Did I mention I love Instagram?


I have expressed my feelings before about Instagram – I LOVE IT!  For social, social media it is fun to see pictures of friends, their houses, their kids, their vacations…etc.  Users can easily and quickly “paint a picture” with a mobile device.  Businesses can use Instagram in the very same way.  For branding purposes, Instagram provides followers with a glimpse of the business’ inner workings, offering behind-the-scenes, exclusive photos that humanize the brand.

Free People, owned by Urban Outfitters, is a company that has been recognized because it really seems to grasp how to use Instagram for marketing.  Currently, Free People has 363,613 followers.  In July 2012, the company began a campaign which involved attaching hashtag cards to its jeans.  On the cards, in addition to the hashtag, were instructions encouraging customers to take a picture of themselves in their new fabulous Free People jeans, and post the photo tagging  it with the specific hashtag.  “The result:  photos of the (product) circulated not only on Free People’s feed, but their followers, too.  From there, Free People handpicked pictures to publish on its website, turning its customers into models and engaging with its community in a fun, impactful way.”(1)

Free People has done this with other products, as well.  In May 2012, they ran a similar contest , encouraging customers to take pictures of themseves in the Spring collection.

Shopping on a website, especially for jeans, can be a very difficult undertaking.  Having photos of actual customers of all shapes and sizes wearing the products, may help shoppers get a better idea of how an item will fit.  “Lots of e-commerce customers end up not buying a product because they’re not sure how the product is going to fit after they make the purchase, Jose de Cabo, cofounder of Olapic, told Mashable.  It also shows they have a super hip, engaged customer base.  Social photo crowdsourcing start-up, Olapic, is helping on the back end, curating the customers’ photos from Instagram and Twitter and incorporating them onto the retailer’s product pages”(2)

Levi’s ran a very similar  campaign on Instagram.  Targeted at both males and females,”the ‘I am Levi’s’ Instagram global casting campaign asks people to submit photos of themselves using the Instagram app on their iPhones with the tag #IAMLEVIS.  Levi’s will be regularly reviewing the submissions to see if their next star is in the mix.  According to GQ.com, there is no end date to the campaign and it’s really not a photo contest – Levi’s justs wants to use crowdsourcing to find its next campaign model.”(3)

(1)  The Daily Muse. (October 24, 2012) 5 Brands Thet Understand Marketing on Instagram [blog post] Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/10/24/brands-marketing-instagram/

(2)  Ouimet, Maeghan. (July 25, 2012) Instagram: Killer App for Retailers? [blog post] Retrieved from http://www.inc.com/maeghan-ouimet/instagram-helps-ecommerce-sales.html

(3)  Vong, Katherine (January 7, 2012) ‘I am Levi’s’ Instagram Campaign Searches for Next Star. [blog post] Retrieved from http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/I-am-levi-s-instagram


4 responses »

  1. Hi Kim-
    I too love Instagram. I follow a mixture of my friends and famous people so my feed is always interesting. I like to use Instagram to search for images of events or things. The past few days I’ve searched for #Sandy but in the past I’ve searched for images of events that i’ve been at or wished I could be at. Instagram makes sharing so easy and in one step you can have the photo not only uploaded there but also to Facebook, Twitter, etc. For business, Instagram can be a way to give sneak peeks, introduce employees, share information, show the office, and of course, market products. Instagrams accessibility helps make it popular as well. I like your example of how Levi uses the app, Zappos is one of my favorites to follow. They are always sharing fun photos of their office and employees…It makes them seem more human!

  2. Hey Kim,

    You can definitely see how popular Instagram is, I always see uploads on all of my social network profiles from just about everyone. I think that is pretty cool what Free People has done, adding hash tag cards to the jeans, which helps to bring awareness and get people involved. Clealy it’s a hit from what you have stated. I definitely think it’s a cool way to check out the clothes, you’re able to see them on realy people, not just in ads, or on models. I’ll have to check it out.


  3. Hi Kim,
    Like everyone else, I also love Instagram. I have even used it with friends to try and compete with each other to see who can get the most views. It is always cool to see who will follow you on Instragram compared to say Facebook or Twitter. I have some friends who refuse to use FB but love using Instagram. It is interesting to see who relates to what.

  4. Kim,
    Did I mention the fact that I love your introduction and further discussion of Instagram? Thanks for the Instagram case studies. It helped me better understand Instagram and its potential social “abilities.” ko

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