Author Archives: dlcolgrove

A User Created Instagram Project

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Want to join your fellow Instagram fans to be a part of an awesome user created Instagram project? Ryan Chesney (@RyanChesney) has started an Instagram video project and he is calling on fellow users to join. His project, called Enjoy The Journey, is a collective art project which will end with a video that threads together hundreds of Instagram photos into an amazing work of art! Check out a preview here.

To get involved all you need to do it tag your photo with #enjoythejourney and it could be selected to be included in the final video. Some general photo requests (as can be found on the project site):

1. Pictures of you in transit

2. Paths or roads

3. With friends or family

4. Jumpstagram

5. At the beach

6. At a concert of amusement park

7. Sunrise or sunsets

I can’t wait to see the finished project!

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Instagram Contests: Benefits for the User Too!

Guess who won first prize in the Energizer Ultimate Instagram Photo Contest – yours truly. Thank you to all who helped vote! It really is possible to win an Instagram hosted contest and here is proof. And it didn’t even require any effort – just snapping a picture with Instagram. Has anybody else won any contests?

Instagram Down = Misery

Did anybody else feel an empty hole in their stomach yesterday afternoon/evening when their Instagram feed couldn’t refresh? I couldn’t post any photos of my puggle or what I ate for dinner. I was devestated.

This was caused by a massive power outage in North Virginia, where Amazon’s Elastic Cloud Compute is located. These server outages caused Instagram, Pinterest, and Netflix to be down and it certainly upset users.   Good thing Facebook and Twitter were still up and running, or else users would have no place to go to vent their angry sentiments. Check out some of them here:

Casetagram: Adding “tagram” to Everything and Making $$$

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just found another new business opportunity that has been fulfilled! Actually learned about this through one of my Instagrammers who posted a picture about the new site Casetagram. Decided to check it out and I cannot wait to get my order in! Basically what Casetagram does it allow you to customize an iPhone (sorry Androiders) case made entirely from your Instagram photos! Looking at the gallery of designed cases, they look amazing – who wouldn’t want an iPhone case that shows all the beautiful Instagram photos you have taken? You guys can be sure that mine will be filled with Puggle photos!

Food, Fashion, and the Famous!

Let’s talk about some of the most popular Instagram account themes: the 3 F’s.

Let’s start with FOOD.

How many of you have posted pictures of something that you were either about to eat or something you were in the middle of eating? Ever heard the joke: “I order my food based on what will look good on Instagram”? (someeecards) There are many Instagram accounts that only post pictures of food. Many of these images are tagged #foodporn for the visual satisfaction that they invoke.

A Life Worth Eating: Have you ever viewed the “A Life Worth Eating” blog by Adam Goldberg? Goldberg loves to share his passion for food as he travels around the world. To add to his fame, he has created an Instagram account to match, providing pictures of delicious food from around the world. And of course, with the Instagram filter effects, all the food looks mouth-watering. Not only does this account show food, but it also shows the people and places from his travels – it is an explosion of culture! With over 56K followers, Goldberg isn’t doing so bad.

Food Drunk: There is also a number of chefs using Instagram to show off their creations, as well as their favorites they encounter across the world. One user, whose account is called “Food Drunk,” is not quite as popular as Adam Goldberg, but matches up in terms of uploading images that can make anybody hungry.

To see a list of the top 10 “Foodie” Accounts, click here.

Let’s move on to the FASHION.

For all you males out there, I apologize in advance for this segment, but remember I just wrote about food. For all the females, read away! If you love style, Instagram is a great place to learn about upcoming fashion trends and get exclusive looks at many upcoming designer items. We’ve briefly mentioned the existence of brands such as Burberry on Instagram, but the presence of fashion extends far into the abyss.

Take for example Shoe Dazzle, a popular online shoe store, claiming to offer a “behind the scenes” look at the world of Shoe Dazzle through their Instagram account. Shoe Dazzle is a company currently making use of the trend of offering a “personalized” shoe selection to their customers. Shoppers become clients as they make repeat purchases. The company has only posted 20 photos to their account yet have over 2000 followers. The account is full of color, style, and of course…SHOES!

