Instantaneous mobile photo sharing is becoming increasingly popular. The Facebook-owned mobile photo editing and sharing network Instagram has been around since October 2010 and by April 2012, the platform had 30 million users worldwide. A couple of weeks ago, Facebook launched their own ‘Facebook camera’ bringing smartphone photo editing to the social network that first made instant photo sharing go a mainstream.
Today, we see an increasing number of brands jumping on board to create visual engagement with their fans by showcasing their products, services and events through mobile photo sharing on Instagram.
How Threadless Engages its Community on Instagram
The community-based t-shirt company Threadless is a crowdsourcing business whose design is created and chosen by the online community. Thousands of designs are submitted every week, and about 10 designs are chosen by a public vote and sold in the online shop. Threadless’ customers are therefore co-creators, which makes an outstanding starting point for engagement.
Threadless is also a great Instagram success with more than 180,000 followers. The cause of their success is their capability of using the platform to involve customers and co-creators in what’s going on behind the scenes, the designs and events. Especially the behind-the-scenes photos and exclusive sneak peeks of the t-shirts in productions invite followers to be a part of the company and feel more connected to the brand.
Threadless post regularly but without spamming their followers’ feeds. The photos are interesting as they tell a story and show the brand identity. Showing previews of the production of upcoming design launches gives followers something to look forward to and also drive traffic to the online shop, as people will check in to see if the t-shirt they want to buy has been released.
With Instragram, you have the possibility of mentioning people with the @ symbol like on Twitter, and Threadless uses the function to interact and engage with their community and draw attention to certain people. Also, Threadless uses the hashtag (#) function to start conversations about different subjects relevant to their brand and indicate the theme of the photo, such as #tshirt or #threadfans.
The funny behind-the-scenes photos showcase Threadless as a creative and innovative brand, and it also has a employer branding function, as they present Threadless as a cool and fun workplace.
Additionally, Threadless is one of the first companies to run a Pinterest campaign – check it out here.