Streetwear apparel brands Stance Socks and Supreme New York live in a very saturated retail space.
The competition for attention and approval (i.e. engagement) on Instagram is just as stiff as it is for customer dollars online and in stores.
So far this year, Stance Socks is winning for engagement, driving 4.5 million total comments and favorites between January 1, 2015 and August 1, 2015.
That’s no surprise, considering they’ve posted 1,659 times over the lifetime of their Instagram account, while Supreme New York has only posted 529 times to date. While this equation does not always hold true, in this case more posts definitely equals more engagement.
However, Supreme New York blows Stance Socks out of the water when it comes to engagement outside of Instagram (on Facebook and Twitter) and follower count (1 million total vs. Stance Sock’s 595,000).
All the brands in this space — we focused on Stance Socks, Supreme New York, Stussy, Young and Reckless, and Obey Clothing — are bringing their A-game and driving noteworthy engagement on Instagram, so how do our two featured brands make sure they stand out, and what can your brand learn from them?
Stance Socks received the most comments between 1/1/15-8/1/15 from this post, earning over 16,000 total engagements.
Most of the comments came from Instagram users tagging their friends and/or expressing their excitement about the Workaholics socks.
By knowing their audience well and making smart merchandising decisions, Stance Socks was able to generate a lot of Instagram buzz and get enviable validation for their partnership.
Supreme New York made an engagement gold-plated partnership in the first half of 2015, as well.
This post drove over 38,000 comments and favorites — making it the most engaging post from any brand analyzed here — because it is a limited-edition release between Supreme and Nike: an audience interest intersection made in heaven.
Playing the Long Game
At first it’s confusing — how does Stance Socks have more total engagement than Supreme New York if none of their posts are in the top ten for the time period?
Because Stance Socks is playing the long game, while Supreme New York prefers to invest in fewer posts which individually drive bigger engagement than Stance Socks. This is partly because Supreme New York’s follower count is almost double that of Stance Socks.
Both of these strategies are worth considering, but remember that Stance Socks takes the engagement crown for this time period. What would happen if Supreme New York started posting more? Would they be able to surpass Stance Socks’ engagement greatness, or would they alienate and lose followers?
This post generated over 13,000 in total engagement for Stance Socks.
By connecting with their followers’ sports love, Stance Socks was able to drive a unique level of engagement.
This is a strategy Supreme New York used in mega successful posts like this one, too:
Own a Hashtag
Stance Socks has seen a lot of success and discovery by owning #theuncommonthread hashtag.
This is a smart way to get your brand’s content discovered on Instagram and clarify your messaging for the long haul.
Turn to a Legend
Between all the brands evaluated in this category, this was the most popular post by far.
Neil Young, one of rock-and-roll’s greatest ever, lent Supreme New York some serious street cred.
While not all brands can get Neil Young on their side, you can most certainly make a list of the traits your social audience gravitates towards and partner with an influencer or influencer network which exemplifies those qualities.
1. Know your audience inside out. The only way to make sure your partnerships and collaborations are going to do well on social is to know what your audience has responded well to in the past. Consider using the engagement insight you receive on Instagram to inform future collaborations and partnerships.
2. There are many ways to succeed. Instead of creating content and crossing your fingers that it drives killer engagement, think strategically. Would you rather post more often, getting less engagement on each post but more engagement overall, or post less frequently, driving a ton of engagement on what you do post but less engagement overall?
3. Sports fans like to Like. Especially if your brand is associated with a specific geographic location, and even if you’re not personally a sports fan (raising my hand here), consider posting brand-appropriate content which relates to what fans in your area are buzzing about, to ride the engagement tidal wave.
4. Carefully choose a hashtag and make it your own. Flash-in-the-pan hashtags can be good for individual campaign, but try to pick a hashtag with longevity, that isn’t just your brand name, which can be associated with the aesthetic and mission of your brand, and aid in Instagram discovery.
5. Find your legend. As I mentioned earlier, this person doesn’t have to be a famous rocker. I know not all brands have the financial resources or street cred to wrastle that up. This person could be a hidden gem/mascot in the wings within your company or your follower base.
How will you implement Stance Socks and Supreme New York’s lessons in your own strategy? Let me know in the comments below, and download our compete Instagram Strategy Kit below to learn more about marketing on Instagram.