Instagram could be a shopper’s paradise

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Good news brand marketers! Instagram has launched ads with “Shop Instagram social media strategy tipsNow,” “Sign Up” and “Install Now” buttons that link outside the app.

It has always been clear that Instagram could be a shopper’s paradise. Users are already sharing product photos with friends, making comments, liking and getting opinions from their network.

Unlike Facebook users, whose primary concern is connecting with family and friends, Instagram has more of a shopping drive. In Iconosquare’s 2015 study, 70% of respondents reported that they have already looked for a brand on Instagram.

To garner engagement and increase awareness, marketers have traditionally used contests and giveaways on social channels. When it comes to Instagram, 62% of users follow the brand simply because they “love” it. Only 41% follow or would follow to take advantage of perks and giveaways.

If you are worried about intruding on a user’s social experience or garnering engagement, don’t! Sixty-five percent of Instagram users report that they feel flattered when a brand likes their post.

So how does it work? Users can easily take action and come back to Instagram after they’ve finished their transaction. Before, brands were forced to use third-party services to take users outside the app to buy the products in the pictures.

In addition to the new buttons, the ad platform has enhanced its abilities and will allow marketers to reach people based on demographics and interests and customer information. On the consumer end, Instagram is improving the feedback mechanisms within Instagram to give people control over the ads they see.

Check out this article on Adweek for examples of what brands are doing on Instagram with this new shopping feature.

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Effectively Incorporate Instagram into a Social Strategy

Instagram social media strategy tips

Instagram social media strategy tips

Instagram helps organizations and companies represent themselves visually. However, it’s not as simple as finding a cool picture that represents the brand and uploading it to the app. To really reap the benefits of this relatively new social media platform, incorporate these best practices:

Hashtags are Essential. Searching hashtags is popular among users because they are clickable. When a hashtag is clicked, users are able to see the universe of images that added the same hashtag. To expand the brand’s reach, include hashtags that are likely to be searched by users.

Use these types of hashtags:

  • Official Organization Hashtags – Create a hashtag that is brand specific. But be careful not to overuse what you come up with. This type of hashtag should only be included on corporate or organization-owned content.
  • Program or Event Hashtags – Be sure to use the appropriate hashtag that has already been established for events you may be attending or programs you are involved with.
  • Culturally Relevant Hashtags – If an image is being posted that relates to a cultural topic (holidays, news story, etc.), include applicable hashtags.
  • Themed Hashtags – There are a lot of hashtags that are popular on Instagram including #MotivationMonday, #TriviaTuesday, #ThrowbackThursday, #FunFriday. Tying those themes to an image will increase its views.

Share Compelling Content. Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram users are seeking visually compelling content that they may not be able to find elsewhere. Instagram is great for behind the scenes content or sneak peeks of upcoming events or announcements. Feel free to experiment with different types of posts and assess the engagement levels on each of them so you the strategy can be optimized.

Be Authentic. Use Instagram to tell a story about the brand rather than pushing too much promotional content or stock photography. Users can tell how much effort is being put into creating an image. Active Instagram users appreciate high quality, original content. If they are getting this from you, it will help build a genuine connection that will encourage them to follow the branded account.

Cross Promote. Be sure to include an Instagram logo on any promotional materials and link to the website. Feel empowered to share Instagram photos across Twitter to gain more exposure. Utilize Facebook, which has an established audience, to encourage people to follow the brand on Instagram.

Post consistently. Users prefer to see a variety of photos from different accounts in their feed. Post often enough to keep users engaged, but keep them wanting more. If your at an event, don’t feel pressured to post everything at once. Spread the content out throughout the day or across a few days.

Engage with the community. Interact with the Instagram community by asking questions in the image caption and respond to any comments that are posted.  Encourage users to hashtag photos at your events or events that you are attending so you can have a record of what happened in case they can be used for different purposes after the event.

If you want more details on how to create a strategy for Instagram, feel free to contact us!

This Week in Social Media Nov 7-14

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Well, stuff happened on the Internet this week. It’s a lot to keep up with, but I am going to give you the low down on the 4 things you absolutely should know. I will list them in order by least to most important for your convenience.

4. Dr. OZ Gets Destroyed On Twitter: It comes as no surprise to anyone that Dr. OZ is a bit of a sham. But, the Twitter sphere took no mercy when they lit him up earlier this week when he tried to host a Twitter Chat.

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People took the opportunity to ask Dr. OZ outlandish questions about his practices and his show. Needless to say it didn’t go over that well. Here is our favorite snarky response:

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Tip: when you open up a can of worms, you better make sure you have enough community mangers to shut it down.

3. Instagram Gets With the Times: As of 3 days ago you can finally edit all of those embarrassing typos on your Instagram feed! Up until this point users were unable to edit their posts without having to take a photo down and repost. Now, you can edit the caption by simply clicking the menu. It’s just so simple. Bravo, Instagram.!

2. Kim K. Tries to #BreakTheInternet: Unless you live under a rock there is no need for further explanation here.

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1. And Finally, Chubby Hamsters in Slow Motion:

And there you have it, the most important social media updates for the week! If you don’t already, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for real-time updates on important news.

