Even though I’m still a relatively new 30-something, sometimes I start to feel pretty old. I see these young whippersnappers with their Nike Elite socks and their whips and Nae Naes and I just don’t know what to think. So much of it doesn’t make sense to me anymore.
Like Instagram. I’m old enough to remember when people would show their friends photos and slides from their recent vacation, and how terribly boring that was. And now we have an entire social media site full of people posting vacation/food/fitness/comedy photos for all their friends to see. And young people love it.
However, we aren’t in the business of deciding what’s cool or hip. In the marketing world, we have one concern: bring in more leads. And this is such a difficult task, we don’t get to be picky about the methods. So if you tell me Instagram can bring in leads, then I’ll slap on a baseball cap, log onto Instagram and try to blend in with my “fellow kids.”
So how can we leverage Instagram as a marketing tool? Well, follow these three brands that are taking the social platform very seriously.
So remember how I said I was in my 30s? Well, in my generation, that’s still young enough to play a little Xbox, and one of my favorite games every year is Madden NFL Football (even though it seems to get worse every single year, but that’s an opinion for my nonexistent video game blog).
Well, EA Sports (the maker of Madden) has been absolutely killing it with their marketing for this year’s game, using a wide-ranging strategy that includes commercials, special celebrity endorsements and, of course, Instagram. If you go to their page now, you’ll see plenty of photos of the actual game case itself, but also photos of those celebrity endorsers and even silly videos. EA Sports knows who the target audience is for their games (young men) and they cater to them well.
Have you ever watched a memorable commercial but then realized it has absolutely nothing to do with the product? It’s a fairly common occurrence, but apparently Vans isn’t a fan. Because its Instagram account is incredibly predictable: it’s a bunch of pictures of Vans. Sure, those Vans are shown in different places, like on the paws of a dog, as part of a balanced breakfast and even as artwork, but we’re still focusing on the shoes.
Vans does a great job with Instagram because they’re still creative with their photos, even though they’re rather simple and to-the-point. And best of all, they never forget about their bread and butter: the shoes!
I’ll be honest with you: I don’t even know why Sharpie has a marketing department. At this point, is there anyone out there who doesn’t know what a Sharpie is and does? If you asked me to name a brand of marker, my only answer would be Sharpie. I literally cannot name another marker manufacturer. I think the war is over, guys.
Anyway, as for the company's Instagram, it’s pretty great. You’ll find the occasional photo of the product, but Sharpie’s account mostly features impressive art that fans have created with Sharpies. And some of the stuff is pretty amazing, like this drawing of the Wicked poster. By featuring this art, Sharpie is not only delighting customers, it’s creating lasting relationships with them and demonstrating that the company values its customers. Those are core concepts of successful inbound marketing.