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Team Mahout Conducts Instagram Marketing Experiment


An overwhelmingly successful marketing experiment was conducted by Team Mahout last week using Slack to promote friendly competition. It was so successful that I felt it deserved its own blog post.
I invited each of our clients to join me in a challenge to self-promote themselves over the course of a week on Instagram. Each of the competitors has a relatively new web-based business. I expected the outcome to be positive after all they would only benefit from attracting more exposure to their websites. As an added bonus I also announced that the winner of this friendly competition would receive a Starbucks gift card. After all what blogger doesn’t enjoy a nice coffee while preparing for their next article. A free coffee would surely taste even sweeter with the knowledge that you obtained it by promoting your online business.

The challenge was simple. I listed each business accounts Instagram followers on Slack. They had 7 days to gain as many followers as they could. At the end of the 7-day marketing challenge whoever gained the most followers would be the winner. I also suggested that they try to stay within a similar genre as their own business. After all, it would not benefit them to gain followers from popular celebrities Instagram if their business had nothing to do with trends and pop culture. Oh did I mention that we also had a horse in this race? Yes, We also listed our own business numbers and competed along side of our clients.

So it began. Each evening I would screen shot the progress of each account and post them onto Slack. Everyone would congratulate each other and ask each other questions. It seemed a bit closed lipped some evenings. After all, it was a competition. (For a Starbucks card) Not the biggest prize but enough to fuel these entrepreneurs competitive fires. Working with entrepreneurs is an awesome experience. Encouraging entrepreneurs to compete with one another is a bit like sitting in a fireworks factory during an electrical storm while playing with a book of matches. Ok, maybe that is a bit over dramatic but it was super exciting.

Team Mahout took an early lead. Our followers doubled, tripled, and quadrupled nearly from day one. Our success served two purposes. First, It stood as an example of what we wanted to see from them. Second, it proved that if a web development company could gain this much marketing exposure then surely their business would be able to gain even more followers.

Over the course of the week, each of our clients gained many followers and they quickly became worthy competitors. It was a very spirited competition that exceeded our expectations. Two of our clients devised their own Instagram giveaways to attract new followers. Their giveaways value far out numbered the value of our contest. This had become a competition for bragging rights. Or maybe they just realized the value was not the prize but the act of self-promotion.

Ok, So if you have read this post this far I imagine you are wondering who won. Well, We all did of course. I would like to report the gains of our top 4 competitors. 550 % increase, 407 % increase, 380 % increase, and a 77 % increase once the scores were completely tallied up. How amazing was that? I did not suspect this kind of increase and a doubt our clients did either. They are all asking when the next challenge starts. It was a tremendous success. (Full disclosure we did not win ).

Ok, once the competition was complete I asked them all to post in slack what they thought worked the best for them. Each member shared their strategies as requested. This information, interaction, and community building was well worth the price of a Starbucks gift card.

Here are a few snippets from Slack.

I took @caryn ‘s advice and followed as many people as I could. The best strategy for getting them to follow me back was liking 3 pictures after I followed someone, but that did take a bit of time. If there was someone who seemed to fit me, I’d also follow all of their suggested people, which was usually about 30. When that was up, I’d choose someone from that group and do the same.
I think my boomerang video helped a lot because after about 650 followers it had around 200 views/likes and people started following me and finding me that I hadn’t followed. I also tagged that video (and my other contest pictures) with some of the most popular hashtags, “instagood,” “swag,” “mylife.” I try to just use hashtags that have at least 100k posts, definitely if it’s over 1 million posts.
I noticed the pictures of myself get more traction than photos of quotes, and the ones that show more of my goofy personality also did better. And the contest definitely was a BIG help!!

And yet another snippet from Slack.

Wow, you guys are amazing! I didn’t have a strategy other then following people that appeared to have similar passions based on hashtags that I would use or search thanks to guidance from @jason. I looked up people if I came across them in an article or something and followed them. That’s 20 or so words lol?

I learned a lot from this exercise – 1. Social media for business takes way more time and consistency than I thought – I was haphazard – the second day was the day I did most work scouring hashtags on night but outside of that it was hit and miss when I had a few minutes in between a meeting or after I tucked kids in – but that wasn’t effective you have to schedule it until it becomes a habit. 2. I learned people follow and unfollow quickly 3. I leaned of some businesses that I want to learn more about and possible pattern after. 4. I learned ig is a good way to start building a message- a feeling- a culture. And lastly, I learned I need to scale back on something in order to scale up on this dream. I would love to now learn what the easier way is to tell your personal Instagram followers about your new account and request they follow – there has to be a simple way that I haven’t found. I’d also like to hear how you’ve converted likes follows into revenue – strategies for that. Thanks for including me in this challenge.

As I said in the beginning of this post it has been an overwhelming marketing success. If you are a development company I would definitely suggest starting a competition. If you are looking to start a development project or need continued support on an existing one please consider Team Mahout. We truly are advocates for your business.

November 27, 2016