November 3, 2014

If you’ve heard me speak or read my blog posts on Instagram, you know I can get more than a little excited about Instagram. But, I have been seriously bouncing in my seat, eager to write this blog post. I just recently found out about how Target created an insanely genius, clever, and interactive Instagram campaign for Halloween. And I’m losing my mind over it.

Part of the reason this campaign shocked me so much is that Target kinda sucks at Instagram. They don’t use it often and when they do, it’s very, blah. Nothing has stood out or been remotely this creative in their past posts.

But then, Target comes up with this brilliant idea for Halloween. They did work with an outside agency to create the interactive campaign, images, and tutorials.

So, what did they do?

They created a Halloween interactive Trick-or-Treat campaign.

Each post is a trick or treat theme. Two “houses” are in each post, divided by the street. One house is a trick, and the other a treat. “Knock once to trick-or-treat” – tap the image once to show tagged accounts – one is the trick, the other is the treat. Then you can click on the the trick or the treat to go over to another account with that day’s tip. Or click on the accounts listed in the caption to view the trick and the treat. When you go to the “trick”, you get a tip or advice on a Halloween decoration or DIY project. The “trick” and the “treat” are separate accounts – one for each day of the campaign – with a series of step-by-step posts showing you how to achieve the trick or treat.

Target ran this Instagram campaign for 15 days. They provided 15 tricks, and 15 treats that their audience could use to create fun, unique Halloween items. If you want to see these posts in action, head over to the Target Instagram account and “knock” on a post to see what they’ve created.

Here’s why this campaign was so genius. First of all, it’s all about a theme, and we all love a good theme. The creativity behind “knocking” to trick or treat in their caption was so perfect and appropriate. Second, it calls for interaction with their audience. It’s more than just scrolling and double-tapping. Third, it creates engagement around their products and creates a brand experience. All of the products listed in the tricks and treats are available at Target stores. But it goes beyond that by providing value, and actionable tips for their audience.

How did they create this campaign? First of all, they needed great graphics. They created unique and fun “houses” for both sides of the street on each of the 15 posts. And the attention to detail in each image is pretty darn amazing. Secondly, they needed a lot of Instagram accounts. 30 extra accounts to be exact – one for each of the tricks and treats. Finally, they had to actually come up with 15 tricks and 15 treats. They had to be unique, relevant, easy to do, and something people would actually want to create.

What’s oddly unfortunate, is that the engagement on these posts was actually lower than their average posts. As awesome as this Instagram campaign was, I don’t think they did enough to market it or make sure people understood “how” to participate. I’ll admit that when I first looked at their posts, it was a little confusing about what they wanted me to do. Once I figured it out, I was all over it. But I had a vested interest in understanding it. I don’t know if the average Instagram user would have taken the time to really understand the campaign.

I’d be really interested to see how many people clicked through to each trick or treat. The likes and comments on each of the trick and treat were significantly lower, but that’s not to say people weren’t going over and making good use of the tips.

Of course, now the important question is how can you use this information for your Instagram campaigns?

While using the same idea for trick or treat may be a little (well, a lot) copy-cattish, you could incorporate something similar into your Halloween campaign next year. But you could also find a way to incorporate a Naughty-or-Nice theme for Christmas. Or Loves Me – Loves Me Not theme for Valentine’s day. Or you could create a virtual scavenger hunt, combining accounts and needing to find items or clues on each account.

The idea is to get creative and find ways that you could “tag” additional accounts on your main profile posts to generate engagement and interaction in a way you haven’t before.

Of course, you will need additional Instagram accounts. And each one needs its own email address and login. So don’t go too crazy with the extra accounts and keep the login details readily available!

And you need to market the campaign effectively. Advertise it on your other social media profiles. Drum up buzz about how to use it, what the rewards are, and why people should participate. Make the instructions and process clear and easy to understand. And most importantly, make it valuable to your audience!

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