7 lessons from Oreo on Instagram

By Holly Kosec on September 1, 2015

By Holly Kosec on September 1, 2015

We can learn a lot about online marketing by observing the habits and strategies of other businesses: what works, what doesn’t work, what encourages engagement, and more.

The cookie masters at Oreo have a very active, engaged, and hungry audience. Even if you’re not a cookie connoisseur, there’s still a lot that we can learn from their strategies on Instagram.

1. Oreo interacts with their audience.

Whether it’s through contests, asking questions, or encouraging involvement and participation for prizes, Oreo does a great job of interacting with their audience.

One example is found in how, every few months, Oreo gives their followers an opportunity to wish their friends a Happy Birthday by sending “virtual cookies” in the form of a picture.

They also organized a giveaway featuring Oreo Mini’s, and used their Instagram posts to spread the word and get their audience excited.

Of course, it’s important to remember that Oreo’s audience is often many times larger than the average small business. This means that they’ll generally appear to have a higher level of engagement.

In the case of a small business, one option would be to encourage your audience to share your posts on their social media to help increase the reach of your interactions.

2. Oreo creates timely graphics.

Whether it’s clever Halloween-themed snack videos, or a Christmas sing-a-long to the 12 Days of Cookie Balls, Oreo definitely exudes the holiday seasons!

Some ways you could apply this strategy to your online marketing is to simply post a simple graphic wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving, or making a shout-out to all the moms out there for Mother’s Day. You could even get more creative and take photos of holiday fun at your office, or create a series of custom graphics that match your brand.

3. Oreo engages with pop culture.

Although this one may not be a great fit for every business, it’s definitely a fun one for those businesses that don’t take themselves too seriously, and is happy to poke fun at pop culture and make references to their favorite shows, movies, or actors.

Oreo showed their love for Star Wars Day with a creative play on Princess Leia. There are also tons of fun national holidays that have been made up over the years, such as National Siblings Day, or National Macaroni Day (for the pasta lover). Find out what and when your favorite national holidays take place, and create a post about it!

4. Oreo uses personalized hashtags.

One of the ways many popular shows, brands, and people create a movement on social media is with the use of hashtags. You’ve probably seen these on Twitter, Instagram, or even Facebook. It’s simply a hashtag (#) combined with a word or phrase that sums up the movement.

Oreo, in particular, launched a movement with the the hashtag #PlayWithOreo. They encouraged their audience to post photos of Oreo cookies in place of a person’s face, along with the special hashtag. Oreo then “re-grammed” their favorites from the hashtag (meaning, re-posted). The chance to be featured as a “winner” can sometimes be a really great incentive for engagement.

One way this strategy could translate to a small business could be your audience taking pictures with their favorite product for a chance to be featured on your page, or win a gift certificate. Find out what your audience could be passionate about, and use that to encourage engagement.

5. Oreo keeps their audience informed.

Whether it’s new lines of cookies, or special promotions they have going on, Oreo keeps you informed. Although Oreo typically creates longer marketing campaigns to launch their new products, there is till a key lesson we can learn from their campaign strategies.

Instagram is an incredibly visual platform. Make sure your pictures are high-quality and stand out! If your pictures aren’t in focus, are low-resolution, or just badly composed, you’re missing out on an opportunity to present your business and your products in a professional way.

6. Oreo provides helpful tutorials.

Oreos, by themselves, are delicious treats. But there are tons of fun ways to take them to the next level. Oreo offers lots of any-time recipes, as well as seasonal recipes for holiday fun.

What ways can you help your audience take your product to the next level? What information would your audience find helpful and useful? That’s what you want to share.

7. Oreo creates a story with their images.

This is the lesson that Oreo really nails. They love to create a story with their cookies. Generally, these are just for fun and to express creativity, but the strategy can also be used to help draw attention to products, pains, or other important things.

What part of your products would invoke an emotion in your audience? Is there a pain they often experience that you help solve? The answers to these questions will help drive your picture’s story, and your online marketing strategy in general.

What can you implement?

Of course, none of this does any good unless you apply it. Which of these lessons jumped out to you? What can you start applying to your own online marketing?

Feel free to eat a couple Oreos while you mull it over!

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