Tips for Hosting a Successful Instagram Stories

What’s the first thing that you look at when you check your Instagram account?  If you’re anything like me―a digital content sponge, you thought of the Instagram Stories of course.  That’s the stream of short content stories on top of the main Instagram feed usually from some of your favorite Influencers.  Here users can post photos or short video clips that will end up vanishing after only 24 hours; but it’s a great way to share quick pieces of information and content such as:  announcements, event previews, behind the scenes video, product discounts, or even just interesting facts about yourself (i.e. your brand).

From a business perspective using these Instagram stories should be part of your overall Instagram marketing strategy.  Why? Well, for starters there are a staggering number of users each day on Instagram. Imagine all of the opportunities to promote your business that Instagram stories provides.  In short, it’s a unique marketing chance for any business looking to build its brand and expand its reach.

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An Instagram Stories takeover is an interesting and creative method to mix into your social media marketing plan.  Partnering with an Instagram influencer, or even a celebrity, is a terrific way to expand your influence, grow your tribe and reach untapped market segments.  Think of it as putting your business on a billboard alongside a busy major highway. Your brand will be on display for all to notice. It’s the same affect when you align your brand with an Instagram influencer and host a Stories takeover event.  There is marketing power in numbers; by implementing a Stories takeover your brand will undoubtedly reach a larger audience.

I know what you’re thinking.  Just what exactly is an Instagram Stories takeover and why should I let someone take over my Stories feature?  Just as the name implies, it involves another Instagram user basically “taking over your account” for a brief time period, normally 24 hours, with the purpose of engaging your followers and expanding your audience.  The takeover only applies to your Instagram Stories feed; this is different from a regular Instagram takeover where another user takes control of your entire profile.

The person you collaborate with will create their own stories and post them to your Instagram account so that your followers can see them.  The takeover event can be the ultimate win-win situation. Your chosen partner (aka rock-star influencer) will bring value to your followers while the guest is able to reach a new audience with their content.  This can lead to skyrocketing numbers for your followers count, growth for your brand and additional sales profits for your bottom line.

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By design these Instagram Stories are time-sensitive so hosting a takeover event is serious business.  The clock is ticking because any Stories on Instagram fade away 24 hours after they’ve been posted. That’s right, your followers have just one day to see the Stories.  You need to set up a game plan ahead of the event and you also want to make sure that your followers tune in on the day of the event. So, promote the takeover event across all your social media platforms not just on Instagram.  Furthermore, you want to see measurable results from these takeovers so be creative in your delivery. They should also be interesting, informative, and fun for the audience. Once all the planning is done you can sit back and enjoy the ‘show’ for the next 24 hours as your chosen influencer steers the creativity.  

 

There are many ways to get creative with the Stories feature.  On event day your guest could post short videos from an interesting location, or introduce your product or service in an eye catching way, or perhaps host a question/answer session with your followers.  They might also announce an upcoming special event or a contest. Or, they could do a series of short videos where they give followers a glimpse into the everyday life of your business―a behind the scenes look of your brand.  

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Thinking of hosting an Instagram Stories takeover?  Smart move. Making use of this marketing strategy is an excellent way to expand your reach and these can be hugely successful when done correctly.  To ensure success use the following helpful tips to get the most out of this creative marketing opportunity. Start your marketing engines.

 

  • ‘Plan your work and Work your plan’ – Goals

 

As with any of your marketing campaigns you should make a plan and set your goals first.  What do you want to achieve from the takeover event? Be precise. The more clearly you define your desired end result the better game plan you can develop to make that happen.  For example, do you want to gain new followers? Are you introducing a new product and you need some star power promotion? Do you want to give folks an inside look at how your business operates?  Increase brand awareness? Are you looking to get on the radar of new audiences? Designed a chic new workout tee and you need a fitness influencer? Yep, you decide.

So be sure to set clear attainable goals.  Set a clear target (or several of them) that you want to reach by hosting the event.  With an emphasis on creative and entertaining Stories be sure this aligns with the goals you set for the takeover event.  Define what a success would be for your brand as a result of the takeover and strive to attain it.

