Need to know the specifics tactics to successful Instagram marketing campaigns? Look no further!
In a recent post, How to Sell Apparel on Instagram in 2017, we covered the importance of having a comprehensive strategy when it comes to driving sales through Instagram and the specific steps required to developing one. The guide garnered a lot of interest from many of our readers for a deeper dive into the details of a successful Instagram campaign – which brings us to today’s post.
We’ve briefly touched upon the foundations of a successful Instagram campaign – active posting, interesting content, engaging with users, recruiting influencers, etc. – so rather than create a longer list of guidelines, we’ve put together a list of 5 t-shirt brands with the best Instagram marketing and highlighted how they’ve stitched together various tactics to engage and earn more customers.
We hope you’re ready to get inspired!
Sevenly is a “cause activation platform” that partners with non-profit organizations on a weekly basis to create and sell unique limited edition products. For each item sold, Sevenly donates a portion of the proceeds to that charity. Since its founding in 2011, the brand has donated nearly $5 million to charitable causes.
Factors for Success
User Generated Content – Using Repostapp (available on iOS and Android), Sevenly seamlessly incorporates content generated by fans to accomplish three things: brand validation, encourage engagement, and reaching new audiences.
Cross-Promotions – Sevenly’s Instagram is essentially one big platform for cross-promotions. Because their core business relies on profitable collaborations with non-profits on a weekly basis, Sevenly uses their social media channels such as Instagram to feature these partnerships. In return, collaborating partners also promote Sevenly through social media.
Diverse Content – Sevenly does not overload their followers by posting only product photos. They mix product posts with inspirational quotes, videos, scenic imagery, and more. When they do share product images, Sevenly does a great job of adding a creative flair by using lifestyle shots, models, or stylized arrangements.
Founded nearly 3 years ago, Dumbco is a proud purveyor of “dumb shirts.” They found their niche in dank memes and have capitalized on its popularity.
Factors for Success
User Generated Content – Unlike Sevenly who tends to feature followers with a large following of their own, Dumbco reposts user content regardless of follower count. As a small business, this helps other customers see that they are indeed a legitimate business.
Contests – In order to spread awareness, Dumbco runs contests by asking followers to tag at least two friends in a picture. This approach is great for a few reasons:
- Friends who get tagged have already been qualified by the tagger, meaning they are the most likely to enjoy the content and become a follower or a customer.
- Each tagged friend can tag others, generating a snowball effect.
- The cost of gaining these impressions or followers is only the t-shirt you're raffling off.
Voting – Dumbco often tells followers to comment with "yes" or "no" before they create a shirt. By encouraging followers to vote on whether a design should be made, Dumbco can gauge the "sellability" of a tshirt before producing it. And if a shirt ends up becoming popular, then they’ve also generated a list of interested buyers (those who voted) with minimal effort. Voting also encourages engagement with followers because they know Dumbco listens to their opinions.
Promotion – Whether paid or organic, Dumbco’s Instagram account benefits tremendously when relevant accounts such as @memes reposts or promotes their content. @memes’ followers already love memes so the chances of them also following and liking Dumbco are much higher.
3. Ink it out
Founded in 2010, Ink it out took root as a Kickstarter campaign before growing into the independent lifestyle brand you see today. Despite the growth, Ink it out remains true its founding beliefs: good design and alternative subcultures.
Factors for Success
Behind the Scenes – Fans support Ink it out because they trust the brand to deliver high quality products that are designed in-house and made locally. Because the brand is built on this trust, giving Instagram followers a look behind the scenes not only acts as a type of proof, but also provides a name and face to the business.
Cross-Promotion/Collaborations – Ink it out recently worked with candle company Compass Candles. We’ve already discussed the benefits of cross-promotions, but Ink it out takes it to another level by staging both products together for a more cohesive message.
Models – Because they cater to a very specific lifestyle niche, Ink it out delivers their message by using models that their followers can identify with.
Hashtags – Hashtags help categorize your images for search. Ink it out uses a lot of relevant hashtags to get in front of the right audience.
Jiberish is a heavyweight in the fiercely competitive world of streetwear. Thanks to a religious following, the brand has grown from selling out of a parking lot to three flagship stores located in Denver, Park City, and Boston (closed).
Factors for Success
Influencers – The influencers Jiberish showcases don’t necessarily have the biggest Instagram following but the followers they do have are fiercely active and loyal. By sponsoring these athlete influencers, Jiberish gains access to a new group of prospective customers who share a love for snow sports.
* Diverse Content* – Fans of Jiberish have a big passion for snow sports, which is why they share more sports related posts than product posts. You’ll find that Jiberish’s profile is filled with action videos, aerial shots, athletes, and a small sprinkling of the apparel offerings.
Informational – When Jiberish does post product images, it’s not a hard sell. They often talk about the unique features of their product such as the terry lining or a shirt’s breathability. This helps new followers understand the quality of their product beyond just the image.
5. Club 75
Club 75 is a collaborative streetwear brand created by well-established names in the music, art, and subculture scenes. While their flagship store is based in Paris, their fans are all over the world.
Factors for Success
Frequency – Because Instagram does not display content in chronological order, Club 75’s diligent posts may be the best way to increase the likelihood that it gets in front of its worldwide audience.
User Generated Content – Browsing through Club 75’s profile, you’ll find that it’s difficult to differentiate between user-generated content and branded content. The brand and its followers clearly identify with each other – to the point that Club 75 can tack on “effortless content creation” to the list of benefits for user-generated content.
Influencers – A lot of cool people support the Club 75 brand and aren’t afraid to show it. The brand often features influencers wearing their content or just hanging out at the store.
Many readers have asked us about optimal posting times and frequency. Unfortunately, we cannot give a definite answer on this. Instagram does not order posts by publication time. Even though your post was published 30 seconds ago, your follower may see a post that was published 8 hours ago before they see yours. Instagram prioritizes content based on several factors beyond time such as the individual follower's historical likes and how often they like content similar to yours.
This algorithm is beneficial for brands to reach an international audience. Social media managers will not have to wake up to post at 3:00 AM for followers who live across the world. However, it leaves little control for account holders to optimize publishing schedules.
This is why we stressed frequency in the examples above and not the timing of your posts.