Clothing designers and shoe stores are not the only ones using Instagram to expose their fashion. There are many accounts that exist to serve as “fashion assistants.” These accounts upload images of the latest trends: stylish accessories, celebrity-modeled hairstyles, and the newest beauty products. If you are in need of a little fashion advice, one of the best must-follow accounts is Glitter Guide.

Lastly, let’s talk about the FAMOUS.

If you haven’t heard, Justin Bieber is currently completing a seven-country promo tour. Just this week he flew to Norway and caused mass chaos as a result of hundreds of screaming fans. As a result of the combination of this tour, Justin’s social media interaction, and his overall fame, many are calling Justin Bieber a marketing genius. Known for his frequent tweeting, Justin is now dominating Instagram as the most followed celebrity – currently with 1,896,779 followers. Yes, that’s almost 2 million. His fame is outrageous. Some of his Instagram photos show random landscapes or people, but a majority of them show Justin himself. No wonder there are millions of teenage girls around the world that would do anything to see him, including taking a trip to the emergency room.

Other avid celebrity-instagrammers include Kim Kardashian, Snoop Dogg, and Nicki Minaj. Instagram is the perfect place for these celebrities to post images of the lavish lives that they lead. Along with the food we shouldn’t eat because we care about our health and the fashion we can’t afford, we can envy their private jets, the beach parties, and the champagne.

Along with Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is becoming widely used as a social networking tool. Companies and individuals who run blogs are creating profiles on Instagram to continue their interaction with their followers. Brands are stirring up interest in their products through exclusive sneak-peeks. Celebrities are adding another social realm to their existence. The true question to measure your fame should read: “How many Instagram followers do you have?” For me, the number is currently 81 – nothing compared to Justin, but that won’t make me lose any sleep tonight. Find me at @deedee_lynn.

Love Instagram and want to enter a #contest? Here are some options…

As we know, many brands and companies are utilizing Instagram to run contests that increase customer engagement and user awareness. These companies hope to motivate users to become involved with their brands, eventually leading to active followers and consumers. Many of the contest rules require users to become followers of the brand or company. Essentially, they have created another marketing channel that requires a lot less effort and capital than traditional marketing strategies. If you haven’t taken witness to these efforts, here are a few contests currently running:

1). Tilly’s:

This popular California lifestyle clothing company is currently running the “Instapick of the Month Contest.” To enter, follow @tillys and upload a photo that “represents who you are.” They are looking for creative photos with the hashtag #Tillysinstapick. Do you love free stuff? Every month Tilly’s will pick their favorite photo and send you a “surprise box of goodies.” As far as I can tell, they are not publicizing an end date for this contest, so you’ve got plenty of chances to win!

 

2). Free People:

If you love fashion, this is a contest for you. Clothing brand Free People is running a contest every Friday that asks users to upload a picture of themselves wearing the Free People brand. Each Friday, a winner will beselected among the photos hashtagged #fpcloset. The prize? No money or free merchandise involved – simply recognition. Free People will share your photo from their Instagram account. A perfect contest for Instagram users looking to gain “likes” and followers. This contest has only been running for two weeks and they also don’t mention an end date – get ready to upload on Friday!

3). Energizer:

The Energizer Instagram photo contest makes me think the company is taking advantage of the recent merge between Instagram and Facebook. For this contest,photos are not entered directly through the Instagram app. Instead, users must log into Facebook and like this page.  Then they must submit their Instagram picture to the same page. Energizer is looking for the “ultimate Instagram photo.” At that point, the public gets to vote for the best submission starting on June 4th. The grand prize is: $2000 cash, a Nikon Coolpix S6300, and Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries. What an incentive! I’ve already entered.