 

  • ‘Money Talks’ – Decide on a Budget

 

Though there is no set in stone figure for how much a Stories takeover will cost, in all likelihood you will be paying a few thousand dollars.  Does your budget allow for that number? After you have set your desired goals, you then want to determine your budget. Consider the cost of the event as an opportunity investment in your brand.  What are the benefits from hosting the takeover? Your answers to that question will largely influence what your budget will be.

The person that you choose to host your event will also influence your budget.  Their time, efforts, and creativity all come with a price tag. Remember, these events are exciting and fun but your guest is not adding their star power free of charge.  Instagram Influencers can charge from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars depending upon content creation and the overall quality of their followers. That old saying is very true―you get what you pay for.  

Be sure to also add in costs for any transportation or lodging needs if your guest is at a specific location.  Need a video shoot from Venice Beach to promote your updated line of surfboards? Well then that’s going to cost a few dollars for sure.  In short, weigh the benefits (of the event), then run your numbers and you will get an approximate total cost for your Stories takeover.

 

  • ‘Partner up’ – Find the partner that fits your brand

 

Decide on a guest host for your Stories takeover.  This is a critical choice. Will your followers respond well to this person?  Does this person’s personality enhance your brand image? Are they in line with your company core values?  You can be sure that your followers will notice if they are not. Is your guest popular with audiences that you want to reach?  Are they easy to communicate with or must you go through their gatekeepers? All pertinent questions that need to be addressed before you can select the right partner for your brand.

Additionally, you need to keep your goals and your budget in mind as you make a decision.  Are your goals over the top and set quite high? That’s fine but there is a higher cost to partner with a mega popular influencer.  Perhaps your brand would benefit just fine from aligning with a smaller micro-influencer. Again, what results do you want to achieve from the takeover.  Whether you want your message to reach potentially 100,000 followers or simply a few thousand followers, the fees you pay will reflect that.

Bottom line:  Choose a partner that will provide results that benefit your brand while staying within your allocated marketing budget.  

 

  • ‘Game plan’ – Implement event guidelines

 

Goals―check.  Budget―solid. Influencer―set.  Great, now you need a ‘meeting of the minds’ with your takeover partner.  Start planning the event. You should work together to develop a strategy for your Stories takeover.  Start by sharing your goals, expectations, and desired results with your partner. Have a brainstorming session to make sure you are both on the same creative page as far as the takeover event is concerned.  

Be organized and plan ahead.  How many Stories will be released during the takeover?  Is there a preferred time schedule to release them? Depending on locations, what times would allow for peak engagement?  Discuss different ways to increase the entertainment value of the Stories as well. And, lastly, make sure to leave your influencer partner with plenty of freedom to express themselves in a creative way.  If you hired an online media ‘diva’ as your takeover guest host then simply set the guidelines, take a step back and enjoy the show along with the rest of your followers.

 

  • ‘Give a shout out’ – Promote Your Takeover event

 

Once your planning is complete you need to then focus on promoting your takeover event.  After all, you want to make sure that folks will show up for the event. This is a big deal for you and your brand.  What you want to do is post the event within your Instagram feed as well as announcing it through your Instagram Stories feature.  This way even those followers who don’t necessarily follow Stories can be sure and tune in. Your guest host should also do the same for their followers.  

Remember that the Stories have a very short shelf life so promoting the event within your main feed is a must.  Build excitement maybe even offer an incentive or a giveaway of some kind to get folks to show up for the event.  Now is the time to cash in on your creative marketing skills.

Not to be overlooked, you should both also promote your Stories takeover across all your social media accounts.  That’s right Facebook and Twitter followers you’re invited to this takeover event too. Introduce your other social media followers to all the terrific content they have been missing out on by not following you on Instagram.  Include a brief preview of what will be taking place during the Stories takeover and obviously mention your guest influencer to further build up the anticipation.

If everything goes according to plan you will have plenty of eyes on your Stories takeover and, if they are entertained by your original content, a ton of new Instagram followers.  Followers that will soon turn into loyal customers.

