One of the more interesting recent social media case studies was “Like my addiction” and “Louise Delage,” courtesy of French advertising agency BETC and Instagram.
This ingenious public awareness campaign played on a few social media tropes, including the popularity of photos featuring a beautiful young woman and of those depicting an aspirational lifestyle.
The cornerstone of the campaign was Louise Delage, a 25-year-old Parisian who posted selfies of her enviable lifestyle – enjoying meals and sightseeing throughout France.
Louise joined Instagram on August 1, and within a month had accumulated more than 66,000 followers.
On September 22, it was revealed that Louise Delage was not real.
Her handle’s 150th (and final) Instagram post was this video, which noted that every single one of Delage’s posts included alcohol.
Harmful addictions often hide in plain sight, and we may not recognize the warning signs among our friends, coworkers, or loved ones.
Anatomy of a Viral Instagram Account
Not only is this case study notable for its efficacy, but also for how the social media team at BETC Paris built the Instagram account.
Here are 5 ways the team built the account’s massive Instagram following quickly:
1) They featured an attractive young French woman.
Youth, beauty and sex appeal sell, naturally.
2) The photos were invariably positive.
The photos and videos all featured “Louise” at the beach, the pool or on a boat, as well as visiting museums, enjoying amazing-looking meals, etc.
Social media is often used for escapism and positive / aspirational lifestyle photos get more likes and shares than ordinary or negative ones.
The team posted at peak traffic periods.
Each post included up to 50 hashtags, which gave the posts greater organic reach.
5) Strategic following
The PR team set up a bot to follow those who were already following fashion bloggers, celebrities and journalists, among others.
Then they also reached out to select teenage Instagram influencers (those with 20,000-100,000 followers) to help accelerate the account’s growth.
I love this as an Instagram case study because it demonstrates easy steps nearly anyone can take to achieve viral success with a new Instagram account, because it was in service of a higher purpose – identifying hidden signs of addiction (and specifically, alcoholism) in those around us, and because it worked – the vast majority of Louise Delage’s followers did not pick up on the ubiquitous alcohol in her photos and videos until the reveal on Sept. 22.
Bravo, BETC Paris. Bravo.