Destination Industry Dispatch: 3 ways Jamestown’s Ponce City Market is winning at Instagram

This summer, Alexander Babbage appeared at ICSC’s fourth annual Mocial conference to present our Shopping Center State of the Industry report on social media use. The report, which is available for download here, is the first of its kind and offers benchmarks for audience size and engagement rates along with insights on best practices for shopping centers who choose to harness this immensely popular medium.

One of the more eye-catching aspects of the whitepaper was a segment on the success of Ponce City Market, a mixed-use development in Atlanta, GA.


People are front-and-center. 

By now it’s common knowledge that Instagram photos with faces in them are more likely to snag likes, but Ponce City Market takes this trick a step further, highlighting the people who keep the center buzzing by posting high-quality photography and short anecdotes to explain each subject’s significance to the center. Check out one of the center’s top posts this month below, and notice how the photography is eye-catching and the caption weaves the center’s history with the subject’s memorable story.


#myPCM creates community. 

Brands aren’t the only Instagram accounts looking for likes—your social-savvy shoppers are looking to get their photos out there, too. Creating a simple hashtag to establish a sense of community around your center allows user-generated content to do the talking for you. Ponce City Market’s #myPCM has accumulated almost 8,000 posts, ranging from #foodporn to street art, selfies and poised lifestyle snaps. Ponce City Market has aligned itself with a particular aesthetic in part by combining its own hashtag with other popular tags in the Atlanta Instagram community, like #weloveATL and #atlantabeltline.   


Block this way ????????#mypcm

A photo posted by s a r a l o n g s w o r t h (@saralongsworth) on


Calls to action take tagging to the next level. 

Sure, strong photography will get plenty of likes, but getting your center’s photos in the feeds of non-followers takes a little more effort. Ponce City Market’s top post in July — by a longshot — was a call to action asking its users to tag a friend they’d challenge to a game of mini golf. More than 1,500 likes and 148 comments later, the photo’s reach spanned far beyond PCM’s established audience, putting their new rooftop attraction in front of more users than they could reach alone.


We’ve got a hunch you’ve never played putt putt like this before! Tag a friend you’d like to challenge ? #weloveatl

A photo posted by Ponce City Market (@poncecitymarket) on

You don’t have to have a rooftop amusement park or a long history to cash in on these tips. Everyone can find beauty in the people of their center, align their hashtag with the aesthetic they want to attract, or call users to action with a well-phrased post. For more insight on benchmarks and best practices for social media, download Alexander Babbage’s full whitepaper here. For more information on how analytics and data can help your center hit its goals, contact Alexander Babbage here.

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