Executive overview – The client gave away three 13×19 inches as part of a promotion for a print release. The organic post reached 6423 people (“Instagram photos and videos”, 2019). Combined with the 16 shares from supporters we estimate it reached an additional 5499 new people (Rabo, 2019). Shares are a valuable social action, according to INC 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendations (Bloem, 2017).
Background – The ever-growing world of social media enables us to capture the attention of millions of users to promote, sell, and raise awareness of a product. As of June 2018, there are over 1 billion active users on Instagram (“Instagram photos and videos”, 2019). The rise of technology has paved a way for individuals to create online communities based on shared values and ideals. The intersectionality between information technology and social media has made it easier for marketers to reach their consumers thus increasing their social capital and separating themselves amongst competitors. In addition, the rise of social media has enabled individuals to create a safe space by creating a niche around common interests.
The client of this project is an artist (@chambersfineart) based out of Denver, Colorado, who asked the company to create a marketing campaign to help raise awareness around his brand. Using the power of social media, this marketing campaign promotes artwork that attempts to encapsulate the issue of immigration. The model used to create the product is a painting of an illegal immigrant, who did not know he was illegal until he was 18 and is currently in court proceedings. By all definitions, the person in the painting is Culturally American, with American education and is fluent in English. The artist is the son of a Bolivian immigrant and a Texan, so this issue is personal to the artist on many levels. This is a sentiment shared by millions of immigrants, especially given the current political and social state. As of 2015, the United States has the largest immigrant population of any country at 47 million (“Immigration to the United States”, 2019). Immigration has been a major source of growth throughout much of U.S. history. With the exception of the small percentage of Native Americans, every United States Citizen can trace their ancestry to immigrants from other nations around the world (“Immigration to the United States”, 2019). We determined that the best approach would be to promote one of the artist’s own products within the social media platform Instagram, around a topic many can relate to. Many social media campaigns use un-affiliated promotional products that perform well such as iPods, gift cards or concert tickets, however, the result of giving away items unaffiliated with the client’s brand could produce mixed results as consumers might not have any interest in the campaign and are participating just to win the promotional product. With the goal of engaging users who share interest around the issue of immigration, we believe that giving away the artist’s own work will create a personal connection, thus enhancing the brand’s social capital.
Our target audience includes Instagram users who are above the age of 25, in the top 50% income bracket. Ideally, these individuals would have an interest in art and/or express interest in the clients’ product. We began by researching similar campaigns to note where others have failed or succeeded. Notable artists with large following such as Mark Maggiori (@markmaggiori) and David Cheiftez (@davidcheifetz) have successfully conducted similar marketing campaigns in the past, resulting in 104,000 and 113,000 followers relatively (“Instagram photos and videos”, 2019). These artists have been able to utilize Instagram by sharing specific products, thus creating a community within the platform where users can comment or share ideas around the artist’s post. We concluded that following a similar approach with social action and propagation action would be the most suitable to grow the presence of our client.
Methodology – We presented the idea to our client who was enthusiastic about giving away his product in an effort to grow his social media presence. He was agreeable to giving away “artist proofs”, which would be a unique and personal experience to the winners. An “artist proof” is a rough, in-print version of the final product created by the artist to determine the color composition and make sure the prints are free of errors. Artist proofs generally have small errors and are commonly thrown away by artists. In this scenario, we gave away three artist proofs that were relatively close to the final print run in terms of product quality. The artist was comfortable with making three 13 inch x 19 inch archival prints to be used in the giveaway.
The group created a simple and effective post as seen in figure 1, where we encouraged the audience to like the post and “share” in order to be eligible to win the product. With the artist’s permission, we analyzed his profile using the “Insight” feature on Instagram and determined that his posts had the best “engagement” on Wednesdays between 10 am till 12 pm (“Instagram photos and videos”, 2019). The group drafted the post and shared it with the artist for consent. Upon approval, we waited for the ideal time of Wednesday at 10 am to share the post on social media. The team decided to keep a record of the number of “likes”, “hashtag shares” and ‘post shares” in addition to keeping track of the “insight” feature on Instagram.
Ethical Concerns – As the product did not include any nudity or violence, we anticipated that the project would not be flagged as “inappropriate”, meeting the requirements of the platform (“Instagram Help Center”, 2019). However, as immigration is one of the most highly debated topics, we assigned a team member to actively engaged with the client’s followers, answering questions and thanking people for sharing. As the post was made from the client’s page, we decided to maintain the client’s political beliefs and values in case of uncertainty.
Results and Analysis – After running the promotion for one week, measuring statistics on November 6, 2019, the results were as follows: 251 likes, 5 hashtag shares, 8 post saves, 8 post shares, and 3 story shares. Ultimately, we reached 6,423 individual Instagram accounts creating a total of 7,829 impressions. 69 of the impressions came from accounts that did not have any previous connection to the artist’s page. The total number of impressions for this post was also 20% higher than the artist’s previous posts which generally receive on average 5138 reach (“Instagram photos and videos”, 2019). Considering that the cost of the promotion was only the cost of the product, the results were phenomenal. We received 8 post saves, 8 post shares, 251 likes, 5 hashtag shares, and 3 story shares. We estimate that the total reach of the shares, hashtag and story shares was 5499 impressions, based on iconosquare the average Instagram post in 2018 reached 34.37% of their audience (Rabo, 2019), the average follower count is less than 1000 according to mention.com (2019). Using these metrics, we can calculate the reach of the shares: 16 shares x 1000 followers/share x 34.37% = 5499 estimated reach.
Conclusion: These findings suggest that we were able to reach a large audience relatively easily and that sharing is a valuable tool for reaching new customers. Even though we only received 16 share actions, relatively speaking those social actions were quite valuable and we estimate that those actions nearly doubled the total amount of people we would have reached organically. Team members were not sure if the contest was long enough or if it would have performed better if it were shorter. Generally speaking, the more actions you ask someone to take the less likely it will be that those actions are taken. In our opinion, Instagram is not the best platform for sharing. Thus we speculate that a similar social campaign on a platform that is better for sharing, such as Twitter or Facebook, may have resulted in more social actions. Additionally, we wonder if the social justice aspect of the artists’ work helped or hurt the effectiveness of the campaign. If it did help, could we have designed the campaign to make the social justice aspect more apparent and or donate money to a cause related to the social justice aspect?
Bloem, C. (2017, July 31). 84 Percent of People Trust Online Reviews As Much As Friends. Here’s How to Manage What They See. Retrieved November 9, 2019, from https://www.inc.com/craig-bloem/84-percent-of-people-trust-online-reviews-as-much-.html.
Immigration to the United States. (2019, November 8). Retrieved November 10, 2019, from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_the_United_States.
Instagram Help Center. (2019). Retrieved 2019, from https://help.instagram.com/581066165581870.
Instagram photos and videos. (2019, November 11). Retrieved November 11, 2019, from https://www.instagram.com/.
Instagram: active users 2018. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/253577/number-of-monthly-active-instagram-users/.
Mention. (2019). Thank you for downloading Mention’s Instagram Engagement Report 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2019, from https://info.mention.com/thank-you-instagram-report-2018?submissionGuid=f25f8902-2990-4417-84a2-0e203f9e6e40.
Rabo, O. (2019, June 5). The Average Instagram Engagement Rate is 4.7%. But Can You Do Better? Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/blog.iconosquare.com/average-instagram-engagement-rate/amp/.