The shoe retailer and manufacturer launches ads on Instagram and says social media marketing is a crucial piece of its overall brand-building strategy.

High-end shoe manufacturer and retailer Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC today launched its first ads on Instagram, in a move that reflects the company’s evolving brand-building strategy, says Susan Duffy, Stuart Weitzman’s chief marketing officer.

The Instagram campaign, which uses Instagram’s autoplay video ad unit, consists of four cinemagraphs, a type of GIF photo in which only one element in an image moves. Stuart Weitzman worked with fashion photographers Ann Street Studio to develop the cinemagraphs, each of which features a different style from its spring shoe collection. The ads play in a loop to attempt to capture consumers’ attention.

“We want to create a mesmerizing brand moment,” Duffy says. In doing so, the retailer aims to build its Instagram following, which includes more than 182,000 consumers, as well as drive sales.

The retailer’s large fan base, as well as Instagram’s introduction of autoplaying video ads, drove the retailer to begin advertising on Instagram, Duffy says.

The Instagram campaign comes amid a broader push by Stuart Weitzman to leverage social media marketing to build brand recognition and drive sales. Social media, Duffy says, gives the retailer a unique platform to tell its story to a captive audience.  

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“Original content and storytelling are top of mind for us, and we’re invested in putting our best foot forward,” Duffy says. “Social media is a perfect way to leverage beautiful content and express our brand lifestyle.”

The retailer’s social media marketing efforts to date produced a “strong” return on ad spend both in terms of attracting new customers and boosting sales, Duffy says, though she did not provide any numbers. That’s why Stuart Weitzman has dramatically increased its social media budget this year; on Facebook alone the retailer plans to boost its ad spending more than 300%, she says.

Stuart Weitzman isn’t new to social media marketing. For several years it has used Facebook ads to gain exposure as it moves into international markets. However, the luxury retailer is about to get a new owner; in January Coach Inc. announced plans to acquire Stuart Weitzman from Sycamore Partners in a deal that could be worth as much as $574 million if certain revenue targets are hit. Coach ranks No. 85 in the Internet Retailer 2014 Top 500 Guide.

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