NEW YORK — Michael Kors came out on top on Instagram during New York Fashion Week.

This story first appeared in the February 18, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The brand ranked the third highest in terms of Instagram followers gained during the seven-day period that ended Friday, after Nike and Forever 21, according to analytics firm Nitrogram. On average, Michael Kors sees 9,864 new followers a day, 50,085 followers a week and 161,336 followers a month. The brand currently has nearly 1.8 million fans and 1.86 million posts containing the hashtag #michaelkors.

Of the top 50 apparel brands on Instagram, Kors — ranked number nine — was the only company in the top 10 to have a runway show during fashion week. Kors is ranked as the top luxury brand on Instagram, followed by Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Christian Louboutin, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Versace and Valentino.

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“Instagram allows us to connect with fans and inspire them with beautiful imagery and our jet-set message. We want to be where our customers are, and we work to develop content and campaigns that will resonate with them on the go,” Lisa Pomerantz, Michael Kors senior vice president of global communications and marketing, said. “Through Instagram, our live stream, Destination Kors and other digital efforts, we invite people to experience a particular moment in many dimensions.”

The brand has clearly seen the value of Instagram — Kors was the first company to advertise on the platform last November. Nitrogram said at the time that Kors added 16 times more followers with the ad than it does with nonsponsored posts.

Charles Porch, Instagram partnerships lead, said what Kors is doing on the platform speaks to a broader trend about “what works” on Instagram for the fashion industry.

“They are showing a full life experience and what’s going on behind the scenes around fashion week. You’re seeing everything…before, during and after [the show],” Porch said.

Asked whether this has anything to do with the fact that Kors advertises on Instagram, Porch said, “Advertising is a different thing. They are part of the [initial] test, and we’re still testing, so I can’t correlate the two.”

Marc Jacobs took the 16th spot on Instagram for the week ended Friday, posting 2,299 new followers a day and 18,158 followers a week. Its Instagram account, @marcjacobsintl, is fast approaching 1.1 million followers and has 886,000 images featuring the hashtag #marcjacobs.

In the week after its Feb. 7 show, Rebecca Minkoff saw about 7 percent growth in Instagram followers (22,566 fans).

Ralph Lauren gained 10,460 followers on Instagram in just one day following its Thursday show, while Calvin Klein gained 4,036 followers during the same period (their shows were at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., respectively).

Calvin Klein attributes its growth on Instagram to a three-tiered approach described as “personal and impactful.” Leading up to the show, the account @calvinklein published content from Calvin Klein creative director Francisco Costa, blogger Hanneli Mustaparta and Vanessa Axente, model and face of Calvin Klein Collection. The brand also used Instagram Direct for the first time as a way for Costa to communicate with show attendees.

Malcolm Carfrae, Calvin Klein executive vice president and chief communications officer, told WWD that fan engagement with @calvinklein posts on Instagram increased more than 90 percent from the spring 2014 collection to the most recent season, and season-over-season, fan interactions grew by 186 percent. Fall 2014 posts received 42,000 likes and comments.

Tommy Hilfiger held its show on Feb. 10, and saw an almost 9 percent increase in fans during the week ended Friday. The brand’s social media concierge program, introduced in September, has evolved to the point where attendees may make personalized photo requests, resulting in images sent to their mobile devices during the show. Hilfiger also e-mailed guests all collection assets immediately following the show. This season, the digital service was extended through Paris Fashion Week and available to the brand’s followers on social media. The company reported that its dedicated hashtag #tommyfall14 had 37 million impressions, 1,189 posts using #tommyfall14 and 531.000 engagements of #tommyfall14 content.

Hilfiger also hosted an InstaMeet — a physical event where Instagram users meet one another — to provide its 168,000 fans more access to the runway experience. All content was aggregated and tagged with the hashtag #nyfwinstameet, and the event for 18 Instagram participants was hosted by Anthony Danielle and Brian Difeo, who have 185,000 and 124,000 fans, respectively. The hashtag #nyfwinstameet garnered 2.1 million impressions, as well as 23,000 engagements of #nyfwinstameet content.

“The visual platforms like Instagram are the most accessible and instant, which lends itself perfectly to the runway — people are probably now starting to search for something with a greater connection, which paves the way for new opportunities,” said Justin Cooke, chief executive officer of Innovate7 and former chief marketing officer of Topshop.

New York University think tank Luxury Lab, or L2, even proclaimed Instagram the world’s most powerful social platform in its latest Intelligence Report, released last week.

The study showed that the Facebook-owned Instagram has 15 times the engagement rate of its parent company across the 249 prestige brands ranked — 1.5 percent versus just 0.1 percent for Facebook.

Scott Galloway, New York University marketing professor and cofounder of L2, argued that it’s better to have 150 million users that are 15 times more engaged than an audience of 1.3 billion — the number of Facebook users — that are one-fifteenth as engaged.

He also compared Instagram’s prowess with social media darling Pinterest.

“The community fell in love with Pinterest, but it’s no Instagram. It’s a third of Instagram’s size,” Galloway told WWD. “Instagram is a part of our lives, and Pinterest is a resource when we’re redecorating our apartment.”

Instagram has more than 150 million users, and Pinterest has just 50 million, with only one quarter of those users actively engaging with the platform every day. At Instagram, nearly two-thirds of users interact daily.

“If you take active usage and multiply that by community size — Instagram has 60 percent times 150 million — you end up with 90 million. With Pinterest — you take 50 million times one-quarter — and that is 12 million. [That means] dollars spent on Instagram will get seven times the return than efforts on Pinterest,” Galloway said.

He believes that Instagram might be the “actual reality” that the industry has been promising around the notion of social commerce. The platform allows for the production of imagery and assets that are helping brands lift conversion.

“Traffic from Facebook to brands doesn’t convert to purchases, and traffic from Twitter to brand sites seems to be almost worthless. It’s hard to discern any value from it,” Galloway said. “It’s just not driving a lot of traffic or sales, whereas photos generated on Instagram — when integrated on sites — seems to be increasing conversion. Finally, tomorrow is today.”

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