My Favorite Digital Things

Best Website

Look, I don’t want to pick favorites or anything but some brands just do it better. There’s been a lot going on in the social-digi-blogi-sphere as of late. Here is a round up of my top favorite digital brands right now.

Best Website – Williams Sonoma: Because content marketing and blogging are so widely popular,  large ecommerce websites are finding it hard to keep up with the kind of content consumers want. Williams Sonoma is doing a great job of bringing customers in and giving them the large photos, intuitive information hierarchies and streaming content they want.

Favorite Digital Brands - Website

Best Instagram – Warby Parker: Hands down, my favorite Instagram account right now is Warby Parker. I love that they stay completely on brand without being overwhelmingly self serving.  Their posts consist of cool videos, pictures of their employees or just plain old glasses photos. Check out their account here.

Best Blog/E Newsletter – Refinery29: Without fail, Refinery29 will send me an email that is exactly what I need at that moment. I don’t know if they have drones that follow me around everywhere, or if they have just really honed in on their audience. Either way they are brilliant.

Digital Brands Best Blog ENews Refinery 29
Best Facebook Page – Oreo: Oreo has always been a leader in social media. Remember that tweet during the super bowl that completely changed the face of real time marketing? Yeah, that was cool. Well, they continue to have some really awesome stuff on their Facebook page. Cute, branded content, interesting videos, and tons of engagement.

Digital brands, Best Facebook Page Oreo
Most Clickable Content – Buzzfeed: This is cliché, I know. But I can’t help but continue to be addicted to Buzzfeed. Not only have they completely pioneered content marketing, they continue to be a leader in this space. I love how they can simultaneously feature “ Which Disney Princess Are You” quizzes next to hard-hitting news articles about Iraq. The juxtaposition of these types of content speak to our society as a whole. I think that Buzzfeed has made a lot of important issues (like sleepy puppies) more tangible to young readers.

Most Clickable Content BuzzFeed

 

My favorites are always changing, and I am constantly on the lookout for brands who are really going above and beyond.

 

Lets get Visual: 3 reasons why your brand should be on Instagram

Instagram for Brands

Everyone loves Instagram but so many brands are just not sure if / how it fits into their marketing plans.While Instagram isn’t a good fit for every brand, it is a platform worth exploring. Instagram, is a mobile image editing and sharing social media site that has grown to be one of the more powerful platforms out there. Since its launch in 2010, the audience has grown to 150 million users with around 16 billon photos being shared to date. If these numbers don’t convince you alone, I have the top 3 reasons your brand should (strategically) join the movement.

1. Photos speak: They say a picture is worth 1000 words, but in social media, a picture is truly priceless. Recent trends have shown that more and more online content is moving in a visual direction. If your brand has any sort of visual component (i.e. food, fashion, interior design, etc.), it is a great idea to utilize Instagram. Photos get your customers engaged, and they can visualize how your product may be used in their lives.

Great example: Nike. They have over 3.8 million users. They do an amazing job of using their products in captivating and interesting images that really engage their consumers. Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 10.55.42 AM

2. Users Are Super Engaged: Users spend an average of 257 minutes a month on Instagram– that is huge compared to any other social media site. In fact, Instagram has more daily active, engaged users than Twitter and the engagement level is about 15 times higher than Facebook.

Great Example: Starbucks. Their 1.9 million users are liking, commenting, and”regramming” their photos daily.

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3. User Generated Content: Social media is meant to be a two way street. Instagram is the perfect platform to ask your users to share their experience with your brand. Like Twitter, you can use hashtags to track what people are posting.

Great Example: Stella and Dot. They integrate user generated content into their website. This allows potential customers to see how their pieces look on “real” people and not just stock photography.

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These are just a few of the reasons why Instagram is really shining in the social media scene. Of course, it is certainly not for every brand, but there is opportunity for growth if you know your brand is well suited for this type of social media marketing.

Instagram: Revolutionizing Brand’s Visual Marketing Campaigns

Instagram for brands

Instagram for brandsA picture’s worth a thousand words, right? So maybe that’s one of the reasons why Instagram recently catapulted into social media stardom. Or maybe it’s because when Facebook purchased the visual marketing platform, it grew 500% in one year. Whatever the reason, Instagram firmly planted itself in the professional social media ring in early 2013. As all platforms do, when they first start out, Instagram was a great place to share what you were doing, eating, where you were going and who you were with throughout your daily life — but solely visually.

But as all social media platforms evolve into strategic marketing tools, Instagram has also become an effective social asset for brands. We recommend it as part of a social media strategy if it fits with the overall marketing strategy. Nike, Starbucks and MTV — Instagram’s top performing brand accounts — have embraced this platform and are each leading the way with well over a following of 1M consumers. So how does it work?

With Instagram’s seamless integration alongside Facebook, users saw enhanced web profiles and online pictorial timelines earlier this year. But best of all, and probably the most useful for brands, is the “Photos of You” application which debuted in the spring and allows users to tag themselves, friends, brands, locations, etc in their photos. This, in turn, encourages consumer participation in your brand’s online conversation and creates excellent user-generated content.

