Case Study: How to Bring 900,000+ Instagram Followers Into Your Gallery

Carly Syms - Team Lead for Marketing & VIP Customer Service

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One viral hit can be a king-maker: for an individual, a company, a charity, a museum – but you see all of these people on their phones, scrolling through Facebook, checking Instagram, sending tweets, and you can’t help but wonder why they’re not sharing your thing.

There is a solution — when you learn how to harness the power of influencers, you can get 10x or even 10,000x your normal visibility on social media.Today’s case study is about how to work with influencers to promote your content and reach new audiences.

DOES YOUR COMPANY SUFFER FROM A BUZZ PROBLEM?

Christie’s is a name synonymous with incredible fine art. Christie’s was founded by James Christie in 1766 and has gone on to become one of the biggest powerhouses on the international art scene with famed locations in London and New York City.

According to Bloomberg, Christie’s art sales in 2015 alone totaled more than seven billion dollars. So it wasn’t a revenue problem that Christie’s needed Museum Hack’s help with; it was a traffic problem. The legendary auctioneers (they’ve famously sold John Elton’s cars, George Washington’s personal documents, and an ink drawing from the Ming Dynasty) felt they did not have the amount of traffic in their Rockefeller Plaza gallery that they should have.

Christie’s officials believed their foot traffic was low despite two important factors suggesting it should be a top destination for art lovers in the city: 1) they have an incredibly impressive collection of famous art and 2) it’s completely free to attend. Essentially, people just didn’t know you could walk right into their galleries.

That’s where Museum Hack came in.

HOW TO PUT SOCIAL MEDIA TO WORK FOR YOU

Museum Hack believes in the incredible power that influence can have and we wanted to harness that power to help Christie’s find the boost in traffic that their collections deserve. To accomplish this, we set up an exclusive, invitation-only night at the gallery for a handful of social media influencers with the intent that attendees would help drum up a social media buzz about Christie’s impressive galleries.

A man enjoys the art at Christie's.

Christie’s specifically wanted to focus on Instagram influencers, so that’s where we zeroed in our efforts.

  • We crafted a list of high-profile local Instagram users with followers ranging from 5,000 to well over 100,000.
  • We designed an enticing special website solely for the after-hours party at the gallery.
  • Each identified influencer was invited to attend our VIP evening event limited to 15 individuals and we made it clear they were among a small, select group with this unique opportunity. Each attendee would receive exclusive access to the gallery at Christie’s Rockefeller Plaza location for one night only. The art coupled with a stunning, empty gallery would make for incredible photo opportunities for our influencers.

We knew there was one big challenge for our team to tackle as we dove deeper into planning an intimate evening at the gallery. How do you convey to the guest list that the purpose of the event is for them to share on social media without forcing disingenuous posts? It was very important to both us and to Christie’s that the posts on Instagram be authentic, honest and natural. So we focused on our language, carefully crafting the invitation to make it apparent to guests that they were welcome and encouraged to use the stunning gallery space to take and post photos, but that it was no by means a requirement of attending. The night was all about taking in the magnitude of the art in a beautiful space with a small group of like-minded people who would be inspired by the atmosphere of the evening.

Influencers take in the art at Christie's.

“IT WAS AMAZING. THESE GUYS WERE ON IT…AND YET AT THE SAME TIME, INCREDIBLY FUN.”

The night at Christie’s went off spectacularly. A full house of influencers arrived to enjoy the art, bringing a combined 900,000+ Instagram followers into the gallery with them. From the moment the influencers arrived, they began sharing the art and their experiences with their online audiences.

One influencer, with more than 50,000 Instagram followers, posted a note on his page following the event. “Art,” he wrote, “has always held a special place in my soul. And I feel utterly blessed to have had the opportunity to view such amazing artwork with my own eyes before they became part of someone’s private collection.” The piece he posted a photo of would go on to sell at auction a few nights after the event for a record-setting $170.4 million.

The influencers had a great time, but what did Christie’s officials think of the night dedicated to showcasing their incredible art and creating an Instagram buzz?

We’ll let Sasha from Christie’s tell you herself:

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