 

  • “Wrap it up” – Review the results   

 

One of the best ways to measure the success of a Stories takeover is to compare the changes in the metrics.  For instance: How many followers did you gain during the takeover? In the days after the takeover? How much engagement did you receive during the 24 hour Stories period?  Compare the numbers. Are they on par with your goals and guidelines? What did you learn? Is there something you would do differently the next time? All things considered, when you compare the pre and post takeover numbers was your event a success?  Is your brand better off as a result of the time, resources and money invested in hosting a Stories takeover? In other words, take the time to review and learn from the results of your event.

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Hosting an Instagram Stories takeover is definitely a unique marketing opportunity.  This fosters creative fun engagement for your existing followers and introduces your brand to an entirely new audience.  

Select the right partner, plan accordingly, stick to your budget, and effectively promote the event and you just might see more and more followers turning into loyal customers.  Building a solid brand one follower at a time. How you choose to reach them is up to you. Make Instagram Stories takeovers part of your overall social media marketing strategy.  That’s a winner.

Find your tribe, my friend, and tell a story.  

Secrets of Three Successful Instagram Brands

Secrets of Three Successful Instagram Brands

For many years Sears―the once popular retail giant a time, would mail thousands of product catalogs to potential customers.  In October of 2018 Sears filed for bankruptcy. Many factors, of course, contributed to the downfall of this once mighty retailer but if your business still relies on expensive traditional marketing methods―print, radio and television then there is one question that needs to be asked.  Why?

There is a digital revolution taking place and it’s called social media.  However, unlike traditional media this social media is built upon an abundance of interactions with users.  What makes Instagram an absolute spot-on place for a business to build its brand and grow its online community?  Well, for one thing it is insanely popular; Instagram has over 300 million daily active users. That fact alone makes it any marketer’s dream.  

Instagram is also a visual-centric platform.  If a single picture is worth one thousand words what is a content stream with multiple formats packed with vivid imagery worth?

In the same way that Google ad words changed the playing field for online search results Instagram is proving to be a game changer as well.  What’s the secret to success using Instagram for your business? Success leaves a trail to follow.

Is this Instagram-first strategy a good fit for your business? Let’s dive in.  Focus on these key elements to enhance your chances of success:

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Maximize Visual Presentation

No matter what your product or service is be sure to present it in way to attract attention.  Instagram includes filters so it’s easy for almost anyone to make their photos worthy of sharing these days but especially so for a business to focus on visually presenting your brand in the best light.  

Glossier is perhaps the crown jewel of an Instagram-first strategy success story.  The insanely popular makeup and skincare line started by a beauty blogger is essentially an online experience.  There is no fancy downtown main street retail store so they rely on social media. True, these products are highly photogenic but moreover Glossier has built a very stimulating visual brand.  The brand’s pink-ness practically jumps off the screen. It pops. It catches your attention.

Another example, is the online publication Punch Drink.  They provide cocktail recipes, and various city guides on its site and although that could be rather vanilla in terms of imagery they use creativity and high quality photos to appeal to a niche audience.  A different drink appears in each image presented in a way that almost lets the viewer taste it with their eyes. The message here is to be creative with your images. It’s not just about selling a product, it’s about capturing a feeling and expressing this through visual imagery.

Keep in mind that if your business is not an actual bricks-and-mortar store, it’s even more important for your social media presence (Instagram) to set your tone for your brand.  Once set, stick to it. Use the same color themes, formats and also try to maintain consistency with how often you post. In other words, you want to maintain the business cohesiveness throughout the user experience.  Strive to create a visual impact and build your brand so to attract thousands of loyal followers.

For more on Instagram Growth Strategy and Helpful Resources you can refer to Instamigos Site 

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Focus Attention on Your Customers

If you were to visit Glossier’s Instagram page one of the first things you might notice, besides the abundance of their favorite pink color theme, is that many posts within their feed show happy customers using their products.  Selfies galore. They put the spotlight on their customers. A highly photogenic product for sure but the attention they give their customers creates an experience. Basically, that beautiful results can be achieved by anyone. They truly feel like they are part of a special tribe.  The ‘IN’ crowd.

Tap into your customers’ desires and needs with your Instagram content.  Consider the BarkBox brand with over 1 million followers. This company provides products that keep pooches happy.  Their visual stream is full of funny dog content and they provide discounts and more to followers. We all know how much folks adore their pets.  The entertaining visual content grabs your attention. The sweet deals and discounts keep you there as a loyal follower.

