Wahl Professional, a leading manufacturer of grooming products, has been in business since 1919. Wahl’s marketing team was tasked with a challenge: How does a 97-year-old company effectively communicate its brand story to a new generation of customers?
“We’re a manufacturing company; technically, we build tools,” Marketing Associate Aaron Flick said. “On Instagram, we wanted to visually showcase what these tools can do and, more importantly, how they’re used by our customers.”
In June 2015, Wahl’s team of 10 began using Sprout Social to manage inbound comments, monitor hashtags and measure engagement across eight Instagram profiles. Special emphasis was put on the brand’s main Instagram account, @wahlpro, which revised its strategy to share 75% user-generated content.
In less than a year, @wahlpro increased its engagement on Instagram by 4,307% and grew its followers by 84,788 with Sprout.
Getting the Best Clips From Fans
Wahl’s engagement efforts appeal to an active community of barbers and stylists who care about hair and often trade grooming tips. Fans regularly share their own content using #Wahl and #WahlPro.
It’s a lot easier for us to gather user-generated content with Sprout.Aaron Flick
Marketing Associate, Professional Division
Using Sprout’s Brand Keywords, Flick is able to monitor hashtags and identify user-generated content that meets brand style guidelines and resonates with the broader industry.
“The main driving point behind our social strategy is UGC. It’s a lot easier for us to gather this with Sprout,” Flick said. “It’s really been helpful to be able to search through multiple hashtags and keywords and have all of the content appear in a single stream. We pick the content that best fits and share it with our community.”
To date, @wahlpro’s three top-performing posts consisted of curated UGC.
Shooting the Breeze
Wahl’s Instagram strategy is twofold: UGC drives brand awareness, while responding to comments humanizes the brand and further solidifies a community of loyalists.
Across all of Wahl’s Instagram profiles, the brand maintains an open line of communication with its followers by responding to their questions as soon as possible.
Of all Sprout’s Instagram tools, being able to comment on posts from the Smart Inbox has been the biggest help.Aaron Flick
Marketing Associate, Professional Division
Lance Wahl, Global Vice President of Professional Products, credits this success to Sprout’s Smart Inbox, team collaboration tools and user settings.
“With 10 people in the platform all around the world, Sprout’s unified inbox and smart comment management system helps our team efficiently address each comment and assess whether a reply is necessary,” Wahl said.
Since implementing Sprout, @wahlpro increased its monthly average of sent messages by more than 50%.
“Of all Sprout’s Instagram tools, being able to comment on posts from within the Smart Inbox has been the biggest help,” Flick said. “From the native platform, you only see a limited number of comments. I can answer everything through Sprout. It’s awesome.”
Making Sure Everything Lines Up
Wahl’s marketing team quantifies its success by using Sprout’s Instagram Profiles and Sent Messages Report.
“The Instagram Profiles Report has been extremely helpful in discovering how well we are engaging with our customers and what we can do to improve our customers’ overall Wahl experiences,” Wahl said.
Within 10 months, @wahlpro saw a 56% gain in followers, surpassing its average annual audience growth by 74%. The hashtag #wahl solidified its place in the industry and was used 465 times, gaining a net engagement rate of 243,177.
The Smart Inbox, equipped with the ability to reply to Instagram comments directly from the Sprout platform, enabled @wahlpro to increase engagement by 4,307% and average 847 interactions per post.
The Sprout platform provides Wahl with the social media management tools its team needs to tell a community-driven Instagram story that depicts barbershop culture. The brand is able to showcase its grooming products in an approachable environment that appeals to consumers and industry professionals alike without compromising the personal relationships Wahl has been actively building for almost a century.
Update: Instagram made changes to their Graph API in 2018, which may affect functionality mentioned above. Read here for more information