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Using Instagram for Apparel Marketing in 2020 1

** full, unabridged version below **

Hi everyone,

my name is Peter and I run an apparel store with my wife call Mango Rabbit. We’ve been marketing on Instagram for 5 years, growing to 45k & 500k followers on the business and personal accounts respectively.  We have two perspectives for you; brand and influencer.  Here is how we are using Instagram to market our brand.

Get More Out of Influencers

Influencers can produce amazing outdoor fashion photos.  Thus, we don’t just ask for an IG Post or Story from influencer campaigns, we ask for extra photos of different outfits and pieces.

This gets great value out of influencer deals.  Even if the influencer post did not generate sales, your team can use those extra photos for PPC or other socials.  Look for influencers than can create effortlessly beautiful photos.

Imagine if you have no privacy at work and your produce is ready for the world to dissect or copy.  That’s the life of a full-time influencer.  To show a bit of appreciation for our influencers, we let them have their creative freedom.  We also mention potential for repeat business if they generate good ROI.  The result has been free stories and content, even detailed heartfelt video testimonials.

For our store, my wife used to be the only influencer.  However, there are some conflict of interest, time and scalability issues there.  We are also using Instagram to manually search for additional influencers.

Affiliate Programs

A time-tested sales model.  Affiliates get a % commission for sales they recommended.

Did you know the brand gets a hidden bonus with all affiliate programs?  Instagram tends to erase the tracking mechanism.   In addition, shoppers sometimes browse with their phones, but buy with their laptops and that also erases the tracking.  Lastly, more people are using anti-tracking software for privacy reasons.

The affiliate influencer can never get full credit for his/her sales.

If you have a top affiliate influencer, I suggest you increase their commission % so he/she prioritizes your brand above the many other affiliated brands they likely have.  A mega store executed this strategy with my wife via ShareASale.  As a result, she has generated over $100,000 in gross sales since January 2019.  I would love to get those sales for our own store, but we do not have the wonderful range of inventory this mega store has.

In order of activity, we currently use ShareASale, RewardStyle/, Awin and Commission Junction.

Paid Ads

You may have noticed rising ad costs for our industry.  This was a top concern according to a recent Shopify+ survey of high growth companies.

We only use a retarget Shopify app.  Another service we’ve looked at is Shoelace.  Both are for retargeting.

The next step is to use Facebook lookalikes and bring the expertise in-house.


We use Instagram to learn about our own niche and see what our customers are up to.

Beware of niches as well, if you do the “hire 300 micro influencers” strategy, you will get a lot of over-lapping engagement.  In other words, the same cluster of influencers and micros complimenting each other, but never buying anything.

Agencies and Influencer Databases

We don’t plan on using any agencies or influencer portals to market on Instagram.  This is not to say we will never use them.  We do love seeing anti-cheating databases like Fohr and HypeAuditor.

What Do Ya Think?

If you have time, please check out or drop a line at  Your feedback on our shop would mean a lot to us!

Thanks for reading! 


Peter Peng and Kerina Wang