 

It’s the perfect blend of engagement.  Entertain your audience, give them what they want, and they will keep coming back for more.  The Instagram marketing employed by the BarkBox company proves that they understand their customer’s needs.

 

As yet another example of placing your customers in the spotlight look at Adobe on Instagram.  Almost all of the posts you will find are user generated content. It’s the “see what I can do with these products and then share it” strategy that works for them.  Their stream of content is basically a canvas for all their designer type followers to showcase their work. Over 800,000 followers and counting.

Ref:  You can Target Followers using Instamigos platform    

     

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Ideally you want your audience to think of your account (i.e. your business) as one of their favorites on Instagram.  So how does your business stand out in a vast digital empire of visual stimulation. Think about how your products or services can be used within Instagram content. Not everyone will have photogenic products but there are many ways to feature even the most routine products in creative ways.  Sometimes you just have to think a little bigger. Ask yourself―can your customers share your product or service? What would make them want to share it on their own feeds? What creative ways can you think of to engage your followers and encourage sharing?

To put it another way, people will share what they love and feel great about doing it.  That experience is the power and influence of social media.

For more on Instagram Growth Strategy and Helpful Resources you can refer to Instamigos Site 

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Trending Now

Consider what is currently trending.  What is the popular movement right now?  Can your business tap into this and use it as an advantage?  Perhaps.

Health, fitness and lifestyle trends are always hot topics within social media.  La Croix, the flavored sparkling water company capitalized on somewhat of a social media ‘perfect storm.’  Healthier lifestyles and Instagram’s popularity are both on the rise. La Croix benefits from both of those facts. For instance, they engage with fans and encourage them to use hashtags to share La Croix experiences and photos.  They also work with many ‘micro-influencers’ to help spread the word about the sweetener-free alternative beverage.

Trending now?  Fitness enthusiasts and nutrition influencers are happy to share La Croix products in their Instagram posts.  Though they have been around for years their resent resurgence is in large part due to their focus on digital marketing efforts rather than traditional methods.

Another example of this ‘marketing a lifestyle’ trend is Bitwell Inc., the motorcycle helmet and accessory company.  Sure they sell the products but what you see on their Instagram feed is the lifestyle that comes along with it. Where can you go on your ride?  Scenic landscapes. Adventure. Freedom. Powerful images all courtesy of user generated content.

Instagram makes it easy to grow your business.  Find and connect with your tribe. Share your lifestyle.

For more on Instagram Growth Strategy and Helpful Resources you can refer to Instamigos Site 

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Technology Compliments Your Brand   

What does it take to grow a business from literally zero to 50,000 raving fans known as followers?  Growing your business organically on Instagram is fine but sometimes you need a little kick―a jumpstart.  

Through the use of technology your business gets immediate results.  You get valuable feedback, you really get to know your customer, likes and preferences, and this information makes it easy to suggest what they might purchase in the near future.  With Instagram ads you can really focus in on your target customer and make sure that you’re getting the most out of every post.

Article, a chic interior designs company, is a great example of the use of Instagram ads.  In 2016, they developed an ad campaign featuring interiors styled with Article’s sleek furniture.  For the audience this created a desirable experience. They see it, they want it, they buy it. Done deal.  Article is also another company that is entirely online so their social media presence is crucial.

Social media is becoming more and more relevant in influencing buying decisions.  As a business you need to make it easy for your customers purchase your product through Instagram.  And, without an actual storefront, as is the case with Article and Glossier, your Instagram ‘store’ and content needs to be easy to navigate.  Therefore, including shoppable posts to allow followers to purchase a featured product directly from the Instagram content is a great idea.

Results? Thanks to their focused ad campaign, Article saw a huge return on their marketing dollars and that over 35% percent of sales included Instagram in the customer buying process.  Using technological tools available through Instagram can be a tremendous way to focus in on your target customers and pump up your sales revenue.

