It’s National Chocolate Cake Day – Does Food Shape Your Instagram Marketing Efforts?

Food photography

It’s National Chocolate Cake Day, which means there’s no better time to take a look at the world of food on Instagram. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a foodie, you may be just as inclined as Instagram influencers to post a few images of your delectable meals on occasion. This leads to one question – why are people so crazy about food photography? Furthermore, how has our love of food made Instagram marketing easier for brands?

instagram marketing, photography, instagram influencers“In our unconscious mind, food equals love because food is our deepest and earliest connection with our caretaker,” Kathryn Zerbe, a psychiatrist from Oregon Health and Science University, told the New York Times. “So it makes sense that people would want to capture, collect, catalog, brag about and show off their food.”

Not much research has been done on the number of Instagram influencers who post about food, but one 2012 study shed light on the frequency of these images just a few years ago, according to Business Insider. Within an 18-day period, researchers from MomentFeed found that 4,899 photos had been tagged with a Cheesecake Factory location on Instagram.

And it’s brands just like the Cheesecake Factory that are taking advantage of Instagram influencers’ love of food.

Take Applebees, for example. The chain, known for its family friendly atmosphere, encourages visitors to photograph their meals in hopes of being re-posted on the official Applebees Instagram account. Not only does this boost engagement rates, but it increases brand awareness for the chain as well.

So how can you post drool-worthy photos like the pros?

“I beg you – please go easy on the Instagram filters!” Sarah McGrory, the food blogger behind Get Forked and Fly, told Echo Net Daily. “There’s nothing worse than a garden salad that looks like it has been irradiated.”

Of course, a few hashtags and geo-tagging can also help.

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How the 2015 Holiday Season Created New Instagram Advertising Trends

Christmas, instagram marketing, instagram advertising

As many Instagram influencers will tell you, the 2015 holiday season was an ideal time for Instagram advertising. Now, there are numbers to back up these claims.

A study published by Brand Networks has revealed that the number of Instagram ad impressions increased from 50 million in August 2015 to 670 million in December 2015. Fashion and retail advertisers were big players over this booming period in Instagram advertising, according to AdExchanger.

instagram advertising, instagram marketingJamie Tedford, CEO of Brand Networks, told the news source that “visual-centric” industries were the earliest adopters of Instagram, and they also doubled their spend between Q3 and Q4 of last year.

Additionally, the study shed a spotlight on video, which was used by most of these “visual-centric” markets during the holiday season. Video ads as a percentage of total ads served by Brand Networks increased from 9.5 percent in September 2015 to 22.5 percent in December 2015.

So what does this tell us about the direction of Instagram marketers?

It’s all about video, and it’s paying off when it’s used in Instagram advertising strategies. In 2015, Global Social Media Strategist Katy Elle Blake reported that 40 percent of the top 1,000 most-shared Instagram videos were posted by brands.

However, this doesn’t mean you should ditch photos altogether, whether you’re a brand or one of the many Instagram influencers making a living on the network. Photos still generate 36 percent more “Likes” than videos, according to Hootsuite. This indicates that a balanced mix of videos and photos could be the key to a successful Instagram marketing campaign.

“With over 300 million active monthly users sharing 70 million photos per day and liking 2.5 billion photos daily, Instagram is a platform that serious marketers definitely need to pay attention to,” says Kim Garst, founder of Boom! Social, the social media business consulting firm.

Whether you love posting high-def photos or short videos, Instagram has the potential to become a lucrative platform for your brand.

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How Do Instagram Influencers Stand Out from a Big Crowd?

Crowd

Men’s fashion week has officially taken over Paris, exhibiting the hottest clothing ahead of Fall 2016. Instagram influencers have had plenty to post about as designers showcase their latest creations, but one thing has become evident – it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. More specifically, it can be challenging to maintain engagement rates when there are dozens of Instagram influencers vying for the same attention.

fashion, instagram marketing, marketingAbout 70 million new photos are uploaded to Instagram daily, according to the social network. This means that even if you’re lucky enough to be at an event as prestigious as men’s fashion week in Paris, there are likely others who are posting about their experiences at the event, too.

“You should think less about shooting a photo and more about telling a story visually,” says Lisa Arledge Powell, President of MediaSource. “Identify the iconic image that will tell your story, and make capturing that image your goal.”

That being said, it’s still critical to be mindful of the basics as you post from a popular event. For example, Instagram influencers like Mariano Di Vaio and Alanoud Badr have been using the hashtag, “#ParisFashionWeek,” and geo-tagging along the way. As a result, they’ve been encouraging thousands of followers to double-tap their posts.

