Learning from the best of February on social media

We get it, you want your social media to shine for your business. We feel the same way as you. To step up your social game, we think it's important to learn from the experts. That's why we're here to give you the inside scoop. We'll show you the best tips and tricks to make your social media stand out, by taking a closer look at how some of the UK's top runners consistently smash it on social. With our help, you'll be able to use your social media to its full potential.

This week, it’s all fashion darling, with a look at how retailers H&M and Lucy & Yak make use of colour in their social feeds.

how they feel about h&m - Maybe*

How do people feel about H&M - From Maybe*

H&M are sleek and chic on social

H&M’s social feed keeps colour combos to a minimum, without it feeling stripped back. They do this through colour repetition, natural tones, and simple, stark backgrounds to help their content really stand out.

This post is all about contrast: the muted tones and textures of the clothing, offset by the pop of green in the jumper and the black in the sunglasses. It’s simple, clean, classy and confident.

H&M aren’t afraid of the odd pop of colour, far from it, but tend to balance their use of colour with a lot of black and white, alongside a hefty dose of neutrals. They use colour to draw the eye around their feed, creating contrast and making their content more visually exciting.

If you fancy a pared back look à la H&M, consider how you can keep your colour palette to a minimum. This doesn’t mean you’ll need to stick to muted colours, simply aim for 2-3 main tones per image to keep things nice and clear. Keeping your content tonal; using colours that complement each other, as well as a little bit of contrast for some drama, will go a long way towards achieving that sleek look you’re striving for.

Colourful cuddles from Lucy & Yak

In cheerful contrast, Lucy & Yak love a bit of colour. This carousel post (aka Instagram’s term for a post featuring a series of photos or videos that you have to scroll through, rather than just one) from Lucy & Yak is a sweetly joyful, vibrant example.

Lucy & Yak favour a more low-key approach to their content, with styled model shoots interspersed with regular reposts from Instagrammers looking merrily colourful in their Yaks.

One of Lucy & Yak’s bio taglines reads ‘join the Comfort Movement’, which fully encapsulates all that they are, and you can see this ethos clearly reflected through their content. Lucy & Yak want you to feel comfortable, relaxed and at ease – in their clothing. All their posts come together to build a feed that is warm, relaxed, diverse and engaged, and they use colour as a tool to bring their message home. Dress happy, feel happy.

If you and your customers are colour-lovers too, lean into it. Showcase your top-selling items on social. Invite your customers to share their own images with you, too. Let your customers’ choices – the items they buy from you and their own content that they choose to share with you – guide your content. Bring all these elements together to help you build a social feed that truly reflects your customers and your business, just as Lucy & Yak have done.

how they feel about lucy & yak - Maybe*

How do people feel about Lucy & Yak - From Maybe*

How Maybe* can help

Whether you’re a colour-seeker, or a sleek-and-chic-er, there’s tons of content for you to get inspired by on social media. Use Maybe* to stay in touch with the trends that are engaging your customers, and plan your content accordingly.

Use your Maybe* dashboard to see all your social media activity in one user-friendly place. Go one step further by using your social media scheduler to plan and post your content weeks in advance. Use the weekly view to see how you're using colour across your social channels, to help you get the most out of your content. If you’re stuck for sparkling content, get inspiration and suggestions from the best of your competitors. Then put what you've learned into action with your own winning moves.

Want to catch up on the best posts from January? Find them all here.

The best of the rest...

We learned all about sharing expertise with hair masters Toni & Guy and hairstyling sorcerers, ghd.

how they feel about Toni & Guy - Maybe*

How do people feel about Toni & Guy - From Maybe*

Magazine style inspo from Toni & Guy

Toni & Guy know hair. They want us, the viewer, to really believe that. They’ve created a social feed designed to convey their expertise to their followers, and they do it so well. This post, titled ‘Ethereal Beauty’ is a great example of their approach. They’ve not shared any tips on how to recreate this dreamy, wispy hairstyle. They want it to serve as inspiration to their followers, instead. The styling of the photo is quite timeless, it could have been taken on a recent shoot or the distant past, it doesn’t matter. The model looks off-camera, she does not engage with the audience, she doesn’t need to.

