We set out to ignite 7-ELEVEn’s cultural relevance and celebrate our wildest and hungriest fans. We positioned Instagram as our primary platform with the objective of driving brand love.
To avoid being all things to all people, we knew we had to get specific in order to resonate, so we sought out to ignite niche communities, such as car fandom. We measure the success of brand love by an increase in followership, increase in engagement, and overall positive sentiment.
When we revamped our 7-ELEVEn social strategy, we began to notice a trend of our fans posting pictures of their tricked-out cars in front of our stores. And when we experimented with reposting this UGC of their cars, we drew very strong engagement. So we turned it into a content pillar, worked this into our regular cadence and posted at least one car UGC a month.
Then, in October 2021, we went viral in the TikTok car community when users started celebrating us for having the “hardest” Instagram out there. We gained 45K followers in 24 hrs and strategically seized the moment. We worked quickly to align all teams on a plan so we could seize our moment and launch #CarsOf7ELEVEn.
In 2022, we took it up a notch with Model 711: a real car that we let our fans customize via Instagram Story polls. And then we actually built it, and gave it away - and incentivized fans to make purchases to increase their odds of winning.
We increased our car cadence with a weekly Instagram Story round up and a Friday CAR-ousel post, featuring the ‘best of the best’ from our car community. This led to car influencers campaigning for a spot on the 7-ELEVEn Instagram grid. We created VIC (Very Important Car) merch packages that we surprised & delighted the people behind our most popular car posts, and even had our fans vote to crown the inaugural 7-ELEVEn Car of the Year for 2022.
We saw Instagram as an opportunity to recognize a very specific fandom vs. shy away from them. We leaned into car culture, which has traditionally been ignored by most brands, by giving our fans the 7-ELEVEn spotlight. We embraced them the way they embraced us to create meaningful connections with our audience, and that has translated into performance.
We increased 7-ELEVEn’s cultural relevance and identified an under-served fandom to create loyal brand love. Since leaning into car culture, we’ve gained 600K new Instagram followers and have had a 475% increase in our engagement. Our #CarsOf7ELEVEn hashtag has garnered 28.5K posts on Instagram and 13.3M views on TikTok. On our posts that don’t feature cars, our content is regularly flooded with “where car?” comments, and the phrase has become an inside joke within the community, showing that our fans not only love our content… they demand more of it.
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