hashtags

5 Ideas for Instagram Marketing

Instagram, like any good social media platform, has in the past 6 months-year added a few new features, which most businesses approach with caution at first. As businesses/people have gotten more comfortable with marketing on Instagram, I’ve noticed a few interesting ways that people are using Instagram to connect with followers and current/prospective customers.

Here are the five different things I’ve seen on Instagram lately:

  1. The Instagram Takeover. A “takeover” is giving someone else control of the business’s Instagram account, usually for a day but it can also be a weekend. An Instagram takeover usually happens with someone who is sort of related to your business/industry. For instance, Wyman’s Blueberry allowed a food blogger to take over their Instagram page for a whole week. What I noticed in this takeover was that @holly_tasteandsee stuck to on-brand recipes (meaning she integrated Wyman’s products into her takeover posts). It gave Wymans followers something new to look at, and it gave both @holly_tasteandsee’s and Wymans exposure to new audiences.

If you want to try a takeover for your business, find someone who is relevant to what you do (i.e. food company and food blogger, business letting an employee takeover posts, etc), and create parameters with that person if necessary (this could be called common sense, but may still be a helpful conversation to have).

2) Featuring another person. In March (Women’s History Month), Rustic Arrow Maine had “Women Wednesdays” where they featured a local female entrepreneur on their Instagram. It featured a photo of the woman, a caption that included her Instagram handle, and a brief description of her work/business. This type of feature gives you more control than a Takeover, while including other people in your post. This gets attention for their business, too, while creating something new and fun for your Instagram page. Following general rules of social media etiquette, remember to ask a person before you feature them on your Instagram page.

3) Multiple picture post. This Instagram update is great news for those who want to create larger updates like new products/meals etc, but don’t want to overwhelm followers with several different posts. The catch is that all must be in square shape and will receive the same filter. People will be able to see that there are multiple photos in a post, so you don’t have to worry about them “missing out” on the other images in your post.

Garnier and many other Instagram sponsored ads will use this technique as it gives you more bang for your advertising buck. This product image was actually the last in the post- the preceding images were all happy looking women with different hair colors/textures.

4) Use of a specific hashtag to promote a contest (and sharing participant’s photos that came out well). Downeast Magazine is well known (at least, to me) for doing this sort of thing. They request that users tag them and use a specific hashtag, and share some of the content on their own page (after asking permission and using correct attribution). This is a tool called “User Generated Content,” which has become a buzzword in marketing over the past couple years. The idea is to encourage users to share something- in this case, a photo that represents #Mainelife.

Downeast Magazine has quite a few contests/user engagement ideas if you go to their Instagram page. Right now, they are in the process of sharing 40 items from “The Great Maine Scavenger Hunt,” featured in the print magazine. Another thing that is worth pointing out- in the caption for the post below, they say “See our website for more info about entering the hunt,” so if increasing website traffic in an organic, natural matter is something you’re trying to do, promoting content on Instagram is a clever way to do that.

 

5) Unique use of Bookmarks. Seabags Maine, a company that makes bags out of recycled sails. They recently used the new bookmark feature in Instagram (similar to Facebook’s ‘save for later’) to create a contest. They created a “puzzle” and posted one piece at a time (out of order, of course) and gave specific instructions about how to enter the contest. They also accepted the first 5 to respond as winners, which could have encouraged more participation (people may see this and think “I have a shot!” vs. “there’s no way I’ll be the first person to respond so why bother”).

Have you seen any interesting things go by on Instagram that could be useful for businesses (or is just cool in general)? Let us know! 

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Marketing Monday: Giving Tuesday 2014

Not matter how you feel about giving money, donating, tithing, or volunteering, I think we can all agree that it’s fun that online has their own version of Cyber Monday in the way of Giving Tuesday. Sure it’s a poke at the consumerism of the season and vaguely self congratulatory but it’s hash tag heart seems to be in the right place.

