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  • Writer's pictureGemma

How to build a retail brand and sell products on Instagram

I’m joined by our social media expert, Vicky, who has many years experience of successfully selling products on Instagram. She was responsible for a team that grew sales for a well known beauty brand by over £6m. Her advice is pure gold and she’s helped our clients at Emotion Brands reach new customers online, increasing revenue and brand awareness.

So grab a cuppa and keep reading for her top tips and advice on building a retail brand through Instagram.

1. Tell us about your background and how you came to build brands on Instagram?

I started out as a Digital Project Manager as I have a passion for organising things & I have been obsessed with technology from a very young age, so it felt like the right industry for me. Then in 2015 a friend of mine started selling cosmetics online, she believed that I could use my digital knowhow to do it too. So I decided to give it a go, my business grew rapidly because I understood the power of storytelling and community. I found it much easier to expand my reach on Instagram due to being a product based business, so I became obsessed with learning everything I could about it! I my time & effort on Instagram and my Facebook group, building a strong community of women who trusted me.

2. What is it about Instagram that you like above other platforms?

I find relationship building much easier on Instagram, which is super important for those all important algorithms. I also like that Instagram is always trying to be ahead of the curve with new ideas. The Instagram grid is super visual, I love creating graphics that stand out to make people want to read the caption. Not only that you can reach your target market easier without paying for ads, therefore you can reach more people that will actually want your product even without a huge marketing budget.

3. What demographic can businesses expect to find on Instagram?

In 2022 1.3 billion people were using Instagram and 70% of those were under the age of 35*. So if your business has a younger target audience, Instagram is the place to reach them.

(*source: Oberlo)

4. What about ads – do you have to spend money to get the reach if you don’t have many followers?

In my opinion running a competition is a much better use of your money unless you have a good chunk of marketing budget.

5. Are hashtags still a thing?

Instagram are making hashtags less of a thing - they have new functionality of adding topics to reels which help them show the reels to people who are interested in those things. For example I have been watching loads of dog reels so now all that comes up on my reels feed is dogs!

6. Is it all about videos now? Are stills a thing of the past?

Short form videos (reels - up to 90 seconds) are the golden egg on Insta, but don’t over do it - interweave with informative stills, such as a carousel, Q&A or review, as they still have a place. Also if you can add a bit of humour in there too, you will notice the engagement on the funny posts will be much higher.

7. What about influencers, would you recommend working with one and any tips?

I think if you can build strong relationships with your customers and encourage them to share their content that would be a much better use of your time as your net spreads further and gains you some real content rather than staged. Always think of the 5C’s Contests, Collaboration, Connecting, Customer Service & Community Building.

8. How often do you recommend posting?

Everyday if possible, exceptional growth comes from posting four times a day but spread out over 12 hours if possible - it’s not to say you won’t grow but it will just take a bit longer if you post 2-3 times a week. The key thing is to share valuable content and don’t just post for the sake of posting and be consistent!

9. Where do you get your inspiration from when thinking of content ideas?

I am ALWAYS researching and learning, that’s what makes my mind tick! I have emails in my inbox daily keeping me up to speed on the latest trend or features. I have a document full of post ideas if I ever get stuck. I map out customer pain points and answer those within the content, work out what the objections are so you can tailor the content to keep that attention.

10. What software do you recommend as we’re sure you’ve tried and tested many!

I personally love Social Pilot (, it’s not as well known as others but I have used many and this one helps me achieve what I need to with ease and without restrictions.

11. What are your 3 top tips for a retail brand promoting on Insta?

1. Running competitions is a great way to grow reach if you ask people to tag your business

2. People need to see a product 7-10 times before they will buy, so talk about the same product repeatedly for 7-10 posts. Jot down all the ways you can share the product, plan it out then schedule!

3. Share people using the products, results, before and afters - a product flat lay will not get you the results you want.

12. Lastly, tell us the best life experience you’ve ever had?

It has to be travelling around South Africa, Australia and South East Asia, experiencing so many different cultures that year gave me so many life experiences, I cannot wait to take my son on lots of amazing adventures as soon as he is old enough.

Get in touch with Gemma at Emotion Brands to discuss the social media needs for your business.


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