4). National Geographic:

We know that NatGeo works closely with Instagram, consistently sharing their photos through @NatGeoChannel. Their team recently ran the Untamed Americas project, where they snapped pictures of mountains, deserts, coasts, and forests. Now they are asking users to upload photos that show what “Untamed Americas” means to them. All you need to do is follow @natgeochannels and hashtag your uploaded photo with #UntamedAmericas from now until June 18. At that point, three judges will select the best photo that will be featured on their website. In addition, the winner will receive an assortment of awesome prizes, including a Nikon D3100, a subscription to the National Geographic magazine, and a signed print by famous landscape photographer Cole Rise.

5). Spa Week and Insta-Mom:

There are just a few more days for this contest. Until May 31st, upload your Instagram photo that depicts what “mom” means to you. Follow @spaweek and hashtag your photo #spaweekmom. Spa Week is looking for creative and inspiring photos. The grand prize is a $300 Spa and Wellness gift card, and there are prizes for first and second place following the grand prize winner as well. And the good part is, you can enter as many photos as you’d like! If you’d love a day at the spa, get instagramming!

 

These contests are simple ways to win prizes and/or bragging rights. If you love Instagram and taking photos, entry is simple. Already entered these contests or have others you’ve found? Let us know!

Mashup: Pinstagram

A little over a week ago, two young entrepreneurs launched the mashup site called Pinstagram. This site combines the capabilities of Instagram and Pinterest, giving Instagram the desktop platform it never had before. To use the site, all you need to do is sign in through Instagram and you will be able to view all of your photos in Pinterests’ famous “waterfall” layout. Not only can you view, like, and comment on user photos, but you can pin the ones you like to your Pinterest pinboards. Pinstagram creators saw a need for the website, believing that many people “are still browsing the web on desktops.”

Do you think this is true or will the mobile trend wipe out a need for Pinstagram?

How does it compare with the previously founded Pingram?

University of Instagram

We now know that Instagram can be used as a powerful tool for brands to increase user awareness and exposure. With over 40 million users, Instagram is the ideal platform for sharing brand updates through the establishment of a loyal network of followers. We’ve mentioned that brands such as Brisk and Starbucks are making use of this power. They are competing in the space with others such as Burberry, Red Bull, and Playboy. Many of these brands symbolize high-end fashion and/or well-established retailers. Their purpose for creating a presence on Instagram is to engage their audiences and interact with their communities, in the hopes to ultimately lead to increased brand use and purchases. But we can look at this concept in a light that is free of supermodels and beverages consumed for popularity.

In the same way that brands aim to increase exposure, universities strive to achieve the same effects. For example, whether attempting to move up in the national rankings or increase the fan base of their top-ranked football team, universities should be utilizing Instagram as brands do. There are a few different strategies for achieving success through this application. First, Instagram is all about photos, so universities should be using the app to post photos of its campus, its students, and its achievements. Instagram offers the best photographing capabilities as you can easily create a beautiful photo and share it across social networks – no need to access each network individually. Through the use of Instagram’s filters, universities can make their oldest classroom look like a place that would evoke creativity and imagination. By creating a photo stream on Instagram, university fans can become followers and flock to a place of interest – students, prospective students, instructors, parents, alumni, fans, etc. And, because not a lot of universities are making use of this power, it enables the smart ones to stay connected in a world that is constantly being altered through technology.

Let’s take a look at some universities currently utilizing Instagram:

1. Stanford University: The official Instagram of Stanford is run by digital media interns – no wonder they are ahead of the game. Currently with close to 2,000 followers, Stanford’s Instagram seems shameful when compared to Burberry’s over 300,000 followers, but it ranks high in the university realm. Their photostream consists mainly of shots taken around campus of buildings and trees, some documentation of campus events, and a sporting event captured here and there. Taking a look at users’ comments, it is clear many followers are devout Stanford students and alumni, with a few Stanford hopefuls thrown into the mix.

2. Ranking second in number of followers is Marquette University, located in Wisconsin. With only 35 photos uploaded so far, their feed includes more photos of the university logo and of students wearing MU gear. They often send their Instagram photos to Facebook and recently began an RSS feed to get users to tag #marquette or #wearemarquette on their uploaded photos. So far, the number of tagged photos is 870 and 74 respectively. Most of them picture individuals in Marquette t-shirts and sweatshirts.

