ByApril 12, 2016 One Comment

Stretching across over 1,500 kilometres, Sao Paulo is one of the largest cities on the planet, and holds one of the biggest populations. Located in South-Eastern Brazil, the city is home to some fantastic architecture, as well as being a real melting pot of different nationalities.

Because of its size, tourism and discovery of the city is difficult, according to our source, Miguel Garcia, creator of the Instagram account @saopaulocity which has seen huge growth since its creation in 2013. We wanted to find out more about how Miguel managed to grow this great Instagram account up from the ground, and achieve nearly 100k followers in only 3 years. Most of the content posted to the account is pure UGC, so Miguel is never short of photos to share!

Here are some key stats:

Followers: 99.5k

Engagement Rate: 2.09%

Average posting frequency: 80 media/month

PoH #saopaulocity: 362k

We wanted to ask a few questions about Miguel’s Instagram story, his strategy and the kind of content he shares in order to grow this account and revive interest and tourism in Sao Paulo City. Here is the interview!

#1 – Tell us about your company’s journey so far and why you decided to join Instagram.

Our brand started on Instagram. São Paulo is one of the biggest cities in the world, but a big part of the population, over 11 million people, does not know the city, they go to the same places and don’t have a love relationship with the city. Thus, I decided to show the city from the standpoint of residents and travellers, posting nice pictures everyday of different places of our city, but not only the touristic places, the small places as well, those places that are in the daily path of some people, but that had never been noticed or explored. Consequently, the project expanded and we started to achieve a good number of São Paulo City’s lovers, people started to send us lots of pictures everyday with the places they love and we started to help showing the places that people didn’t know before.

With the large number of followers and the people who were demonstrating love for the city, I decided to create an e-commerce to impact those people with nice products of the city, not just those ugly souvenirs found in the small shops around the city, but items that make people proud of using and demonstrating love for our city. The sales are getting bigger everyday and we are not only selling to the people who live here, but also to the visitors of the city, because they knew us from our Instagram account. Last year we started a website that gives tips of the city and an app to find good places in the city and see the events that are happening here.

#2 – @saopaulocity posted its first Instagram picture on the 16th April 2013. What were your motivations back then?

My motivations were to achieve the biggest number of São Paulo City’s lovers and make people take care of the city and not just complain about its problems and difficulties.. Every big city has problems, but the population could fix a big part of those problems, like starting good initiatives to help the city and not just blaming the politicians. Because of that, we are always helping feature small projects that help the city and the population, like the guys who distribute free books on the trains to help travellers to start reading books and use less smartphones on their journey, or the photographer who takes photos of homeless people and their dogs or cats and shows their histories to help them with food and attention. We also help feature the artist who is selling her work to help women with breast cancer under recovery and some walking and photography tours in the city.

#3 – What benefits has Instagram brought your brand? How relevant is the platform for @saopaulocity?

As mentioned before, our brand started on Instagram, people only know us today because of this great platform and we are very grateful for it. Of course, we are working hard to do a nice job and keep providing nice content to our followers not just on Instagram today, however, all this is only possible because the growth we had on Instagram. The platform is very good because we can go straight to our real target and impact them wherever they are, thanks to the smartphones.

#4 – How do you feel about videos for Instagram? Do you use them much?

We love the videos on Instagram! The video creates an emotional link with your brand and followers. And it’s very good because the more emotional connections the followers have with your brand, the more they will remember about your messages. The videos can bring much more emotion to your content. Actually, we have not been using too many videos, but this is our plan for this year, to create short videos to show the great places of our city and as well as for our e-commerce and it will start soon.

#5 – How many likes/comments do you aim to achieve on any give media you post to Instagram?

Our goal is to achieve about 10% of engagement. We know it’s very hard but we are working to create posts to make the followers interact more and perhaps it will be possible 🙂

#6 – You have experienced impressive growth – nearly 100k followers in less than 2 years – what is your ultimate goal in terms of followers?

When I started the project, I din’t know that it could reach this number of followers, and I am really happy about such growth and this gave much more confidence to realize that if you work hard, anything is possible. Thinking about that there are around 2 million Instagram users in the city of São Paulo and lots of people who loves our city, what about 1 million followers?!

#7 – Do you have any particular strategies for attracting new Instagram followers and keeping them engaged?

Yes, the big part of the success of our project is to post the followers’ pictures. It helps them to get discovered and help us to spread the project. It is very satisfying to see the joy of people when we post their pictures and it is very good when they share this with their friends. It always keep them engaged. However, this is not an easy job, we are always choosing the best pictures. We also work outside Instagram to get more followers, distributing postcards in strategic places with the best pictures posted on our project, we make photo exhibitions choosing our followers’ pictures in big events and others small strategies.

#8 – Have you/are you planning to run any contests on Instagram?

Yes, we have. Since our first 1k followers we have been making contests. I think this is the best way to thank our followers and collaborators who help us everyday. We sometimes give away products of our e-commerce and sometimes we partner with some brands. The followers love it and some contests had almost 10k photos in 10 days.

#9 – What are the most inspiring brands/accounts on Instagram?

There are a lot of inspiring accounts on Instagram. I love the accounts that posts showing the details of the cities or good places in the world and the creative accounts that make nice contents.

#10 – Work aside, which Instagram accounts would you recommend following?

I could recommend many good accounts, but I love the @earthpix @zachking @mattscutt @thecoolhunter_

A photo posted by Earth Pics (@earthpix) on

A photo posted by Zach King (@zachking) on

A photo posted by Matt Scutt (@mattscutt) on

Emily Lydon

Author Emily Lydon

Emily is an Inbound Marketer for Iconosquare, based in the Limoges office. She loves all things social and revels in keeping on top of the social media marketing game by writing for the blog. She’s also a bit obsessed with sushi, gin and Netflix.

More posts by Emily Lydon
  • Such a great read guys! So inspiring – thanks for sharing. Interesting about the 10% engagement – I wonder what impact the new Instagram algorithm will have on this? Definitely something I’m going to focus more on when managing my personal and clients’ accounts.
    Thanks! @KatieRebekah

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