Weight Watchers: Instagram case study — Live from the Brands-Only Summit

Coverage of this session by Jordan Ynostrosa of SocialMedia.org. Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

2:10 — SocialMedia.org's Jeff Casale introduces Weight Watchers' Lauren Salazar.

2:11 — Lauren: Our approach to Instagram: We've been on the platform for 4 years. We have about 305,000 followers and about 800 pieces of content to date. Our strategy is one part US, two parts THEM. A large part of it is stuff that we are sourcing from our members. We have a lot of NEW stuff this year. Not just food — we are fitness, taking care of yourself. Came with the new Smart Points program.

2:12 — We are “born social”. started out in the living room of our founder.

2:13 — Lauren: Oprah purchased a 10% stake in our company. So much opportunity and possibility for this winter that I'm happy to share today.

2:14 — Today's topics: Photo & Video Best Practices, Leveraging UGC, Influencer & Celebrity Integration, Experiential on Instagram.

2:15 — Lauren talks about their video campaign on Instagram: We stumble upon something that really worked. A 30 second recipe. It exceeded our expectations. Why is this working?

  1. It's simple: 30 second video with simple subject matter
  2. Seasonal: the context was sandwiched in between fall leaves and apple picking.
  3. Sound off: lots of text and graphic overlays. Over 50% of people never turn the sound on, which is half of your audience. Making sure it translates without them ever having to turn volume on.

2:17 — Lauren shares their results: Point lift in AdRecall, 3x platform benchmark. Higher video completion rates. Significant lift in purchase consideration. Instagram brought this to CES last year on “How to do a video.”

2:18 — Lauren: If something works, do it again. You can find ways to keep the same ideas but also keep it fresh and new.

2:20 — Lauren: Improve what's not working. When we look at photos that perform below our benchmark – we look at 4 themes. Busy. Muted. Corporate. Over-styled.

2:21 — Lauren: Celebrate when you nail it. The four themes here are Centered. Situational. Simple. Colorful.

2:22 — Sometimes small things = big difference.

2:23 — Lauren: Your community is your content pillar. 2.5 million photos with hashtag #weightwatchers have been uploaded on Instagram. Practice Sharing. Use what others are posting.

2:24 — Lauren: Let others inspire you — comes from true insight on how others are using and engaging with our brand.

2:25 — Lauren: Shine a spotlight on people – use people that are sharing a good message. We used someone who was about to get married take over our Instagram the week before her wedding, up to her wedding day. When we gave her that control of our Instagram, it really resonated with our community.

2:26 — Lauren talks about #TakeoverTuesdays: Every Tuesday a different user takes over our Instagram and shares how they are using our program. This is important because anytime we change our program, it can be difficult for people. By having these authentic voices, it gives others insight to hear from others who are using the program.

2:28 — And then there's Oprah. The new year is important. Instagram, YouTube, FaceBook..etc give you the chance to reach a mass amount of people. We used 3 videos from Oprah explaining her experience on the Smart Points program on Sunday January 3rd. This generated over 2 million views in a 24 hour period, which really exceeded platform engagement benchmarks.

2:30 — Lauren: Turn event setups into Instagram gold. We have driven over a million social impressions from social people and have been top trending on Instagram that day.

2:31 — Recap: Seven sacred lessons of Instagram:

  1. Build For Sound-Off, Swipe Through
  2. Find Your Formula and Work It
  3. It’s All About Perspective
  4. Regram and Replicate, Repeat
  5. Give Up Control
  6. Bet Big on Big Moments
  7. Make Experiences ‘Grammable'


Q: How do you manage Takeover Tuesdays in real time?

A: Lauren: It's not real time. they don't have access to our accounts. they community with our community manager ahead of time. They let us know what they want to share. We try to make it feel as real time as possible.

Q: Roadblocks when sourcing UGC?

A: Lauren: We partnered with legal team. Quick agreements and signed rights away to use the content.

Q: What process or tool are you using to streamline obtaining approval for using content?

A: Lauren: We're old school — we post on their Instagram account & ask if we can share it. Then we ask them to message us their info, then we email them an agreement that they can share the information.

Q: What are your thoughts on using organic vs. paid & using hashtags to get into different communities?

A: Lauren: I've seen a lot of success with hashtags. I think it elevates your content. It is increasingly becoming important. Paid is important though as well, but sometimes it becomes a cluttered space, so make sure the reach the right people at the right time.