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Throughout this article we have seen examples of successful brands that tend to use an Instagram-first marketing strategy.  Blend in our four key elements and you can see that when compared to traditional marketing methods this is really a better use of your creativity and of the marketing budget.  For smaller businesses that are just starting out every penny counts.  If your business is not incorporating an Instagram marketing strategy you may be missing out on a ton of opportunities.  

At its core, the Instagram platform is visual driven social media.  Perfect for your business. Companies such as Glossier, Barkbox, and Article have impressive proven success stories.  Success leaves a trail. Who will be next? Maybe your business? Hashtag #success.

For more on Instagram Growth Strategy and Helpful Resources you can refer to Instamigos Site 

Instagram Growth Strategy

Instagram Growth Strategy

Seeking to significantly grow your following on Instagram?  If so, you need to implement a proven solid growth strategy to achieve this.  As its popularity continues to rise, Instagram is a terrific platform to build and market your brand.  For any business owner I would even say it is the preferred social media platform.  

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5 New Ways to Get Instagram Followers in 2017

How do I get Instagram followers? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point or another. And with good reason, too! Getting more Instagram followers should be a top priority for any business that uses Instagram for marketing, but it’s not as easy as it once was.

To help you get more Instagram followers in 2017, we’re sharing 5 new and creative ideas that will help you get Instagram followers for free:

1. Be Strategic With Your Instagram Comments

It might seem obvious, but a surefire way of growing your Instagram following is by commenting on other users’ posts—but not in the way that you’re used to.

Many of us are familiar with the “follow, like, comment” system for getting new followers. You follow an account, like one of their posts, and leave a comment. But while this might get you a followback, it’s tedious and time-consuming. If you really want to grow your Instagram following, you need to be a little more strategic with your commenting.

The idea is to be the last person to comment on the post. That way, anyone else who comes to that post in the future will see your comment. And if your comment was interesting enough, they might just click over to your account to have a look!

By “interesting enough” we mean that you should avoid leaving generic comments, like “cool pic” or “nice.” Instead, you should make an effort to leave a genuine comment that other users will find funny, interesting, or useful. You can even throw in a few emojis to show off your personality.

 

 

2. Use Instagram Stories to Get Instagram Followers

Instagram Stories has been a huge hit since you could first create your own Story back in August of last year. They’re fun, versatile, and a great way to foster meaningful connections with your audience! But as Zimmerman mentions, they also give you the chance to be recommended on Instagram.

Take a moment and head to the Explore page on Instagram. Notice the row of Instagram Stories at the top of the page? The reason those Stories appear is because Instagram selected them based on the accounts you follow and the posts you like. Instagram may also show you Stories that accounts you follow have liked, or were liked by a large number of people.

 

If you want to get on the Instagram Explore page, you need to create ultra-engaging, super-targeted content. “The better your Stories are, and the more they speak to a specific audience, the higher the chance that Instagram will add your account to the recommended Stories at the top of the Explore tab,” Zimmerman says.

3. Get Instagram Followers by Sharing Engaging Videos

Did you know that 52% of marketing professionals rank video as the type of content with the best ROI? Or that video content accounts for 65% of all ad impressions on Instagram? Video can be a powerful tool for brands looking to build trust with their followers and reach new audiences.

As we mentioned in our post about the best time to post on Instagram, the new Instagram algorithm gives priority to posts with higher engagement, which means the more likes and comments your post receives, the more people will see your post. In other words, if you’re able to generate a lot of engagement on your Instagram posts shortly after posting, this signals to Instagram that your post is quality, engaging content and your post will move to the top of your followers feeds and be shown to more users.

Since videos generally receive a good amount of engagement, it makes sense to use the format in your marketing mix. There’s also the fact that Instagram, with the recent release of Instagram Stories, Video Channels on Explore, and Live Video, appears to be investing heavily in video content.

4. How to Get More Instagram Followers: Run an Instagram Contest

Running an Instagram contest is a fun and easy way to promote your business on Instagram, and it’s also one of the easiest way to gain exposure, which will help you get Instagram followers.

If you’re looking for a super effective Instagram contest idea, try partnering with another business or influencer. It’s a great way to promote your Instagram contest to both of your audiences, and also share each other’s followers. Start by looking for a cool business to partner with, and then organize a 3-5 day giveaway where Instagram users are rewarded with prizes for following both accounts, and tagging their friends in the comments.

