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Attracting Half a Million Followers: the Sweat Behind lululemon’s Marketing Strategy

content marketing strategy

Stretched out across four lines and sixty-six words, the self-description on Instagram's FAQ page is—while decidedly thorough—not all that instant or in-the-moment:

“Instagram is a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures. Snap a photo with your mobile phone, then choose a filter to transform the image into a memory to keep around forever. We’re building Instagram to allow you to experience moments in your friends’ lives through pictures as they happen. We imagine a world more connected through photos.”

Such a description might be ideal for early investors or particularly nostalgic smartphone photographers, sure. But those weighing the app’s utility in content marketing and growth hacking are deserving of a more targeted why.

Drop the name Instagram among the social media team at lululemon (current follower count: 1.3 million), for example, and you might hear a bit about filters and memories—but you’ll hear far more about the venue’s utility for sharing something else: stories.


Instants Evolved: It’s About You, Not Me

Recalling Instagram’s debut as “love at first sight,” lululemon social media manager Sairah Hearn originally saw the platform as a way to share in-the-moment, behind-the-scenes candids showcasing company culture—as did everyone else in the corporate world.

But browse through the photos and videos they’re putting out now, and it’s evident they’ve undergone a bit of a shift—aiming their cameras away from just their happenings at home and more toward the marathon-running, arm-balancing communities supporting them. 

“You generally won’t see anything that is highly sales focused on our Instagram,” explains Hearn. “Our goal is to inspire our guests through photos to live #thesweatlife.”

What does this mean in non-hashtag terms? Fewer product shots and more destinations.

Sometimes this means using pricey cameras and video crews, and sometimes not. Either way, it’s less about the filters and showing new clothing or materials—and much more about branding an approach to life. 

The same rules apply, of course, to effective content marketing and copywriting. Focus only on products and you'll gain isolated sales; help curate a way of living, and you'll gain sustained brand loyalty. 

Thanks to Sairah Hearn for the interview, who manages social media content for lululemon and lululemon men.