There’s no denying the power of Instagram. The Council of Fashion Designers of America recently announced that the 2015 Media Award will go to the social platform. And, rightfully so. It’s visually appealing, one of the easiest ways to create and ad for your business and can give brands instant validation through likes. However, with all of these benefits, it’s easy to think that it’s the holy grail of platforms.
When using any outlet, take a step back and ask what role does it fulfill in your business. Branding, sales, connecting with users, market research or a mix of it all? At the same time, you’ll also have to ask whether you are giving people a reason to engage and what value you are ultimately providing.
In the case of Instagram, it’s important to think about what a like means for your business. For many brands, it’s a tough question because a like doesn’t truly tell someone’s intent to buy, even if a brand get hundreds of tiny orange hearts. It’s also hard to tell who your customer is or whether you are directly monetizing from it.
An article in Dazed and Confused recapped Anna Wintour’s advice to emerging fashion designers at a talk she gave at Central Saint Martins in London. She stressed that it’s important to not equate Instagram and Twitter likes with sustainable success.
“It’s possible in today’s world to be instantly famous, whether it’s through Instagram or whatever platform it may be, but it’s a very different matter to be successful financially and in the long-term…” – Anna Wintour
Building your business can’t rely on one social media platform. Your customers are multi-dimensional, consuming information in a variety of ways and your business needs to be. On many social platforms, messages are fleeting and you don’t know who is seeing it. Other options like e-mail marketing offer a direct message into a consumer’s inbox and has proven to show conversion. Plus, businesses can get a variety of analytics from sending one.
It’s also important to engage with people in real time. Building human, face-to-face connections are invaluable and selling to consumers at a trunk show or pop-up shop or going to networking events are other ways to build and market your business.
Of course, Instagram will probably give you wins, validation and followers, but building a brand relies on both short and long-term strategies and a savvy mix of sales, marketing, pr, branding and hard work that touts a well made product. In the end, know the key drivers of your business, diversify your marketing efforts and don’t forget to take the business offline.
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