warbyparker

The buzz about up-and-coming, visually-based social networks like Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram is overwhelming these days. They’re cool to play with, hip to use and fun to look at, but are they marketing essentials?

That’s up for debate – or more acurately, up for your brand to decide. A meaningful presence on these networks comes down to creative execution – are you posting photos for the sake of posting photos, or are you making them count?

There’s a lot of mediocre brand presence on Instagram right now, probably because so many brands assume they have no choice but to jump on the bandwagon. That being said, when I come across  a well-executed and creative strategy implemented on a burgeoning platform like Instagram, I think it’s important to share the wealth of a stellar idea.

This particular concept comes from Warby Parker, an eyewear company that sells stylish eyewear in convenient (online) and affordable (the $100 range) fashion.  They also have a ‘Buy A Pair, Give A Pair’ program that matches every purchase by donating a pair of glasses to people in need – think Tom’s for eyewear. Oh yeah, and the frames they sell are freaking gorgeous. I found myself aching to buy a pair even though my eyeballs don’t require corrective lenses. Don’t worry, I won’t be that non-prescription glasses guy.

Between a quirky, design-centric blog and all the other social channels, Warby Parker has exceptional digital presence – so great, in fact that they really don’t worry about investing in traditional advertising. One of the channels that WP dominates is photosharing wunderkind Instagram, which makes sense. Their products are nice to look at, so why not develop a presence on a visually-based platform that just so happens to attract a devoted following from their target (cough, hipster) audience? Nice images? Check. Steady followership? Check. But on a Saturday afternoon in January, the spectacle company took things one step further in Instagramland.

Warby Parker Instagram Photo Walk

The concept for the Warby Parker Instagram Photo Walk is such: sign up on Eventbrite, meet up and meander through the neighborhoods of New York, snapping pictures all the while. Throw a branded hashtag on the package and you’ve got a serious noisemaker.

#warbywalk Results

The event was a hit. Tickets sold out, 678 photos were snapped with the hashtag #warbywalk, and Twitter filled to the brim with radiant feedback (see below), creating an army of voluntary product endorsers.

Many of the photos incorporated Warby Parker glasses, while some just captured shots of the city. But thanks to a branded hashtag, the event fused participants’ love for a product, city and photo-based application together in an attention-grabbing ball of digital marketing success.

Is your brand using new media like Instagram and Pinterest in an inventive way? Share your ideas with us below or by connecting with us on Twitter.