While plenty of individuals are on Instagram for fun, for brands an Instagram presence only makes sense if it’s impacting sales in one way or another. However, saying you want to use Instagram to improve sales, and actually having the game plan in place to see results, are two different things; and most brands need help in achieving optimization.
Our team assists retail brands in optimizing their Instagram strategy. Here are some best practices on how to drive more sales from Instagram from your content.
#1: Expand to Gallery Posts
ListenFirst’s Content Benchmarks found that in Q4 2019, Instagram Gallery Posts by brands averaged 86% more Responses compared to Image posts on the platform. This is not an isolated trend. Gallery posts have generated more Likes and Comments than every other type of post on Instagram across many industries. Instagram audiences find posts with multiple images more engaging. With the Gallery format, brands can showcase more products without needing to worry about diminishing returns.
#2: Highlight the Details
Generally speaking, Instagram close-ups of product shots perform incredibly well. Make sure your background doesn’t compete and instead, highlights the detail in your product.
#3: Show a Variety of Colors or Textures
Fans love variety. Between January – September 2019, the top performing American Eagle Outfitters’ Instagram post about jeans showed a variety of different washes and views, while during the same time period, two of the top performing denim posts by Gap employed the same strategy.
#4: Create a Composition
Part of Instagram’s stickiness is that it has been a source of inspiration for everything, whether fashion, style, home, or travel. By creating compositions like this flat-lay outfit inspiration from Hollister, you’ll drive up engagement and saves.
#5: Partner With Micro-Influencers
Bigger isn’t always better. While working with an Instagram influencer with “Kardashian” or “Jenner’ in their name would result in the largest audience for your content, that doesn’t make it the most relevant audience. Partnering with Instagram influencers with less than 100K followers, i.e. micro-influencers, is often a more effective way to use the platform to increase sales. These micro-influencers cultivate a strong, loyal and vibrant sense of community around niche interest areas, and this connection can result in moving more product than an endorsement from a more established celebrity.
#6: Leverage ASMR
There’s a lot of competition for eyeballs on Instagram. In such a crowded ecosystem, finding a way to stand out is key, and many brands are turning to ASMR for that edge. Standing for “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response”, ASMR is that tingling sensation that some people feel up their scalp, neck, and spine from such audio stimulation as whispering voices, brushing hair, and tapping noises. We’ve previously covered the benefits of ASMR video for brands more in-depth—some key highlights include: longer than average engagement time compared to non-ASMR social media content as reported by Michael Kors; and about half of the ASMR audience is between 18-24, and more than twice as likely to be in market for tech products.
#7: Showcase Diversity
The top performing Instagram post by Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty label during the SS2020 New York Fashion Week featured plus-size model Leslie Sidora in lingerie, while a Christian Siriano Instagram post during the same Fashion Week showing a plus-sized and pregnant model Ashley Graham captured nearly 22K Responses. Representing diversity around body types, ethnic identities, and gender identity will inherently improve your social media ROI, since a wider group of people can see themselves reflected in your brand messaging.
There’s no single formula to drive more sales from Instagram, but these 7 tips provide an insightful framework for thinking about how to make the necessary optimizations. By working with Instagram analytics experts such as ListenFirst, brands can find the sweet spot for improving connections and start making Instagram a better performing platform for sales.