Three Simple Tips to Get More Likes and Followers on Instagram

Smile! You're on Instagram.

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve probably got an iPhone. That’s because Instagram is the popular social networking/photo-sharing app that’s only available on the iPhone… so far. (An Android version has been promised, but has not been released yet.) Then again, maybe you’re just curious.

There are many photo-sharing apps that are fun, like PicPlz, Hipster, and others, but Instagram has really taken off. Described as a cross between Flickr and Twitter, it’s surprisingly simple: just shoot, edit, and share.

Instagram launched in October 2010 and has now been downloaded 8 million times. It’s become so popular it was mentioned in a Super Bowl commercial this year that focused on phone innovators.

So far, Instagram doesn’t have much of a website, other than a link to download the app. But there are some third-party tools that add functionality, such as Followgram (your own vanity Instagram URL and photo feed) and Statigram (a web viewer for statistics).

Instagram’s built-in effects can make otherwise mediocre shots turn out surprisingly good. Just crop your shot (square format), then add a filter or leave it “normal.” You can also choose to share your Instagram photos with friends on Facebook, Flickr, Foursquare, Posterous, Tumblr, and Twitter. It’s fascinating to see what other people around the world are photographing and to see what people respond to.

So how do you build up followers and likes on Instagram? 

First of all, take decent photos. (Of course, that subject could be a whole series of posts.) Whatever you’re into, make it look interesting. Sometime close-up views of otherwise ordinary everyday items or places can be fascinating when viewed out of context.

Next, apply some of the same principles you’d use to build a following on Twitter, like following and engaging with other people.

Here are three simple tips to getting more followers, likes and comments on your Instagram photos:

Three Simple Tips for Getting More Likes on Instagram

  1. Follow friends and people whose photos you like.
  2. Like and comment on other’s photos.
  3. Use hashtags (#) to help people find your photos.

That third tips is very effective. Say you take pictures of sunsets. Look at the tags that other people are adding to their sunset photos: #sunset #clouds #sky #cloudporn #nature, etc. You can always make up your own hashtags, too. Then, add tags regarding the location and other relevant details.

Sunsets are popular photo subjects on Instagram. Adding hashtags will help others find your photos.

If you Tweet or post your photos to Facebook or elsewhere and you don’t want to clutter up your caption with tags, just publish your Instagram photo without tags, or maybe just one or two. Then add hashtags later in a comment to your own photo. (You can always go back and add tags to older photos that didn’t get the attention you feel they deserved.)

Don’t be shy about using some generic tags. For instance, #iphone, #iphoneonly #nofilter (if you didn’t add effects), #iphoneography, #instagram and others will also help people find you. If your photos are any good at all, adding a few hashtags to your shots will result in some immediate likes.

When you get comments, reply and thank people directly by using the @ symbol, followed by their Instagram handle. Name options will appear as soon as you type in the @.

One thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to include all the little symbols for thumbs up, smiley faces and the like. Clue me in if you know how to do this.

Please follow me on Instagram and share your Instagram handle in the comments below so I can follow you. Happy shooting!

Super Bowl Advertising – It’s Halftime in America, Do You Feel Lucky?

Who won the Brand Bowl for you?

Ever since Apple’s “1984” commercial launched the Macintosh, the Super Bowl has been as much about commercials as football. And at an average cost of $3.5 million for 30 seconds of airtime, the price reflects the great expectations of both the audience and advertisers.

The Nielsen Co. reported a record 111.3 million viewers watched the 2012 game, narrowly topping last year’s Super Bowl TV audience of 111 million.

Four major product categories dominate the big spenders, according to Daily Finance: “automotive, film, food, including snacks and fast food, and beverages. Four of the top 10 Super Bowl advertisers are auto companies. Another four are food and beverage manufacturers. Three movie studios are in the top 25.”

One of the most talked and tweeted about commercials of the 2012 Super Bowl of Advertising was the automotive spot narrated by Clint Eastwood.


