Instagram and the art of knitting

Dear @DomTru,

I am lost.

I’m a marketing director for a major Canadian brand and was told by my agency that I should Instagram and Pinterest. After 75 deadly boring PowerPoint slides, I still have no clue why.

I already Facebooked it and it’s a pain in the ass, never mind Twitter. Could you please give me some clear, simple advice? Thank you.

– Lost-in-social-media Bob


Dear Lost,

In 2012, if you don’t “get” Facebook, you should convert to professional knitting. But before you do anything, fire your agency for producing a 75-slide PowerPoint. It’s a crime.

Let me start with a simple story. My agency was pitching a national piece of business and naturally, we did our category research. When I looked at Instagram for the brand, I discovered 15,000 pictures tagged with the client’s product name. People enjoyed the product so much that they simply had to share filtered photos with the world, and the client didn’t even know!

Now, my question is, if I offered you 15,000 engaged ambassadors for free, would you take them? And please don’t talk to me about ROI – so far, you haven’t spent a dime. Now, imagine if you did invest to nurture that community. The product’s closest competitor, with only a simple “page,” tripled the size of its community in no time.

One thing to note about Instagram: It is a 99.9% happy place where people don’t bitch.

The lesson? Even if you do nothing, or even if you don’t care, your brand exists in social media. At the very least, you should follow it. At best, you should nurture and grow it. Remember: an ambassador who WOM’s your brand is priceless. Earned media, you say? It’s time to walk the talk.

Just about now you’re probably asking, but how? How do I grow it? One simple rule: be there. Watch, listen and interact. Just prove that you care. And if you can’t do it, ask your agency to put aside the PowerPoint presentations and hire them to manage these communities for you. It’s easily done and not that costly when done properly. More complex experimenting can follow,* but start by simply building an “active” community.

Sincerely yours, @DomTru


Dear @DomTru,

I converted to knitting. But thank you for that very nice story. You are a true storyteller.

– Bob

P.S. You forgot to talk about Pinterest.


Dear Professional Knitter,

I am so glad you found your true vocation. Pinterest is another picture-based community. Lots of potential there too depending on the nature of your brand. Read on for more on Pinterest and Instagram.

Sincerely yours, @DomTru


Published in Strategy magazine, October 31, 2012

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