When you have an idea for a brand, you need to decide who is going to buy these garments and about how you can inform them that you exist and then how you will seduce them into buying.
This is the foundation of the business practice known as ‘marketing’.
Many people confuse the term ‘marketing’ with ‘advertising’ and ‘promotion’. These are aspects and functions of ‘marketing’ which also includes some rigorous thinking, planning and execution of all of the facets of your product /brand.
There is a well-worn term to help you remember what ‘marketing’ is, known as the 7p’s. Depending on your business this can be reduced to 4 or 6 but is covers off all the headlines of the marketing mix for you to continue to evaluate and improve upon to optimise your offering to your audience.
Product, Price, Promotion, Place, Packaging, Positioning and People, are the pillars of this mix.
For the purposes of this article, we are just going to focus on Promotion and Place and both of these within the context of Instagram.
Instagram, which you must know by now, is a social media platform that does two basic things and then a whole load of complex things that we could/will get psychobabble about later.
Firstly, it allows the user to create a profile and then define what their interests are and then be fed a constant stream of visually stimulating pictures and videos that satisfies their natural need for input to stave off moments of boredom/downtime. On the bus…on the loo.
Secondly, it allows users (individuals and businesses) to create a persona of their own and then flaunt whatever it is they think they have in order to get some feedback in the form of follows, likes, comments and shares.
Both of these functions satisfy a basic and primitive part of the human condition which has been at the core of our success as an organism since those aliens came down to earth before the last ice age and messed with our simian DNA to produce worker slaves to mine the Earths minerals. You will understand if you are into Ancient Sumerian creation myths.
That basic primitive part of our brain that gets stimulated by Instagram is the search for ‘connection’ and validation that squirts dopamine into our amygdala when you get a like or a follow or a share or a nice comment. You have a hunger for dopamine because it is often linked to pursuits that are good for you, especially as a primitive hunter gatherer before we got all digital and sedentary and moved a million miles away from what our bodies and brains were designed for. Dopamine would be delivered as a result of achieving something difficult as a sort of ‘payoff’ for some small but essential victory while managing your survival.
Anyway, the point is that you can use Instagram to find your audience and to seduce them to your proposition by clever use of images and video (promotion) and you can point them to your website for them to make a purchase (place).
FIND YOUR AUDIENCE
Most clothing brands link themselves to a sport or activity that signals that the wearer is a practitioner or a fan of said ‘thing’.
It is easy to find them and in the early days of setting up your Instagram profile it is fairly easy to get them, them to notice you.
Let’s imagine that you have an idea that your brand is for Golfers.
Anyone who likes golf and who is on Instagram will almost certainly have followed a major player or organisation that already exists on Insta. All you need to do is create your profile with some promotional/lifestyle/product posts and then you can go down the list of followers on that major players/organisations page and hit the ‘follow’ button.
You can follow approx. 150 people at a time before Insta stops you for a short while, usually about an hour. If you are a little bit careful as you go down that follow list and make sure you are clicking on what looks like real people rather than other businesses, then these individuals will all get a ‘follow’ notification on their insta account and usually they will follow you back, especially if they like what you are doing.
You can do this 7500 times and what you will have achieved at the end of that process, which will take a couple of weeks, is hopefully a few hundred, maybe even a couple of thousand follows from people who like what you are selling. They will then potentially see all of your posts that are cleverly designed to build your brand and sell your product. They may have even gone straight to your website from your insta page and you should see some early traffic.
We say ‘potentially’ because it is not guaranteed and in fact Insta will restrict your posts showing to about 10% of your followers only but you can create paid adverts to show to the rest and to specifically selected demographics that you would define as your audience to begin your seduction.
Once you have used up your 7500 follows, you then need to be posting good and relevant content to be getting follows and paying for your advertising.
SEDUCE THEM WITH CONTENT
Millions of pounds are spent by corporate behemoths to create posts and then advertisements that tap deliberately into your consciousness and that attempt to influence you to make a purchase.
We cannot go into the techniques that are deployed, often insidiously and unknown to you, to complete the seduction but we can tell you what you need to be doing generally.
The price of your garments are probably such that they do not represent a ‘risky’ purchase to your audience so you may find that the time it takes to convert a prospect to a customer is quite short.
This means you do not need to create a long campaign that has to extoll the values and virtues of your products to move your audience along a conversion journey necessarily, you just need to show them the product, maybe in a lifestyle context.
Instagram requires regular feeding to keep people engaged and to maximise your conversions.
You can post to your ‘feed’ and you can create ‘stories’ and the only difference between the two is that the ‘feed’ is a scroll-able landscape formatted means to digest your posts, along with everyone else’s but the ‘story’ is a swipe-able portrait format that is better for video viewing.
We say that you should try to aim for once a day at least, twice if you can manage it and that you should time your posts to go live when most of your followers are online. Initially this will be guess work but Insta has an ‘insights’ tab for you to learn when is best after you have posted for a while.
You can post pictures and you can post video and both are easy enough to produce these days if you have a decent smart phone and some apps…but you need to be posting quality content to maximise your favouritism with the Insta algorithm. It likes ‘quality’ because it wants its users engaged and it will reward quality posts with views.
For photo editing, we recommend getting an Adobe Cloud subscription so you have access to Photoshop express and the Spark post app. Both of these apps allow you to quickly edit photos with some filter pre-sets and then easily add text and graphics and then post directly into Insta.
For video production, we recommend using Videoleap and we recommend a music app called UBeats to create soundtracks that you export straight into VideoLeap.
We like Videoleap because you can create your videos in a number of aspects, portrait for Instagram story posts and landscape and then Instagram square aspect for ‘feed’ posts.
When you are creating your posts it is very important that you have defined what your overall creative pallet looks like and have defined some creative rules.
Your posts need to be instantly recognisable and familiar looking so that potential viewers get comfortable and are able to recognise your posts quickly as YOURS.
It is no good just posting for postings sake without a coherent visual theme and without a purpose.
When you post items to your feed, make sure you use the hashtag function to push your content to a wider audience. Most insta users follow hashtags as a means to get the content that interests them and it will bring you new followers.
If Insta is your only promotional channel then you will notice a direct correlation between the amount you spend on your advertising and the number of profile visits or website visits.
Obviously you need to work out what your budget is and what your cost of advertising is against the cost price of your product and after a period of selling, what your return is on what level of spending you allocate to advertising.
This is a maths thing.
Creating your advert requires some skill and creative acumen and defining your audience can be done manually by selecting age, geography and interests or you can leave it to Instagram to select your audience which is best done a few months into your profile and your posts being digested.
Instagram will create what is called a ‘lookalike’ audience which takes certain key markers from your followers and content digesters to then publish your ads to similar users without you needing to define them.
Sometimes this can work better than a manual definition of audience, sometimes it does not. You can split test your ads and post them twice with each of the options to see what works for you.
All of this can be done from your phone but there is some additional functionality if you use the facebook ads app and have a linked account between your Facebook page and your Insta page.
So….if you are starting a clothing brand, Instagram can provide you with an audience and a mechanism to sell.
There is more to say and we might create some ‘how to’ posts on creating content and then creating adverts in the future so stay tuned…..
Our friendly experts are on hand if you need any advice.