Unlike other advertisers who released previews on YouTube, Chrysler played it close to the vest, airing their spot only after Madonna’s unpaid halftime commercial (let’s be honest: she’s promoting a new single, album, tour and a movie).

Immediately after the spot aired, the Twitterverse was all… a-twitter. Some people got a lump in their throat. Others got heartburn.

Ostensibly promoting GM brands (Ram/Dodge/Jeep/Chrysler), it ended with the tag line “Imported from Detroit” just like last year’s commercial, which featured rapper Eminem, a native of the Motor City.

But people seem to differ on the whole point of it. Was the actor trying to promote American-made cars, give the country a pep talk, or re-elect President Obama? Or perhaps all of the above? Continue reading

The Day the Internet Went Dark

Occupy This Amazingly Ginormous Post

Don't say it. Don't even go there.

Time to ring in the new and kick out the old, tired and trite words and phrases that have worn out their welcome over the past year.

In an effort to help cleanse our collective vocabulary palate, the Lake Superior State University compiles an annual list of words it deems worthy of banishment from popular usage.

The List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-Use, Over-Use and General Uselessness “has been going strong since New Year’s Day 1976 and shows no signs of stopping,” according to the LSSU List History page.

Conceived during a New Year’s Eve party by Lake Superior State University Public Relations Director W.T. (Bill) Rabe, the the Banishment List is released each year on New Year’s Day, since the holiday is traditionally a slow news day. Nominations are accepted throughout the year.

In case you missed it, here are a few highlights from this year’s banished list, along with a choice quote from someone who submitted it. Continue reading

Kohl’s Ad Inflicts Black’s “Friday” Earworm on Shoppers

Kohl's brings Rebecca Black's "Friday" back for "Black Friday". Now say that five times fast.

It had to happen. But I can’t decide if the new Kohl’s commercial is brilliant or insane. The only thing I’m sure of is that it’s insanely catchy.

Kohl’s is promoting their post-Thanksgiving “Black Friday” holiday sale with a jingle set to the maddeningly ubiquitous viral hit “Friday” by Rebecca Black.

“Black Friday, Black Friday, gotta go to Kohl’s on Black Friday…” Continue reading

You Have 9 Seconds To Fascinate A Client – Spend 1 Hour With Sally Hogshead First

Sally Hogshead had to unlearn how to be boring.

Thanks to web browsing, the average attention span is now approximately nine seconds, according to a BBC report. That happens to be the same attention span as a goldfish.

Why is this important for marketers and advertisers? It means you’d better make a good first impression, and fast.

Look: a squirrel!

Still with me?

Whether you’re a brand, or a bachelor trying to find your soul mate on, you have only nine seconds to make an introduction, to make a connection. If you fail, you may never get another chance.

So how do you make the most of micro-attention spans? Sally Hogshead has the answer: Fascinate.

As the author of “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation,” Sally has to be at her most fascinating every time she speaks. And she certainly didn’t disappoint during her keynote presentation at a recent Linked Orange County gathering. Continue reading

There’s a Mobile App for Almost Everything, Even High School

You know mobile is mainstream when your kid's high school has its own mobile app.

Fortune 500 marketers aren’t the only ones taking advantage of mobile apps these days. Smart phone technology is making new inroads into places like coffee houses, barbers and even high schools.

How mainstream is mobile? The number of people owning a smart phone rose 10 percent in three months over the summer, to 82.2 million according to comScore Inc. Out of 234 million people using mobile devices in the U.S., 35.1 percent have a “smart phone.”

What makes a phone smart is that it can run “apps” (short for “applications,” but you probably knew that).

Are you smarter than an 11th grader?

When I was in high school, there were no cell phones. As a junior I wrote for the school newspaper, and it was a big deal just to put out a paper once a month.

Now a 16-year-old junior named Zachary Christopoulos has created an app for his high school. (Boy, do I feel like an underachiever.)