Taking a look at these users, it is clear that colleges and universities have not taken advantage of Instagram’s full potential. Our very own UCR is lacking a presence altogether, while some schools such as UCLA focus solely on the athletics of their university. And of course, as with all things, there are those accounts such as Swag University and Puppy University that fail to uphold the standards of the university at all.

Printstagram: A New Business Venture

Organizations such as Brisk, photo-enhancing applications, and Facebook are not the only ones benefitting from the booming popularity of Instagram. A company called Printstagram has taken on a new business venture. If simply viewing your snapshots through the mobile application isn’t satisfying for you, Printstagram has the solution: they will print your Instagram pictures to create long-lasting memories. It is all about making your photographs physical. Their claim as to the purpose of their business: “Instagram just got bought by Facebook. Who knows what’s in store for the future…” Maybe they know something that we don’t, but it seems they are implying your cloud-stored photos might disappear as a result of the recent acquisition. But then again, scaring Instagram users to believe this is probably part of their marketing plan.

Printstagram offers a variety of different products as far as Instagram photo prints. All you have to do is sign in to your Instagram account and the site will download all of your photos – like many of the other applications we know, you just need to allow Instagram to share your information with the website. Once you have signed in you can select which photos you want printed. Product possibilities include: the tinybook (24 of your photos bound together in a, well, tinybook), the minibook (photos printed back to back and bound with a coil), the memory box (a box full of mini-prints of all the photos you’ve ever taken), mini stickers (252 per order), tshirts, and the instagrid poster (featuring anywhere between 50-400 pictures in full poster form). If you are insta-obssessed, Printstagram will help you get the most out of your Instagram works of art.

Printstagram not only allows users to reminisce with a sense of nostalgia by printing their photos and even giving them as gifts, but it provides an opportunity for businesses to strengthen their brands. It enables organizations to boost their brand through a little creativity. Avid Instagram brands such as Nestle and Starbucks can utilize Printstagram to run marketing campaigns that extend beyond the online atmosphere. This could include printing their Instagram photos and passing them out at conferences or even printing brand logos and/or coupons on the back of prints. These companies could even print t-shirts and place their company logo on the back, creating a community of users serving as walking advertisements. For those brands that utilize Instagram to run contests, Printstagram can be used to recognize contest winners, marketing and enabling user-submitted images to reach a wider audience. What other ways can you envision brands utilizing Prinstagram to increase brand engagement and awareness?

Maybe if I Hashtag My Photos, More People Will Follow Me….

Oh, the hashtag. Such a simple concept that holds so much power. Just by using the pound sign (#) attached to a keyword, you can easily categorize all of your Instagram photos. But why? Some may say because it helps other users find photos with subjects of their interest, but the true reason to hashtag your photos is to gain more followers. Trust me, I know this from first hand experience. Users interested in certain keywords will see your posts and think, “Hey, that person loves her puggle. I love my puggle too. We should connect.”

What should you hashtag:
-#yourname: that way your biggest fans can see all your pictures without having to scroll through all photos on their feed.
-#subject: #cat or #dog – this is the most basic form of the hashtag and provides the best categorization tool.
-#location: where did you take the picture? Was it in in #Hawaii or at #UCR?
-#photography tool: did you take the picture with your #iphone4s or your #android phone? Did you use #picstitch to add additional photos effects?
-#contestname: this is especially relevant for companies holding contests to see all photo entries in one convenient location.

Some of the most popular hashtags right now are:
#sky, #iphoneography, #photooftheday, #followme (way to be discrete), and #puppy.
Check out the top 100 tags here.

A couple things to remember:
-Hashtags cannot contain spaces. For example if you were to tag #new york, the only keyword hashtagged would be “new.” Instead, tag #newyork.
-If you forget to hashtag photos while you upload them or want to go back and hashtag older photos, you can always add the hashtags into the comments section as they will still be categorized to the same location.
-Instagram has banned all hashtags promoting self-harm, including references to anorexia and/or suicide. If you see content of this sort, let Instagram know.

What are your thoughts on hashtags?