This week, my talk about Instagram influencers is slightly different than the typical the young beautiful people taking over your feed. Have you ever thought a company itself may be influencing you without help from paid influencers? REI seems to be the company excelling in this. From original “how to” posts to personal photos of it’s biggest outdoorsman fans REI knows how to engage its consumers.
How does REI influence its customers so well and why is it working for their brand and not others? REI does an amazing job of keeping its audience engaged. They use a lot of repurposed content posted. They do this in a very strategic way, however. REI picks repurposed posts in a way other companies do not. They do not specifically pick posts by fans featuring their products in which they were tagged, they use any post that they feel their followers would benefit from and which specifically reflects their brand. REI gains from this in more ways than one. Not only do their followers see their posts and better understand their mission but they make new connections with those they have posted and friends of those they have posted. From here, people are more likely to follow, post pictures using the products, and tag REI in their posts in hopes of themselves being posted on the brand’s page. Having a brand engage one on one with consumers creates a relationship between leads to brand loyalty.
REI uses more than just this to engage its consumers. Through their Instagram, they implement many marketing tactics we have talked about in class. For example, personas. Now, many companies use this tactic to plan marketing strategies, but not like REI. Uses its key personas to relate to its key segments of consumers specifically. For example, REI’s “how to” posts. They may post a “how to” for meal packing for a specific group of their market, backpackers. They create content relevant to their audience and their products.
Finally, REI creates calls to action through their “weekend project” posts. These match with their “#OptOutside” campaign to move people to do activities outside. So does REI just care about your physical health? Well yes, but more than that the more they get you outside using their hashtags and wearing your products, the more they get their brand out there. In creating “weekend projects” with a hashtag creates a call to action from their consumers and they benefit. REI proves that anyone can be an influencer, and they are doing it for free.