I have written about the value of Instagram from an advertisers and brand standpoint. Because the user-generated content is invaluable and cost effective, Instagram provides a way to connect with users who are interested in your product, but also gives advertisers a way to connect to a user-base that already has a level of trust built in.
A great benefit of community marketing comes from the idea that users follow people based on trust. Sometimes it is hard to build that trust right away, especially if you are a new brand. By connecting with group leaders, bloggers, and forum moderators, brands have the ability to tap into an audience through the message of a trusted advisor. In the case of Instagram the Instagram account owner is that trusted person. It's a classic case of referral or word of mouth marketing and Influencer marketing. If the owner of the group (an Influencer) supports your brand, it is likely that you will be supported by that person's followers as well.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Ahmed El Shourbagy, who manages the Dogs of Instagram account. Dogs of Instagram is a wildly popular account that features curated content from dog lovers on Instagram. The account has close to 250,000 users. For advertisers and brands who have a product that dog lovers will love, this is a great account to get in touch with to build your existing network in a highly targeted fashion. Because this account is trusted in the dog community on Instagram, by sponsoring a photo here you can get in front of users that you might not have known existed or otherwise had the opportunity to.
From a curator or blogger's standpoint, Instagram also opens up a new revenue stream for you, like it has for Ahmed. Whether you are a brand or curate content yourself there are a lot to be learned from this interview below. Enjoy!
Interview With Dogs Of Instagram
CWC: How did you come up with the idea for this Instagram account?
DogsOfInstagram: The idea really started out as an experiment in social media. I wanted to create an account that curates user generated content and see if the authenticity of that content would drive followers. I'm also a big dog lover, so picking the subject of the feed was pretty easy.
CWC: What would you attribute its growth to? Natural? User-generated?
DogsOfInstagram: I would say that all the growth has been organic. After attaining the first 100 followers or so, growth just happened through "word of mouth". Friends would see that friends liked a picture, they would click on it and follow the account. People are also constantly tagging their friends in photos and that drives a lot of new followers as well. One more thing that I believe really helped is having a very clear and simple vision statement reading "brining together the dogs of Instagram".
CWC: How did you get people involved in submitting photos?
DogsOfInstagram: In the bio, I wrote "email a pic to firstname.lastname@example.org"
CWC: Do you work with any sponsors?
DogsOfInstagram: I've done collaborations with a couple of brands and am currently working on a couple of upcoming collaborations.
CWC: Is this a full time revenue source?
DogsOfInstagram: It is not, yet. Maybe one day when advertising becomes an official thing on Instagram.
CWC: Why do you think this works as opposed to coming from a brand?
DogsOfInstagram: I think this works because it feels more authentic. It's a community that brings together the dogs of the people of Instagram. Instead of following a bunch of cute dog accounts, you can follow one that curates them for you.
CWC: How many submissions you get daily/weekly?
DogsOfInstagram: We get anywhere from 25 - 100 submissions per day depending on whether we've posted pictures that day or not.
CWC: When did you start the account?
DogsOfInstagram: I started the account in June of 2011.
Do you curate content on Instagram from other users? I'd love to hear about your experience. Please leave a response below.