Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing and social networking mobile application that is rapidly gaining active users. The Instagram app is free and available for download on Apple and Android phones. Originally a purely photo-sharing service, Instagram incorporated video-sharing in June of this year, allowing users to share videos lasting up to 15 seconds.
The Cardinals are likely one of the first organizations to tell a story episodically using Instagram video. When the team decided to produce the series, they hoped to create some buzz with fans while utilizing Instagram in an innovative and pioneering way.
"We knew it would be a challenge to tell a story with short episodes on a social platform most associated with still photography, but thought it was worth a try," said Ron Watermon, Cardinals PR Director and #TheFrontOffice Executive Producer. "Our goal with each episode is to generate a smile or laugh, move the plot along and hopefully make it entertaining enough to encourage viewers to come back to see more."
The team plans to post close to fifty episodes of #TheFrontOffice by the time the series concludes on Friday September 27th. In an effort to spread the social reach of the series and increase engagement, the team recruited guest episodes from individuals outside the team's front office. Author and television host Andy Cohen, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, the Springfield Cardinals, the Memphis Redbirds and others have provided guest episodes adding to the star-studded cast led by St. Louis native and star of The Office, Phyllis Smith.
The team's 42 episodes so far have generated 57,549 likes and 647 comments. The following is a selection of fan comments:
- "These are hilarious. Please keep them. What are the stats on a tortoise for mascot?" - kscott262; Episode 36: SquirrelMetrics
- "No trading Fredbird! No way!" - 2birdsonbat; Episode 31: Trade Deadline
- "Time for an intervention!!! Red bird style!!!" - mamabear73; Episode 27: Letting Go
- "These videos are the best! LMAO" - bosscatcher13; Episode20: Diva Birdhavior
- "This just made my day!!!" - ayeitskelly23; Episode 19: Party Fowl
- "Hilarious" - nita_mitch; Episode 15: More Attention
- "These Frepisodes are Hilarious!" - jeffkeck; Episode 14: Fredbird on the Ring?
- "These are AWESOME!!!!" - mamaoxi; Episode 5: A Hunch
- "It's my two favorite things the cardinals and the office" - jtmaley6; Episode 1: First Pitch Wish
Fans may watch each episode by following @cardinals on Instagram on their mobile phone. While within the Instagram app, fans can locate past episodes by using the hashtag search option (#TheFrontOffice or #Nestflix). Fans can also see the show's trailer, watch past episodes, see behind-the-scenes photos of the making of #TheFrontOffice, and learn more at cardinals.com/nestflix. After Friday's series finale, the series is expected to live on in syndication at cardinals.com.
The Cardinals have made growing their Instagram-following a priority since opening their account last summer as a way to showcase the club's photography. More than 65,000 fans follow the team's Instagram account (@cardinals) today. The team has had a more than 8% increase in followers since the debut of #TheFrontOffice on September 10th.
The Cardinals have experienced dramatic growth in the team's social media platforms in recent years, most notably on Twitter (@cardinals) and Facebook (facebook.com/cardinals). In May of 2010, when the team used Twitter to launch Stand for Stan to celebrate Stan Musial, the team had just over 5,000 followers. Today, the Cardinals have more than 344,000 followers on Twitter, making @Cardinals one of the largest accounts in Major League Baseball. The Cardinals have more than 1.4 million fans on Facebook, as well as a growing presence on other social media platforms such as Instagram, Vine, Tumblr, Pinterest and Google Plus. The Cardinals' various social media efforts, such as the Stand for Stan campaign, Facebook Fridays with Fredbird, the Like Mike Facebook campaign, #FreesePlease, #VinetheVote, and #VoteSTL All-Star balloting campaigns, and #Nestflix have been designed to take advantage of communication mediums that are transforming how fans interact with the club. Fans can learn more about the club's social media by visiting cardinals.com/connect.