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Instagram is arguable THE platform for brands right now. According to a SocialBakers survey, Instagram is CRUSHING Twitter in terms of engagement. You’re seeing brands like Nike, Starbucks and Adidas with MASSIVE communities on Instagram.
And, we’re seeing some brands using Instagram in all sorts of interesting and interactive ways with their customers.
That’s what I want to talk about today: The interesting new executions brands are implementing to use Instagram to interact with their audiences.
According to this Mobile Marketer post, Nordstrom used a visual of an Instagram post featuring a 55-foot dress on its corporate headquarters in Seattle. They then took video/photos of the installation via drone and then shared those pics and videos on Nordstrom social media channels. All to promote a summer sale. Fun, smart way to promote a sale that most likely happens every summer.
Interesting concept here from whiskey-maker, Ballantine’s. The Insta-zine! One part Instagram project, one part digital magazine. Users are encourage to click on each photo (and its tag) from its @w_issueone account to dive into deeper digital stories on whiskey. Not sure if this is the future of Instagram, but it’s an interesting concept. And, kudos to Ballantine’s for giving something new and different a try (I may dive into this one in greater detail in a future post).
Leave it to the Bullseye to use Instagram and Facebook data to build the perfect dorm room! Yep–that’s what Target it up to this fall. Interesting way to use the DATA from Instagram to point customers to products that work for them.
Not sure I’m really buying the effectiveness of this tactic, but it is different. And, it is a creative execution. Essentially, what Forever 21 did was create a 2,000-pound, 11-foot high “thread screen” that turns pics posted by customers/friends with the #Forever21ThreadScreen tag into complex-looking mosaics. The weird part: The “thread screen” sits inside the agency’s office that created it (Breakfast). It does create the “thread screens” and post them to this site: http://f21threadscreen.com/. But, I can’t get over the fact that it’s sitting inside the agencies walls–and NOT in or outside a Forever 21 store. Seems odd.
In May, TOMS started the #WithoutShoes campaign (nice recap over on Jay Baer’s blog here). It’s goal: To give away 1 million shoes to children in need by asking people to share a pic of their feet and tag it with #WithouShoes. For every pic posted with the hash tag, TOMS will give one pair of shoes to a child in need. Outstanding cause marketing campaign. And, judging from the 358,599 pics using the #WithoutShoes hash tag on Instagram, I’d say it was a smashing success!
Gap started what has been described as a “micro-video series” between Jenny Slate (Marcel the Shell creator) and actor Paul Dano (no idea who that is, but I’m sure he’s famous and hits their target market). It’s an interesting approach–much like those “webisode” series’ that were so popular a few years back (PSFK has a nice recap here). Since the series is somewhat built on the cliffhanger model, it encourages viewers to check back each week–nice way inspire repeat views. And, each video features a different style or item from the Gap spring line (not surprisingly, of course). Interestingly–just glancing at Gap’s Instagram account, the video series’ generally generated LESS likes/comments than those “everyday” posts in its feed. Hmm….
Land Rover created two new Instagram accounts (@solitudeinsawtooth and @brotherhoodofwonderstone) that attempt to give followers an “epic panorama” (as described by Fast Co.writer Dan Solomon in this recap post of pretty fantastic outdoor environments. Creative? Yes. Effective at advancing key marketing goals? That one I’m not so sure. I’m still not sure I understand why Land Rover made the panoramas in landscape view. The only way to see the whole thing is by visiting either one of the main IG pages. It is cool to see the whole panorama–I won’t lie. But, since it’s in landscape view, you have to turn your phone. And, the videos leave MUCH to be desired. They seem disjoined and provide little context to the bigger picture. And, of course, all the little pics that make up the big pic provide ZERO value or context. Again, seems like a big “creative agency project” to me.
I read an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune yesterday titled, “The future of work in a digital world.” The article talked about how digital tools and technologies have made the world a better place to live–but, quite possibly could also lead to a sharp downturn, and potentially the death, of our society.
