Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.
It’s never been easier to start an eCommerce business.Tools like Shopify and BigCommerce enable everyday entrepreneurs with minimal technical expertise to launch an online shop, source suppliers, and build a brand in a matter of days.But just because it’s easy to start doesn’t mean growth and success are foregone conclusions. In fact, increased competition in just about every eCommerce vertical means that breaking through the noise is harder than ever.Ad costs are rising, competition is fierce, and consumers are becoming more selective.The key to eCommerce success in 2022 is building a memorable brand on the platforms your customers frequent. Few are more important than Instagram in the current ecosystem.90% of users on Instagram follow a business account and actively interact with those brands. People use Instagram to browse, save favorites, and shop for new products. They follow brands and influencers to get inspiration for their day-to-day lives.To help you utilize Instagram marketing for your eCommerce business, I’ve found seven first-class examples from brands making a splash in their industry. Let’s take a look.
First on the list is Snuggy… one of the most unique eCommerce brands to surface in recent years. Its main product, the Snuggy, is a totally new and fun way of getting cozy around the house. And they’ve nailed its marketing.I love how much they focus on “trust” in their bio. As you know, online shoppers can be skeptical. So you need to use trust signals to make them comfortable enough with your brand that they are happy to purchase.Snuggy captures the concept of building trust in its Instagram bio:
There are three elements in this bio that build trust.
- It states that they are highly rated on TrustPilot - a globally recognized site for customer reviews.
- It shows that they accept “Buy now & Pay Later” programs - so a buyer doesn’t feel turned off by a one-off purchase price.
- It highlights a number of reputable publications and media outlets that have featured their product.
They then double down on trust-building by sharing user-generated content regularly and partnering with trusted influencers for paid promotions. For example, this post with Nathan Henry from Geordie Shore (with 1.4 million followers) provided a unique discount code and was shared with his audience.[caption id="attachment_50686" align="alignnone" width="600"]
Increase trust with UGC[/caption]Nathan has a huge following made up of people that adore him and trust his opinion about products. By association, this increases trust for Snuggy.
Next up is Smiggle - a quirky stationery brand for kids that has developed a recognizable brand over years of operation. You can’t miss their iconic bright colors when scrolling through your Instagram feed.Smiggle uses Instagram giveaways to great success to increase engagement with their audience and attract new customers. For example, this “Back to School” giveaway has thousands of comments:[caption id="attachment_50688" align="alignnone" width="600"]
Increase engagement with a giveaway[/caption]What’s great about this giveaway is that they’ve really maximized its reach with a smart partnership. They partnered with Health Lab Kids, a complementary brand that has a similar audience, to offer a better prize and access a new audience.Want a shortcut? ShortStack’s easy-to-use templates help you create Instagram giveaways quickly. Get started here.
Cupshe is a popular women’s clothing brand with over a million Instagram followers - they’re doing something right!In fact, they're doing a LOT right, which I'd like to highlight. The diversity of the content shared on Cupshe's feed makes them stand out. It's not all just high-quality product images. They use carousel posts, videos, Reels, and Stories in equal balance.All of their content types are varied even at the next layer down. Some videos are fun, some are serious. Some photos are of models, some are of everyday women wearing their clothing. Some posts are quote images, and others are giveaways.[caption id="attachment_50679" align="alignnone" width="600"]
Switch up your content[/caption]Consider how you can switch up your content game and keep people guessing. Instagram users are all different. Sections of your audience will react and engage with different styles of content. It keeps things fresh and interesting.
Health and fitness apparel brand, Gymshark, has grown an astronomical brand, including over 5 million Instagram followers.The key to their success? Selling a lifestyle.Growing an eCommerce brand requires consistent repetition of a common theme that resonates with your target audience. You want to be associated with a lifestyle, not a product. As a lifestyle brand, you become less intimidating. People will share your content without feeling as if they are promoting a product.That's what Gymshark does so well on Instagram. They understand that being fit and healthy is a lifestyle choice, and their content goes beyond product photos and workout videos. Sure, they have these things too, but they also feature snippets of other everyday activities with real people wearing their clothes or representing the Gymshark way of life - fun, humor, and working hard.[caption id="attachment_50682" align="alignnone" width="600"]
Use a common theme[/caption]
The Manscaped brand colors are distinctly black and light brown. They use these two colors throughout all of their Instagram content, and it does an excellent job of increasing brand recall and memorability.For example, a trending tactic is to share Tweets as Instagram images. Manscaped does this regularly with a backdrop that reinforces their brand identity:[caption id="attachment_50684" align="alignnone" width="600"]
Use brand colors to reinforce brand identity[/caption]When you mix this approach with a range of product photos that have a light sprinkling of the same color on the label, it works a treat!
People will remember you if you use your brand colors to create a consistent look and feel with your Instagram feed.
Glossier is a skincare and beauty brand with millions of Insta followers and tons of goodwill with customers.The thing they do best is to create and publish product demonstration videos. Whether it's regular videos or Reels, they always publish how-tos that help consumers see their product in action and feel what it would be like to use it.This Reel, for example, has almost 7,000 views![caption id="attachment_50681" align="alignnone" width="600"]
Use how-tos[/caption]If you work in the beauty industry, this content style is essential. But it can also work well in a range of other eCommerce industries. Don't underestimate how important it is for potential buyers to see what your product looks like in action. Still photos don't tell the whole story.
I almost made it through an article without mentioning a pet brand… but I couldn't! Mainly because I'm obsessed with dogs and because FuzzYard is a great example of an eCommerce brand using Instagram to its advantage.[caption id="attachment_50680" align="alignnone" width="600"]
FuzzYard's Instagram profile[/caption]Stories are the feature that FuzzYard does better than many other eComm brands. For starters, they have beautifully branded and well-categorized Story Highlights on their profile to make it easy for browsers to find what they need:When you dive into the categories themselves, you’ll find a majority of the Stories are of real customers (dogs) using FuzzYard products. That’s the best social proof you could hope for![caption id="attachment_50683" align="alignnone" width="445"]
Use real customers' stories[/caption]If any of your happy customers ever share a video with your product, which you should be asking them to, be sure to include it in your Stories and then in your Highlights.
Instagram is an excellent platform for brands to engage with their customers and reach a new audience. I've featured seven examples in this article, but there are many, many more you can draw inspiration from. Take some time to research complementary brands in your industry, market-leading eCommerce businesses, and your competitors to determine how you can up your efforts.On top of great content and consistent branding, make the most of Instagram's business features for eCommerce stores. Such as Instagram Shopping, which lets you tag products in photos and removes friction from the buying process, and analytics to nail down the content that is working best for your business.All-in-all, have some fun and test, test, test!
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