Noah Selzler

How Brands Are Using Instagram For Outreach Marketing


Video Transcription

Hey everybody, and welcome to Group High’s outreach marketing virtual summit.  My name is Noah Selzer.  I am the community manager here at Group High.  I wanted to start by giving a special thanks to all of the attendees and presenters that made this event possible today, as well as our very own Kristen Matthews, and really all my colleagues over here at Group High who have worked tirelessly in the past few weeks to make this event happen.

Without further ado, today I will be talking about Instagram outreach marketing and some of the trends that I’ve noticed.  Then I’m going to offer a few examples of brands who caught my attention with their creative outreach initiatives on Instagram.  Of course, you can follow my conversations on twitter and interact with me using the hashtag outreach marketing.  Let’s dive right in.

Alright, so the first trend that I want to talk about isn’t something groundbreaking or new to social media by any means, but it is something I see being kind of under-strategized by a lot of brands and companies, and that’s leveraging hashtags.  Just like a logo or slogan, hashtags are great way to offer a bite-sized, fast, and recognizable way to connect with their audience.

I recommend an Instagram strategy that implements brand specific hashtags, campaign specific hashtags, and trending hashtags in combination.  Using both broad and granular hashtags simultaneously is an excellent way to engage like-minded Instagramers who may not know about your particular product.

At the same time, it is important to use brand or campaign specific hashtags in order to engage followers continually and build that defined social media identity.  The first one here, brand specific hashtags, use a hashtag that’s creative, but relevant enough to your brand to be recognized and associated quickly by social media users.  Use your brand specific hashtag across all social channels in all content posts and between various campaigns to solidify the association between that tag and your brand name.

Next, include new, unique hashtags to represent things like specific social media campaigns, current product pushes, or upcoming events.  You could also try using trending hashtags.  These are contextually relevant or popular hashtags to appeal to Instagramers that are following a certain topic in that realm but may not be following your account quite yet.

Let’s say for example that hypothetically speaking here that I work for an athletic show company.  Let’s call it tight laces shoes.  I’m running an Instagram campaign to promote my new line of running shoes.   I could start by Instagramming photos of the product and using brand relevant hashtags like running or hashtag athletics to broaden visibility for the product.  Then, I could include my campaign specific hashtag which would be something like hashtag, tight laces, or a short slogan going by my brand.

I could also get creative and run an engagement campaign with user generated content.  In this situation, I could a unique hashtag like hashtag tight lace Tuesday, for example, and have followers post pictures of their new shoes and running adventures every Tuesday.  The next Instagram outreach marketing trend I want to highlight is this idea of InstaMeets.  It’s no secret we’re huge fans of authentic brand advocacy over here at Group High.

Every day, we teach our clients about the value of fostering ongoing relationships with bloggers and outlets that really align with their brands’ values and style.  InstaMeets can be an awesome way to get influencers or consumers who share common interests to interact with another first via a hashtag and then in person for ultimate word of mouth promotion.  How does a brand unite people with common interests on Instagram, and then encourage them to want to connect with one another face to face.

Start by choosing your focus wisely, and be creative with what you’re asking to be submitted in the Instagram contest or shared brand experience.  Next, try searching Instagram hashtags for existing brand mentions or related terms, and see if there’s anyone already advocating for the brand.  If they are already posting pictures of those products, they’ll probably want to participate and tell their entire network about the InstaMeet as well.

You can then try creating a new contest, event, or campaign specific hashtag and encourage Instagram users to showcase their love for the brand on an ongoing basis.  It’s also important to incentivize participants, right?  Offer a winning prize for a photo contest or invite participants to take Instagrams of an organized brand experience.  This could be anything from a shopping day at a retail location, to doing an activity that folks commonly associate with the brands product uses.

Now let’s talk about some brands I’ve seen hit the InstaMeet nail on the head.  In 2014, TOMS, an apparel brand that donates shoes, water, eye care, and safe childbirth services in developing countries when people purchases their footware, glasses, TOMS coffee, or bags, held a number of creative InstaMeets.  One awesome example was their one day without shoes hashtag barefoot meet up back in April.  TOMS invited their social media followers to a particular location in New York, Austin, Los Angeles, and Mount Vernon, Washington with the goal to raise global awareness that nearly 740 million people worldwide go without shoes each day.

Participants were encouraged to spend the afternoon taking photos, barefoot of course, and then chart about the cause using the hashtag hashtag without shoes hashtag InstaMeet.  For a different InstaMeet, and on a more localized scale, TOMS also invited followers in the Chicago area to help a local city high school prep for the new school year.  The day was fueled by TOMS roasting company’s coffee, of course, and attendees were able to give back to their community, take photos, and network with others in their area.

Another exemplary InstaMeet that caught my attention was Madewell’s denim Madewell contest that acted both as an incentivized social media contest, as well as an in person brand experience.  The women’s clothing brand asked Instragramers to tag creative photos of their Madewell jeans using the hashtags denimmadewell, and contest.  This is where it gets good.  From there, six photo submissions were hand selected to be displayed at a one night multi-city, Insta exhibition event hosted at various Madewell retail locations across the country.

Madewell also collaborated with a really cool photo printing company called artifact uprising who created displays of each selected Instagram photo to be showcased, gallery style, at a one night only event.  To get folks to an InstaMeet, the more mutually beneficial it is, the better.  In this case, the winner of the photo contest received a $1500 Madewell gift card, and the five runner ups received $250 gift cards.

All six selected photos were made into artifact uprising prints.  The buzz and coverage generated by InstaMeets is typically ongoing as well.  Madewell has an online photo gallery, and followers are encouraged to continue using the hashtag denimmadewell to show their love for the brand and for a chance to be featured on the website.  This is a little bit of a side note, but recently, I found out that Pete Souza, Barack Obama’s chief official White House photographer, is even on Instagram.

The first official white house photographer to adopt a professional Instagram account, his profile gives us a behind the scenes glimpse into the White House and Obama’s day to day life.  I bring this up not just because it’s an interesting development in presidential branding per say, but also because Pete led his very own InstaMeet inside the White House last month.  On March 21st, to participate in the 11th worldwide InstaMeet, the White House hand selected 20 different Instagramers to join Pete for a visit to the White House where they walked around.

They learned about its history and its architecture, and their group was able to spread the word, and communicate with one another using the hashtag whinstameet.  Alright, now I’d like to talk about some interesting research that I found that has to do with phot qualities and how they can affect Instagram impressions.  The researchers from a company called Curalate, an all in one digital marketing and analytics platform for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Tumbler.

The Curelate study looked at various image across 8 million Instagrams.  Everything from brightness, color, texture, background ratio, and offered some interesting conclusions.  The study also noted that although the research provided the whats rather than the whys necessarily, that they were able to form some strong hypotheses regarding the results.  In any case, this stuff is pretty interesting to consider.  The first result they found was that Instagram photos with a high lightness generated 24 percent more like that darker images.

Next, they found that images with high amounts of background space generated 29 percent more than those without much in the background.  Images with blue as the dominant color generate 24 percent more like than images that are predominantly red.  Instagrams with a single dominant color generated 17 percent more like than images with multiple dominant colors.  Instagrams with low saturation generated 18 percent more likes than those with more vibrant colors.

Instagram with high levels of texture generate 79 percent more likes than those without.  Lastly, but certainly not least, duck face selfies generate 1,112% more like than traditional smiling faced selfies.  Alright guys, the wraps up my presentation today.  I hope everyone learned a thing or two.  Again, feel free to interact with us using the hashtag outreach marketing.  Thanks again for the attendance.