For many, Instagram, the photo-centric social network owned by Facebook, is the premier place to share ideas, interests, and marketing campaigns. Recently, retailer Lord & Taylor partnered with 50 fashionistas on Instagram and asked each to pose wearing the same dress. The dress sold out in 48 hours, which any retailer would consider a rousing success in itself, but the brand had a much larger goal in mind: debuting its Design Lab collection, focused on “fashion-forward finds.”
I’m sure that at this point you’re wondering how sartorial social discourse can be pertinent to an accounting practice. I think Jack London, who wrote at a staggering rate during his life, described it best. When asked how he was able to write so many pieces without becoming fatigued, he replied with two strategies.
First, London often sought inspiration outside his subject. This is one of the most important aspects of learning how to market better. When we see how a campaign worked successfully for a brand that is outside of our industry, we can see it for what it is without buying into the marketing. We are able to see the mechanics of it, enabling us to deconstruct the campaign so that we may be able to repurpose the same devices, in some way, on behalf of our own businesses.
Secondly, London often switched formats to keep his writing fresh and relevant. He is known for novels but also wrote essays, poems, short stories, and articles. When London switched formats, he could change the way his brain saw the words. He was able to reimagine the same story or concept in a new way that helped him communicate it better. When we change the format we use in social media, we create a huge opportunity for our followers to connect with us in a way they never have before.
So, how can you utilize these insights from retailer Lord & Taylor and author Jack London to make your social presence more effective? When Lord & Taylor created its new Instagram campaign, the goal wasn’t to talk about how Lord & Taylor’s dresses are any cheaper or better designed than those of its competitors. In fact, the campaign didn’t even mention any of those ideas. Its focus was on how the dress made women feel and how it fit into any lifestyle. By going further than the initial need it was trying to satisfy for customers, the campaign was able to connect with them on a deeper level.
If all you’re sharing on social media is how your firm is better, faster, or cheaper, then you’re missing a huge opportunity. You want your clients to connect with you and be excited that they are working with you. Try sharing a photo of yourself and your client with a box of receipts in your client’s hand and a finished return in your hand. This visually captures and shares the excitement of what you love doing for people in what, for most people, is a relatively unhappy part of the year.
If your social campaign is primarily on Facebook, in written form, it might be time to switch things up. Go to Instagram or begin sharing more photos. Images are still the most consumed form of media on social networks. Creating content to share is always difficult. Or rather, creating relevant, interesting content can be difficult. Lord & Taylor, for example, could have simply shared 50 posts on its own account about a single dress, but that would not have worked as well. People would have seen such posts purely as advertisements. By working with other Instagram users instead, Lord & Taylor created a partnership. Both parties had something to gain from it. Working with your business clients to cross-promote each other in a creative way makes sense and, rather than being seen as advertising, could end up being your most successful campaign.