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It started a few years ago as a hashtag and a way to raise awareness about non-profit causes but now they’re a lot more organized. There is a website and coordinated efforts between Crowdrise (an online donation platform), Indiegogo (an online fundraising platform), the White House, and others.

If you look at the Giving Tuesday logo, you’ll see it’s a pretty clever mixture of a hashtag and a heart. Nice!givingtuesdaylogo

Whether you give your time or money or both, Giving Tuesday asks that we all give something today.

Leading up to this event, we have seen lots of marketing efforts in the way of educational videos and the use of the hashtag #UNselfie on especially the more visual social networks like Instagram to raise awareness about giving to those in need. Here are some things last week already showing up:

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Despite being a global idea, the Giving Tuesday website is highlighting campaigns in specific geographic areas as well:

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It also seems as if organizations have taken this time to use this time to educate their user base. This Heiffer International post and accompanying infographic I thought were particularly good examples of taking the opportunity to have a conversation:

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So we hope you consider doing something, online or offline, for Giving Tuesday. It’s a great sentiment and something we could all stand to remember this time of year where we spend lots of money to realize we could spend some of our finances and effort on something that makes a bit more impact than that scarf your brother probably won’t even like anyway.

(And if you know someone who needs one, we’re doing online donation forms for dayz.)

Happy #GivingTuesday!

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Marketing Monday: Project Unbreakable

Domestic violence is a cause pretty close to my heart, for a mainly selfish reason.

I (at one point) thought I was too smart, too straight-forward, too butt-kicking to be in an abusive relationship. It was years ago since it happened but I still remember the yelling, the put downs, and one fateful night, a shove against a wall. He left the apartment and I felt small and powerless. I remember calling my parents (they were super calm and helpful). I hung up the phone and looked into the darkness, vowing to myself I’d never be there again and, if it were in my power, if I got out of this, I would do everything I could to keep even just one other person out of that situation.

I really appreciate all the work the internet has done, in particular in the last year, to really putting domestic violence, sexism, and harassment out in the open. Because let’s face it, no one starts by just walking up to a woman and hitting her or worse. There is an escalation… and an acceptance that turns into actions.

This video (where a woman is repeatedly harassed while walking in New York City) shows that it doesn’t matter what you wear, where you go, how much education you have, or anything else that we live in a society that treats women as objects: to be looked at, commented on, and even acted on at times.

And while it’s nice to wear purple and donate to charities that support anti-abuse programs, there is something really powerful about sharing your story and showing the world ‘this happened to me too.’ Not only the individual stories but the sheer number of people can produce change, in small and large ways.

This step can affect your friends and family… but most people don’t want to start a whole website about an abusive incident, several incidences, or a relationship. There is power in collecting these stories and sharing them with each other on a website and/or social media account already set aside for the purpose.

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Project Unbreakable has done just that. With their Tumblr blog, website, Twitter account, Instagram account, and Facebook page, they are accepting submissions of photos and sharing them with the world.

What I like is not only can the victims share what their abusers have said (as long or as short a quote as they want), they can also decide whether to show their faces or not.

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In our bite sized, social media world, the message is short and clear. Also women (mainly women are victims anyway), are getting supportive comments through the sharing of their story:

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As a visual share, we are able to connect with victims from identifying with their surroundings to identifying with a phrase, even if it is written in another language (the caption is usually translated into English).

The popularity of this group has allowed it not only to fundraise and grow for itself but has made it visible enough to partner with other websites like Buzzfeed to increase the general awareness of domestic violence.

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And whether submitting directly to Project Unbreakable itself or using the hashtag, people can take part in the message:

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No matter what cause is most dear to you, whether it’s animal rights, the rain forests, or anything else, we’d like to encourage you to not only get involved in the way of donating and volunteering with these organizations but follow them online and help them spread their message by contributing your part to the story. Use a hashtag or submit your idea to the organization itself. Yes you are just one voice but by connecting with others, you are creating powerful forces for good.

