Instagram Releases New Guide on How Fashion Brands Can Maximize On-Platform Performance
Instagram is the place people go for beautiful, inspiration images and content. As noted in a recent Facebook Research report:
"On Instagram, people follow celebrities, get DIY inspiration and are visually transported to new places"
As such, Instagram is a platform where visual style very much matters, where the quality of your posts is paramount, because people are scrolling through their Instagram feeds looking for creative inspiration, for something new and fresh that they grabs their attention and speaks to their desires.
Arguably, the sector in which this is most prevalent is in fashion - as noted by Facebook:
"Instagram has transformed the way people experience fashion, making it a 24/7 global event."
And with both the London and Paris Fashion Weeks coming up soon, Instagram sought to examine this further, commissioning a new study into how fashion brands are using the platform, which of them are doing it best, and - most importantly - how they're creating resonant content.
And while the focus is on fashion, the report contains a range of helpful insights that can be applied to any brand looking to generate more engagement on Instagram - here are some of the key notes from the new Instagram "Feed Fashion" report.
As the basis of the report, Instagram surveyed more than 10,000 Instagram users across Germany, Spain, France, Italy and the UK to get some perspective on how their European audience uses the platform for fashion inspiration. Instagram has combined these findings with their overall audience data to provide some comparison and perspective on respective use - for example, 50% of all Instagram users follow brands on the platform, while 45% of polled European Instagrammers follow a fashion brand, business or fashionista to get inspiration for looks they can put together or buy.
That's a significant amount of purchase intent - as per the report:
"Instagram has democratised fashion, revolutionising the way that people discover, experience and connect with brands, designers and labels. It offers both emerging and established brands a powerful opportunity to reach a global customer base."
What's more, Instagram also found that "Fashionistas" in Europe - users who follow fashion related accounts - are active on the platform every day, checking their feeds, on average, 15 times every 24 hours.
It's clear from the stats that fashion brands need to be investing time on their Instagram presence - and while the data here is specific to European users, it's a fairly safe bet that the trends are similar in other regions.
One of the more interesting elements of the report showcases how Instagram is able to track and highlight the latest fashion trends.
For example, Instagram's researchers looked at the most shared posts amongst European fashionistas in July and found that "denim" and "lace" were the biggest fashion trends of the month - with shoes being the most popular fashion item.
The findings underline the value of social data and data tracking - and while it might be more difficult for your everyday user to track overall trends in the same manner, the results underline the ways in which Instagram data can be used to gain more perspective about your target audience and what they're interested in.
For example, through tracking your own data, you might research your target hashtags via tools like TopHashtags.com or Hashtagify - or even Instagram's own search function - in order to get an idea of what other tags are being used in relation to your focus topic. If you conduct a similar search periodically, you'll be able to detect emerging trends amongst your target audience which you might also be able to tap into.
And another element to consider - Instagram has also included a listing of the most used fashion-related emoji (and worth noting, almost half of all Instagram posts now contain emoji characters).
Creativity and Timing
As noted, on Instagram, image quality and composition is important - you need to produce content that makes people stop and take notice.
On this front, according to research "photos on Instagram are perceived as being 2.8X more imaginative and 2X more creative than on other platforms."
In addition to this, timing is also crucial - and while the best time to post will always be relative to your unique audience (which you can determine via your own analytics), Instagram notes that people interested in fashion tend to be more engaged around the weekend.
And finally, Instagram has also included a three-step summary on how to make the most of your Instagram posts - principles which can be applied to pretty much any businesses looking to generate more engagement.
Those notes, of course, aren't prescriptive, leaving them open to some level of interpretation, but that personal interpretation is also important. It's about creating content that stands out, that works to draw people in - and the best way to do that is to bring a unique perspective. Like all creative pursuits, there's no definitive rule book, only guidelines as to how to find your own voice and style.
There's a heap of additional notes in Instagram's "Feed Fashion" report, and it's definitely worth a look, particularly if you're running a fashion brand. But again, even if you're not in fashion, many of the principles and guidelines outlined here can be applied to any business looking to maximize their Instagram performance and response.
You can read the full "Feed Fashion" report here.
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