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...
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.
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.
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.
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:
Remember, 72% of users have bought a product they saw on Instagram. It is possible to sell, inform, and engage through compelling Instagram content!
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.
Alexis Silvers has been an Account Manager at PMG since late 2015, adding SEO and client services to her socially savvy repertoire. As a tenured social media expert, Alexis loves to keep an eye out for helpful tips for B2B businesses on her feeds. Other things she monitors? Blog feedback! So let her know if you like what you see or want to know more.