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How Can Instagram Help My Business? Lessons From Retailer Brandy Melville



Brandy Melville is the “hottest teen retailer you’ve never heard of.” The company has 45 stores in the US, Canada, and Europe, and just opened a new 8,000 square foot NYC flagship store this year.

But the retailer doesn’t advertise, at least not through traditional channels. They sell mostly basic clothing items for teen girls (think knits and t-shirts, with a focus on layering) and steer clear of branded merchandise. The brand is fostered almost completely through social media, with 2.2m followers on Instagram, 65,000 followers on Twitter, 218,000 likes on Facebook, and an active Pinterest board.

Why Does Instagram Work Well For Brandy Melville?

Teen trends forecaster Sarah Owen says, “Millennials want to tell stories and curate what they see.” And that’s exactly why Instagram has worked so well for them as a marketing tool. Girls who wear the clothes style items to suit their personalities and fashion sense. This message, that you can make a look your own, resonates with their target demographic, teen girls –– Instagram is an outlet for them (and Brandy Melville models) to express their personal style.

The retailer’s use of Instagram fits in nicely with the company’s philosophy and branding strategy. Other retailers, like Urban Outfitters, are also doing a great job creating a user-generated aesthetic on social media that reflects that company’s brand.

How Can Instagram Help My Business?

Forrester research says that Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all the social networks. It’s a free platform and visual social network that only requires a smartphone to set up. After that you can start snapping photos of images and sharing them on your profile.

Do you think photos about your company and brand will help grow your customer base or increase customer loyalty? If so, here are 5 tips for getting started:


Pick the right username

Instagram is a popular tool so the name of your business may already be claimed. Think of creative ways to spell it differently or incorporate your location into your username.

Complete your entire profile

Instagram gives you 150 characters to describe your business or write something clever. Be sure to also include the URL for your business.

Create a posting strategy

High quality, sharp images are the best way to convey a professional image. Be sure to keep your business and professional photos separate. Also, determine the visual style of your brand – is there a filter or photo style that you want to keep using? You’ll want your visual identity to be part of your brand, so stay consistent and write descriptions for each post.

Create a hashtag strategy

Hashtags are the only way to search for content on Instagram. You should research what hashtags are popular in your industry and consider using them in your posts. Also, you can create a hashtag for your business or for a new product line, so followers can tag their own images when they post something related to your business

Let your customers know you’re on Instagram

Publicize your company’s hashtag and the fact that you’re on Instagram so customers can start following you. Follow companies on the social network that are in your industry or aligned with your business’ mission. Be sure to leave comments and Like customer posts to keep them engaged.

Do you think Instagram is useful for your business? What are the benefits? Leave a comment below or tweet us @KabbageInc! 

Kabbage Team

Kabbage is here not only to provide access to the small business funding you need, but to also help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at