5. Create an Instagram Hashtag Strategy to Get More Instagram Followers

Having a solid Instagram hashtag strategy is an essential component for any Instagram marketing campaign, but it should also be a top priority for businesses that want to get followers on Instagram.

Instagram hashtags are one of the most useful tools in a social media marketer’s tool belt. Using the right hashtag (or combination of hashtags) can help you expose your brand to large and targeted audiences. In fact, your chances of attracting new followers, getting more likes, and increasing engagement are vastly increased by the use of hashtags.

 

 

Instagram direct messages now support web links and different photo orientations

Instagram’s Direct feature just got more generally useful as a messaging option, with support added for external web links, and the ability to send photos and video in their original portrait or landscape aspect ratios without cropping. The first is really far more important than the second, mainly because it means users have less reason to go seeking other messaging options outside of Instagram.

The links feature also includes inline previews for websites you paste the URL for, and the new photo and video treatment is much more in keeping with how people actually capture and view media on mobile these days. The updates are rolling out now to iOS users, and will arrive on Android soon. Links are supported on both platforms as of version 10.22.

Instagram Direct is a popular feature among the social network’s user base – there are 375 million monthly active users on Direct alone as of last count, a fresh number shared publicly in April. It’s a far cry from Facebook Messenger’s 1.2 billion monthly actives, but that’s still one of the biggest messaging apps in the world, and a product worth iterating on in order to help it capture even more market share.

How to post Google Photos’ awesome animations to Instagram

If you use Google Photos, you know the service is so much more than just the best way to store and back up all your photos and videos into the cloud.

Using advanced machine learning, Google Photos can intelligently identify people, places, and things — and it’s all easily searchable. One of the cooler things in Google Photos is the Assistant (not to be confused with Google’s other Assistant on Android and Google Home).

In the Google Photos app on iOS and Android, the Assistant is a card-based panel that does three things:

  1. Shows you the status of your backup.
  2. Automatically creates “movies” based on related video clips.
  3. Creates “animations” using batches of bursted photos. (You can also create your own animations by manually selecting between 2-50 photos, but the end result is the same — you still get a GIF file.)

    For iOS

    On iOS, you’ll need to use another app like GifLab (free) to convert the GIF into a video. To find your animations, type “animations” into the Photos search bar in the iOS or Android app. Then, select your animation. (These are animations you’ve saved. Animations that Google Photos created but you didn’t save within 30 days of their creation will not appear and are lost forever, so save them when they’re created.)

    Tap the “•••” located in the upper right corner and then tap “Download” to save the GIF. Then, open up GifLab and do the following:

    Step 1: Open GifLab and select “GIF to Instagram.”

    Step 2: Select your GIF and adjust the playback speed.

    Step 3: Tap “Save and share on Instagram.”

    For Android

    On Android, things are even easier and you can share GIFs directly from Google Photos to Instagram, as the app automatically converts the GIF into a video, no extra app required.

    Select your Google Photos animation GIF as outlined above and then tap the share icon in the lower left. Select Instagram as the app (obviously, have it installed and logged in) to share the GIF. Once the GIF’s been auto converted into a video, you’ll be taken Instagram where you can select a filter and add a caption.

Kim Kardashian hits 100m followers on Instagram

Celebrity Kim Kardashian has become the sixth person to amass over 100 million followers on Instagram.

Kim Kardashian

 

The record holder is pop singer Selena Gomez, who has over 120 million followers.

Selena Gomez

Kardashian celebrated passing the mark on the photo- and video-sharing platform Thursday by looking back at some of her most-liked photos. “I can’t believe I’ve reached 100 million followers on Instagram, thanks to you guys!!! To celebrate, I wanted to take a look back at my most-liked posts. I appreciate my fans (and family) more than you know. You guys are the best!” she said on her website. What follows is a slideshow of photos of her with husband Kanye West and their children North West and Saint West. Apart from Gomez, pop singers Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and Beyonce, along with European soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, are the other users to hit the 100 million mark.

