Instagram has quickly become one of the world's most important platforms for branding and awareness. Now, social media agency Laundry Service is rounding up popular Instagram users for Cycle, a just-launched specialized unit to serve as a global influencer network. It will operate as part of Laundry Service for fully integrated, cross-platform social campaigns and will also help in executing work that is focused only on Instagram.
“Major advertisers are beginning to understand the powerful role Instagram can play in brand building and the overall marketing mix,” said Jason Stein, president and founder, Laundry Service. “Cycle helps crack Instagram for brands and agencies, providing a scalable solution to organic content and distribution. Content from the Cycle network will also play a crucial role in the success of marketing campaigns on other social channels, and even offline.”
Cycle plans to sign exclusive management agreements with 100 creators in the next 12 months. The first, Chicago designer @swopes, has over 200,000 followers. The network will be comprised of 800 influencers, each with 50,000 to 2 million followers. All users will be selected based on their "amazing content, high engagement rate, and a specific niche or style," says Stein.
Then, these creators will shoot organic photos and videos for advertisers to use as original content, as well as being hired to share content with their followers. "We do a ton of work on Twitter and Pinterest, but Instagram requires a specific type of content -- organic -- and this was presenting the biggest challenge for our brands," says Stein.
“Our data – comprised of over 100 million impressions served – shows an increased engagement rate of 2-4x and a 25% increase in conversion rate when organic images are used rather than glossy product shots from studio or on-location shoots," he says. "Great Instagram content performs very well across all other platforms as ad units, so this will fuel the entire digital marketing mix."
Cycle will be led by newly named executive director Liz Eswein, who joins from Mobile Media Lab, which she co-founded in 2012 and generated $1 million in revenue last year. Eswein has worked with brands such as Cadillac, Burberry, Keds, Nike, Estée Lauder and Beats Music. "By joining forces with a super creative agency that offers content creation, media buying and digital PR, we're able to bring both new and existing clients unparalleled capabilities," said Eswein.
Eswein knows Instagram well. Her @newyorkcity Instagram account currently has more than 1.2 million followers, and this hands-on experience will be beneficial in executing campaigns and finding influential members to join the network, says Stein.
Cycle is already working with Vogue, managing the Vogue Eyewear account, and will be announcing partnerships with several major brands in late May.
Laundry Service is a social media agency with capabilities across owned, earned, and paid media. Clients include Disney, Rachel Roy, Amazon, and Essence.