In 2015, “fast-fashion” clothing retailer Zara netted $2.3 billion in annual profits, making it one of the most successful retail companies in the world (Fortune). With over 10 million Instagram followers, astonishing growth rates (Zara’s Instagram has added 4.6 million followers in 8 months), and posts that garner thousands of likes and hundreds of comments each, Zara seems to have mastered Instagram marketing as well, leading many brands to inquire about—and try to replicate—the fashion retailers social media success.
While much of Zara’s success is owed to an innovative supply chain structure that allows the brand to complete the entire production process (from design to finished, ready-to-ship garment) in 10–15 days while keeping almost no inventory (Forbes), the Spanish retailer also relies heavily on social media platforms like Instagram to fuel its growth and generate buzz for Zara’s ever-changing product lines.
Because Zara is able to predict new clothing trends, design affordable pieces, and manufacture their stylish products faster than any other retailer, the brand’s Instagram (which serves as a catalogue into the retailer’s latest offerings) has evolved into a veritable lookbook of the latest fashion trends. In this way, Zara is able to assert itself as a maven in the space and rise above thousands of other fashion brands and fashion-focused Instagrammers vying for the attention of the platform’s 4 million users.
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Many of Zara’s Instagram posts resemble content that consumers might see in a brand catalogue. For fashion companies and Instagram users looking to Zara for tips regarding upcoming fashion trends and styles, this product-focused content reinforces Zara as a leader in the industry and gives audiences a valuable look at Zara’s latest offerings.
New Campaign | Woman SS16 Thank you @vanessa_moody@frederikkesofie @lineisymontero @juliabergshoeff #zaracampaign A video posted by ZARA Official (@zara) on
Fashion is an artistic endeavor, and Zara’s Instagram is adept at leveraging the platform’s video capability to produce beautiful content that captures audiences’ attention while highlighting the brand’s new products.
/i am lateesha | Arnhem. #iamdenim is a collaborative design project with real people, for real people. Thank you @teeshrosa @odette.pavlova and @lina_hoss A video posted by ZARA Official (@zara) on
By collaborating with “real people” and Instagram influencers like Teesh Rosa to promote the brand’s new denim jackets and jeans, Zara’s #iamdenim campaign helped the retailer reach new audiences and achieve a degree of authenticity of accessibility.
Though Zara’s Instagram account isn’t flashy, the brand has garnered a massive social media following by providing true value—in this case, insight into upcoming fashion trends and a look at Zara’s newest merchandise—to its 10 million Instagram followers.
Companies seeking to emulate Zara’s success should leverage the platform’s visual format to give audiences something they actually need or will find useful, be it entertainment in the form of beautiful/intriguing images, information about upcoming products/events, or valuable endorsements from a trustworthy, high-reach Instagram influencers.
As with Zara, the best brands on Instagram put their audiences first. By providing valuable content, companies can become industry leaders, attract millions of attentive followers, and drive sales through this simple yet effective Instagram marketing strategy.