“I can’t wait to Instagram this!” Yes, just like it’s predecessors Facebook and Twitter, Instagram has now become a socially acceptable verb. It seems like every store in the world now has an Instagram account, and the amount of “likes” tops anything Facebook would ever see, or Twitter would ever have re-tweeted. What is it that makes this new social media application so insanely addictive? The answer is simple. Twitter surpassed Facebook because it got straight to the point of what you were doing with a limited character description that communicates both your thoughts and your personality. Instagram is now surpassing Twitter because it allows you to maintain these thoughts while showing your viewers exactly what you’re doing, or promoting, through a visually appealing filter. The jokes that ensued about everyone now considering themselves professional photographers by using the different Instagram filters were the highlight of the application’s success for me.
Beyond providing humor, Instagram has become an absolute necessity and a social media force in it’s own right for stores and fashion labels. It generates buzz more than Twitter ever could because of that simple little picture, and is infinitely simpler than going through a Facebook newsfeed or fan page. So what makes a successful “Instagrammer”? The same thing that makes a successful website owner: frequent, attention-grabbing and unrepeated updates.
In regards to frequency, there is obviously an ideal number of times for a store (or even a person) to post in one day. In order to actually appreciate a post, the post has to be appealing and it shouldn’t spam a person’s Instagram feed. I have unfollowed at least two stores for posting too frequently (over 5 posts a day). The ideal number of times to post per day as a retailer would be between 2 and 4 so that customers don’t forget you, but they don’t get irritated by the incessant posts either.
When it comes to grabbing customer attention, colors and photography angles are extremely important. I love it when stores show a bright original photo of a product they offer, and unique images like snaps of the packaging and backstage at photoshoots which are also great to see. Part of grabbing customer attention is giving them something they haven’t seen before. Message to all shop owners with Instagram accounts: don’t repeat the same products in your pictures over and over! This is another major reason for people to stop following your posts. It’s a very dangerous line to cross because once you lose a follower, chances are they aren’t coming back.
Last but not least (this is actually the most important factor): feedback. The worst thing a shop can do is post an adorable dress but when followers comment “where do I get it?” or “how much?” they are not given a response. The feedback is the follow-through, it’s the final step to making a sale. Without customer interaction all of the previous steps were completely wasted. The best way to provide feedback is to avoid the need for it entirely; if you’re posting a pair of shoes, also post where you can buy them and the retail price. This is all customers really care about once you have succeeded in sparking their interest.
Whatever the case may be, Instagram has huge potential for shoppers and sellers, alike. This application has made us view the world from an Instagram filtered lens, and it’s no surprise stores have caught on to its undeniable potential as a selling tool. Happy Instagram-ing!