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Come for the art, leave with a coffee. Instagram walls are changing the way we do business.


You’ve probably seen them popping up, everywhere. Larger than life, colorful, graphic murals. Usually surrounded by women with perfectly coiffed hair and outfits on-point, posing and primping for their friend’s cameras.

You’ve just encountered an Instagram wall.

These murals are street art that’s been commissioned by local businesses to help draw Instagrammers to their locations, in the hopes that it will translate to more money and sales. Why Instagrammers, in particular? Because when an Instagrammer snaps a pic in front of their wall, they blast it out to their social network. The engagement that follows - hashtags, geotags, comments, likes, re-posts - enables a single post the potential to gain thousands of social media impressions. Then another Instagrammer does the same thing, to their audience. And then another. It's a snowball effect. And if there are dozens upon dozens of Instagrammers posting away in front of your business, it’s almost inevitable that that engagement will lead to more dollars.

Not to mention, those Instagrammers will eventually get tired, or hungry, or curious, and make a stop inside the store or restaurant. It’s a draw even for non-Instagrammers. People like bright, beautiful things.

But wannabe social media celebrities literally cannot help themselves when they see a bright painted wall. Throw up a Pepto Bismol-pink wall (á la the Paul Smith store in West Hollywood) and watch the throngs descend upon it.

We spoke to two local businesses in Los Angeles who utilize Instagram walls: Carrera Cafe in West Hollywood, and Meatzilla in downtown LA. Both restaurants say the presence of the walls are a definite draw for customers, often making up a large percentage of their profits. James Ramey from Meatzilla says people come to his restaurant for different reasons, but most always convert to customers because of the wall.

It’s a huge attraction. It’s a big billboard that you can see from a couple blocks away. It’s a mix of people who are already intending to come and they see it, and some people just come for the art because they know the artist and they’re like, well, we might as well try the food, too.
James Ramey, Meatzilla

There’s also been an uptick in companies specializing in Instagram wall advertising, in recent years. Colossal Media, a Brooklyn-based company, has done Instagram wall campaigns with companies like Google, Adobe, Lyft, and Youtube. According to their website, their campaign with Adobe generated 12 million social media impressions.

The proof is in the pudding: Instagram walls bring in massive numbers.

Instagramming outside Carrera Cafe

Heading to LA? Already in the city? Check out these stories for ideas on what to do in the city of Angels: how to (legally) climb up to the Hollywood sign, go hiking with wolves, and check out a secret part of LA's Jewish community.

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