Jones Soda knows a thing or two about leveraging user-generated content and turning it into a successful marketing strategy. For years, the Seattle-based brand (known for irreverent flavors like “brussel sprouts and prosciutto,” “turkey and gravy” and “jelly doughnut,” in addition to classics like “strawberries and cream”) has designed their soda labels using crowd sourced images uploaded to the website gallery by eager, JS-loving fans.
In 2011, Brisk Iced Tea took a page from Jones’ playbook, upping the game with a little help from Instagram. Brisk challenged fans to post a photo on Instagram hashtagging images with #BriskPic for a chance to become one of 4,000 winning photos to appear on a limited edition can to be rolled out at SXSW. Though Instagram was still in its infancy at the time, Brisk’s early adoption of Instagram’s crowdsourcing potential ended up being a huge hit, generating a ton of buzz.
Giving fans the opportunity to be part of the brand is smart. Leveraging a popular platform they’re already using on a daily basis to make that possible? Genius.
How are you using Instagram to engage your brand fans?
As America’s least sedentary state, Colorado visitors and residents are always on the move enjoying the state’s many activities and the splendor of the outdoors. To spotlight Colorado’s healthy and active lifestyle, the Colorado Tourism Office is running a Venueseen Campaign inviting fans to share photos of what Colorado moves them to do. Photos hashtagged with #ColoradoMovesMeTo are aggregated from Instagram and Twitter. Each photo fans share while hiking, kayaking, biking or enjoying any number of activities, enters them for a chance to win prizes packs from local Colorado outdoor brands like SmartWool.
As photos are being snapped by real people and shared with their personal networks on Instagram and Twitter, the images serve as an authentic and organic promotion of Colorado’s active lifestyle. By interacting with participant’s photos, the Colorado Tourism Office is able to connect with fans, fostering a community that promotes all the things they love about Colorado amongst their friends. Photos highlighting the state’s activities are being displayed on both a custom gallery for the campaign as well as on The Colorado Tourism Office’s Facebook page, giving everyone a chance to check in on the wonders of Colorado.
The photos fans are sharing paint a pretty amazing story about why Colorado inspires visitors and residents to get out and do something. Every city, state and business has a story to tell. Who better to show it off than your fans?
National Architecture Week is a public awareness campaign sponsored by the American Institute of Architects. The weeklong celebration is intended to increase public awareness of the role architects play as a force for positive community change while fostering a greater appreciation for design.
This year, the AIA took to Instagram with their “Architecture is Awesome” photo campaign. Throughout National Architecture Week, the AIA challenged fans and followers to visit their favorite architectural site, snap a photo and upload it to Twitter or Instagram. From churches to hospitals, libraries to residential homes, any image hashtagged with #archweek13 qualified as an entry. Five winners were randomly selected to receive $50 gift cards for participating in the architectural celebration.
No doubt, architecture is awesome. Using your Instagram campaign to inspire people to see and share the world around them in new and different ways? We’d say that’s worthy of an “awesome,” too.
It has been a busy April. While we typically share our favorite articles of the past 30 days on the final Friday of the month, last Friday flew by. So here we are on the last day of the month sharing five of the must-read, can’t-miss articles in visual marketing. You’ll find tips and trends, industry/brand best practices and case studies and more.
Five articles you may have missed in April:
- 8 Do’s and 5 Don’ts of Instagram for Building Your Brand – MarketingProfs
- Everyone Hates Your Most Effective Online Ads – Business2Community
- The Small Business Marketing Guide to Instagram – Digital Sherpa
- Explore @SouthwestAir on a Virtual Photowalk – Instagram Blog
- For Sports Stars, Instagram Dominates in Photo Engagement – Mashable
The term “user-generated content” has been getting thrown around a lot lately. In short, it’s any content that is produced by the users, fans or customers of a brand. We like to think of it in a slightly different way. User-generated content is an extension of the conversations brands are already having with their customers and fans.
Today we’re taking a look at how the San Diego Zoo is leveraging regular Instagram campaigns to engage their fans and inspire user-generated content. As an added bonus, everyone is having lot of fun in the process.
The San Diego Zoo is a great example of a brand that has turned to Instagram campaigns to inspire ongoing conversations and engage customers in new and more meaningful ways.
The zoo hosts regular Instagram Challenges based on monthly themes. In February, zoo fans were asked to snap photos of “cool cats,” tagging them with #SanDiegoZoo and #CoolCats. The contest was not exclusive to zoo visitors, however. As a way to engage cat lovers and zoo fans at home, even tagged photos of domestic cats qualified as valid entries. One winner received the grand prize, a personal behind-the-scenes tour with a zoo guide.
