[CASE STUDY] Launching an Instagram Marketing Initiative for your eCommerce Brand

Originally Published on Vulpine Interactive Blog

Thinking about launching an Instagram marketing initiative for your company?

With over 600 million users on the platform, Instagram has become a place where many businesses have decided to build a presence.

In this version of our Instagram marketing case study, I’ll go over how we gained 11,060 targeted followers, 933,000 impressions, and increased website traffic from Instagram by over 300% in 7 months for an eCommerce company called sixthreezero Bicycle Company.

If you’d like to read the full version, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Instagram Marketing for eCommerce

Jonathan Long, VIP contributor at Entrepreneur, states that BI Intelligence predicts m-commerce (electronic commerce conducted on mobile phones) will reach 45% of the total U.S. eCommerce market by 2020.

As the number of people who are regularly shopping from their mobile devices continues to grow, so does the opportunity to market on Instagram.

In order to capitalize on this opportunity, sixthreezero, a beach cruiser bike brand, sought out our help in pushing their brand forward on Instagram.

And while they were successful at growing a nice-sized audience of over 20K followers, and getting a lot of post engagement on the platform in the early days, making the time to post consistently and measure the results of their efforts went on the backburner as the company became busy with other priorities. Also, at the time, Instagram wasn’t proving a reliable source of website traffic, so they naturally shifted focus away from social media.

Then came the infamous addition of an Instagram algorithm in June of 2016, which effectively made it much more difficult for brands to see the same kind of engagement and growth results that they were achieving previously.

The stakes had risen, and by September of 2016, this brand had let their Instagram activity fade away into nothing.

But then, in January 2017, sixthreezero decided to take their marketing efforts to the next level, and put together a team of agencies to help revive their brand online. Vulpine Interactive was one of them.

There was a lot of strategy and planning that went into growing the account by 39%, increasing website traffic from Instagram to the sixthreezero website by over 300%, and garnering a total of 77,659 total engagements (even with the shutdown of automated tools like Instagress and Massplanner) in seven months.

Here are some elements from the story of how Vulpine Interactive was able to turn an existing, unmanaged account into a strong company asset.

How to Market Your Brand on Instagram

“Brands are getting more engagement on Instagram than any other social platform. It creates brand awareness that leads more people to your business, events and products.” — Peg Fitzpatrick, Instagram Expert.

When we were first brought on to assist sixthreezero with social media marketing, it was clear that Instagram was going to be a heavy focus for us.

We knew that one of the best ways to showcase a brand with a lot of stellar visual content would be on the Instagram platform, and the company already had a decent following, so we allocated a large amount of our budget in that direction from the start.

Our client stressed in our kickoff meeting that differentiating this brand from competitors (and especially their sister company, Beachbikes) was one of the most important goals for the brand on social media.

After doing a brief competitive analysis of industry competitors and an audit of the sixthreezero and sister company accounts, we found that the content going out on both the sixthreezero and Beachbikes account was practically the same (a serious problem if you are trying to make one brand different than the other).

The content was heavily beach focused, highly sexualized, and appeared to be geared towards generation Z and young millennials.

Our client explained that he wanted the sixthreezero brand to be “better than the beach.”

This brand was about adventure and the life journey, not about laying around drinking mojitos and soaking up the sun.

He also noted that the main buyers of their bikes were actually women in their 40s and 50s, not millennials or Gen Z’ers (gasp!).

Project Goals

Overall, the breakdown of our Instagram marketing goals (which ultimately informed our strategy) for sixthreezero looked like this:

  • MAIN GOAL #1: Build a Strong, Differentiated Brand
  • MAIN GOAL #2: Drive More Traffic to the Website
  • MAIN GOAL #3: Maintain High Levels of Engagement
  • MAIN GOAL #4: Account Growth

From here, we knew we needed to take a closer look at the client’s Instagram platform and website analytics to formulate a plan for achieving these goals.

Proposed Solution

Audit

After looking at that platform analytics for the sixthreezero account, our suspicions were confirmed: most of the followers of the account were male, in the age 18–24 range.

Unfortunately, we already knew that this audience wasn’t the primary buyer of their product, and were most likely following the account because of the skimpy bathing suit adorned women being featured post after post.

Hypothesis

We believed that these young men were not likely to ever become brand advocates or customers, which was probably one of the reasons why traffic from Instagram was so low considering the number of followers they had on the account.

We recommended that sixthreezero began producing visual content to gear more towards their most ideal customer by testing images of models about 5–7 years older.

We also emphasized the importance of creating content that wasn’t situated near the beach, but rather in more urban settings in order to attain that longed for brand strength and recognition as being a brand for adventure seekers.

Results

Do you think our hypothesis was correct?

Get the full rundown on our marketing strategy and a deep dive into the results on the Vulpine Interactive blog.

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