As luxury brands increase their social budgets to reach the growing millennial consumer market, Instagram is becoming an increasingly important platform. Gartner L2’s latest report reveals the Instagram strategies used by leading luxury brands. Here are a few you can apply to your brand’s account:

Don’t feature influencers—get featured by them. Gartner L2’s analysis of 18,000 Instagram posts finds that most luxury brands actually see less engagement on posts tagging influencers than on traditional brand posts. Influencer partnerships are more impactful when it’s the influencer posting on his or her own Instagram account and tagging the brand, instead of the other way around.

Bulgari

Authenticity matters. Looking at the Cartier-branded posts shared by influencer @alice_gao, product close-ups that didn’t match the influencer’s usual aesthetic received 70% fewer interactions than branded posts that prominently featured the influencer and were aesthetically similar to her usual posts. The overtly branded content that wasn’t in line with Alice Gao’s style clearly didn’t resonate with her audience.

#HashtagItUp. Hashtags work on Instagram, whether you want to maximize influencer impact or generate user-generated content. Brand ambassadors post about Bulgari using the brand hashtags, allowing Bulgari to grow its audience far beyond the followers of @bulgariofficial. Branded hashtags also incentivize followers to create content. However, less than half of the brands that feature user-generated content use hashtags, missing out on a critical opportunity.

Incorporate user-generated content for the aesthetic, not for the followers. Guerlain’s top-performing user-generated post comes from an account with fewer than 1,000 followers, illustrating the lack of a relationship between follower count and engagement lift. Brands should incorporate user-generated content that is on-brand and relevant, without worrying about frequency or follower count.


Respond to negative comments publically, then move the conversation to the private sphere. Comments on brand social media accounts tend to be either product inquiries or customer complaints. While having a negative comment isn’t ideal, brands can address them publicly from the official account, then guide the conversation out of the public forum and into a customer service channel.

Make your Instagram account feel shoppable, even if your brand doesn’t have direct-to-consumer e-commerce. For many consumers, Instagram is becoming a platform for product discovery, and brands are meeting this need by making their feeds shoppable. Even if you don’t have direct e-commerce, you can add call-to-action buttons like Contact Us to keep users engaged and drive conversion.

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