With its recent billion dollar acquisition by Facebook, Instagram is proving its value not only as a fun way to share photos with friends but as a marketing and branding tool for businesses. In this series, we’ll look at how expert marketers are using Instagram to engage fans and recreate live experiences.
Today, we have Andy Morris, Creative Director for Stumptown Coffee. Andy shared how Stumptown uses visual content to maintain brand authenticity. Stumptown relies heavily on visual content; almost every tweet and Facebook post includes a photo, whether it’s from Instagram or not.
What kinds of images do fans react to best on Instagram?
The most engaging posts on Instagram are those that are most authentic to Stumptown’s historically DIY work ethic, aesthetic, and company spirit, i.e those that have “nothing to do with coffee, but speak volumes about coffee (or Stumptown) at the same time.” Obviously this sounds a bit cryptic, but when it works, it works. I think a lot of these posts show our legitimate interest in the passions that drive Stumptown’s desire to further our craft. This also bleeds into artisan food, woodworking, design, motorcycles, music, whatever it is, to show the common thread that weaves these elements together.
How do you judge whether your efforts are effective?
Anytime a customer engages, asks a question, reposts, blogs, tweets, etc, is the most obvious and immediate measure of success, especially in industries that have nothing to do with coffee.
How do you decide what content goes on Facebook versus what lives solely on Instagram? Do you see adifferent reaction depending on which network you use?
Stumptown has stayed away from a discount marketing approach, associated with a lot of social media strategies. It’s simply not our voice, so we typically use Facebook to inform our customers where they can find our coffee in their area, or we use Facebook to leak coffee/product releases or to promote our public coffee education. Again, this addresses the issue of authenticity.
Instagram is definitely more off the cuff, abstract, and less directly associated with “Coffee”.
As long as the content is communicating, I’d say no. If the visual content acts as noise, then possibly.
What do you wish you could do with visual content that you can’t do now?
Curate and manage user generated posts in a manner that creates an environment that authentically parallels/supports our retail environments.
Stumptown shows how visual content marketing can work for businesses and brands. The key to their success lies in staying authentic in their social strategy. This can mean forgoing traditionally effective social marketing campaigns (like discounts, coupons, and incentives) to maintain the brand image.
Posting photos helps Stumptown to align itself with local music, art, and foodie culture by having a shareable presence in these scenes while showing support to partners, vendors, and friends. By doing this, it’s broadening the definition of coffee culture while expanding Stumptown’s fan base.