The first mobile app for a high school

Tesoro High School in South Orange County is the first high school to have its own mobile app available for download on the iTunes App Store. The app is free for both iPhone and Android smart phones. Continue reading

33 Chilean Miners, 1 Year and Freshly Pressed

My Freshly Pressed experience came from a post about the Chilean miners, who were rescued October 13, 2010.

It was one year ago that 33 trapped Chilean miners were freed from their underground captivity while 1 billion people around the world watched live.

I watched “Los 33,” too. Then I wrote a post shortly afterwards: Oakley and the Chilean Miners—Publicity Goldmine. It was about the rescue from the perspective of how Orange County-based Oakley benefitted from the “product placement” of having the miners emerge wearing their sunglasses.

Was the publicity avalanche opportunistic or inadvertent? Did it matter? Why were some people so upset if Oakley happened to benefit by helping? I hit “publish” late that night, then went to bed without giving it much more thought.

Then next morning I checked my email to find a surprising number of blog comments. Continue reading

Where Where You When Steve Jobs Died?

How did you find out about Steve Jobs death?

Years from now, will you remember? I think I will, which is why it’s worth at least a blog post.

I first heard about Steve Jobs passing via Twitter. On my MacBook Pro. The poetry of the “coincidence” didn’t escape me. As Matthias Worch put it, “That’s not a bad way to go.”

iHeaven. A poetic tribute.

We have the technology, so let’s put it to use in remembering one of the pioneers who made it all possible. Steve Jobs not only helped create a new industry with the Macintosh personal computer, but also revolutionized software, music distribution, digital moviemaking, smart phones and tablet computing. And along the way, Apple also put out some pretty mean advertising, usually in collaboration with agency TBWA Chiat/Day.

Here’s the TV commercial that launched the Apple Macintosh computer. It’s widely regarded as one of the best, most effective adverts ever made. Directed by Ridley Scott, the spot aired only once in January 1984, but it turned the Superbowl into the advertising showcase it’s become today.

RIP Steve, and thanks for showing us how to Think Different. “Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”


12 Simple Yet Powerful Relationship Marketing Tips from Mari Smith


Mari Smith at Linked Orange County with her new BFF Mitch Devine.

Mari Smith sure has a lot of friends. Just check out her 50,288 Facebook fan-friends or 119,468 Twitter followers. But she’s really not looking for more BFFs. Her goal is quality, not quantity.

Mari wants to have more meaningful relationships.

Mari (as in “Ferrari”) is in business to be of service and build relationships. Why are relationships so important? “The longer relationships are sustained, the more profitable your company,” she explains.

The topic of Mari’s recent presentation at Linked Orange County, “The New Relationship Marketing,” also happens to be the title of her new book.

Mari has called herself a “relationship marketing specialist” for 10 years, long before social media became a buzzword. Known as the “Pied Piper of Facebook,” she’s the co-author of “Facebook Marketing: One-Hour a Day”.

To dispel the notion that her subject was limited to social media, she addressed her audience saying “There is no amount of sophisticated technology that will ever, ever, ever take the place of this: in-person, face-to-face.”

Relationships Transcend Social Media

According to Mari, “Relationship marketing encompasses not only social media, but also email marketing, direct mail, some television and magzine ads—basically anything in which you make the person you’re connecting with feel they’re important to you.”

Starbucks was cited as one of the best examples of companies that listen well and connect with customers. The coffeehouse chain consistently ranks at the top for customer engagement. Based on the results of its own survey, Starbucks acted in response to customers’ feedback on how they could improve. The number-one suggestion? Free wi-fi.

Tactical Marketing Tips

Mari’s goal with her presentation, besides talking about her new book, was to deliver tactical tips to her audience. I’ve compiled some of my personal favorites that apply to business in general as well as social media marketing. I’ve listed a dozen below, plus a few extra nuggets as well. Continue reading