The best of Instagram in 2014

Nasty Gal on Instagram

Instagram – easy to get right, right? Not exactly. However flattering the filters may be on your images, it’s a rare retailer that diverges from the constant product plugging (luxe brands – take note) or how-to after how-to (beauty brands – you’re the guilty ones here).

We’ve selected our pick of the best Instagram campaigns that we’ve seen this year….enjoy!

Best Indie – The Weird and Wonderful // @TheWeirdAndWonderful

The Weird and the Wonderful

The Weird and Wonderful is not your average indie retailer, oh no. They deal in the finer specimens of this planet, and that is an extensive range of fossils, antlers, entomology, bones, and taxidermy. Whether you’re into that sort of stuff or not, we guarantee you will find their Instagram informative, if not absolutely mesmerising. Have a gander; we’re sure you’ll leave having purchased antlers for your living room.

Best High Street – & Other Stories // @AndOtherStories

And Other Stories
Minimalism has never looked so good. Following a muted colour scheme, the sister brand of H&M and COS demonstrates exactly why we love the Scandinavian aesthetic so much. With fun, quirky details and regular blogger/guest editor features, this Instagram shows us how we wish our lives looked.

Best E-tailer – Nasty Gal // @NastyGal

Nasty Gal
2014 has been a great year for Nasty Gal and its founder Sophia Amoruso. From the humble beginnings of eBay, Amoruso has grown the business to over $100m in just eight years – that’s some crazy growth. She also published a New York Times best selling book AND released MAC Cosmetics collab this year. The book is titled “#GIRLBOSS”, and there’s a good reason for the hash tag. Social media has been the backbone of the brand’s customer fan base, and Instagram is a large part of that with more than 1.4m followers. They feature everything their young clientele wants – female empowerment, glitter, Ryan Gosling, and some serious attitude.

Best Beauty – MAC Cosmetics // @MACcosmetics

Mac Cosmetics
As a beauty brand, MAC is hard to beat. As a beauty brand with as strong an Instagram game as this, well… good luck. While most make-up accounts feature tutorials heavily, MAC has made sure not to fall into this tired old ditch. Not only are they the go-to makeup artists for global fashion weeks (cue gorgeous model looks galore), but they have cool collaborations to boot (our fave is The Rocky Horror Picture Show!)

Best Luxury – Christian Louboutin // @LouboutinWorld

Louboutin World
If you thought shoes were just shoes, think again. Every girl knows that Louboutin is the messiah of female legs everywhere! What we didn’t know is that there are over 1,700 (and counting) ways to photograph a pair of shoes and not make it look like every other generic product shot. We wish some of the other luxury brands would pay attention.

Best Lifestyle – Herschel Supply Co. // @HerschelSupply

Herschel Supply
It was a VERY close call between Herschel Supply Co. and Anthropologie for the title of ‘Best Lifestyle Instagram’. Anthropologie is one of those rare stores that create an atmosphere so enjoyable that it’s like walking into a magical cave full of treasures. However, this is the Instagram Awards, not Retail Awards. Based purely on Instagram strategy, Herschel were the clear winners – they make us wanna get up and go travelling. NOW.

Best Newcomer – Alexander Wang // @AlexanderWangNY

Alexander Wang
For a young, modern designer, Alexander Wang was unacceptably late to the Instagram game. However, we’ll excuse him just this once seeing as he’s playing so well. Launched only in April 2014, the fashion world went crazy at the sight of their first post – an announcement of their collaboration with high street retailer H&M. Having conquered that (and sold out in the process), Wang now posts image “Objects” series, powerful product and model shots, and of course the obligatory celeb spots. Keep doing what you’re doing, Mr Wang!

Best Christmas Campaign – ASOS // @ASOSadvent

ASOS
Of course we had to give this a mention – ASOS is the only retailer that could pull off making a whole new Instagram account JUST for their Christmas 2014 Instagram ‘Advent Calendar’ competition! Indies beware – you’ll need a couple million more followers before you can try something like this. Out of 2.4m followers on their main @ASOS account, 16.2k migrated to the advent account to take part and win some festive prizes.

These are our top tips to guide your Instagram campaigns next year– who knows, maybe our brand will be in our top picks for 2015!

  1. Don’t just push products (clothing/accessories retailers) or make-up tutorials (beauty brands).
  2. Aim to give your followers a real taste of your brand’s personality – what would your brand be doing on a day-to-day basis if they were a person?
  3. If the image is just ‘OK’ and not great? Don’t post it. Quality over quantity.
  4. Think about curation as if you were putting together an art exhibit – will the image sit well next to the previous images that will surround it?

To see more great retail Instagram accounts, check out our profile at http://instagram.com/retailpractice