Retail’s first Instagram royalty was crowned in 2014 by Bloomberg.
Brandy Melville, a clothing retailer aimed at teenagers, built its brand entirely on the photo-centric social media platform. They do no traditional advertising, but they’ve beat the curve on earnings among their competitors.
Granted, Brandy, as the brand is referred to online, has 2.2 million followers on Instagram and thousands more on Twitter and Facebook. That’s unachievable scale for many small retailers, but there are general lessons available from great social brands like Brandy for everyone to glean.
Show Off Your Stuff
Brandy Melville does one thing really well with its account: it photographs its products and makes them look desirable. In the case of this fashion retailer, their attention to staging transfers well to the internet and they end up evoking a feeling or aesthetic similar to what’s in their brick and mortar locations.
Run a Contest
A great way to ask for engagement from an audience and to grow followers immediately is to offer a reward. Try having some fun and find out who your real online fans are. Ask your followers to post a picture of them taking an action and to tag you. The most important part of these sorts of posts will be to include a clear call to action for the audience. Keep it simple.
The more fun you have, the more your posts will spread around the platform, so not only will you be building brand equity with your true fans, you’ll also be getting a bit of free marketing among their followers.
Wanna skip all the shenanigans? Just offer an Instagram coupon. Take a picture or design something specific to share on the account.
This strategy hews closely to traditional method of running a coupon in a newspaper insert but now all you need is an Instagram and a Canva account -- the cost of distribution has become mitigated in the age of social media.
Easter Eggs for the Insiders
Already have an engaged audience? Do your fans go crazy for a certain product? Tease them. Drop a photo of a new item or a special edition release or something seasonal that will be on sale. Add some details in the caption and talk directly to your fans. Tell your customers to come find it the deal or item and when to arrive.
Not sure what products to order for your next order? Take your audience along with you on a purchasing day. Ask them which items you should stock, like say Children’s Activity StickerBooks or School Zone Activity Books. By sharing your process with people online, you may get insights back that you never dreamed about.
Social media is not a panacea, of course, but with some smart planning and a little attention to detail, it’s benefit for free distribution of marketing materials makes it a boon for any business.