The construction of a prototype for a leather hat lining is displayed, mid-stitch. A completed beaver felt bowler rests on head of cork. A small child and a middle-aged architect both proudly display their own hats inside a Manhattan-based hat store. These beautifully constructed images are what you'll find on the website of New York-based The Millinery Shop, highlighting their latest hat line. The small brick and mortar shop heavily relies on social media to capture their audience and share the essence of the hat-wearing lifestyle through the use of Instagram, drawing them to their website.
What draws fashion-focused small businesses to Instagram in particular? There's more than one answer. Here are the top three.
The “Cool” Network
Instagram straddles that magical combination of being simple yet popular — particularly with the coveted 18-30 demographic. Sure, Snapchat is nipping at its heels, but if you want a highly engaged slice of the internet-faring population, Instagram is one of the highest-profile networks available.
As a result, companies are flocking to it. A recent study from the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth took a look at the shifting social media habits of all 500 of the companies on Inc. Magazine’s 2016 list. One of the findings? Instagram is “the fastest growing social media platform” among major companies, with a 14 percent increase in adoption across the past year and it's helping drive sales.
Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Instagram is a network built explicitly on sharing photos, and the cooler they look, the better. Instagram serves as fashion's digital backbone because it's all about looks: Fashion nerds can comb Instagram, double-clicking to their hearts' delight.
You can see the impact of the glamorous fashion shoot in practically any modern fashion site. Take Area for example, which features models in bulky sunglasses or shimmering outfits as a grid of photos on their homepage in lieu of anything else. It's hard to find a fashion-centric service or company on any list that doesn't rely on the same type of sleek, stylized photo that Instagram users tend towards.
Connects Shoppers With Items
About three months ago, Instagram proved their commitment to shoppers in a blog post detailing the ways they were working to help “20 U.S.-based retail brands including Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker” better connect consumers with the items that they could already see on the social network.
Instagram explained how they are tweaking retailers' posts here:
“Each post will have a tap to view icon at the bottom left of a photo. When tapped, a tag will appear on various products in the post—showcasing up to five products and their prices. Once a tag is selected a new detailed view of the product will open. This functionality will bring important product information to the consumer earlier in the journey, all without having to leave the Instagram app to search. Then, if the consumer taps the Shop Now link from the product details view, they’ll go directly to that product on the business’ website, making it easier for them to buy the product they want.”
Clearly, Instagram's outsized presence as the social network of choice for fashion retailers has not gone unnoticed. Expect the relationship to only improve as consumers increasingly use the service to shop for that perfect pair of shades on their company website. Regardless, the fashion industry is already tipping its hat to its favorite social media network.