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Brand | Social media usage in two fast-fashion brands: & Other Stories and Pixie Market

This report will examine which factors influence the engagement of brand posts on social media platforms. Therefore, it is going to undertake a comprehensive comparison between Instagram posts of two fashion brands - & Other Stories and Pixie Market. This report will also describe in detail how to capture the target audience’s attention and increase social media engagement.


Over the past few years, the usage of social media by fashion brands has increased exponentially. Social media platforms and applications, like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest, provides fashion brands with new ways to connect with customers. Customers can share views about products and brands on social media, rather than unilaterally receiving information from brands. A survey by Kim and Ko (2010) revealed that 36% of participants have a more positive attitude toward the brand that have social media accounts. Meanwhile, brands can gain more exposure because 60% of consumers tend to deliver information to others online by using social media platforms (DEI Worldwide, 2008). Therefore, social media is now treated as an opportunity to strengthen customer relationships and reach a broader audience (Mohr, 2013).

For fashion brands, Instagram is the most effective platform to inspire new trends and boost sales due to its high engagement and highly visual characteristic (White, 2016; Carbone, 2019). According to the report from The Conversation, ‘90% of Instagram users were under 35...this generation has a different relationship to brands, placing emphasis on use rather than possession and proving more sensitive to the power of the image’ (Moatti & Abecassis-Moedas, 2018). Hence, developing a strong visual-focused Instagram strategy is crucial. In the following part, a brief introduction of two brands will be provided as a background to the upcoming comparison analysis.

Both & Other Stories and Pixie Market focus on trendy styles and have similar prices while they have their own characteristic separately. & Other Stories is a women-only fashion brand of H&M Group, which was launched in March 2013. It describes the design motto as ‘bringing everything she can wear into one place’ (Lidbury, 2012). & Other Stories provides clothes, shoes, jewellery but also beauty products for females with style escalating from feminine chic to masculine tailoring. This brand is initially inspired by blogging and gradually become well-known on Instagram, where it now has over 1.9m followers (Fig.1). Pixie Market is a pure women fashion brand, which was founded in 2006. It specialises in ‘contemporary classics, crips-bold pieces, and chic-minimal styles’ (Clark, 2019), which has 176k followers on Instagram (Fig.2). Obviously, & Other Stories has a great advantage over Pixie Market on social networks.

Fig.1 & Other Stories’ Instagram bio

Fig.2 Pixie Market’s Instagram bio

Comparison Analysis

This section is going to compare how two fast-fashion brands - & Other Stories and Pixie Market use Instagram to capture the target audience’s attention, encourage engagement, facilitate sales and lead fashion conversation. First, several sets of quantitative data will be collected from two Instagram accounts, such as the use of visuals, the types of content, the number of postings, comments, and likes (Table 1; Table 2; Table 3). Secondly, a reference framework will be applied to compare the brand posts popularity, which consists of interactivity, vividness, and type of content (De Vries et al., 2012). Moreover, in order to understand the latest trend of social media use, this report will collect the posts in February 2020 as the sample for analysing.

Table.1 shows the level of engagement of posts on the two Instagram accounts in February. As illustrated in the table, & Other Stories posts 43 times (1.5 posts per day), and Pixie Market posts 18 times (0.6 posts per day). Research by Union Metrics (2014) suggested that most brands post at least one time per day to keep the audience engaged with the content. Also, posting more help brands boosts engagement. Consequently, & Other Stories got more likes and comments than Pixie Market.

Table 1

Instagram engagements statistics for February 2020


In addition to the posting frequency, the interactivity of brand posts influences the engagement. Interactivity is described as ‘the degree to which two or more communication parties can act on each other, on the communication medium, and on the messages and the degree to which such influences are synchronised’ (Liu & Shrum, 2002). In other words, interactivity is the characteristic of many-to-many communication, which allows the audience to react to brand posts. De Vries et al. (2012) argued that highly interactive brand posts would gain more likes and comments. For example, & Other Stories poses a question about spring clothing on Instagram (Fig.3). This post receives 16,479 engagements (including 16,385 likes and 94 comments), far beyond the average level in February. A brand post with a question provokes discuss among followers, so it has a high degree of interactivity, which will generate more engagements. As for Pixie Market, there are no posts with interactive characteristics which contain voting, contest, question or quiz (De Vries et al., 2012). Thus, in the interactivity aspect, & Other Stories is more effective compared to Pixie Market.

Fig.3 An example of a highly interactive brand post


Another way of escalating the engagement of a brand post is to enhance the vividness of the content. The vividness refers to ‘the uniqueness of each medium in terms of feedback, the number of cues and channels utilised, personalisation and language variety’ (Verschueren, 2017). A study by Coyle and Thorson (2001) indicated that vividness consists of several levels, which have different stimulations on senses. For example, Instagram allows brands to post photos or videos, where videos will be seen as high vivid contents because videos stimulate both visual and auditory. In contrast, photos will be treated as low vivid content. (Bakhshi et al., 2014).

Table 2 shows the level of vividness of posts on the two Instagram accounts in February. As illustrated in the table, & Other Stories posts thirteen videos, and Pixie Market does not post any videos. A study by Liebrecht (2014) revealed that videos make the process of visual content much easier while attracting attention for a longer period. De Vries et al. (2012) also proposed that more vivid contents contribute to a more positive attitude toward the brand post, which motivates followers to create more likes and comments. Consequently, in the vividness aspect, & Other Stories’ posts are more attractive than Pixie Market’s posts.

Table 2

Instagram visual use statistics for February 2020

Type of Content

People use social networks for several reasons, that two of them are the most important ones: entertainment-searching and information-seeking (Lin & Lu, 2011). According to the different motivations, brand posts could be distinguished into two types: informative posts and entertaining posts (De Vries et al., 2012). Informative posts offer information about a brand or product to audiences, which contains brand mission, product features and product updates (Fig.4). This type of content ensures that people can comprehend complicated products or services (Carbone, 2019). Moreover, the entertainment value of contents is also important. Entertaining posts contains lifestyle style content and behind-the-scenes footage (Fig.5), which appeals to the emotions of the target audience and boosts engagements (Verschueren, 2017). Additionally, research by Taylor et al. (2011) suggested that people tend to have positive attitudes toward informative and entertaining brand posts on social networks.

Fig.4 Examples of informative brand posts

Fig.5 Examples of entertaining brand posts

Table 3 shows the different mix of content types on the two Instagram accounts in February. As illustrated in the table, & Other Stories has a higher proportion of entertaining posts than Pixie Market. A study by Cvijikj and Michahelles (2013) revealed that entertaining content would generate more likes, comments, and shares when comparing to informative content. It can be reasoned that & Other Stories has a better balance of informative and entertaining content, which keeps followers being active on Instagram.

Table 3

Instagram content type statistics for February 2020

Conclusion and Limitations

This analysis report gathers data from two fast-fashion brands to investigate what factors drive the engagement of posts on Instagram. The findings suggest that the level of engagement is influenced by four reasons: the posting frequency, the vividness of content, the interactivity of contents and the types of contents. By comparing and contrasting & Other Stories and Pixie Market, it can be concluded that the former made better use of Instagram. & Other Stories consistently generates content with high vividness and interactivity while has a great balance between informative and entertaining content, thus lead to more engagements.

However, this report is subject to some limitations, such as the analysing samples only included a limited number of brand posts which might not be sufficient to test the factors that influence the post engagement. Besides, other reasons relating to the engagement have not been considered, such as the language of posts, hashtags, shoppable posts and Instagram stories, which can be interesting topics for further research.



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