@Peopledelphia is a highly influential, far-reaching Instagram account documenting life in Philadelphia through the people who live here.
Our social media guest this month was Brendan W. Lowry, creator of @peopledelphia. He talks about growing an audience, using your platform for good, and what really makes an Instagram account successful.
A Platform for a Purpose
When Philly ‘s ‘big belly’ trash receptacles were being overtaken by brash car dealership ads — Brendan used his platform to do something about it.
Teaming up with City Fitness and Streets Dept, Brendan’s agency Rory Creative bought 20 ad spaces and replaced the car ads with local artwork.
“Because of Peopledelphia, it gave us this platform to immediately reach 90,000+ people … Now it’s at a point where I know that I can create anything.”
According to Philly.com, “After the car ads faced public backlash, Barbera changed several of them to feature a heart made out of trash and a message that read: “KEEP PHILADELPHIA BEAUTIFUL Because BARBERA CARES.”
The story goes to show how having a visible platform [like peopledelphia] can change the conversation and shift the power structure [How do we advertise and keep city streets beautiful at the same time? Who gets heard and how?] It’s not just about garnering the most followers and fame — It’s about doing something meaningful with the platform you’ve built.
“I want to be really intentional about the brands that I’m working with and the stories I’m telling,” Lowry said.
Relevancy and Timing
“Hyperlocal content was the competitive edge I was using previously, and now it’s all about relevancy.”
Scroll through Instagram and you’re bound to see some meticulously planned accounts. Some users will do a quote every third day, or only images with certain colors to create cohesion and a stylish design. But Lowry thinks too much planning can cause your social media accounts to become too predictable.
“In reality, what should be cohesive is the stories that you’re telling and the message — as opposed to strictly what the visuals look like.”
Instagrammers are often concerned about how their profile page itself looks, but that’s not where people find your account. They find your images individually, often through hashtags searches. When Instagram accounts are too planned and perfect, “It’s not as interesting,” Brendan says.
The real importance lies in relevancy and timing — Is it happening now in your community? Would your audience care about and relate to this post today?
Growing an Audience
“The more niche you can be, the better.”
Brendan uses Nike as an example of how focusing is more necessary than ever. It’s easy to assume that Nike can simply have one content stream with a huge following and be done with it. But in reality, that’s not how success works in modern digital marketing — even for huge brands. Nike has several niche Instagram accounts including Nike Sportswear, Nike Women, and Nike Runners. Their audience is so diverse that it needed to be broken up into categories by interest.
By zeroing in on a specific topic, your audience has an easier time finding and relating to your content.
Watch Brendan and Danni’s full conversation here.
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Kismet’s Ice Cream Social Media Discussion is open to small business owners, creative professionals, and anyone looking to expand their brand, learn about social media, and of course, eat some ice cream. Follow Kismet on Facebook for upcoming Ice Cream Social Media Discussions.