Insta-Brands: The New Strategy Of E-Commerce

In the past few years, we have seen how brick-and-mortar stores have slowly expanded to the online world to ride on the success of E-commerce. Nevertheless, we are seeing how the game of business is once again changing, and very rapidly at that.

The up-and-coming businesses of the past 4/5 years have, in fact, launched a new trend: born online and remain an online-exclusive store. These up-and-coming businesses, which are called Insta-Brands, retail exclusively online from the get-go and thus avoiding all the challenges and cost faced by having a brick-and-mortar presence.
They leverage the power of Instagram to garner a massive and loyal following base which will sustain and fuel their business.

So, what are the Insta-Brands’ strategies? Well, in this article, I analyse @FashionNova, @Colourpop and @SugarBearHair to show you the marketing secrets of Insta-Brands.


☆ Influencer Marketing ☆

Insta-Brands engage different tier-ed influencers to build a loyal following. These influencers, who have either a bigger audience or a higher Engagement Rate than brands’ own Instagram accounts, help increase Brand Awareness and Instant Buzz with one Instagram post at a time.

1. Mega Influencers (1M++ Followers)

Mega influencers are key to capturing attention. Just look at Kylie Jenner’s iconic post that caused @FashionNova to blow up in terms of acquisition of new followers:

Just how much attention did it bring? Well:

Increase In FashionNova’s Audience Growth (Dec 19 2016 -Jan 1 2017), provided by Popular Chips

This graph by Popular Chips shows an exponential increase in followers on December 27, the day Kylie went live with her sponsored post. FashionNova had, in fact, more than twice the increase of followers. It went from a weekly average of +40.3k to a staggering +99.7k new followers in the week of Kylie’s sponsored post.

2. Macro Influencers (100K-999K followers)

This huge blow-up was accompanied by a large number of collaborations with macro influencers. These macro influencers sustained the buzz started by Kylie and helped diversify FashionNova’s reach. Most of these macro influencers are, in fact, experts/style icons in the demographics that FashionNova targets – curvy and sexy women.
This is one of the macro influencers with whom they collaborated: Chloe Saxon:


and Angelina Ang:


These influencers reinforce FashionNova’s brand awareness by brewing more interest and buzz internationally.

3. Micro Influencers (1K-100K followers)

FashionNova then taped unto micro influencers that had a very high Engagement Rate as well, such as Marinka:

and Carla Cassandra:

To measure the success of Fashion Nova’s Influencer Marketing strategies, I have checked their audience growth.

FashionNova’s Audience Growth in 2018, provided by Popular Chips
FashionNova’s growth in May 2019 (May 1- May 13), provided by Popular Chips

FashionNova enjoys continued growth. From May 1 to May 13, 2019, they gained +86.1K followers. Additionally, I have checked for common followers between FashionNova and one of their top influencers:

Audience overlap data between FashionNova and Chloe Saxon, provided by Popular Chips

30.9K of Chloe’s followers also follow FashionNova’s, indicating, thus, that at least 12% of Chloe’s followers are also following the brand. This percentage is very substantial as it shows that Chloe’s audience appreciates her collaborations with FashionNova.


☆ Everywhere on Social Media ☆

It is imperative to be everywhere on social media if one wants to build a huge audience base. Some of the ways to do so are to post more frequently and engage with multiple influencers.

I have taken @ColourPop’s recent PR List campaign as example:

To enter the competition, people had to follow Colourpop, tag their friends, and like. This post managed to:

1. Become Colourpop’s Top Most-Liked Post of the last 3 months

Colourpop’s Top Posts Within 3 Months, provided by Popular Chips

By attaining the most likes and comments of the past 3 months, 400K likes and 438K comments, this social media activation helped ColourPop gain exposure and wide audience reach,

2. Obtain a high increase in new followers

Audience growth from 31 Dec 2018 to 07 Apr 2019, provided by Popular Chips

ColourPop achieved +104.1K of new followers during the week of the campaign, more than 3 times its usual average of about +30K followers per week.


☆ Visuals Visuals Visuals ☆

Pictures say 1000 words and @SugarBearHair is a great example of aesthetically-pleasing accounts that use beautiful visuals to reach their preferred target audience. Take a look at their page:

SugarBearHair’s pastel colour scheme, provided by Popular Chips

Even I had found it hard to tap away from their page in order to write this article; the temptation of scrolling non-stop through their page was very strong. It is no wonder why many follow and share this account with other like-minded people for visual inspiration.

I hope this article has inspired you to use some of these strategies for your business.

If you would like to read more about Insta Brands, check out Kylie Jenner’s new line of Skincare here!

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