Most brands on Instagram don’t follow back or like people’s photos. Seldom do they comment on people’s photos. They fail to capitalize on what makes Instagram a powerful marketing tool. It’s a two way street. Instagram’s hashtag search lets brands actively seek out people promoting their product or service and potential customers.
Let’s use Ray-Ban for our case study. The objective is not to single them out (I wear my Aviators on a regular basis), they just happened to be the first global brand that crossed my mind. Also, Ray-Ban is an ideal fit for the Instagram community.
Sunglasses are visible for three obvious reasons:
- They’re worn on one’s face.
- They’re worn in public.
- They’re worn when photos are taken (on vacation, social events, among friends etc.).
Putting on sunglasses often prompts people to take photos. People take shameless selfies and group shots. People hold up their sunglasses in front of their cameras to add a filter to their photos. People take photos of lenses’ reflections to capture the surrounding scenery. People put sunglasses on their pets’ faces and take photos.
When sunglasses aren’t being worn during photos, they’re being used as filters and props. Ray-Ban is aware of this. Below we have a “selfie” of a couple featured on their landing page as well as a photo from their Facebook page showing sunglasses being used for effect.
Ray-Bans are synonymous with sunglasses and sunglasses are synonymous with lifestyle. People love sharing their lifestyle on Instagram. Over two million photos on Instagram have been tagged with #rayban! Ray-Ban’s Instagram account is approaching 420,000 followers. Guess how many people they follow? Zero!
What does Ray-Ban gain from following no one? Nothing. What are they missing out? Ray-Ban is missing out on engaging an aggregated audience and widened exposure (leading to more sales!). There are brand ambassadors, stories being told, ideas for ads, original ways that sunglasses are being used, and contest opportunities waiting for them. Being a global icon, Ray-Ban, can get away with being inactive on Instagram but small brands would be best advised to initiate conversations and make your presence felt.
It baffles me how quick brands are to pay for sponsored posts on Facebook to reach their target audiences, overlooking that Instagram provides a free and transparent avenue to find, engage, analyze and reward their customers and potential customers.
While Ray-Ban’s current campaign tells consumers to “Never Hide”, they refuse to be the seeker in a game of hide and go seek on Instagram.