Over the past few years, Markle has subtly (and occasionally not-so-subtly) promoted the businesses of her close friends, including the designers Jessica Mulroney and Misha Nonoo, as well as Markus Anderson, a consultant for the members-only club franchise SoHo house. Last year, she even promoted the launch of her pal Serena Williams' fall fashion line. Of course, wth 2.7 million followers and counting, a boost from Markle certainly doesn't hurt.
Yet Markle, analysts say, is strategic about posting as the best social media influencers are. "Since [Markle] confirmed that she and Prince Harry were dating last November, you can see that her posts have matured," suggests Jill Mailander, a marketing strategist with Room 214, a Boulder, Colo.-based social media-consulting firm. "You can see that she only posts what she enjoys."
It's worth noting, however, that Markle hasn't posted on Instagram since April of this year--which may indicate that she realized things were getting serious with Harry. The royal family likely imposes limitations on how and to what extent its members can have a presence online, says Mailander.
Here are four takeaways from the way that the so-called "royal-in-waiting" approaches, or at least approached, social media marketing:
1. Authenticity is Queen
Mailander notes that Markle is able to keep her feed relatable to the average onlooker. Although many of her posts include nods to celebrities--such as Larry King last December and the fashion designer Roland Mouret last fall--she also publishes more banal activities, from selfies with her dog to a picture of her cooking a Thanksgiving turkey. That keeps readers engaged, rather than giving off a "holier-than-thou" celebrity vibe.
2. Don't Force Partnerships
Markle has undoubtedly been given the opportunity to partner with brands for a hefty sum, but she's clearly selective about what she'll promote. At first glance, her Instagram feed doesn't read as a series of advertisements, but more as the days-in-a-life of an average (albeit, beautiful) human. The businesses she does promote, including Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, are in keeping with the aesthetic of her overall profile: "Feminine and female empowerment," reflects Mailander.
3. Marry Science and Gut
Of course, Markle may not be as analytical about her Instagram feed as we are, and that's a good thing. "Some of this is scientific, and some of it is gut," Mailander says. When Markle does promotions--which, in keeping with Instagram protocol, are denoted with the #ad or #sponsor--you can tell that it's something she "actually cares about." Indeed, the most important takeaway here may be not to take yourself so seriously.
4. Good Vibes Only
General rule of thumb for social media marketers: Keep it positive. Few appreciate negativity online, especially on a platform like Instagram, which is meant to be aspirational and artistic. Mailander notes that Markle cleverly inserts inspirational quotes on her Instagram, such as: "Be awesome today," or "Don't be the reason someone feels insecure. Be the reason someone feels seen, heard, and supported by the whole universe." These interjections put your customer in the right frame of mind for shopping (and, you know, living).