FedEx launched its Instagram presence in 2014 with a compilation of brand and marketing photos that were highly focused on our fleet. Fortunately, we quickly recognized that all digital and social media networks are not one -size-fits-all, and we set out to differentiate our Instagram presence from our other owned social channels. We saw Instagram as an opportunity to build rapport with our customers and to humanize the brand.
In 2015, we embarked on a quest to use Instagram to inspire love and preference for FedEx. In order to do this, we shifted our creative from corporate, branded photos and instead highlighted FedEx through the lens of our customers.
Over the last year, it became increasingly clear that telling our brand's story in a compelling, effective manner often involves not telling it. Instead, we decided to step back and allow our customers to do most of the talking.
In 2015, we revamped our strategy to shift the focus away from the FedEx brand. Instead, we amplified customer engagement by leveraging real-time, authentic interactions between customers and the brand to showcase the best of reality. We did away with our branded-photo approach, and instead began to rely on user-generated content to tell our brand's story through the experiences of our customers. We settled on user-generated content for a number of reasons: UGC is proven to be the most effective form of content on Instagram; it testifies loyalty; is trusted; and it increases reach and word of mouth.
This user-generated content strategy allowed us to maintain our brand identity, while simultaneously reflecting how users feel about FedEx by attributing the content to its creators —our fans. By taking this approach, we were able to showcase customers' points of view of FedEx, which not only added credibility and authenticity to our posts, but to our overall brand story.
In an effort to shift the story away from the brand's products and services, we aligned under three content pillars to tell our story: what we deliver by delivering, we've got you covered, and we love what you love. We set out with three main objectives: developing genuine relationships to transform our customers into loyal fans/advocates; grow our social reach to advance FedEx business and growth priorities, and showcase the power of the FedEx network to the next generation.
By using Instagram as our stakeholder-lens, our story become more powerful than ever before.
Over the course of the year, the FedEx Instagram account saw tremendous success. Our followers increased by 225%, and our average engagement rate held steady at 3.5% — one of the highest in the B2B industry.
In 2015, we were widely acclaimed as a best-in-class B2B Instagram presence, and the FedEx Instagram account earned more than 20 national accolades, including recognition from AdWeek, Ragan, and Edelman Digital.
HubSpot recently recognized FedEx as a best brand on Instagram for our use of everyday, user-generated photos. It stated, "This is a cool way to keep their brand top-of-mind for followers who might, as a result, look for or notice FedEx trucks, planes, or delivery people more often."
But beyond industry praise and successful engagement rates, FedEx has excelled at our original objective: inspiring love and preference for the brand. Each day we review more than 100 tagged brand photos, and every time we post a customers' photo, it's our way of thanking our fans for making FedEx a part of their daily routine.
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