How are fashion brands using Instagram to raise sales?

Screenshot of apps on a smartphone

When it comes to social media platforms, fashion brands are stealing the show, churning out interesting and relevant content, high quality imagery and interacting with customers. However, research undertaken by digital marketing company Yes Life Marketing recently discovered that only 23% of brands actually use Instagram as part of their social media strategy – so the fashion brands dominating the insta scene must know something we don’t.

Head to any online clothing store these days and you will see the usual social media click through buttons – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest – as well as Instagram nestled neatly between them. But how are these forward thinking fashionistas raising sales through the platform? Instagram doesn’t allow its users to feature a click through link on their captions, just their profile, so that click baiting style of marketing is out of question unless you can convince people to scroll back to the top of your profile and hit the link there.

Screenshot of the Collectif Instagram feedInstead they are using the platform for its intended purpose, sharing great imagery regularly to encourage people to follow them and pay attention to what they have to offer. Brands such as ASOS have numerous accounts; its ASOS Studio account, for example, offers a behind the scenes look at what happens when models enter the studio for shoots. This exclusivity is what draws people in and allows the company to also showcase its latest products.

Another tactic utilised by brands, in a bid to raise their sales via the social media platform, is to encourage engagement with customers. A hashtag is set up and customers are asked to share images of themselves on the site using the hashtag. The brand then promises to choose their favourite and feature them on the site. Fan content is another fun way of featuring customers, getting them to model your clothes or promote their products on their own profile and maximise your coverage too.

There are also apparently some tricks to editing your photos that can enhance their appeal to those scrolling through an Instagram profile. The University of Wisconsin conducted research on the platform and discovered that images that feature these five elements increase the viewer’s desire to make a purchase:

  • No filters
  • No question marks or exclamations in the caption
  • Longer captions
  • High levels of yellow or blue
  • From infrequent posters with a high amount of followers

The research team discovered that photos featuring these elements encouraged the person viewing them to purchase from the brand within six months, so this Instagram tactic still takes time like any other social media marketing endeavour.

When it comes to fashion brands using Instagram to raise sales, it’s no wonder they’ve migrated to the visual platform after Pinterest didn’t take off as much as we all thought it initially would on a social media scale. It might be popular but it still hasn’t gained the momentum of a traditional social media platform, possibly because of its lack of newsfeed element. Expect to see more brands adopting the Instagram tactic and their sales increasing steadily in the future as a result (while they also cross their fingers that the platform will eventually allow them to feature click through links in captions to make things easier!)

This post was written by a RWL Guest BloggerSophie Davidson is an avid fashion and lifestyle writer, often described as a gym bunny and all round fitness fanatic.

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