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

What Coke’s New Campaign Reminded Me About Marketing

shareacokeYou may have noticed that recently, Coke has been putting peoples’ names on bottles. The campaign is called ‘Share a Coke’. Simple, like many great ideas before it.

This is, of course, genius on a couple levels:

1) People are on the lookout for their own name so subconsciously, when they see a Coke label, they have some delight as they flip it around and look for their name. (P.S. The Michael bottle recall is not legit.)
2) Names are relatable and because of this, quite viral. Several people I know have been sharing photos to their friend’s walls when they see a bottle with the friend’s name on it or tagging other friends in their post to virtually share a Coke. (Also Coke had a few universal ones like ‘Friends’ and ‘Dad’.)
3) The campaign is in 50 countries so we can see unusual names on Coke bottles as people use international networks like Instagram and Pinterest.
4) It has a memorable and easy hashtag: #shareacoke (and the spinoff #shareacokewith). Over 300,000 shares on Instagram alone:

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And you know your campaign is successful when a few jokes have spun out from it. Check out the ‘nativity’ scene with (‘Maria’ and ‘Angel’ among others) and the ‘still can’t find my name’ posts on Pinterest:

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It’s one thing to be kind of clever and market to a niche of people but it’s another to make an idea that’s simple enough for people to get and individual enough for people to personalize. Great job, Coke! *slow clap for Coke!

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Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Seasons of Hashtag

#seasons

We’ve talked a bit about hashtags before (what they do, how you can use them), but this is just the tip of the iceberg, friends. The hashtag has great and terrible powers, much like Excalibur, the One Ring, Dr. Who’s screwdriver, or Silly Putty (I don’t get what it does, but it’s SO fun!).

#precious

Ok, maybe a bit of a hyperbole, but when you’re marketing on social media, you don’t want to hashtag whimsically.  Or, maybe you do…but you shouldn’t. This post is dedicated to something I just came up with called “hashtagging with a purpose.” One method of hashtagging purposefully is to use something seasonally appropriate. This could be weather related (#snowstorm, #heatwave, etc), holiday related, wardrobe (#flipflops) , or food related (#sugarcookies or #strawberries). You can even use the names of the seasons themselves.

Step 1 is finding a relevant hashtag. The good news with this step: there are a great number of tools out there. You can always go on Twitter and check out what’s trending on the sidebar, or search a hashtag you’re considering to see if it’ll get attention (more info on general hashtagging here).  Seasonal hashtags are cyclic, and only work during certain points in the year. For instance, you don’t want to use #halloween in the dead of March. Also, anything to do with comfy sweaters and boots should probably be reserved for the fall/winter months.

Observe: Analytics of #winter (just from today)

Observe: Analytics of #winter (just from today)

...compared to use of #summer, also from today. See what I mean?

…compared to use of #summer, also from today. See what I mean?

Step 2 is knowing what sorts of hashtags your target consumer will appreciate. Around the winter holiday season, there’s some tension around holiday recognition. One solution for this problem is avoiding specific holidays (i.e. using #happyholidays instead of #merrychristmas). Maybe even use #festivus. This way, no one gets excluded from your posts. Another solution is to hashtag ALL the holidays. I wouldn’t recommend this route, because a) it’s overwhelming and annoying for your followers, and b) you will exhaust yourself and probably go insane trying to keep up with every holiday. Either keep it general (and include everyone), or only use the holidays you know your audience will follow.

Remember, you can #prettymuch #hashtag #anything. But it doesn’t mean you should.

Out of curiosity, I searched for #hashtag, and was pleased with this response.

Out of curiosity, I searched for #hashtag, and was pleased with this response.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

Tech Thursday: What’s the Deal with #Hashtags?

Hashtags are popping up all over the place lately, but what exactly do they do, anyway? This video explains why people use hashtags, what they do, and how you can benefit from them, too!

Note: Kassie didn’t know anything about hashtags pre-filming, but she did use “YOLO” quite a bit…

 

 

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.
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