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While we love a good #scrollsession after a long day at the office, we've come to understand the importance of using social media as a means to be social in a real setting. Whether you're using social media as a business or individual, this content, in general, should act as a vehicle for connection - both online and offline. This article will touch on ways to create content centered around offline initiatives, events, and promotions as well as highlight companies in different verticals who are doing it right.
"For brands, Instagram content typically acts as a tool for business and community development."
For brands, Instagram content typically acts as a tool for business and community development. From garnering sales to increasing brand awareness, Instagram simultaneously builds a platform for your customers to connect with you as a brand, and with one another. As a result, this provides endless opportunity to engage with your community beyond a screen and bring them together for real-time, immersive brand experiences. No matter what industry you're in, consider these three points when crafting content that aims to inspire connection offline: 1. Hone in on your content first If you're confident (and consistent) with your social media content, that provides a solid foundation to build from as you plan for bigger activations. Timing is everything, and you'll know when you've reached a point where social media can translate into a social setting! 2. Consider the stage of your business (and plan accordingly) Consider the resources and investment that comes with the kind of offline activations you want to produce. If you're an emerging brand with limited access or you're just getting your feet off the ground, consider the size of the event or project and what value it will add to your organization. No matter what stage your brand may be in, you can also use social media as a sounding board to find out if it will ultimately add value to your customer's shopping/brand experience. 3. Decide which is more important in the end Make the call as to whether or not online or offline takes priority. Knowing this, you'll be able to create a strong content marketing plan that will inform how you introduce offline opportunities (and what role social media plays a role in bringing them to life!). With these points in mind, the below examples will demonstrate how a few category-leading companies are using social media as a starting point for bigger brand activations.
"Consider the resources and investment that comes with the kind of offline activations you want to produce."
1. Consumer Goods + ShoppingThere's no shortage of innovative brands who are doing it right in marketing their products on social media. One stand out, in particular, is contemporary travel brand Away (@away). While Away started out as a chic luggage company, the company has introduced a growing product assortment (featuring celebrity design collaborations), a print magazine, and more. To bring these elements to life, the team has also launched a series of influencer trips to different locations including Stockholm, Palm Springs, and Paris. The team has designed customized experiences centered on each city and a theme, providing influencers with a plethora of opportunity to capture original and beautiful travel content (with Away products in-hand). Combining this with Away's own coverage of each trip on their social channels and blog, they are a prime example of the creative marketing opportunities that can come when blending online and offline in a truly immersive way.2. Conference + Business On the other end of the spectrum, companies who don't necessarily sell physical goods have a unique advantage of marketing their value on social media. Enter women's conference Create & Cultivate (@createcultivate). The C&C team has mastered the balance of crafting compelling, relevant, and on- brand content that inspires and excites their growing Instagram community as well as conference-goers. From posting data-driven articles to profiles and pre-event stories (featuring speakers, partners, and more), Create & Cultivate has harnessed an identifiable social media aesthetic. Even more impressive, the team has been able to translate this bright, bold, and quirky look into each conference's physical space, which in turn, provides opportunities for attendees to snap, share, and post). In a way, Create & Cultivate's strategy is cyclical, as their consistent event schedule and always-on content, allows for continuous opportunity to engage with their community both online and offline.
"Companies who don't necessarily sell physical goods have a unique advantage of marketing their value on social media."
3. MediaOver the years, media companies have increasingly evolved and introduced multi-platform and experiential marketing opportunities - just look at Refinery29 (@refinery29). Aside from their usual style content, R29 has introduced hard news reporting, TV programming, and offline experiences. Their 29Rooms activation (dubbed by some as an "Instagram" playground) is a physical manifestation of the company's bold aesthetic and brand values. With activations in both New York City and Los Angeles, each exhibit's rooms are home to different vignettes centered around various themes (some of which are in partnership with brands and partners). While R29 has put on Instagram meet-ups and different events in the past, this particular project demonstrates the amazing value that comes with opening up this space to the public (allowing for further engagement with new and existing readers, reinforcing brand values, and providing new partnership opportunities for brands and collaborators).
These examples are just a few of the many companies who understand the importance of using content as a way to enhance offline connection. You can use PLANOLY's tools to continue refining your content strategy and creative, and from there, assess any opportunities to build from particular posts or things that perform well. Also, remember to keep lines of communications open with your followers who will tell you what they want (and how they want it!).