 

Instagram Is Already Getting Much Better Engagement for Brands and Celebrities Than Facebook

It’s not really even close

 

Facebook may have more than twice as many global users as Instagram, but little sister is now the belle of the ball in the eyes of many marketers.

Per SocialBakers’ research released today at the company’s Engage conference in Prague, Czech Republic, brands are getting three times more engagement on Instagram, while celebrities are garnering 3.6 times more via the app, when compared apples-to-apples with Facebook.

To be clear, these figures represent the raw number of likes, shares, comments and other social signals for those two categories—the stats are not adjusted, per-capita figures. While it’s probably not surprising to most social media marketers—who don’t work for media companies, that is—that Instagram yields a greater engagement rate (likes, shares, comments, etc., divided by viewers), it seems remarkable that it’s made such gains in terms of sheer signals.

After all, Instagram has 700 million monthly users, while Facebook has 1.94 billion. Jan Rezab, chairman and founder of SocialBakers, told Adweek prior to his presentation at his company’s headquarters in the Czech Republic’s capital that brands should take note but not overreact.

“I definitely would not advise moving spend away from Facebook—it has too much scale and reach,” Rezab said. “It’s that they should start putting more emphasis on Instagram. Look at it less as just a photos platform and more of a conversion platform play.”

At the same time, for media players, Facebook is still the place to be, generating around four times more engagement than what’s seen on Instagram.

The study looked at hundreds of millions of posts on Facebook and Instagram.

Instagram plugs its camera with new features

Face filters have arrived in the Instagram camera, enabling users to overlay their selfies and regular shots with Snapchat-like animations.

This is an overt move by Instagram to get people to take photos and videos in its platform, and, as always, these recordings can then be sent to friends via Instagram Direct or added to a story.

The Facebook-owned app has also rolled out new “creative tools” — a phrase that comes straight from Snapchat’s playbook — to its stories platform, including a Rewind feature to play videos in reverse, custom hashtag stickers that users can tap to explore related posts, and an eraser brush to go alongside Instagram’s existing drawing tools. These features are less about coaxing people to use Instagram’s camera than increasing engagement more generally.

These features all have Snapchat in their crosshairs, and aim to increase Instagram engagement in the following ways:

  • Face filters. These can only be accessed in the Instagram camera, meaning users won’t be able to retroactively add filters to images or videos recorded on other cameras, such as the smartphone’s default camera, Snapchat, and other camera-first apps. Three billion Snaps are created daily as of Q1 2017 — a metric that Instagram will want to surpass.
  • Editing tools. The Rewind feature adds to Instagram’s Boomerang and Hands-Free camera formats and seems tangentially similar to the Looping feature that Snapchat rolled out two weeks ago. Instagram’s eraser brush also triggers memories of Snapchat’s new ‘Magic Eraser’ tool, but while these two features are analogous in name, they differ greatly in function.
  • Hashtag stickers. Adding custom hashtag stickers to Stories, which users can tap into to see the hashtag page and explore related posts, builds upon the open nature of Instagram’s social network. This feature increases the visibility of Stories, making them more easy to search and discover. It also complements Instagram’s existing Mentions feature for tagging users in Stories.

Mobile-app makers and content creators are vying for consumer attention in a crowded and noisy market.

Even if an app can stand out enough to prompt a consumer to download it from among a list of millions, it then faces the challenge of enticing him or her to use it enough times to recuperate development, maintenance, and marketing costs. To make matters worse, those marketing costs have hit record-high levels over the past year as discoverability has become more challenging.

And while consumers are spending more time in apps, most of that time is spent in a few favorites. Consumers spend almost three-quarters of their total smartphone app time in just their three favorite apps, according to comScore.

But it’s not all doom and gloom: There are numerous tools at a publisher’s disposal to engage and re-engage consumers, and there are new products and solutions coming to market that can help alleviate some of the issues around this app engagement crisis.

