If you want to raise the profile of your shopping center or retail space and attract more visitors as well as free brand exposure, there is one easy way for you to do this: make your center and your stores more “instagrammable”.
Then and now
For the uninitiated, Instagram is a photo sharing tool. Once dismissed as a place where millennials posted funny cat pictures or photos of their most recent meal, the platform is now used extensively by individuals and businesses to influences trends and buying behaviors of users worldwide. And the number of users is significant: as of June 2018, the platform boasted around 1 billion active users each month, with around 500 million people using the platform on a daily basis (Statista 2018).
Although 71% of the monthly active users are under the age of 35 (Statista, 2019), the population of older users is growing and in the next 5 years, the disposable income of Instagram users is likely to be significant.
How interesting is Instagram for shopping centers?
In a word: very.
Although paid adverts and print marketing strategies can still yield results in some areas, the reality is that a large portion of the population no longer turn to companies to inform them about what they want or need, or what locations are best to visit. Instead, they turn to social media and trusted “influences” – people in their circle who they trust, or social media celebrities with millions of followers who seem to be living the life that so-called normal people can only dream of.
People want to buy the products that their circle of influencers recommend, visit the places that they promote, and participate in the activities that influencers rate highly.
What this means for you: making your shopping center Instagrammable and getting posted regularly by people that your audience and visitors trust means that you have a better chance of attracting the right people and driving footfall.
Three easy ways to make your center more “Instagrammable”
There are countless strategies that you could apply to make your space appealing to Instagrammers and Instagram Influences. Time is a luxury, however, so here are three easy and effective ways for you to make your center more “instagrammable”.
Use light to create a magical atmosphere that people can capture with images and video and share on Instagram
One of the quickest and most effective ways to make an impression is through visuals. Custom-designed light displays give the human brain a chemical treat that affects mood and well-being and that also triggers that part of our brain that processes aesthetic information. If it’s done well, a creative lighting and decorative display will make people happy and inspire them to share what they see.
Create interactive experiences that visitors want to share on their Instagram channels
Entertainment is only ever a moment away, thanks to our 24/7 connectivity to the Internet through our mobile phones. To tear people away from their screens and get them to engage with what’s happening in your center, you need to create unforgettable interactive experience Replace these experiences on a seasonal basis or for specific holidays to keep the novelty factor high so that people will come back for more, and of course, share photos and videos of their experiences with their followers.
Combine light with creative themed design and photo points that Instagrammers love to share
The amusement park sector has long known the power of creating immersive themed worlds that captivate visitors. By combining light and themed concepts, exhibitions, and even element as simple as themed photo points, you can create a unique visitor experience that not only drive footfall but that social media users love to share.
But does it work?
Yes, although making it work effectively needs more than a “if you build, they will come attitude”. Partnering with local influencers with the sort of target audience you want to reach is a great start. Of course, you could get lucky and find your shopping center the heart of an Instagram swarm, as Lake Elsinore did in early 2019.
As with any campaign, planning, setting objectives, implementation and follow-up are all key to your success.
Want to know more about how light and design can turn your shopping center into an Instagrammer’s dream?
Get in touch! We’ve been creating shareable spaces and magical placed with light and design since 1996 and we’d love to share what we know.
Instagram – Statistics & Facts; Published by J. Clement, Mar 8, 2019; Accessed July 15, 2019.