Our team has a long history with our client Wolfers Lighting. We started working with the Wolfers team back in January of 2015—and over the last 4+ years, we’ve collaborated on countless blog posts, expanded their collection of downloadable resources, helped them launch two new brands under the Wolfers umbrella, and transitioned the management of their recently created Instagram account into the hands of their internal marketing team.
Now, when you first read that last bit about their team taking on the Instagram project we started, you might be thinking... “Wait, isn’t this supposed to be a story about PMG delivering results for a client?” How could Wolfers taking Instagram off of their marketing agency’s plate be a good thing? Well, before we get to the answer, let’s start at the beginning...
Getting Social with Wolfers Lighting
Wolfers Lighting is Boston’s premier lighting showroom. They are the go-to lighting resource for homeowners, business owners, architects, interior designers, builders, electricians, and other trade professionals. And, as premier lighting specialists, they came to the Boston area’s premier marketing agency (shameless plug) for a bespoke plan that fit their needs.
There’s no doubt that inbound marketing works for Wolfers. The digital efforts we've worked on together have proven to be fruitful for their business, as we noted in their 2016 customer story, Wolfers Lighting Gets “Turned On” by Inbound Marketing. But about one year into our tenure with Wolfers, we decided it was time for this business to branch out into marketing channels they had not yet explored.
Wolfers already had well-established Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages, but as a player in such a visual industry, Instagram was a natural next step (in addition to expanding their social presence on Houzz and Pinterest).
Launching an Instagram profile was an entirely new prospect for the Wolfers team. While there’s no doubt (especially by 2019 standards) everyone has heard of Instagram, many of our clients are reluctant to tackle this growing social channel. And this hhesitation can be understandable.
It’s worth noting—if you’re considering developing your own Instagram strategy—that the user demographics are incredibly important. According to a recent Sprout Social article, 80% of Instagram’s user base resides outside of the US, and the channel is most popular with teens and young adults. Additionally, IG is currently more popular with women than with men.
That being said, through our own research we found that Instagram is the perfect channel to connect with local designers and home builders, who are more likely to be repeat purchasers of lighting fixtures. The network is chock full of professional decorators, interior design influencers, local home magazine journalists, and an assortment of other stakeholders in the design/décor industry. In the B2B world, you’re never going to find a more captive audience than designers who spend time on Instagram on a daily basis, promoting their recent projects. And at the time we launched the Instagram account, Wolfers Lighting competitors had a minimal presence on the channel. Only a few were dipping their toes into Instagram, while others had no profiles at all.
Launching a New Instagram Account Requires a Thoughtful Strategy
While it may appear to be simple, creating and promoting a new Instagram profile requires a substantial amount of prep work. To kick things off, we created a "mood board" of sorts. To do this, we studied other industry profiles, as well as a few competitors, to come up with a posting style that was unique to Wolfers. After all, our goal was to help them stand out, not blend in. This research gave us a jumping off point for building out a strategic content calendar that included a mix of high-quality professional photography, store events, blog promotion, re-grams, and “on-the-spot” images of featured fixtures in the showroom.
The hashtag strategy for Instagram was especially important. In most cases, we recommend light use of hashtags on other social channels. Even on Twitter, #which #is #sometimes #considered #hashtag #central, followers often interpret an overabundance of hashtags as “spammy”. Instagram is the exception. It’s common to see both businesses and individual users alike using a dozen or more hashtags in any given post.
So we developed a list of relevant hashtags based on the style of lighting design—think #modern versus #farmhouse. We also generated a list of lighting-specific hashtags and came up with a few that would be unique to Wolfers. We’ve also found that hashtagging the brand name is important. As some users use #wolfers rather than tagging Wolfers in the photo using the ‘@’ symbol.
Results to Get Excited About!
Wolfers Lighting's Instagram following has grown leaps and bound in the last three years. As of May 2019, they have 979 followers and, perhaps more importantly, an active and engaged follower base. Instagram has proven to be an invaluable resource for Wolfers to connect with both targeted repeat purchasers and casual consumer shoppers. We see consistent likes, comments, and tags from key Boston designers. And what's even more impressive is that all of this progress has happened organically. To date, Wolfers has not invested in any paid promotion on Instagram.
At this point, you may be thinking back to the introduction where I mentioned that we transitioned Wolfers into doing their own social media development and scheduling. If the channel is doing well, why would we hand off the content creation and execution to the Wolfers team?
There’s no ‘tea’ to be found here; the truth is that engagements change over time—and it's important for our PMG account team to be malleable enough to work with Wolfers where we are needed most. As a digital marketing agency, it’s also our job to take on the projects that make the most financial sense for our clients. We’re always looking for areas where the clients can fill in with their expertise, while we focus our efforts on in-demand projects.
Wolfers’ in-house bandwidth and capabilities have grown over time after the successful merger with two other local businesses. They've also stepped up the number of local events, built a new showroom, and continued to grow and expand their digital presence, and we recognize these activities are best promoted by someone in-house who is available to capture the activities in real time.
That said, we are proud to have helped Wolfers Lighting successfully launch, build, and expand their Instagram page! And we’re thrilled to see their team run with the Instagram posts, and more importantly, we’ll always be there to lend a helping hand (or a creative eye) when the project calls for it. We’ll continue to support Wolfers as their social media needs change.
Applying Wolfers Wins to Your Own Instagram Marketing
There’s no doubt that Wolfers can do more with Instagram over time. We can expand into paid ads, more frequent posting, and Instagram campaigns to name just a few tactics. But, to summarize, here's what they're doing that you may be able to replicate for your business—broken down into 6 key ingredients:
- Start with the demographics. Before recommending Instagram to a B2B company, we research the demographics, industry-specific influencers, and competitors to be sure it would be a successful channel.
- Get going sooner rather than later. Time is of the essence when it comes to social media success. The longer you wait to start your channel, the more crowded the space becomes. When you add changing algorithms into the mix, you never know if three, six or nine months down the road you’ve missed your window of opportunity.
- Create a thorough content calendar. If you’ve been blogging prior to starting an Instagram, you likely have plenty of content to promote. It’s easy to lose steam with social media marketing, especially in the first six months to a year as you're building a following and a brand voice. Create a quarterly content calendar and pre-schedule content as much as possible, leveraging "evergreen" content you've produced in the past.
- Supplement your calendar with ‘on site’ images. A content calendar isn’t enough! Document your events, company anniversaries, team successes, etc. and put those posts on Instagram. At PMG, we always recommend the 80-20 content rule—meaning 80% of your posts should be educational, while only 20% are directly promotional / sales-y.
- Keep an eye on the data. Over time, you may notice trends in the type of posts that perform best. Or, you may find you get more engagement during certain days or times. Regularly check on the analytics to be sure you’re maximizing your efforts.
- Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a highly engaged social media following. If you’re starting from scratch, it will take time to learn what type of content resonates with your audience the most. Sponsored posts are a great way to build momentum at the start of a social media program. But know that, in most cases, social media acts as a “conversion assist”. People use it to learn about who you are as a company, compare you against your competitors, and stay on top of new products or industry trends. High social media visit-to-lead conversion rates take time.
Remember, 72% of users have bought a product they saw on Instagram. It is possible to sell, inform, and engage through compelling Instagram content!
Let Precision Marketing Group Be Your Marketing Guide
Agency engagements come in all shapes and sizes. From the onset of our relationship with Wolfers Lighting, we built a strong foundation that allowed us to invest time in new ideas and platforms—like Instagram. We bring the same level of dedication, innovation and experimentation to all of our marketing plans. If you’d like to learn how Precision Marketing Group can help you build up your social media presence, reach out to us today.