That’s a bit extreme, but the article touches just a bit on a key question I’ve been thinking more about lately:
Are we really on the right side of the digital divide?
If you read this blog, you are most likely a part of what some call “the digital elite.” This means you have easy access to the internet. You own a smart phone. You probably have a tablet. You even may have a Apple Watch.
You are on what many would say is the right side of the “digital divide.”
Who’s on the other side?
Older people, generally. According to a 2013 Pew Internet study, only 46 percent of Americans 65 and older had access to a smart phone and broadband internet in 2013.
Rural folks, too. According to more recent Pew data, 84 percent of folks in Washington, D.C. have broadband access. 73 percent in Miami. But, look to more rural areas (or states) like Mississippi and that number plunges to just 57 percent.
And, of course, education levels matter, too. 52 percent of those with no high school diploma had access to a smart phone or broadband internet. By comparison, 93 percent of college-educated Americans had access.
But, are these folks on the other side of the digital divide so much worse off than us right now? Are we so much better off?
Outside of the education bucket, I can’t convince myself the answer is an unequivocal “yes.”
Just look at social media for a moment–just one component of the “digital” in the digital divide. When people talk about how social media benefits society, the list usually look like this:
* Social media helps build relationships
* Social media helps make you smarter
* Social media helps connect you with the world
I’m over-simplifying things, but that’s about it, right?
Well, let’s take a closer look at those three benefits:
* Helps build relationships. Does it really though? On the plus side, I do feel a bit closer to a lot more people. But, how well do I really know those people? How many of my 1,500 Facebook friends (I have no idea how many FB friends I have–just a wild guess), do I consider “close friends?” How many of them would I share news that my son was in the hospital, for example? How many would I tell about a big business milestone? The answer: Not too many. I would argue social media has definitely given us the tools to “keep in touch” with far more people than ever before. And, that helps on many levels. But, does it really mean we have more friends? Does it mean we have deeper relationships? Does is mean we’re happier? I’m not so sure you can say ‘yes’ to any of those.
* Helps make you smarter. Yes, social media gives you access to more information than you could have possibly imagined 20 years ago. And I, for one, am very grateful for that. But, has social media given you information you couldn’t have consumed in a classroom, by reading a book, or by sitting down with a good, old-fashioned newspaper? I love reading all the different perspectives we see online each day about marketing, politics, religion and our communities. But, I’m just not 100 percent sure I couldn’t have got that information from other sources–and, more importantly, I’m not sure I’m that much better off for it.
* Helps connect you with the world. Hard to argue this one. Social has brought us so much closer together. And, in a much more intimate way thanks to the huge explosion of video tools and capabilities. But again, weren’t we pretty connected thanks to media like TV, radio and newspapers before? And, don’t we all have a threshold for how connected we can really be? Social has definitely helped connect the world and make it a bit smaller–I’m just wondering how great the benefit has been.
This all leads me to a scenario I’ve been thinking about lately. What if my wife I had moved to rural southeaster Minnesota 10 years ago, before all this digital media stormed on the scene?
What if we had built a house on 10 acres of land and decided to start our family in a small town, instead of the 15th largest market in the U.S.?
What if we had sent our kids to a high school with a graduating class of 50 instead of 500?
What if we raised our family and didn’t own a tablet OR a smart phone?
What if we didn’t even have internet service in our home? (GASP!)
Would our lives really have been that much worse off? I’d be on the wrong side of the digital divide, that’s for sure. Pew told me as much since I wouldn’t have owned a smart phone or had broadband access.
But would my life have been worse as a result?
You see, I bring this up because I hear a lot of people talking about that exact scenario.
Trading in the urban, go-go lifestyle for a slower, more rural pace.
Moving to the stix. Buying land. Living a simpler life.
If I did that, would I really be on the wrong side of anything?
I’m not saying I’m considering this path. I’m not saying that’s in my future.
What I am saying is this: I’m not so sure the “wrong side” of the digital divide is really all that bad.
In fact, I think some people might be seeking it out.
And, I think that group is about to grow a little bit bigger in the years ahead.