But perhaps what everyone is hoping for when they follow and like their favorite brands is a view behind the brand. Instagram offers businesses the chance to show, rather than tell, fans what it’s like to work in your offices, be a part of your brand and give a sneak peek into your brand culture. Visual marketing is on the rise and Instagram is definitely leading the way. Trust us when we say this is one bandwagon worth jumping on.

What’s the buzz about? A social media grab bag of new platforms and apps

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One of the really cool things about working in social media is that the environment constantly changes. One of the challenges of working in social media is that the environment constantly changes. In this case, the pro is the con and the con is the pro. With lots of new platforms, applications and generally cool stuff debuting at a pace that seems weekly, it’s sometimes tough to stay on top of it all. However, this week, here’s a grab bag of some cool things we found on the internet that we want to share.

Vine
It’s still too early to predict its success, but the new Vine app that Twitter launched late last week is definitely proving to provide Tweeps the video capability they’ve been demanding. With six second video loops, the app encourages users to “share their life in motion.” Though Vine has encountered some…obstacles concerning porn material popping up in users’ feeds, it will be interesting to watch this new application grow. It’s great for individuals sharing active bits of their lives, but the challenge will be to leverage the new “it” platform for brands.

Instagram v. Vine. Share life in motion.

A Google-A-Day
It seems as if any question is answered these days with, “Google it!”. Whether as a board game or during pub trivia, players encourage you to leave your smart phone in your pocket to keep the playing field even. In true Google fashion, they’ve embraced this challenge and created “A Google a Day” — a 24/7 online trivia game in Google+ that encourages quick, crafty and creative use of the famed search engine. For those who love online games or are just looking for another distraction from a boring desk-job, this could be your ticket!
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Pose
If Pinterest and Instagram were to collide and create an offspring, you would fine Pose. As the newest fashion and style social media platform, Pose cultivates an online, mobile community that allows fashionistas to share images and videos of outfits, makeup, shopping and fashion. With an endorsement and significant financial investment from fashion powerhouse, Rachel Zoe, as well as a significantly large following, Pose is sure to succeed in the fashion, cosmetic and beauty industry.

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When Food Brands Go Social—Photo Sharing Platforms Become Your Best Friend

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With photo sharing becoming all the rage, it is time for food brands to get serious about serving up delicious photos with social media.  It is no secret that on social networks, photos are all the hype.  There are even social platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr that are completely photocentric, and a multitude of sites and apps like Fiddme, Eat.ly and Foodspotting that are strictly food-based. Why then do some people overlook the value of these graphics and have what seems like endless amounts of text with no images in sight?  It’s time to feed the photo frenzy.

BTB1Photo sharing is powerful and sure to increase engagement on social outlets, especially when it comes to foodtography. There is no better way to market food than visually, so food brands should have a social content strategy that is very heavy with imagery. Food photos are captivating and among the most highly shared visual content, so surely this is an area where food brands can finish strong. For one of our food branded clients, Better Than Bouillon, we use photos on social to compliment the recipes we share. Often generating a huge buzz, we have audience members responding with comments, culinary success stories and recipes of their own.

Visual marketing can be a very influential tool within the Food and Beverage Industry; it fosters more engagement than your average textual post because you are showing and not just telling. People like to see what they are getting, not told. It gives followers a chance to see the end product and it gives viewers ideas about different ways they can enjoy the product.  Show off your product, include pictures with recipes, people enjoying your product or lifestyle photos that convey your brand’s personality. You’ll have viewers drooling over these photos and the best part is, photo sharing sites like Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr are fairly low maintenance.  Yes, it is important to keep your content fresh, but beyond the upload and minimal copy, users do most of the work by commenting, sharing, and repining. BTB2

It is likely that your food brand already has a presence on many of these photo sharing platforms, whether you like it or not, your brand has probably been hashtagged. Users upload millions of photos to social sites daily, if you search your brand on these sites you may be surprised as to what you find. If you are not using this to your advantage, then shame on you. It’s a chance for marketers to interact directly with users of their brand and many followers are often very clever; finding new ways to use your product, many you may have never even thought of yourself. It’s also a way of giving your brand a social presence by becoming part of the conversation and making your photos their delicious inspiration.  So foodies, get on board with this trend because it is officially The Age of Photo Sharing. It’s really a no brainer.

Instagram for Business

Business Blog from Instagram

Looks like Instagram finally got the message: brands use it, too! But we’ve all just been stumbling around in the dark without much insight into strategic uses, methods, etc. So Instagram made this blog, which helps us see how different companies are using image sharing as a way to reinforce their brand.

Business Blog from Instagram

The first blog post states…

We’re launching the Instagram for Business blog as a resource for businesses – a way to discover what other business accounts are doing on the platform and to learn tips and tricks for how to use Instagram from a business perspective.  We’ll be posting brand spotlights, API examples, Instagram news and tips for using your Instagram account.

How are you using Instagram for business? Do you follow brands, companies, or artists?