Instagram has become a huge success. It turns ordinary photos into photographic works of art and makes them easily shareable across social media channels. Today, Instagram reports around 100 million active monthly users. It has created a phenomenon on image creation and sharing, reinforcing the medium as a channel of communication – a photo says more than a 1000 words!
Companies are also hopping on the bandwagon and are using Instagram as a channel among many others to promote their brands. According to Ekaterina Walter, 67% of the world’s renowned brands are using Instagram to reach “new, younger, tech-aware audiences” (2013). In this rapidly changing world, if you aren’t quick and innovative enough to adopt new channels, others will shout out – “You snooze, you lose!”
Ekaterina Walter on ClickZ showcases best practices of using Instagram, in her article “5 Brands Using Instagram to Interact & Build Fan Relationships”. The companies she highlights are Ford, Nike, Red Bull, Free People and Starbucks. What are the takeaways from these examples?
Ford created a competition and was able to engage successfully with an audience. The concept was to award the person who took the best Instagram picture of a Ford Fiesta by giving the car itself. The result created more than 120,000 fans on their Facebook page and 16,000 photos during a six week campaign.
Nike with its NikeID campaign allowed people to upload their favorite Instagram picture and select a custom shoe to superimpose. The idea, of course, was to get people to buy personalized shoes. It’s a cute idea — yet the outcome of this campaign still remains unclear.
Red Bull has always had hip and edgy ideas. Everybody has heard of how they sponsored skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who successfully jumped 127,900 feet from space. By posting 3,800 pictures and giving an audience the opportunity to closely follow the event, they successfully gained 750,000 new followers.
Clothing company Free People encourages its customers to post photos of themselves as modelling the clothes. The idea has gotten its customers to engage with the brand by making them post photos, comment and like other photos. It’s a clever idea on how to make your customers a part of the marketing process.
Starbucks is a pioneer in letting its consumers be a part of the brand conversation and allowing them to join in the discussion of new product ideas. Apparently, their clever idea has been to get people to use the tag #Starbucks when they take a picture of their coffee cup. Innovative? Perhaps not! Nevertheless, they definitely succeed in getting a loyal fan base that willingly creates publicity.
Ekaterina Walter definitely points out five relevant cases of companies using Instagram successfully, in terms of building engagement, followers and generating free publicity. It would be interesting to see how and if companies can use the same principles in their consumer marketing to help promote themselves as ideal employers. Do companies get their employees to take Instagram photos of different work situations and encourage them to share their experiences to an external audience of prospective hires? Lastly, has this channel contributed positively to the employer’s reputation, by allowing it to attract talent?
Walter, Ekaterina (2013). 5 Brands Using Instagram to Interact & Build Fan Relationships. ClickZ [Online] Available from: http://www.clickz.com/clickz/column/2299432/5-brands-using-instagram-to-interact-build-fan-relationships [Accessed: 18 October 2013].