This past weekend, I attended the Paseo Arts Festival in Oklahoma City – the festival is in its 37th year of existence and one of the largest events of its kind held in Oklahoma. Fortunately for the thousands of art enthusiasts and curious Memorial Day Weekenders, the devastating storms that occurred earlier in the week failed to deter hundreds of artists, performers, and vendors from setting up shop along Paseo Drive.
While I was studying the walls of one of Oklahoma City’s more established galleries – a gallery that also has T-shirts and other items for sale – I overheard a conversation between two of the showcased artists. Apparently, several individuals had visited the gallery and purchased items featured in an earlier Instagram post.
While standing in the gallery, I looked up its Instagram profile and realized that the the account was very new. The owners had only established the gallery’s handle two days prior to the start of the Festival and had uploaded less than 5 photos. Despite being a social media newcomer, the gallery had already seen conversions thanks to its presence on Instagram.
Leads and conversions stemming from Instagram are not anomalies. I, myself, recently made a purchase at a local taxidermy and vintage shop because of an Instapost I had seen earlier in the day. The Salvage Room in Oklahoma City is known throughout Midtown for its taxidermy bats – which are quickly snagged by macabre-loving Plaza District hipsters. When The Salvage Room posted on its Instagram that there were only a few bats left, I immediately commented on the picture, drove to the store and purchased the biggest and best bat available.
Immediately upon my purchase, @thesalvageroom thanked me for my patronage via an Instagram comment – and encouraged me to further engage on the social media site by participating in an Instagram-hosted photo contest. The contest encouraged customers to take photos of recently purchased items and upload them with the hashtag: #MySalvageRoom. The person with the best photo eventually received a free hand poured soy candle and – perhaps even more importantly – a coveted repost from a brand with over 1000 followers.
It should come as no surprise that I wasn’t the first Instagram-prompted conversion. And scrolling through comments, it’s apparent that The Salvage Room has enjoyed many conversions thanks to their social media presence. That impressive presence can be attributed to an excellent understanding of their client base and impeccable social media skills.
Brands looking to capitalize on the popularity of Instagram should follow the trail blazed by The Salvage Room:
- Create relevant content: produce a steady stream of high quality images with a well-written call to action.
- Regularly engage with your online followers.
- Humanize the brand by featuring photos of your employees, regulars, and the messes you make.
- Integrate user-submitted photos into your photo stream to make your customers feel like they belong alongside your brand.
- Encourage social media engagement, host contests and take it even further by encouraging in-store customers to engage with you online.
- Don’t neglect the leverage associated with having a popular account – occasionally repost (the Instagram version of a Retweet) photos taken by your followers.
Take a cue from my bat and don’t leave your followers hanging: create some noise and allow your brand to echo while Instagram is still on potential customers’ radar.