Instagram Marketing for Retailers: The 2019 Guide for Success

by Jennifer Shambroom, 7 minutes read
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Successful Instagram Marketing Strategies for Retail Brands in 2019

The Evolution of Retail Marketing

Retail markets are a cornerstone of economies all over the world and the growth of technology has forever changed not only how they operate, but how they market themselves to get an edge on the competition.

The internet has revolutionized retailers by giving customers the option of buying right from their couch using e-commerce, as well as giving the gift of social media.

But with internet trends moving so quickly, how does a retail brand keep up with the pace?

Retail Brands and Social Media Marketing

Whether you’re a well-known brand or just starting out, social media marketing is where you can even out the playing field. Unlike traditional marketing, social media marketing allows retail brands to build a community of customers who are always connected.

And in the past few years, social media has grown to take up a massive chunk of this marketing matrix. Imagine this; if you were to combine the number of active users on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter alone, you’re looking at close to 3 billion people.

And what does this mean for brands looking to market on these platforms?

Great (and cheap!) opportunities for brand recognition!

Instagram Meets Retail Branding

People from all sorts of demographics have heard of Instagram and the platform centered around photo-sharing has become a mainstay of any business’s social media marketing strategy. It’s also reached the point of becoming one of the largest online marketplaces out there.

Even Instagram adapted itself to this growing trend by making the platform a conducive environment for buyers to discover new brands and vice-versa.

Examples of retail brands actively engaged on Instagram:

1. Nike, the sports apparel giant, has over 88 million followers on Instagram. They’ve been rolling out campaign after campaign on the platform, not just to launch new products, but to sell the brand itself.

Competing brands like Adidas, Puma, and Reebok aren’t far behind either. All of these brands use Instagram to launch, create hype, expand their reach, and consistently stay engaged with their audience.

2. Clothing brands have benefited a great deal from Instagram’s thriving community. From well-known luxury brands to brand new labels that haven’t even launched in the offline market yet, they all have one trait in common – a strong Instagram following. In fact, there are several brands using Instagram to directly sell their products to customers.

3. Instagram isn’t just about digital campaigns, it’s about creating new avenues for great business ideas. Rihanna launched her first ever cosmetics brand “Fenty Beauty” in 2017 and it became a worldwide sensation seemingly overnight.

There are several other brands in the same category that have risen to fame in no time by actively participating in digital marketing efforts. And this is a testament to the power of having a billion active users on a single network.

Effective Instagram Marketing Strategies for Retail Brands

Since we’ve established now that Instagram is a possible haven for retail brands to market themselves, let’s look at effective strategies that can boost their sales and overall reach:

1. The Right Target

The only possible downfall of having so many people using one platform is that a brand’s promotions might not reach the right target audience. It’s a classic case of having too many fish in the sea, but none of them are taking the bait. This is where effective targeting needs to be practiced in order to increase the frequency of sales.

While promoting on Instagram, there are a number of ways that brands can reach out to a specific audience – hashtags, mentions, sponsored ads, stories, all of which we’re going to talk more about in the next few points. The idea here is for a brand to be clear on who its audience is, before going forward with strategizing.

2. Content is Everything

On Instagram, content is everything. The new-age buyer is very informed and opinionated – they’re sure of what they like, and they know where and how to get it.

Hence, good content helps distinguish a brand from their sea of competitors on Instagram. With great content comes greater traffic and engagement that’ll skyrocket a brand’s reputation. And with Instagram being such a visual content-driven network, brands need to use that to their advantage.

Here are some tips to help your brand stand out:

  • Post frequently, consistently, and with the aim to grab the viewer’s attention.
  • Create a tone and line of communication that resonates with the brand’s audience.
  • Invest a lot of effort (and research!) into captions and hashtags. Hashtags can work to make posts reach higher visibility.
  • The more visually appealing a post is, the more traction it’s bound to get.
  • Create a theme for the brand’s page, either through matching grids, a color pattern, using the same filter, etc.

3. Paid Ads are Worth It

Instagram introduced the option for business profiles to spend on sponsored ads a few years ago and brands have since been using it to their advantage. With a business profile, there are several features that can build recognition.

For example, Sponsored ads are an option for business profiles and are simple to use and are just as effective than traditional offline methods. A brand can choose the demographic, area, location, age, and even the specific interests of the users that will view their ads. These ads then take the user to either the page or a website, through a direct link on the ad.

Another great form of investment for your Instagram page is increasing your follower count by buying followers and also increasing engagement through paid likes. For information into how to go about buying followers, check out, which gives you the option of buying followers through different types of packages.

4. Creating a Story

By Story, we mean Instagram Stories. This feature didn’t become available on Instagram until 2016, and when it did, people were more than happy to embrace it. Instagram stories are 24-hour disappearing images and videos that users are able to upload. The feature became popular amongst individuals first, and then brands saw the potential for campaigns to start rolling out on stories too.

Sponsored ads can be promoted through stories as well. The trick here for retail brands is to use as many features available on stories as possible, making their content both fun and engaging.

Here are a few tips to help you out with stories:

  • Using stickers and emojis in stories gets a lot more visibility than plain images.
  • 15-second video clips can become effective ads for brands.
  • The polling and question features on stories are great for better engagement numbers.
  • Stories are a great way to create curiosity and announce product launches.
  • Brands should be posting stories every day to stay fresh in the minds of their followers.
  • There’s also the ‘highlights’ feature, where important stories can be saved for viewers to see at any point in time.

5. Influencers of Instagram

Influencer Marketing has grown to become a massive avenue for Instagram marketers. Influencers have built a large audience of followers and businesses use their platform to market products, services, and experiences to the influencer’s followers.

Think of Influencer marketing as the modern-day equivalent of word of mouth marketing – and its twice as effective when done right.

Here are a few tips:

  • Brands need to connect with the right type of influencers; apparel brands should team up with fashion influencers and not travel influencers if they want to reach the right market.
  • Depending on budgets, brands can either choose to partner with macro influencers (those with over 100,000 followers), or micro influencers  (those with followers between 10,000 and 100,000).
  • Quality of content is an important KPI when retail brands choose influencers to work with, this is because it reflects on the credibility of the brand.
  • It’s smarter for a retail brand to build a team of influencers who’ll stay loyal to the brand, rather than shifting amongst many different names.

Closing thoughts

Marketing strategies are as dynamic as the markets themselves and it’s up to retailers to keep up. Smart Instagram marketing techniques not only help a brand retain its existing customer base but expand it as well.

With Instagram’s growth not seeing any end in sight, brands can rest assured the platform isn’t going anywhere and any moves to expand awareness on the platform will be made in good faith.