Category Archives: technology

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!

The Day the Internet Went Dark

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

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.”


What Do You Do When the Power Goes Out?

The famous Victrola brand, made by the Victor Talking Machine Co. of Camden, NJ.

Boy, we sure do depend on electricity! So, what do you do when there isn’t any?

Besides remembering where the candles are, I had to explain to my kids which of the house phones would work in the event our power went out. Of course, the laptop and phone batteries will only last so long. But without a phone, computer, video game or TV, what would they do for entertainment? Somehow I can’t picture them reading by candle light.

Even before the San Diego power failure, I was thinking about how fun it could be to use my recently restored Victrola phongraph in the event of an outage for some old-school musical entertainment. (Better than trying to act out a home-style version of “Glee,” right?)  Continue reading

Oakley and the Chilean Miners – Publicity Goldmine

This portion of the Chilean Miners rescue has been brought to you by Oakley Radar® sunglasses.

Doing Well By Doing Good

Move over, Lance Armstrong. Oakley has 33 new “celebrity” product endorsers.

Unless you were trapped in a cave somewhere yourself over the last few weeks, you probably heard about the dramatic rescue of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days.

The good news is they got out, with a little help from their friends and a few corporate sponsors.

At the very same time Chris Brogan was speaking to Linked OC members at Oakley about how companies are using technology to connect with consumers, the Chilean miners were reconnecting with their families thanks to technology donated by Oakley and others.

Oakley posted an update on its website the following day: Continue reading

Hold the Creativity, I Just Need an Ad, Quick

PlaceLocal builds ads automatically while you wait.

Sure, budgets are tight, but can a small business afford not to be creative when advertising?

The problem with creativity in advertising, as many businesses owners see it, is that it doesn’t always translate to the bottom line with leads or sales. The Taco Bell Chihuahua campaign is a prime example. People talked a lot about the dog, but they didn’t buy more tacos.

On the other hand, there’s a well-known maxim in the ad biz that “nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising”. Meaning, if your product doesn’t deliver as promised, an engaging ad will doom your sucky product more quickly. Remember the campaign with the gerbils shot from a cannon? It was engaging, but it was also creatively self-indulgent. There was no relevance whatsoever to the brand, which disappeared almost as fast as the commercial won awards.

Is Creativity a Luxury?

Just as most ad agencies are set up to service larger clients, most mom-and-pop shops don’t have much of an ad budget and usually have to settle for the local paper or PennySaver-style coupon mailer. So creativity is not even part of the decision.

Introducing Automated Advertising

Now an advertising technology company out of New Haven called PaperG has come up with a creative solution to bridge the budget gap between small businesses and local ad publishers. PaperG’s new software tool, PlaceLocal, creates customized display ads by using images and reviews found online. Continue reading

Simple-Minded Marketing Works

Do "post-recession" consumers want the "simpler" things in life? Or do they really want the easy life?

Simple Does Not Equal Easy

Simplicity is often difficult to achieve, which would explain the phrase “deceptively simple.” (It’s one of those strange dichotomy-conundrum-oxymoron-type things. Take your pick.)

Whether in writing, design, engineering, or cooking recipes, simplicity is key to effectiveness. So it follows that the challenge of this post will be to not clutter it up with too many examples. (Note to self: edit!)

Simple is Sophisticated

Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Albert Einstein remarked that “everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Then there’s the famous KISS acronym (“Keep It Simple, Stupid”) credited to Lockheed Sunk Works engineer Kelly Johnson.

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid - Easy to say, not so easy to do.

(Vigilante Grammarians will note that although KISS is often spelled out as “Keep it simple, stupid,” Johnson used it without the comma. The expression was not meant to imply that an engineer was stupid; just the opposite.)

Marketers Discover the Popularity of “Simplicity”

It’s tempting to add “Well, duh!” to this heading. But the use of the adjective “simple” when marketing food has suddenly become newsworthy thanks to a recent study by Innova Market Insights. Continue reading