This post is in harmony with Toni & Guy’s social feed as a whole. They let their content do the talking. You won’t find them in the comments section very often, which might feel like a radical approach to take in 2023, where the recommended advice – consistently – is to engage with your customers online. The end result is that their Instagram feed feels more like a magazine experience, with their sleek, polished imagery featuring celebrities, models and catwalk show prep. It’s a snapshot into another world. Through their content, they create a sense of distance between us and them, and present themselves as the expert, by virtue of the place they hold in this other world, in their place of industry. Their followers can then choose how to react to the content they see. Instead of folding down the page of a hair magazine, they can hit ‘like’, and save their favourite posts.

If you want to adopt a similar approach with your own socials, you will need to put in the legwork with your content, as Toni & Guy have done. To do this, your social channels will need careful planning so that they feel polished and well put together. Above all, you’ll need beautifully shot images and videos to showcase your products or skills at their best. A professional feel will bring your social media to life, and lend a sense of gravitas to the content you share.

The customer knows best with ghd

ghd, on the other hand, favour a wholly different approach. Rather than presenting themselves as the experts, all their expertise goes into the hair tools they create. ghd's success is reliant on their customers understanding how to use their products properly. To that end, they work with a team of influencers who create content for them, which ghd share and engage with on their own channels. 

It's relatable, friendly content: 'if they can do it, I can do it, too'. ghd empower their customer by sharing these easy to digest tutorials, to help their customers get the most out of their products. The onus is then on the customer to work their magic and create fabulous hairstyles.

This post, showcasing their latest styling tool, is part of a Reel series featuring influencers with differing hair styles and textures, all using the tool to style their own hair, demonstrating to ghd’s customers how they can get involved, too.

ghd are very active in the comments sections of their posts – they want to connect with their customers on a personal level; fielding stock queries and complaints alongside reactions to the content they’ve shared. Models and celebrities are no strangers to the ghd feed, either; but the content is less polished, the captions more conversational and engaging. Where Toni & Guy are comfortable with some distance between themselves and their followers, ghd need to close the gap. They need to be personable. So they make it their main focus.

how they feel about ghd - Maybe*

How do people feel about ghd - From Maybe*

How Maybe* can help

So. To engage or not to engage, that is the question. How do you share your expertise online? Do you get involved in the comments, or are you more a ‘share and go’ type? 

Perhaps you favour Toni & Guy’s loftier, inspirational approach, or your aim is to empower your customers by giving them all the tools (quite literally) to do the job themselves like ghd. Whatever your goal, ensuring your social feeds are consistent, informative and visually engaging is super important. Draw your customers in using your imagery, and keep them focused on you with your captions and videos.

Use your Maybe* dashboard to see all your social media activity in one user-friendly place. Go one step further by adding businesses to learn what's hitting the mark on social and get inspired by content that's shining. See what your competitors are up to, and compare your activity to others. Then put what you've learned into action with your own winning moves.

We had a lesson in building connections on social media, courtesy of the University of York, and the University of East Anglia.

how they feel about uni of york

How do people feel about University of York - From Maybe*

Magic moments make a love story at York

The University of York have enjoyed fantastic engagement with their #HumansOfYork posts (an irresistible take on the hugely successful #HumansOfNewYork series – see what they did there?), telling the stories of students and staff, past and present. This particular post is part of a miniseries all about love that blossomed on campus, which they’ve been sharing in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. Ah. It’s an engaging carousel post (aka Instagram’s term for a post featuring a series of photos or videos that you have to scroll through, rather than just one), with a striking, joyful opening image, and a sweet love story in the caption. 

People love love, and they also enjoy sharing in other peoples’ happiness, as shown by the number of likes and comments on this post. Sharing the stories of the people who make up York; its staff and students, is a fantastic theme for the university, and alongside their other content, creates a social feed that is warm, personable and engaging.

UEA know how to build a good connection

The University of East Anglia have also focussed on a non-academic part of university life, this time with a post showcasing some fantastic Brutalist Architecture from across the campus. Like York, they’ve also opted for a carousel post and a brilliantly striking cover image. They’ve gone for a short caption to let the images speak for themselves, and in doing so, have given their followers an opportunity to share their own thoughts and memories – past or present – of their time at university.

