Posts Tagged ‘instagram’

The Rock, Paper, Scissors Guide to Instagram

November 14, 2016


What do The Rock (a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson), National Geographic, and a St. Paul, Minnesota-based custom knife shop have in common?

At first glance, the world’s highest paid actor, a venerable magazine outlet and a one-man knife shop might not have much in common. But they are united by their leading edge use of a popular photo- and video-sharing social media platform. In other words, all three are killing it on Instagram.

The Rock

The Rock’s Instagram stats are beyond impressive. He’s got nearly 69 million followers and his posts regularly receive hundreds of thousands of likes. He posts candid photos and videos from his movie shoots, at home playing with his infant daughter, in the gym, hanging with other celebrities, interacting with fans, and even surprising kids whose Make-A-Wish wish is to meet The Rock. Whatever you think you know about Dwayne Johnson, if you follow his feed for awhile, you’re in for some surprises. Through Instagram’s small screen, the Rock comes across as a multi-dimensional man (actor, fitness enthusiast, Dad, son, community-minded professional, entrepreneur, and savvy business man) and the face of a powerful brand.


Paper (as in Magazine)

National Geographic (natgeo) has embraced Instagram as the modern way to do what it’s always done – share its passion for science, exploration and storytelling to help change the world. The feed is every bit as extraordinary as the images the magazine is known for, but the bite-size content is now accessible, free to all, and currently followed by more than 62 million people. Following the feed is a little like going on a “Choose Your Own Science Adventure.” The images are captivating and inspiring, and the captions (often penned by photographers) help followers appreciate the global, cultural or scientific context of the images.


Scissors (OK, they’re knives, technically)

WORKERMAN (wkrmn) is a one-man operation in St. Paul, Minnesota that makes really, really cool pocket knives. If you’re one of WORKERMAN’s enthusiastic following of 15,000 and counting, then you already know the brand stands for one-of-a-kind design, handmade products and high quality craftsmanship. Follow the feed and be prepared to develop a desire to own your own WORKERMAN creation…or two, or three. What I like best about this feed is that the brand doesn’t follow any set content rules. Instead, the posts are a genuine reflection of what’s happening in the shop that day: new knives ready for sale, videos that show the knives or the maker in action, and regrams of fan photos.


On the surface, these three brands are wildly different. But they share 5 key methods for successful brand-building on Instagram:

  1. Give your followers a peek behind the curtain. Invite your fans into the real life workings of your operation. Let your followers in on what it really takes to get your product on the shelf, how you celebrate success, what projects or products you’re most excited about, or your works-in-process.
  1. Be real. Let your brand personality or business culture come through in your posts. Use images and language that paint a realistic picture of your brand. If someone followed your stream for 2 months and then walked into your shop or office, would they feel a connection between the “voice” of your Instagram feed and the reality of meeting you or your team?
  1. Have fun. The Instagram platform is a visual playground, so let your brand play. People scroll through Instagram when they want a quick mental break. Use images and write captions to inspire and amuse your followers.
  1. Mix It Up. There’s a lot of talk about creating a consistent feed, but as we see from these three brands, your posts don’t all have to look and feel the same, they just need to look and feel like your brand. Make use of the platform’s key features to let you brand shine in still images, videos and in Stories.
  1. Give credit where credit is due. Tag team members, creative partners, collaborators and fans when mentioning them in your posts. Regram (share) posts that mention your brand. Nobody wants to see a stream that is 100% self-serving, so make sure some of your posts are about sharing the love.

Which of these Rock, Paper, Scissors methods are you already using? And which will you try next?

Jen Jones is currently a graduate student at West Virginia University in the Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program. She is the founder of Whip-Smart, an IMC firm in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This post originally appeared on her blog, Whip-Smart Marketing

There’s Adobe in my Instagram.

June 30, 2014


I never realize the boundaries we set for technology until they are crossed.

Adobe’s new mobile devices software development kit allowing for third-party developers to embed select Adobe technologies into their iOS apps could translate to popular creative apps like Instagram.

As Adobe has not yet announced who it is partnering with to develop these apps, expect even more surprises from the company.

What Adobe-platform partnerships would you most like to see?


Watch your tone.

April 22, 2014

It’s not uncommon for me to save two or three versions of the same photo while editing. Even on the simplest subject, a change in contrast or saturation can really impact the overall mood of the photo.

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Tone is something that, as IMC professionals in various pockets of the field, we all implement differently. While a photographer may rely on lighting, a graphic designer on typeface, a copy writer on word choice, and a brand manager on media channel selection, all leverage tone as a tool for their craft.