“Hashtags are the only way to search on Instagram,” says Stephanie Frasco from Convert with Content. “This means if you want to be found you are going to have to use hashtags. People follow hashtags and there are a bunch of tags to use if you want to increase likes and comments right off the bat.”

But at the end of the day, it’s still really about your photos. Filter or no filter, the pictures you upload should be top-quality and give other Instagram influencers a run for their money.

And remember – photos generate 36 percent more likes than videos. This means that if they’re well-executed, you could see a boom in your engagement rate.

How have you stood out from the crowd with your Instagram marketing campaign? What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced on the social network?

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3 Ways the NFL is Instagram Marketing with Its Fans in Mind

Taking a photo

Whether you love football or you aren’t a big sports fan, it’s hard to get away from all things NFL around this time of the year. As the postseason rolls on, Instagram influencers and brands alike are getting in on the marketing action. Here are three ways that the NFL is keeping its audience engaged in the playoffs, even when there isn’t a game on television.

1. It’s Using Hashtags
Hashtags, as in, more than one. While “#NFLplayoffs” is a good start, the league has gone on to introduce others, including “#NFLTopPhotos” and “#SB50.”

“These days it seems like there’s a hashtag for everything, and there’s a reason for that,” says Alicia Anderson, social media community manager at Fusionfarm. “Businesses can use hashtags to increase their social reach and improve brand awareness.”

instagram marketing, instagram influencers, marketing

The NFL is all about high-quality photos.

2. It’s Posting Quality Photos
Instagram influencers will tell you that it’s imperative to post high-quality photos on your page, and for an organization as big as the NFL, it’s expected. The league has delivered as of late, showcasing some of its many stars with crisp photos and using the hashtag, “#NFLTopPhotos.”

“It’s important to share high-quality images on Instagram,” Content Marketing Expert Jeff Bullas writes on his blog. “Don’t rely on Instagram filters to make your images beautiful.”

While you may not have a staff of professional photographers on hand like the NFL, there are plenty of third-party photo editing solutions on the market to help you make your pictures Instagram worthy.

3. It’s Making Timely Posts about Its Events
With hashtags such as “#NEvsDEN,” the NFL has been using its Instagram page to market its biggest games of the season. Timeliness is everything on social networks like Instagram, and it doesn’t hurt to preview upcoming events as well.

“Instagram is an excellent tool to promote events before, during and after they take place,” says Irina Trofimovskaya of the MICE Blog.

The NFL has a wide array of resources at its fingertips when it comes to Instagram marketing. However, it isn’t all about funds and popularity when it comes to finding success on the social networking platform. Creating a strategy that focuses on making posts that resonate with your audience is the first step toward a winning marketing campaign.

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The Weekend Wrap-up: Instagram, Sports and Politics Galore!

Football

If you had three days off and were able to enjoy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, you might have spent some time reflecting on what happened over the weekend. In between the Democratic debate and NFL playoffs, it was sheer madness for Instagram marketing teams looking to capitalize on the advertising opportunities. Let’s take a look at what you might’ve missed over the long weekend of Jan. 15.

katy perry, instagram, marketing

Looks like Katy Perry has her vote cemented.

The #DemDebate
If you had nothing else to watch on Sunday evening (or you were feeling politically motivated), you may have turned on the Democratic debate. It was promoted by NBC with the hashtag “#DemDebate,” and it worked to market the event across the social network. Instagram influencers ranging from Singer Katy Perry to Comedian George Resch engaged with their followers during and after the event.

Academy Award Nominees
The nominees for the 88th Annual Academy Awards were announced just ahead of the long weekend, giving the social media world plenty of time to generate buzz. However, it quickly took a dark turn when the public recognized the lack of African-American nominees. While publications like Rolling Stone were applauding some of the noms, Instagram influencers and celebrities like Tyrese were shaming the Academy. Now, the hashtag, “#OscarsSoWhite” is all over the Internet – is there really no such thing as bad press?

Instagram Marketing for the NFL
The NFL postseason rolled on this weekend with divisional matchups. Notably, Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady led their teams to victory, meaning they’ll face each other next week in a championship game for a trip the Super Bowl. Some of the brands that got in on the Instagram marketing action during the games include Bud Light, ESPN and Verizon. Popular hashtags included “#NFLplayoffs” and game-specific ones, such as “#KCvsNE.”

Although winter is the time of year when most of us like to stay indoors and cuddle, the world keeps turning. Inevitably, there’s always something worth chatting about on Instagram, even in the dead of winter. For this reason, there’s never a bad season to put your Instagram marketing efforts to the test.

