see results, you need to constantly try new things so your followers don’t get bored and you can attract even more new users to engage with you.
It’s all good and well creating one super-awesome viral post, but the key to maintaining a solid social media marketing strategy is consistent content.
Thankfully, we can help you there! Instagram post scheduling means that you can create and execute a consistently fabulous content marketing calendar and automate your social media posting duties. In the meantime, you can free up hours in your schedule and work on coming up with amazing ideas for your next batch of content. You can even focus on other tasks, like responding to comments or creating Instagram ads so you can reach more users.
Learn how to automate your social media marketing with our easy-to-use scheduling tool so you can focus on creating unique content that will help you stand out from the fashion crowd.
Ready to stand out from the rest and entice more potential customers? Well, what are you waiting for? Start working your way through our top Instagram marketing tips and report back with the results!