As a reporter, I find that my lead sets the tone for a story.

Whatever the medium, a tone can produce results if it resonates with the audience. Analytics firm Curalate studied more than 8 million Instagram images to discover that those with a blue tint received 24 percent more likes than other colors.

Here’s my question: Is leveraging tone an art or a science?


Instagram launches first paid image to mixed reviews

November 6, 2013

Last Friday Instagram ran its first sponsored image, an ad for a Michael Kors watch, and received mixed reviews. The ad featured a high-quality image of a gold watch next to a plate of macaroons and has received over 229 thousand likes and over 1,700 comments — many of which are not particularly positive.

Michael Kors Instagram ad

Instagram first announced its move to start showing “sponsored” images and videos on its blog last month, letting U.S. users know that they may start to see “occasional” ads in their feed. “Seeing photos and videos from brands you don’t follow will be new, so we’ll start slow,” wrote Instagram. “We’ll focus on delivering a small number of beautiful, high-quality photos and videos from a handful of brands that are already great members of the Instagram community.” The move to start offering sponsored posts is not terribly surprising considering Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, started pushing sponsored posts to user feeds last year.

While many of the comments for the Michael Kors image are negative, it’s likely they are from non-followers given the two most common complaints are seeing a “sponsored” image in their feed and seeing an image for a luxury brand.

According to AdAge, there are nine other brands that Instagram has lined up to produce ads, including Adidas, Ben & Jerry’s, Burberry, General Electric, Levi’s, Lexus, Macy’s, PayPal and Starwood.

Time will tell if Instagram users start to become generally accepting of the unsolicited images in their feed, however, it’s unlikely Instagram would abandon the idea given the potential growth this could bring for Facebook’s mobile revenue. After all, complaints about sponsored posts in the Facebook news feed didn’t stop them!

What do you think about Instagram’s new foray into paid images?

Learning social media from unexpected sources

July 3, 2012

Over the past few weeks I’ve realized I talk about social media a lot. And by a lot, I mean all the time.

I came to this conclusion a few weeks back while visiting my favorite Canton flower shop. I stopped in to look around and noticed an item featured on the store’s Facebook page. I mentioned it while checking out, and the owner said that was great to hear because she was worried no one sees her posts. The wheels in my brain started turning and I quickly recommended an article that was sent to me from Mashable, which described the best days and times to post on Facebook.

And just this past weekend, a tech-savvy 12-year-old was telling me about how she and her classmates keep in touch during the summer via Instagram. Before our conversation, I thought Instagram was for people who traveled frequently, those who wanted to share photos of their families and avid photography buffs. Turns out – it’s awesome, and without her help setting it up on my phone, I never would have tried it. I’m now hooked!

I’m sure my florist didn’t expect to talk social media with a customer while someone too young to create a Facebook account introduced me to a new platform. If you keep your eyes, ears and mind open, you can learn from anyone!

Have you learned about a social media platform or app from an unexpected source? What’s your favorite social media tool?

Inspiring Times for Design and Communications

January 26, 2012

“The internet, at this time in history, is the greatest client assignment of all time. It’s offering you a blank check and asking you to come up with something fascinating and useful that it can embrace en masse, to the benefit of everyone” (Koczon, 2012)

Design and Communications are the tools of the modern day farmer. We have the potential to plant seeds of prosperity, impact, and progress or the seeds of complacency, distraction, and destruction.

We are enabled as communicators and powered by design to deliver good. The internet is a platform and not the panacea that some make it out to be. One aspect of the digital landscape that is garnering immense attention is the proliferation of apps.

Take Instagram: it’s one of the most popular services on the “web” and the entire experience is controlled not by some HTML pages, but rather by an iPhone app. Twitter and Facebook are just as popular—if not more so—via native apps for various platforms (iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, etc.) than they are on the browser-based web. As “web designers,” we have to start realizing that our job is no longer solely to produce sites, apps, and pages built in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. We have to expand our definition of what the “web” is. More and more, the “web” is not a platform. It’s a service with clients on many platforms. Wired Magazine called it the “death” of the web. I call it an evolution. (Croft, 2011)

“Clients on many platforms” sure sounds like integrated marketing communications.

Those who specialize in bringing orchestration to chaos in customer touch points will enhance experiences and drive meaningful interactions. We as consumers make this a difficult task with our constant motion and desire for that which is fresh, creative, and inspiring.