There are lots of Instagram profiles. Few stand out.
Welcome back to the sixth installment of our Social Spotlight Series! We’ve decided to start highlighting accounts that stand out in our feeds so we can share insights about what makes them successful. Our Social Spotlights focus on Instagram pages that have valuable lessons for marketers, entrepreneurs, influencers, and anyone else who wants to optimize their Instagram.
Instagram is all about showcasing your product and brand while captivating your following through visual wonder. GoPro, the innovative brand behind action cameras and mobile video editing, is certainly an expert at creating great images. Their product is iconic not only for its efficiency and quality but also for the cool action shots that have become synonymous with the brand.
What is most impressive about GoPro’s Instagram is that they have created a self-sustaining content factory. They could make their own high-quality images, but why bother when their customers can do it for them? GoPro has constant access to extraordinary user-generated content, all of which proves that their famous cameras are amazing. Now that’s marketing gold. Let’s take a deep dive into GoPro’s famous Instagram and see what lessons we can learn.
Featured Profile Overview
GoPro’s Instagram feed is visually stunning and highly indicative of their target customers: anyone who has an active lifestyle, loves nature and animals, and enjoys seeing Earth from spectacular new angles. There is also a heavy emphasis on extreme sports, daredevil activities, and cycling. GoPro’s Instagram is a celebration of adventure, and when we look at their whopping 17.5 million followers, we definitely see why it’s working!
GoPro is smashing the content game. They post frequently, about 12 posts per week, and their posts almost always feature a cool action shot created by a GoPro user. The photos and videos sometimes overtly advertise new product releases or announcements, but usually, they connect to GoPro’s wide community of influencers, professional content creators, and avid fans. The product promotion is an afterthought. After all, these beautiful, dramatic shots demonstrate the endless filming possibilities with a GoPro product. What’s more effective advertising than that?
What We Think Is Working
GoPro’s Instagram feed is the best type of content marketing: a clear demonstration that the product works and creates amazing value for its customers. A GoPro opens the door to new opportunities, so to avoid the dreaded FOMO, grab your GoPro and get out into the world. In an age when many of us are seeking unique experiences (or just to get out of the house), this is a powerful message.
By leveraging social media, GoPro created a community from which they can continuously grab quality content. All they need to do is advertise their specials, and the products virtually sell themselves. GoPro smartly connects its diverse customer base through the #GoProFamily community. You could be into surfing, hiking, snowboarding, or cycling, but by owning a GoPro, you are part of a larger tribe.
That sense of belonging generates a compulsion to share content created with a GoPro. There is always an opportunity to show off your personality and interests, and GoPro gleefully encourages that, running contests and other incentives for people to post their GoPro videos and photos. Plus, the product is constantly improving. By highlighting new features and showing what’s possible with the latest version, GoPro encourages both loyal fans and new customers to buy the newest camera and continue subscribing to this lifestyle.
What We Like (And What Could Be Done Better)
Few Instagram grids are as stunning as GoPro’s. Their 6,000+ posts comprise amazing action shots that make you stop and do a double-take. Truly every photograph in the grid feels like its own story, and GoPro does a great job of acknowledging the image creator, whether that’s an esteemed athlete or influencer, or one of their many customers who captures awesome images with their GoPro.
The niche community that surrounds GoPro’s Instagram is an intriguing blend of athletes and artists, and GoPro smartly leverages that unique position. There’s a strong sense of artistry to their curated photos, which are generally well-refined and vibrant. We see a clear color theme, predominantly blue, green, and gold — the colors of nature. This is pretty impressive given that most posts are UGC. Let this be a lesson to all social media marketers: when curating content, you can and should create a consistent feed and strong visual brand!
GoPro doesn’t post a lot of original content, but they definitely know how to leverage Instagram’s features to extend their reach. They tag the location of each post, which is an understatedly effective way to boost discoverability, and they often name the type of GoPro that captured the shot (subtle marketing for the win).
Of course, GoPro has a popular set of custom hashtags as well. They use #GoProFamily and #GoProPets to create a sense of belonging, while the #GoProSnow, #GoProSkate #GoProAthlete tags highlight their influencer content. They also use #MoreEverything, which is their tagline turned into a hashtag. GoPro’s large following creators who regularly tag @gopro in their posts have embraced these tags, using #GoProFamily and #MoreEverything to signify their membership in the GoPro community.
GoPro also taps into social media holidays and popular events such as #UnderwaterSelfieDay and #SharkWeek. Add in a mix of niche and high-volume hashtags such as #DogsofInstagram, #Wildlife, #Sunrise, etc., and GoPro has their hashtag game down pat.
Despite these obvious successes, we’re left with a burning question: does GoPro sell to the average content creator who would rather be inside their studio than on a mountain bike? Their cameras clearly benefit podcasters, vloggers, and other digital creators, yet we don’t see those lifestyles represented in the feed. And what about parents who just want to capture their kids growing up? Why should someone choose a GoPro over a smartphone?
As amazing as GoPro’s Insta is, we definitely see a bias toward extreme sports, the great outdoors, and some activities that are simply out of reach (they literally feature the use of a GoPro in space!). It’s quite possible that many of GoPro’s followers don’t use a GoPro themselves: they want to see unique photos but may feel that action cameras aren’t right for them. We wonder if more diverse content would boost the GoPro community even more. After all, you don’t have to climb a mountain to capture beautiful sunsets and adorable dog photos.
Analytics / Insights
GoPro’s posts average anywhere from 50,000 likes to 150,000 likes. This is high engagement but is also expected of a big-name brand. Their posts also tend to get dozens or even hundreds of comments, many of which tag other users. Now that’s a vibrant community! As we mentioned, GoPro’s Instagram is a platform for their customers to express themselves and share their lifestyles, which generates a higher level of engagement and interaction among followers.
We think the social page could do more to appeal to those who aren’t surfers, divers, rock climbers, etc. Otherwise, most people won’t see the advantages of using a GoPro if they’re not hanging off the side of a mountain, and they’ll go to a cheaper competitor. (Or just use their smartphone.)
The biggest opportunity for improvement we see is in the bio and landing page. First, for a page that’s so community-oriented, the bio copy is very company-focused (“We make the world’s most versatile cameras”). It then promotes the latest special. Where is the value that it proposes to its audience? Why should people join the GoPro community? Clearly, GoPro has no problem getting followers, but we think that the brand could be better expressed in the bio.
Second, the funnel immediately disconnects from the social content. Nothing on the landing page ties into the Instagram themes or reflects that vibrant community. It’s very focused on making sales. Every good marketer knows to focus on features, not benefits, yet GoPro’s entire website revolves around (a) technical specs for each product and (b) making sales. We’d love to see a stronger connection to what works so well for Instagram: major FOMO and an adventurous spirit.
GoPro’s Instagram account is a stellar example for other marketers to follow when building a community around their product. They clearly know how to combine UGC with hashtags in a feed that still looks cohesive and branded. However, we do feel that the focus on extreme adventure may be a little off-putting to the average customer. GoPro almost seems like an exclusive club, and the ostensible message of “You too can create photos like this” falls flat when we don’t see a wide variety of topics.
So, we’d love to see GoPro expand their community and truly embrace their “more everything” message. To do so, they likely need to optimize their bio and sales funnel, then incorporate more of their powerful social content into their website.
Overall, though, GoPro optimizes their Instagram feed for inbound marketing: there will always be more amazing content that gets people excited about buying and using their GoPro. Fellow marketers can definitely learn from GoPro’s success at cultivating a strong brand community — and curating content that generates likes and comments like no other!