Going Viral on Instagram: A Social Media Marketing Hit or Miss?

Instagram is a powerful, visual-based social media platform that connects its audience by sharing images or videos.  H. Tankovska’s Statista article about Instagram reveals in 2018, Instagram exceeded one billion monthly active users worldwide and approximately 500 million daily active users. 

Instagram is a valuable and significant marketing tool for brands or businesses. Instagram enables an organization to promote their products and services, increase brand awareness and sales. Moreover, organizations can also establish a community base and effortlessly reach millions of consumers or users. It is evident, for instance, for Sunny Co Clothing. 

Case Study Feature: Sunny Co Clothing

Sunny Co Clothing, an Arizona-based startup apparel company, utilized Instagram to launch its two-day swimsuit promotion campaign to increase brand awareness and promoting its products to generate sales.  Consequently, Sunny Co Clothing’s swimsuit promotion which ran from May 2-3, 2017, went viral.    

Marketing Success or Failure?

Sunny Co Clothing’s promotion was a compelling call-to-action to users or consumers on Instagram in which the company offered to provide them with a voucher for a free swimsuit, $64.99 in retail value, for sharing a picture of a woman wearing Sunny Co Clothing’s red Pamela Sunny swimsuit and tagging Sunny Co on Instagram. The promotion on Instagram successfully increased the brand’s awareness among Instagram users and was recognized by several media outlets such as AdWeek, Buzzfeed, E! News, Vogue, Seventeen, Washington Post, and TIME Magazine, to name a few, according to PR Newswire.

According to a 2017 article by TIME Magazine, Sunny Co Clothing’s post generated more than 334,000 likes. It swept across social media feeds throughout the U.S.

Additionally, PR Newswire 2017 article about Sunny Co Clothing stated Sunny Co acquired 777,000 followers (from 7,000 to 784,000) within 25 hours of their Instagram post, causing the account to be eventually shut down. Sunny Co, overcome by the vast number of responses on Instagram, informed their followers of anticipated delays with order fulfillment and deliveries due to the high volume of orders.

Sunny Co later informed Instagram users they could exercise their right to limit the promotion due to the overload in responses. While Sunny Co Clothing managed to maximize their following on Instagram, Sunny Co also encountered the need to provide refunds totaling approximately $73,000 to its customers who filed refund claims for Sunny Co’s inability to fulfill timely orders.

Key Takeaway

Defining a Clear Communication Message:
Clearly define promotion eligibility, rules, requirements, limitations, and align promotions on Instagram with Instagram’s Promotion Guidelines before launch.  Terms and conditions should be clearly defined and accessible to eliminate noise and confusion in the communication message conveyed to consumers.

Promotional Giveaway Inventory:
Good customer relationships built on trust are valuable. Customers value a business or brand they believe can stay true to their word and deliver what they promise their customers. Hence, when promoting giveaways, a company must establish promotion goals, consider their inventory, and ensure they have sufficient on-hand inventory to fulfill the promotion’s goals and customer demands and needs.  Limitations on quantities should be clearly defined and disclosed to prevent mishaps.

Analyze the Return on Investment (ROI):
Businesses must analyze the ROI to consider the financial impact of the promotion and marketing campaign’s success or failure. It will help prevent over-promoting a campaign effort that results in marketing costs exceeding the promotion’s profits.

Assess the Potential Reach:
Social media metrics are significant in making smarter quality decisions as a business leader, decision-maker, and marketer.  A key metric to consider is potential reach when preparing to launch a marketing campaign on social media platforms such as Instagram.

The potential reach measures the number of people who could view the post during a specified period realistically and share the post with their network or circle.  Expanding the target audience is vital to increase growth by tracking the total amount of brand mentions generated with a brand monitoring tool and the number of followers who viewed the brand mentions to help determine the brand’s theoretical reach, which is the maximum number of people who could potentially view the brand mentions.    

Marketing campaigns and initiatives such as promotions on Instagram effectively connect with audiences on an emotional level while increasing brand awareness.  Successful promotional campaigns entail marketing strategically, establishing goals, and analyzing outcomes to maximize customer reach, profits, and optimal results.  

Did you enjoy this post? Learn about marketing tips, this post, and more! 

Clothing, S. (2018, June 26). Sunny co Clothing answers Customers’ Uncertainty. Retrieved
March 13, 2021, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sunny-co-clothing-answers-customers-uncertainty-300455815.html

Inc., H. Social media listening with Hootsuite Insights Powered by Brandwatch. Hootsuite. https://www.hootsuite.com/products/insights. 

Instagram help center. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2021, from https://help.instagram.com/

Person. (2017, May 04). Sunny co Clothing: INTERNET tires of Red Swimsuit. Retrieved

March 13, 2021, from https://time.com/4766561/sunny-co-clothing-red-swimsuit/

Tankovska, H. (n.d.). Topic: Instagram. Retrieved March 13, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/

By Natalie Simpson | NatYourOrdinary.com
    naturordinary@gmail.com | @natURordinary

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