This month, the zoo kicked off a summer-long challenge, “Nighttime Zoo,” asking fans to tag and share their photos of The San Diego Zoo after sundown. In addition to scoring a prize, each week one zoo lovers photo will be featured on the Nighttime Zoo website.
Sometimes deepening the relationship between your brand and your fans is as simple as giving people a way to engage on a new level. Instagram is a great tool for capturing fan and customer excitement in the moment.
How is your brand using Instagram and user-generated content to drive the conversation forward?
This post is from our CEO, Brian Zuercher. Check out his Tumblr page for more insights on entrepreneurship, technology and life. bzuerche.tumblr.com/
As I see new media and consumer content being shared, I reflect back to some past experiences and think of how I would have tried to leveraged this new world….
During my tour of duty (2003-2006) at Woods Industries (now Coleman Cable) I was charged as a Product Manager to design, manufacture and market a new outdoor lighting line in the US. We had a phenomenal team of people working at the company, but relative to the big dogs in consumer products, not a real research and innovation budget.
Our market research and customer feedback loops were thorough, but slow and didn’t enable us to gain in-field insights in a meaningful way. We felt the focus group results we would garner didn’t validate or refute major assumptions and the focus groups were to slow and solicited.
Through our work with many exceptional companies, I have witnessed how myself and other consumers are sharing their experiences with products and services. Specifically, the media, both photos and videos can provide a snapshot into how we use the products we buy in our daily lives.
I thought back to the landscape lighting days and how I could design a campaign that would help me learn about our customers experience.
My research question…
Is our product and it’s parts used in the field as we have designed it and instructed it to be used?
Test: In each product box, I would leave a card that asked our customer to share their newly installed lights on Instagram or Twitter with #moonrays (our brand) and enter to win a giftcard to a retailer…
What we would gain:
- Brand and Product sharing by our customer to their network and friends
- In-field photo of an installed product
- Evidence of whether the parts were all used and used properly
- Geo-location of our customer base
- If they register – we could gain there direct contact information, which we normally do not receive as a retail vendor
- Our customer learning how to share our products to their communities
I cannot predict the outcome, but I can assure you that this would have been marketing GOLD on many fronts. I can envision walking into our weekly product meetings and sharing these customer experiences so we could stop guessing….
I encourage my marketing counterparts to consider the burning questions they have about their customers and the experience those customers have with their products before launching a promotional campaign. What can you set up in your campaign design that will lead to more than promotion, but valuable learning for product improvement, innovation, better customer experience and more engaging messaging.
And…it’s more fun this way because the C Suite can get it!
On the last Friday of the month, we compile and share a list of the five must-read, can’t-miss articles we’ve read in the past 30 (give or take a few) days. You can depend on us to be your source for visual marketing tips and trends, industry/brand best practices and case studies, the latest Instagram news and more.
Here are five articles you may have missed in March:
- 26 Ways to Use Visuals in Your Social Media Marketing – Social Media Examiner
- Visual Voice: Branding on Photo Networks (SXSW Interactive Notes Vol. 1) – Communications Passionista
- What Facebook’s New News Feed Means for Marketers – Mashable
- What is Visual Social Media Marketing (And How Does It Raise Engagement?) INFOGRAPHIC – All Twitter
- How Will the Social Web Monetize the Uptick in Visual Content? – HubSpot
There’s more to an online photo than just rich, appealing visuals. There’s data behind each and every snapshot, uncovering key insights that can help you understand and engage with your customers.
Join us tomorrow, February 27 at 2:00 p.m. ET for our FREE webinar, “More Than Meets The Eye – Anatomy of a Mobile Photo.” Here we’ll explore photo-sharing apps you can tap into to gather important metrics for your brand beyond “likes.” These are metrics that can help you develop better content, identify brand loyalists and activate your fanbase.
We’ll cover a variety of topics, including:
- How to get started finding customers’ photos
- Which photo sharing apps have the most data available and are beneficial to my brand
- How to find quick insights about my product, customers and trends
To register for the webinar, click here. You will get a confirmation email once registration is complete.
Questions? Contact email@example.com.
We hope you’ll join us!
For the past few years, we’ve all heard about things going “viral” in social media – memes, videos, images, you name it. While the phrase “going viral” may be passé, and using that as a measurement objective doesn’t quite make sense, things still catch on and spread like wildfire. Some of these may be negative (think Manti Te’o and the fake girlfriend scandal or the Applebee’s receipt fiasco). But others, if done correctly, have some of the top marketers and executives tipping their hats and taking notice. One brand on the verge of this virality is Oreo, no doubt about it. Oreo’s been doing its visual thing for quite some time now. And they move…fast (just look at their performance during this year’s Super Bowl). They’ve even gotten their fair share of imitators (like this Nestle Drumstick Facebook post the day after the Grammy’s, for example). But once a brand creates buzz with an image, what’s next? Sure, you may have got people talking, but when it comes to reporting social media stats, do you have something concrete to show? Or, are there ways you could have extended audience engagement beyond the real-time opportunity? Before you dust your shoulders off, here are some simple ways to capitalize on and measure that buzz so you can continue being visually awesome.