Nostalgia is powerful, and you’ll see that the bulk of the comments are from alumni. Unlike York, UEA have opted to use a social media-wide hashtag as the main focus of their post. This is a great move to get more eyes on your post than your typical audience, but they’ve added some UEA-centric hashtags to their caption too, such as #ThisIsUEA.

how they feel about UEA

How do people feel about University of East Anglia - From Maybe*

How Maybe* can help

Finding ways to build a connection with your audience on social media is super important. For these two universities, nostalgia is an overarching theme. People love to share, reminisce, take stock or wander down memory lane. These posts serve as a reminder of the people behind all the academia, and have really resonated with their audiences because of this.

Using the right hashtags to tie their content together has worked well for both York and UEA, and you can make use of them in your own content. You don’t need tons of hashtags in each post, but you do need to make them count (note: current received wisdom from social media land suggests that 3-5 hashtags per Instagram post is ideal, but you can use up to 30 per post). Perhaps you can create your own hashtag, like #HumansOfYork or #ThisIsUEA. If you want to add your post to a larger project or campaign, consider using hashtags that span the width of social media, such as #ArchitectureFriday. 

One advantage to this approach is that you could get more eyes on your posts than your typical audience. One disadvantage is that busy hashtags are, well, busy and your post could get lost amidst the thousands, if not millions of other posts also using the same tag. We’d suggest using a mix of hashtags on your posts if you can.

Use your Maybe* dashboard to see all your social media activity in one user-friendly place. Go one step further by adding comparison businesses, learn what's working for them and get inspired by content that's shining on social. See what your competitors are up to, and compare your activity to others. Then put what you've learned into action with your own winning moves.

Kicking off February in style, designer darlings Dolce & Gabbana faced up to high street favourite, Primark.

how they feel about dolce & gabbana

How do people feel about Dolce & Gabbana - From Maybe*

La dolce vita with D&G

Take a scroll through Dolce & Gabbana’s grid and it will feel like flipping through the pages of a fashion magazine - their content has an editorial feel, with beautiful styling and regular appearances from the great and the good. It’s light, aspirational content: for those aiming for a version of the lifestyle they represent, or those seeking diversion from their day-to-day. Whatever the motivation, their followers will find what they're looking for in D&G’s content.

Onto the post itself: shot - and presented - like a film advert, this Reel from Dolce & Gabbana is all about escapism. Quite literally. In an unfamiliar desert setting, our protagonists meet for some slo-mo dusty cavorting. This post is all about the performance, and it’s echoed in the caption, complete with credits and a cast of creatives. It’s all very evocative, isn’t it.

Primark: posts for the people

Ah, Primark. Primark are cracking on social media: active, reactive and engaging, and it’s all down to the way they make their customers feel: seen. They’ve posted a host of relatable, wintery content - cosy flatlays, pyjamas galore, day to night styling… and they also use a strong team of influencers to help promote their products.

This image could have been taken anywhere (it was in Prague, btw), and features one of their influencers posing at the foot of a set of steps in her gym leggings and pink headphones. She could be any of us, and that is the point. It’s a very tonal image, there’s nothing harsh, sharp or provoking and ties right in with Primark’s feed as a whole.

How do people feel about Primark - From Maybe*

How Maybe* can help

We have two different takes on Winter inspiration here. The question is, how do you want your customers to feel? Exhilarated and inspired, or comforted and reassured. With Dolce & Gabbana and Primark’s feeds, we have some typical day-to-day vs the less attainable, all accessible via medium of social media.

Dolce & Gabbana’s budgets, styling, and imagery can feel a bit OTT at times, and that’s OK. As we consume their content in small quantities, it’s easier to digest. It’s not all around us. Their content isn't for everyone, and it doesn’t need to be. By contrast Primark needs to be both reachable and palatable, dictated by the sheer volume of their posts, and the style of the content they produce. They've both found their audience on social, and are consistently serving up content that resonates.

Use your Maybe* dashboard to see all your social media activity in one user-friendly place. Go one step further by adding comparison businesses, learn what's working for them and get inspired by content that's shining on social. See what your competitors are up to, and compare your activity to others. Then put what you've learned into action with your own winning moves.