While Instagram has gained a reputation for turning just about anybody with a smart phone into a decent photographer, some entrepreneurs have been using the free social media platform for marketing and selling their product. In an article by Business News Daily, they interviewed fashion businesses that have utilized their Instagram accounts for e-commerce. See their three secrets to Instagram success here:
1. Make customers want to see your point of view, whether you're selling something or not. For example, MyHauteCloset, which has more than 38,000 Instagram followers, says nearly 100% of their clients are from Instagram. The founder, Milysan Troche, who was first a popular style blogger, credits the fact that she shared her personal style and made connections on Instagram to her success.
Troche noted, “As time progressed, I began receiving emails from these women who wanted to purge their closet of designer items they no longer wanted. They figured since I was such a clotheshorse I may be interested. I began consigning and selling items solely through Instagram. As my following grew to 35,000 I thought it time to build a dedicated online store where my followers could shop with ease and still see what's available via Instagram.”
2. Offer something exclusive to your followers. For instance, The Excess Baggage, a women's multi-designer online retailer offering current-season designer looks at discounted prices, said their Instagram has become a trend-setting destination. Owner Haylee Winard says by offering exclusive sales to her followers, she consistently sells out of merchandise after it has been posted on Instagram.
3. Create a relationship. Sai De Silva, owner of RequiredFlare, a funky accessory boutique which has over 14,000 Instagram followers, said, “Instagram has made marketing easier by allowing us to create a relationship with current and future customers. As a new small business entering this over-saturated fashion market, it's imperative to stand out. With Instagram, I can target my exact market, offer giveaways and special deals, and respond to every question asked through a more personal approach. Consumers tend to shop with retailers that offer a sense of trust and comfort, and because of Instagram, RequiredFlare is able to interact with our consumers in an unconventional way.”
The Excess Baggage also admitted that building a relationship through social media is essential to sales, “Every image we post is like a virtual billboard in Times Square. I've used all the social media tools out there to help support my business but none have had the direct impact on sales that Instagram has had. There is a level of transparency on Instagram that allows me to build relationships with my followers. They can relate to me and I think that's what makes them want to shop with me.”
As many bloggers also have virtual boutiques, are there any of you that use Instagram to promote and sell your product? If you do, how has it worked for you?