WeWork is a community coworking space that encourages and inspires the people within its walls to create a life they love, and has become somewhat of an office-sharing mega-firm.
They. Are. Everywhere.
If you take a look at their network of offices around the globe, the heatmap is on fire. The fruity water stations are flowing and the motivational words are filling their aesthetically-pleasing buildings to the brim, telling members to create a life, not just a living.
Also, they run a crispy Instagram. Very, very crispy.
But it’s (surprise surprise) their Instagram Stories that have us paying attention. Because they’re up against a major challenge that a lot of big brands face: showcasing a global community from one head office, telling stories that are real and relevant to each of those communities, and making sure they give those communities a voice.
Sound hard? Multiply that by 338 office locations around the world, in 30 different cities. Yeah, it just got harder. But it’s not impossible - we’re pretty sure that’s another one of WeWork’s mantras. And if it’s humanizing a brand story they want, Instagram Stories is the place to do it.
Because WeWork is all about humanizing the way people work - so their storytelling has to reflect that. Their polished visuals are perfect for Instagram’s feed, but Stories present a real and raw way for them to show what this ‘doing what you love’ thing is really about for their members.
So here’s what we can learn from WeWork’s approach to Instagram Stories, creating a global story for their community:
WeWork is focused on community engagement in every sense of the word. Their Stories show how local this focus really goes in each community they’re a part of - whether it’s celebrating the launch of a book to raise funds for refugees in London, or how their members are celebrating Pride month in Mexico City. They tell local stories about things that matter to those people.
They document these via Stories, then organize them via highlights - so their account takes you on a global tour of WeWork communities worldwide, and the stories that are important to them.
What can we learn from this? Relevance is key - and Stories give a unique opportunity to go raw and real in a way that a global, curated feed just can’t. Global accounts reduce fragmentation, streamline social communities, and create brand consistency - but historically, the issue was how to use the global presence to feature local stories for each market. Stories have been the perfect vehicle for this, and WeWork has nailed the human aspect of how this plays out.
The beauty of WeWork’s Instagram feed shows you how much their environments are set up for the gram, and how much this curated form of user-generated content works for them in the feed.
But they only tell half the Story.
The other half lives in their ephemeral content, takeovers from real members showing a day in the life of them, quite literally, doing what they love. These real-life accounts play out the human in their mission to humanize the way people work - while also giving the audience a chance to learn about the different kinds of creators within their walls.
The learning here: ephemeral channels like Instagram Stories give a unique opportunity to let your audience tell the story with you. A 2017 study by Stackla on consumer content found that when it comes to deciding what brands to like and support, 86% of customers cite authenticity as most important. The scary part? More than half (57%) of consumers think that less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic.
Audiences recognize content created by brands as just that, and on channels like Instagram Stories, the authenticity card doesn’t float unless it’s really real.
WeWork also harness the power of the influencer in their content, which no doubt contributes to their follower growth - and taps into their global reach. By leveraging their position as a global company, they can gain access to influencers like Karlie Kloss, who hosted a Coding with Klossy event in Tribeca to encourage more girls to get into the (quite frankly) badass world of coding.
She hosted the WeWork Instagram Story that day, which had the double benefit of not only promoting her initiative, but no doubt diversified their follower engagement. All of a sudden their Stories were also relevant for fans of Karlie Kloss, people who are passionate about seeing more women in tech, as well as current and potential WeWork members.
The lesson here for global brands? Using influencers in your Stories gives your audience a feeling of personal access to the people they follow and admire, which is - you guessed it - a lot more authentic than the curated content with #Ad lurking in the feeds of a lot of influencer. It also allows you to identify new audiences that you may not have tapped into yet, leading to audience growth and engagement spikes.
Think about the influencers relevant to each market you’re in - Stories give you an opportunity to diversify a little bit here, and create deeper engagement and follower growth in each.
WeWork, showing us how global communities are built at a local level, like the bosses they are.
P.s The fruity water we mentioned? It’s a delight.