19 tips to improve your Instagram presence. (Social War #52)

At the end of this year we analyze our personal favorite social media channel Instagram. The photo-app describes itself as follows: Capturing and sharing the world’s moments. Instagram allows for mobile photo and video sharing and has an enormous amount of users, especially abroad. With over 1.8 million Dutch profiles and over 700,000 active users, Instagram is a pretty virgin goldmine for many Dutch brands. In this edition of our  Social War research we look at how the fashion brands worldwide use Instagram. We highlight the ‘best cases’ and tell you all the do’s and dont’s.

Worldwide brands with the biggest Instagram following
When we just at the amount of Instagram followers for brands, we notice that sports and fashion brands score best. The top 3  is occupied by Nike, H&M and adidas. Mind you, we focus on more than 70 fashion brands of our Social War research. 

The top 3 over 2015 is as follows:

  1. Nike 31,163,097
  2. H&M 11,466,738
  3. Adidas 9,023,321


Instagram Social War


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Dutch brands are relatively non existent on Instagram.
Not all brands have a following of over the millions on Instagram. Especially the Dutch brands hardly harvest their potential. The Dutch brands in our Social War research have the following amount of followers.

  1. Bijenkorf 259,000 followers
  2. C&A 16,364 followers
  3. Mexx  7,751 followers
  4. Menatwork 5,562 followers
  5. We Fashion 5,380 followers
  6. Wehkamp 3,349 followers
  7. Zeeman 3,260 followers
  8. MS Mode 3,837 followers
  9. MCGregor 2,260 followers
  10. Miss etam 1,034 followers
  11. V&D 651 followers
  12. Dept 643 followers
  13. Livera 454 followers

19 Instagram tips to turn your profile into an Instagram success.

To leave the year in a positive vibe, we bring you some tips, the top 19, so you can make sure that next year your Instagram account will perform better.

  1. Link to website.

Always make sure that your Instagram profile’s bio has a clear link to your website.  This takes care that your Instagram account will increase the number of visitors to your website. Your account needs a destination, lead them there.  

Bershka knows how to lead people to their Instagram profile in a smart way. They’re all ready to buy.

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At Wehkamp we see a total lack of connection between their Instagram profile and their website. What a missed chance.

Instagram Social War

  1. None or a simply disastrous company description in the bio of your Instagram account.

A disastrous bio is boring, just focused on yourself and your products.
But having no bio at all is even worse.  

How to write a great bio?  

– Describe the “why” of your brand, the mission or the philosophy of your company and the idea behind your products. Imagine what you want to be in the eyes of your clients. 

The high-end-fashion brand Dior has a wonderful bio on their Instagram profile.

Instagram Social War

At C&A’s the bio is rather uninspired and bland.

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  1. Bad quality photography leaves you with no viewers

Ye higher the resolution of your visuals, the more professional your Instagram profile will feel.
Photo’s with a low resolution can chase away the potential clients.

The Instagram posts of Dolce & Gabbana are a wonderful example of high quality contributions to their brand.

Social War Instagram

  1. Use the correct light.

Instagram has the most wonderful filters, colors and options. Make sure that you stand out between the best brands in the world and use the colors and options that Instagram offers. Don’t become the wallflower at the party. 

Gucci makes brilliant use of the colors and options of Instagram to their own advantage.

Social War Instagram

The rather bland postings of the undies brand Livera make it rather dull to watch the photo.

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  1. What’s your story.

Your focus should be more than just products. Tell about the brand. It puts things in context and brings more feeling.
In other words, Instagram is not just a place to show products, it’s there to tell about what you stand for in visuals. 

At the Dutch department store Bijenkorf we just see product placement and no story at all.

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Scotch and Soda, also Dutch, understands the power of storytelling enormously well.

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  1. Make your content more diverse.

Do not do the same photo idea over and over again. Bring variation, product, action, feelings.
You need to catch followers with inspired visuals that make them follow you.

The diversity of  Armani in its postings is a great example of the numerous options in Instagram.
Instagram Social War

  1. Your update should be constant.

Do not post in too irregular intervals. Your fans want to have an idea of your rhythm. One week 3 posts a day, then a month nothing. Your fans will forget you. Just show 1 to 2 photo’s a day on Instagram. Daily, weekly. Be a bit more predictable. 

  1. Timing is everything.

Your Instagram photo’s will appear in a timeline. Make sure you’re present at the point where your followers will be there. Where and when does your audience check Instagram? Find the timing that’s perfect for you and your (geographical) target group. 

  1. Give your photo’s the correct copy.

Next to the photo, the description is the most important thing for your post. The information should be relevant or should offer engagement. Ask your audience open questions, enter a discussion with them. 