Have a plan
Sure, posting an image in real-time during an event you cannot control doesn’t exactly allow much time to plan, if any. But using Oreo and the Super Bowl as an example, their ad agency 360i sat with the brand team in a “mission control” space, knowing they had a TV ad running as well as monitoring social media during the big game. When the infamous blackout happened, they looked at it as an opportunity, worked together, and ran with it. The lesson here? Anticipate events or occurrences that can impact your brand before they start. Big events like the Super Bowl, Olympics, award shows and press conferences are just some of the things you can foresee being possible opportunities. Map out what’s upcoming each month and talk to your team about what you can anticipate. So if you do spot an opportunity, you can jump on it.
Engage your audience
During these events, or during an ongoing campaign, think through how you can tap into your audience and engage them. Could you encourage them to share photos, and then take those photos and display them on your brand’s site? Or could you incorporate your customer’s photos into a larger campaign idea? There’s nothing more valuable to your brand than having customers share photos of your product/service with their fans and followers. At the same time, your customers will be excited to participate in your brand’s story. For example, we’re working with the Indy 500 to help them ramp up for this year’s race in May by inviting their fans and followers to be a part of the journey to race day. By using the hashtag #Indy500orBust on Instagram, people can submit photos to display on an interactive map, and be entered to win a VIP experience.
Monitor feedback in real-time
If you post an image out there on say, Instagram, during an event or occasion, you’re going to get feedback – positive and negative. Be on-hand to monitor responses and likes, and capture what’s most important right then and there. This can save you from going back later and not being able to find key pieces of dialogue or nuances. Better yet, use a platform (like our monitoring dashboard!) to keep you “in the know” about who is talking about your brand and what they’re saying – in real time. (This could have helped Poland Spring move faster during their nod to Marco Rubio’s water drinking during the State of the Union response, too!) Also, if you’re holding a campaign, make sure to interact with your fans and monitor their ongoing conversation about the photo they’ve entered. The Indy 500 posts to each photo tagged with #Indy500orBust to thank the fan for sharing the photo and encouraging them to visit the campaign webpage.
Measure and report on your results
Oreo most likely reports on key results in social media either weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly or all of the above. Now that they have an Instagram campaign, they can easily track those tagging the likes of @oreo, #oreo, #oreocookies and more, and if users respond to their question, “Are you cookie or creme?” Using an Instagram monitoring platform, they’d be able to view, sort and organize these photos as they see fit within their cookie or creme goals, gathering stats like reach, photo count and trending data. No matter what your objectives, it’s smart to track key stats like that, so once you try something in social, you’ll see how you did and what you could improve on (as well as your ROI). Plus, next time there’s an instantaneous post, Oreo could enable immediate insights to the visual impression that is being created.
Use your results as learnings for next time
Whether your real-time post scored big or was just meh, results are just what you need to learn what worked and what didn’t. You can also use an Instagram campaign management tool to identify and engage with their your most loyal fans, then inspire them to spread the word to their social networks helping you reach potential new customers. So with a bit of planning, a bit of luck, and a bit of creativity, visual real-time opportunities can be more plentiful (and insightful) than you think. You just have to have the right tools and a plan to use them to your advantage.
They say a photo’s worth a thousand words. Who knew they were also worth $10 million?
In case you missed the news yesterday, online reservation service OpenTable announced that they’re going to acquire Foodspotting – the leading food photography app that brands itself as “a visual guide to good food and where to find it” – for $10 million. Now, whenever someone books a reservation through OpenTable, they’ll receive an email confirmation that includes both a menu and photos of entrees (pulled from Foodspotting) that people recommend eating there.
It’s a big win for the restaurant industry: Foodspotting has already demonstrated the passion that consumers have for food photography, as well as their passion for sharing and engaging with like-minded people. The acquisition by OpenTable is simply going to make both of these more visible at scale. In doing so, it’s also creating a much larger opportunity for restaurants to showcase new & popular menu items to their customers through user-generated photos.
What does this mean for brands? The acquisition exemplifies how photos shared on social media create a valuable opportunity for brands to engage and interact with their fans. As the visual storytelling trend continues to expand, businesses need to present their products (or their food, in this case) in a way that makes users want to capture and share photos of it. It’s all about incentivizing, engaging and sharing – and ultimately using user-generated photos to build community around your brand.
(Bonus: It just so happens that Venueseen can help brands do this. Visit http://venueseen.com/products to learn how you can get started.)