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