G-star has mastered asking open questions to their following. An earlier campaign was made around the question #tightorwide and also on Instagram they ask the correct question to their fans. They keep stirring your mind.

Instagram Social War

  1. Keep your copy short & simple.

Good content should support the photo. Be powerful and smart, don’t make it a long read (even though this blog is rather long ;-) Never forget that Instagram is a mobile app, the users have a very tight attention spread.
A good rule of thumb: make sure your followers do not have to scroll to read your copy.

Tommy Hilfiger keeps its description for the photo’s short and powerful.

Instagram Social War

M&S Mode clearly does not stick to the  ‘scroll rule’.

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  1.  Content should lead to an action.

As a brand you want you followers to do something. A purchase, a reaction or a like. Show your users the way you want them to go. To your website, your Facebook page or wherever you want to lead them. At least give them a call to action. 

  1. Don’t be too eager for sales.

The biggest irritation of Instagram users are companies that are all about sales.
‘Follow for follow” or ‘Buy this today ..’ . Don’t be this annoying carpet sales guy of Instagram.

Livera went a bit too far in being salesy by showing this much product in a small Instagram photo.

Instagram Social War

  1. Never forget your hashtags.

Instagram posts with more than 11 hashtags easily get most interaction. Hashtags arrange that your posts do not fall of radar when they drop of your followers timeline. 

Gaastra uses no hashtags at all in their posts. They sure can improve there, to get more interaction.

Social War Instagram

  1. Tune your story with your fans.

Make sure your postings are relevant to your specific target group. Irrelevant content chases your followers away.

DEPT clearly has a hard time to address itself to a clear target group.
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G-Star is the storytelling master of Instagram, it makes sense.
Instagram Social War

  1. Your actions should correspond with your followers.

The actions you take should match your target group and its size. Don’t start a competition when you have 80 followers. First focus on the growth you ambition and change your focus if your follower base is big enough. 

  1. Go to your followers, don’t wait for them to come.

Perhaps you’re the last worldwide famous brand that’s not present on Instagram yet, then the followers might come to you like bears find their honey. But for most Instagram accounts that’s simply not the case. You have to go and find your followers. For this make smart use of hashtags and start a conversation with your potential followers. You often find them at the same hashtags. Never wait for them to finally come and discover you. This will not happen. The online offering is simply too big for that. 

  1. Develop a recognizable style.

Take a good look at the heroes like Nike, adidas, H&M and G-star. These brands, vibe and message can be seen through and through. This makes them recognizable for many. Your message should be just as clear. 

The Instagram postings of Nike are a great example of a recognizable style.

Instagram Social War

  1. As a brand do not rely on selfies.

Why not? Never forget it’s not about you. Unless you’re a brand that’s totally built up around one person alone. For all the others, just drop it. Your fans should be your focus.

DEPT for instance uses a lot of selfies in their posts.

Social War Instagram

  1. Follow less people than the number that follows you.

The idea is widespread that if you follow people, they will follow back. More often this is not the case at all. It even might give you the wrong credibility, you look very desperate. If you follow 5,000 people and you get followed by 500, the reputation is damaged. Believe in yourself and your brand, your content and story. Your followers will eventually find you, if you do it right. After all you’re a brand and not a person. 

DKNY’s Instagram profile has a great balance between followers and following.  

Social War Instagram

Do you have tips? Or do you have other remarks, please let us know!


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De hype voorbij, het is de nieuwe mainstream
IIZT publiceert regelmatig findings uit het Social War onderzoek. Blijf op de hoogte en stuur je e-mail naar richard@iizt.com or svetlana@iizt.com of bel ons op 020 – 693 31 31.

Social War
Social war is het ongoing onderzoek dat IIZT doet onder meer dan 70 modemerken wereldwijd. Het signaleert de do’s en de dont’s voor merken op social media. Iedereen in de communicatiewereld roept en blogt over social media. Wij staven alles met feiten, zodat je ook echt kan leren van elkaar. De hype voorbij, het is de nieuwe mainstream.

IIZT Amsterdam is al 13 jaar leider op het gebied van communities, branding en interactieve communicatie. Wij hebben werk gedaan voor adidas, KLM, H&M, Mitsubishi, Miss Etam, UGG, G-Star, Livera, hart.volgers, Respectance, adidas, Defensie, Men at Work, Cliniclowns en meer. Bel ons voor een kennismaking 020 – 693 31 31.


You’re always welcome at Prinseneiland. Call us and reserve time for a first date. 020-6933131 or mail richard@iizt.com

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