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How Barneys New York Stays Relevant on Instagram

Retail brands use various strategies on social media to generate authentic content, connect with audiences at as many touchpoints as possible, and stay relevant among these target audiences.

Barneys New York, the luxury designer retailer, has created a strong presence across three major channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Barneys has over a million followers on both Instagram and Facebook, and close to half a million on Twitter.

Let’s dive in to see which channel performs best for Barneys New York, and what other brands can learn from their strategy.

Instagram Is the Best Performing Channel for Barneys New York

Among its three most active channels, Instagram is Barneys’ most active. While the brand posts regularly on all three channels, their Instagram channel features an average of 3.8 posts per day, followed by 2.6 posts on average per day on Twitter.Barneys New York posts most on Instagram and also receives the most engagement on the platform. The average engagement for each of Barneys New York’s Instagram posts is over 2.5K, which is more than 60X their average engagement for Facebook and Twitter combined.Given their  activity on Instagram and the engagement that Barneys New York generates on the platform, it is not surprising that Instagram is Barney’s New York’s fastest-growing social channel, with 2,703 followers added within this data period alone. What Is Barneys New York Doing Right on Instagram?

Instagram, hands down, is the best performing channel for Barneys New York. Here are five things the brand gets right on the network, and what your brand can learn.

1. Use Emerging Media Formats to Boost Engagement

In the first two weeks of September, Barneys posted a broad range of content, from individual photos and carousel photos, to videos and Instagram Stories.

Barneys covered most of New York Fashion Week on Instagram Stories. This format’s transient nature creates a sense of urgency, prompting Instagram audiences to engage with content and watch it within 24 hours. Over 25% of the brand’s Instagram posts in this data period routed the audience to Instagram stories.

Photos are the most engaging media type for Barneys New York, with over 2.7K engagement per post, closely followed by videos (over 2K engagement per post).Takeaway: Experiment with new media types on Instagram. Monitor which content resonates most with your audience, so you can create more of it. Building out different media types keeps your audience interested and interacting, giving you new ways of reaching marketing goals like conversions and engagement.  

2. Invest Time in Creative Captions and High-Quality Media

Due to its visual nature, Instagram holds huge value for the fashion industry. Barneys uses this capability to its fullest by keeping imagery and creative classy to match its brand image.

These high-quality images and videos and well-crafted Instagram Stories with creative text help Barneys drive a ton of engagement from their audience.

Here is the most engaging Instagram video from Barneys in the data period, which directed users to their Instagram Stories.

Takeaway: Great visual content is a key component of successful marketing, with great potential to shape a brand’s image and tell a memorable story. Instagram has taken the art of visual storytelling to another level.

Capture your audience’s attention on Instagram by developing creative images and captions to generate stronger engagement.  Barneys New York’s most engaging post in this data period illustrates their expertise at this, and holds some important lessons for your own brand.

According to this eMarketer article, images have a 37% higher level of engagement over plain text.

Great visuals power marketing campaigns by reinforcing messaging and keeping your brand top-of-mind.

But it’s not just about what you post. It’s about how you post it.  In the video below—their most engaging of this entire data period—Barneys New York:

  • Tags the New York Fashion Week account
  • Uses compelling, concise copy: “New York—it’s in our name! #I❤️NYFW
  • Leverages the popular event hashtag for easy discovery

Barneys New York succeeds in spreading the message about their participation in New York Fashion Week, and also subtly reminds the audience of who they are: a 94-year-old luxury brand, tied closely to the city of New York.

New York—it's in our name! #I❤️NYFW

A post shared by Barneys New York (@barneysny) on

3. Use Online Channels to Drive Store Traffic

Barneys strategically uses its digital channels to drive in-store traffic. The brand uses out-of-the-box and creative ideas on Instagram to promote their in-store exclusive offers, in a way that encourages users to visit the stores.

Takeaway: Get creative on Instagram by engaging with your audience and creating as many touchpoints on the buyer’s journey as possible. Each point of contact with a customer, via social posts, email, or any other channel, is an exciting opportunity to expose your brand and its offerings to buyers, and influence the buyers’ journeys. These interactions can also help uncover your customer needs and address their concerns and questions.These touchpoints can also support each other across the stages of the buyer’s journey

Barneys New York’s use of online channels to promote in-store offers, which drive people into stores (where they will be exposed to more product), is a great example of this tactic in practice.

Barneys New York is not only driving awareness about other products—the brand is also influencing the consideration phase by showcasing its product quality in-person and delivering a truly differentiated, superior brand experience, which builds advocacy.

4. Respond to Audience Questions

Social media as a marketing channel is invaluable because of its ability to facilitate two-way communication between brands and their target audiences. Barneys uses this opportunity to intently listen to the conversations on Instagram and respond to their audience there, building trust and creating positive associations with the brand.

Takeaway:  Be responsive on social, across all your channels. When a follower asks a question, they expect to hear back. Listening to social media gives brands a great opportunity to inform likely buyers of new arrivals and upcoming events, while also keeping tabs on brand sentiment.

5. Make It Shoppable

Mobile shopping has seen a continued uptrend in the last few years, and is projected to grow and contribute to over 48% of all total retail eCommerce by 2020. Barneys New York understands today’s consumers, and watches these trends intently. They have made their products shoppable directly through the Instagram app, generating engagement while simultaneously providing their audience with more details on the site to facilitate decision-making.

Takeaway: Understand your consumer/audience’s behavior and be mindful of shifting market trends and shopping habits. Use this information to create content on social that drives conversions, adds to your bottom line in the long run, and helps make your marketing efforts successful.

In a world where anyone with access to the internet can talk about your brand and shift perception around it, maintaining relevant, effective messaging is no easy task . Platforms like social media have given consumers a lot of power over how they engage with a brand in today’s digital world. As the number of social media users across the world continues to grow, brands must constantly monitor how they are being talked about, and react appropriately.How are your brand’s social marketing efforts going on Instagram? If there is anything we can help you measure, from conversations to conversions, please get in touch by filling out the form below. And be sure to check out our Holiday Planning guide, which will give you a head start with your marketing planning for the upcoming holiday season.

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Tripti Shrivastava

I'm a Social Media Analyst at Simply Measured. I love food, music, movies, and long walks. Let's talk about social media data!

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