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Instagram Marketing Tips You Can Learn from the Republican Candidates

Rubio

Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Republicans have made for quite a show every time they’ve congregated on national television for a live debate. Tonight will mark the first one since the beginning of 2016, and it’s sure to bring its fair share of fireworks. Which Instagram marketing tactics have the candidates been using to get an edge on the competition? There’s no better time than now to take a look at how the main stage uses social media to its advantage.

trump, instagram marketing, marketingDonald Trump. The entertainer-turned-Republican candidate has been posting images of his legions of fans at every campaign stop he’s made. For Trump, it’s all about showcasing his enthusiastic supporters.

Ted Cruz. Cruz actually has two Instagram pages – one for his presidential campaign, and one for his Senator duties. His presidential page shows several images of him meeting with people across the country, while his other account hosts more generic updates (e.g., “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Chanukah.”)

Marco Rubio. Rubio also posts images of himself with supporters, but he keeps it casual as well with posts about football and family.

Ben Carson. Like Rubio, Carson keeps it casual in terms of Instagram marketing for the sake of his campaign. Don’t be surprised to see videos of him playing ski ball.

Chris Christie. When he’s not posting about his stops on the campaign trail, Christie is showing off his adorable, supportive family. It’s easy to see he wants followers to remember he’s “just like them.”

Jeb Bush. Jeb’s Instagram marketing tactics seem to be all about kids and rallies. Not to mention, the majority of his posts feature an American flag somewhere in the background.

John Kasich. Like Christie, Kasich has several posts dedicated to his family, as well as his supporters. However, it might be worth noting that his bio explicitly says his account is run by the Kasich for America staff (rather than Kasich himself). Could this lead to a disconnection between Kasich and his audience? Maybe not, considering it’s common to see official accounts operated by outside experts these days.

In the grand scheme of it all, there are a few things we can all learn from these candidates’ Instagram marketing strategies – showing your “human” side is a must, thanking your supporters is critical, and sprinkling in a little fun and humor can help. Only time will tell if any of these candidates has the power to take their Instagram campaign to a presidential level.

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How ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Takes Instagram Marketing to the Next Level

Pretty Little Liars

The sixth season of Freeform’s (or ABC Family, depending on who you ask) hit drama, Pretty Little Liars, debuted on Tuesday evening to the delight of its massive following. Whether you watch the show religiously or you’re only vaguely familiar with it, you just need to know one thing – its social media impact is off the charts. That being said, here are some of the Instagram marketing lessons you can learn from PLL.

instagram marketing, instagram influencers, marketing, pll1. Hashtags are Everything (When They’re Catchy).
Hashtags are a common part of any Instagram advertising campaign, but PLL has revolutionized what it means to get people talking using the “#” symbol. For example, the show regularly flashes hashtags across the screen for viewers to use online, poking fun at some of its on-screen relationships (“#Ezria,” “#Spoby”). If they sound ridiculous, it’s because they are – but they’re also memorable, funny and totally Instagram worthy.

2. Everyone Plays a Role in Instagram Marketing.
When it comes to PLL, Freeform has its main stars interact with social media followers live during the airing of the show. In terms of business, there’s no reason why you can’t do the same. This means turning to your Instagram page to engage with your fans during events that resonate with them, whether it’s fashion shows or football games. Doing so can also potentially boost brand awareness.

3. Engagement Never Stops.
Leading up to the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars, Freeform does its best to get its viewers anxiously chatting about it beforehand on social media. However, the posts keep coming after the episode airs on the official PLL Instagram account, Twitter page, and so forth. Consistency is key on social media networks, and if you’re slacking, you’re followers will notice (and maybe even unfollow).

There’s no telling when Pretty Little Liars will come to an end, but seeing as its fans are constantly begging for more, it looks like Freeform has a good thing going. You can have an Instagram marketing campaign that’s just as successful by taking these three little tidbits of information into account every time you post.

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The Weekend Wrap-up: Football, Golden Globes and Instagram Marketing Galore!

instagram marketing, instagram influencers, katy perry

If you’re a huge football fan or an entertainment guru, it was a big weekend for you. The NFL playoffs kicked off with four Wild Card games, and the Golden Globes stole the show on Sunday night with stars ranging from Lady Gaga to Leonardo DiCaprio. Were you completely engulfed in acceptance speeches and scoreboards? Here is what happened in the world of Instagram marketing over the weekend of January 8th.

Instagram Influencers Swooned over Golden Globes
Those shiny trophies gave Instagram influencers and brands alike plenty to talk about with their audiences. Cover Girl, for example, posted an image of Katy Perry receiving the glam treatment for the award show. The brand used the chance to market some of its products, such as its Plumpify Mascara, and it seems like followers didn’t mind the plugs – one post received more than 10,000 “Likes.” Maybelline, BCBG, and Louis Vuitton were some of the others that posted throughout the award show to cash in on the Instagram marketing opportunity.

