As one of the most visual-driven and engaging platforms out there, it’s safe to say that Instagram has turned the fashion industry on its head. Not only has fashion now grown into one of the biggest industries on Instagram, leading fashion brands on Instagram are said to receive approximately 16,616 likes and 102 comments per post.

With that in mind, having a strong presence on the site is absolutely important for any clothing brand that wants to build awareness and drive online sales. But with so much competition out there, it isn’t as simple as posting a photo and hoping for the best. Brands should have a strategy in mind, as well as a plan on how to create content.

If you’re looking to build a clothing brand on Instagram, here are a few marketing tips you need to know.

Optimize Hashtags

Hashtags are hardly revolutionary these days, but some brands miss out on using them properly and to their full advantage. Click on a post from a clothing brand and you might find a slew of hashtags at the end of the caption, with some even ranging from “#fashion” to “#clothing”. While it may get you some likes and exposure, they’re far too generic that the post will almost immediately get drowned out in online traffic. Instead, you can use long-tail hashtags to promote your brand. For instance, the hashtag “#jacket” has more than 13 million posts, but “#denimjacket” has just over a million, which may be enough to get noticed.

You can also use branded and community hashtags to provide tracking and open up opportunities for engagement. Activewear label Outdoor Voices is one such brand that implements this strategy well. Using their hashtag “#doingthings,” they encourage users to post photos of themselves wearing the brand’s apparel while getting active — whether they’re practicing yoga, jogging, or hiking. The campaign has since established an online community of empowered women sharing their experiences.

Collaborate with Influencers

Yesterday’s brand ambassadors may have been Hollywood celebrities, but today’s market craves more authentic endorsements through credible personalities. This is where influencers come in. However, it’s a tricky landscape that poses many questions for brands, given that they have to choose between micro-influencers, mid-tier influencers, or macro-influencers such as Kylie Jenner, who has endorsed and collaborated with brands like Adidas on Instagram.

Of course, it all depends on what your goals are and which audience you’re trying to reach. All in all, you have to make sure that whomever you’re using is in line with your brand’s vision. But whatever your objectives, influencers can certainly be useful collaborators and worthy investments for your brand. In fact, Business of Fashion predicts that the influencer economy will reach $20 billion in global ad spend by 2020 — so there’s no better time to hop on the bandwagon than now.

Use Striking Visuals

With so much content online, consumer’s attention spans have got shorter and shorter on social media. Therefore, it’s important to use striking visuals to hook them in right away. Plus, they also have to be potentially share-able, especially on Instagram.

Take your cue from U.S. brand Woman Within that is known for their diverse and inclusive branding. On their social media, you’ll see that bright, cheery pictures reinforce dresses, pants, and much more. It’s a good example of brand consistency too, since the body positivity message remains clear — from their products, down to their eye-catching content. Likewise, you want to make sure that you are going beyond pretty pictures, and that your messaging is cohesive.

Speak the Language

Whoever your target market is, you have to make sure that you’re speaking their language. If you’re focusing on Millennials or Generation Z-ers, then you may want to be more casual. Our post on ‘10 Activities a Social Media Expert Should Do on Instagram’ discussed how you should even consider emojis. Not only do they inject some fun into your captions, they also boost the visibility of your posts. Fortunately, there are numerous fashion-related emojis available.

Engage with Consumers

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We love a true denim wash, hbu? 👖

A post shared by forever21 (@forever21) on

Whether it’s a simple ‘like’ or comment, people just like being noticed online. If people start commenting on your posts, take the time to reply to them and entertain their inquiries. Create posts that encourage discussions and discourse — even just asking followers how they like to wear a certain item. Marketing expert Victoria Taylor even recommends running contests on Instagram, which can help you grow your business with more engagement, followers, and sales — the most important metric of all.

Monique Reyes
Monique Reyes is a freelance marketer with a specialty in e-commerce and retail brands, having worked with numerous stores around the globe. She is currently residing in Brooklyn, New York.
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