As the director of fashion partnerships at Instagram, there is nobody who knows more about what equals success for brands on the platform than Eva Chen.
And, as the company announces plans to increase the number of ways we can shop on the app, we sat down with Chen to discuss what really goes into creating a successful shopping account on Instagram.
These were her biggest pointers:
Instagram is not about perfection
Although it might often seem that people create the perfect versions of themselves on social media, when it comes to building your brand, Chen believes that it truly isn’t about posting those expertly photographed or edited snaps.
“I would say that the number one starter rule for a brand that wants to launch shopping on Instagram is not to feel like every image has to be perfect and photographed by a high-end photographer. Not only are iPhones and Google phones pretty amazing at photography these days, but images shot on a mobile device tend to actually perform better because they are more real.”
Chen uses Victoria Beckham as a great example for this: “Yes Juergen Teller shot her amazing new campaign, but on Instagram, she is also posting images of her sleeping in her office during late-night fittings – it just feels a little more intimate.”
“I am a big believer in the lasting power of beautiful imagery and there is definitely a place for editorial content, but if you are creating a brand on Instagram, it is better to be a little more human,” Chen adds.
The most successful fashion and beauty brands on Instagram are those which show humanity, Chen says.
“One of the great things about Instagram is that is that you can give your followers a greater sense of who you are as a person. For example, someone like Sam McKnight loves gardening and he can show this element of himself on social media, which makes these legendary people feel more real, more human.
View this post on Instagram
#goodmorning I grew all my cosmos from seed this year, and was a bit late transplanting some of them into the ground. They’re just beginning to flower. I wonder if they’ll get to 9ft again this year? They’ll flower through the first frosts in November so we’ll see. #cosmos #flowers #garden
“If you love gardening or you love to cook or you love interior design, show your followers. It gives them a better sense of who you are. It shows all these facets of your personality because no one is one-dimensional, nobody is just pure fashion. Show the other things that mean a lot to you. It’s 2018 – people want to feel a human connection.”
Do not be too mysterious
It’s all well and good to be arty and inventive, but Chen says that you really need to think more broadly when it comes to using Instagram to spread your brand message.
“Some brands have this desire to be super mysterious and they decide that they are only going to post once a week and it’s going to be this arty black-and-white picture of an elbow that represents the winds of change or something and it’s like, come on, most people are not going to relate to that.”
Chen says that you need to remember that there are one billion people on Instagram and most of them want to see the real side of fashion.
“So often, people will curate their Instagram to impress the Business of Fashion 500 and while this is a really laudable list of people, you have to remember all the millions of other people who use the platform too. You are competing with the hundreds of other accounts they follow and you need to stand out.”
Essentially, don’t try to hard or overthink what you’re posting.