Fans Cheered on the Wild Card Round
instagram marketing, instagram influencer, doritos
The NFL playoffs began this weekend with matchups involving the Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings. It was heaven for brands with Instagram-using, football-loving target audiences. Doritos, for example, spent all weekend promoting its “Crash the Super Bowl” contest, reeling in thousands of “Likes.” New Era, the hat producer, posted a timely image of a Seahawks cap following their win, attracting more than 6,000 “Likes.” Sports fans were the easiest Instagram users to resonate with over the weekend.

Electronics Reigned Supreme
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas wrapped up this weekend, and it had Instagram influencers and gadget lovers buzzing. Singer Christina Milian made an appearance with Rick Ross, and she posted about it to the tune of 18,000 “Likes.” International Cosplayer Stella Chuu also posted throughout CES to tell her fans about all of the fun she was having. Then, of course, there were the Fitbits and Oculuses of the world that reeled in traffic with “#CES” tagged posts throughout the event.

As we look ahead to the rest of award show season and postseason football, think of it this way – you’ll have more opportunities for Instagram marketing if you missed this weekend. Start planning now to put your best foot forward in January.

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The Top 3 Instagram Marketing Posts of the People’s Choice Awards

PCA

The 42nd Annual People’s Choice Awards was hosted on Jan. 6 in Los Angeles, and it came with plenty of opportunities for brands to launch event-oriented Instagram marketing posts. Everyone from Jane Lynch to Shay Mitchell appeared at the star-studded show, but who won for best online Instagram advertising? Let’s take a look at our top three “#PCA” themed posts of the evening.


1. Ellen DeGeneres (Walgreens)
instagram marketing, instagram influencers, marketingYes, that Walgreens. The drug store chain made a post featuring Comedian Ellen DeGeneres after the event, congratulating her for winning the Favorite Humanitarian Award. The company noted that it will support her favorite charity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, by donating $1.00 from every CoverGirl, Pantene, Crest and Oral-B 3DWhite product made by consumers. This Instagram post not only raised brand awareness, but shed a positive light on Walgreens as a whole.

2. Vin Diesel (CBS News)
instagram marketing, instagram influencers, marketingActor Vin Diesel gave a teary-eyed speech after winning two awards on Wednesday night, citing credit to the late Paul Walker. CBS, which hosted the award show, posted an image of Diesel giving his speech, reeling in more than 500 “Likes.” The network showed that it’s about more than just handing out awards, boosting its reputation with this move on Instagram.

3. Freeform (Formally ABC Family)
instagram marketing, instagram influencers, marketingHow do you catch everyone up to speed on your name change? By talking about it during an award show, of course. This is exactly what Freeform (formally ABC Family) did throughout the People’s Choice Awards, posting images of stars from its fan-favorite TV shows. For the most part, its posts raked in thousands of “Likes” – it’s safe to say they increased awareness of their name change.

There were too many honorable mentions to list, but for the most part, brands and Instagram influencers alike knew how to use “#PCA” to their advantage on Jan. 6. How do you use live events for Instagram marketing?

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How Forever 21 Embraces Millennial Culture for Instagram Marketing [Interview]

instagram marketing, instagram influencer

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an Instagram influencer with millions of followers and a top retailer at the same time? We had a chance to speak to Forever 21 about just that. Here is our interview with the clothing retailer, which has truly taken Instagram marketing to the next level.

Fullbottle: How does your team approach Instagram and integrate it into its overall social media strategy?

forever21, clothing, instagram marketingForever 21: Instagram is Forever 21’s fastest growing channel and is the lifestyle-oriented representation of the brand. Forever 21 looks at Instagram as a source of inspiration and as a visual platform from our brand to our millennial audience.

FB: How has your strategy changed as Instagram has evolved?

F21: Forever 21 has taken a global approach to Instagram. We have increased posting cadence to hit every market and continue to optimize content based on engagement. Our strategy has evolved to ensure that we stay in line with the interest of our millennial customer.

FB: Do you have any statistics you can share on your Instagram ROI?

F21: Forever 21 does not share proprietary information, but we have utilized Curalate’s Like2Buy service as a way to turn a branding platform into a branding and revenue driving platform.

FB: What do you consider to be the key to success as an Instagram influencer?

F21: Forever 21 looks at influencers in two ways: influencers who can drive reach of our marketing message and influencers who create quality branded content. We measure success by post performance and engagement. Instagram influencers who understand how to flex between these two objectives are typically ideal influencers for us to work with.

To see how Forever 21 executes its Instagram marketing strategy, visit its profile on Instagram – @forever21.

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