Jessica Smith, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on app engagement that explores the current state of the app market, the issues around engaging consumers, and the tools at a publisher’s disposal. It also identifies best practices for the implementation of some app engagement tools, and presents the pitfalls that some publishers fall into in this pursuit.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

  • The app market today is challenging and volatile. It’s difficult to stand out, and most apps have to be offered for free in order to entice consumers who have too much supply to choose from. This puts greater emphasis on engaging consumers after they’ve downloaded an app in order to recoup costs.
  • Consumers are more difficult to engage today, as most have dozens of apps installed on their devices yet spend most of their time in just a select handful of favorites.
  • There are numerous solutions at hand for mobile app publishers and content creators seeking to engage consumers. Push notifications, in-app messaging, and app message centers with badges are three tools publishers can use to engage consumers.
  • While many publishers mistakenly rely solely on push notifications for app engagements, this is a poor practice because many consumers don’t allow push notifications and those that do can easily be overwhelmed when they receive too many.
  • The best solution often includes leveraging two or three of these tools to engage consumers with the right message at the right time. The technology in this market has grown increasingly sophisticated, and publishers that don’t diversify their approach run the risk of annoying their consumers to the point of abandonment.
  • There are emerging engagement technologies that will change the current app engagement norms and present new ways for app publishers to communicate with users. The mobile ecosystem is changing quickly as technology improves and consumers become more comfortable conducting more activities on mobile devices.

In full, the report:

  • Identifies the major challenges in today’s app market and explains why employing good app engagement practices is more important than ever before.
  • Presents the major app engagement tools currently available.
  • Examines the pros and cons of each app engagement tool while outlining some pitfalls that publishers encounter in implementing them.
  • Prescribes best practices for adopting various app engagement tools or strategies.
  • Assesses how the market will likely change over the next five years as emerging technologies change both consumer behavior with mobile devices and introduce new tools with which to engage consumers.

How to use Instagram: A complete guide

Complete guide to setting up Instagram and using it to share edited photos and videos, follow your friends, celebrities and brands and more.

How to use Instagram

Instagram is getting bigger and bigger, with celebrities and brands among those sharing images on the social app. If you’re new to Instagram, it can be a bit overwhelming, so here we take you step-by-step through how to use Instagram in our complete guide.

Update January 2017: Two new features are now rolling out to Instagram: wide colour and Live Photo support. Live Photos support for Instagram Stories has also been added, which lets you add GIFs to Stories without using Boomerang. There are is now also a Live Video mode to play with.

How to use Instagram: Download the app

The first thing you’ll need to do in order to use Instagram is download the app. There is an Instagram website but it’s very limited – you can’t upload new images there, only view them and like or comment on them.

You can download the app from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store.

Once you’ve downloaded Instagram, read on to find out how to master the app.

How to use Instagram: Create an account

Once the app has downloaded, you’ll want to create an account. When you launch the app you should see a link at the bottom of the screen that reads: “Don’t have an account? Sign Up.” Click that to start the process of signing up to Instagram.

You can sign up with Facebook, or sign up using your phone number or email address. You’ll then be asked to create a username and password. Your username is a lot like a Twitter handle in that it’ll be the name your followers will see when you post a new photo or when they tag you in a photo, so choose wisely.

You can also add your full name and a profile photo if you wish to.

Once you’re done, you’ll be offered the chance to find your Facebook friends on Instagram, then contacts from your phone. You can skip by tapping at the bottom of the screen if you’d prefer not to.

How to use Instagram: Search

If you’ve followed all of the steps above, you’ll now have created an Instagram account. Congrats! Now, you’ll see the Explore screen, which lets you search for photos posted by other Instagram users from around the world.

Tap the search bar at the top to search for a topic, hashtag, person or place. Use the tabs along the top of the search screen to find what you’re looking for.

How to use Instagram: Explore

If you’re not looking for anything in particular, you’ll see popular and personalised suggestions on the Explore page.

To return to the Explore page at any time, tap the magnifying glass button in the navigation bar along the bottom.

How to use Instagram: How to share a photo

To share a photograph on Instagram, you can tap the square icon in the centre of the navigation bar.

From there, you can choose Library for photos and videos you’ve already captured that are stored on your phone, Photo to take a new photograph within Instagram, or Video to capture a new video within Instagram.

Videos can be three to 15 seconds long, and you can stop and start the recording simply by letting go of the big red record button and then pressing and holding it again when you want to record more.

How to zoom in on Instagram

If you physically can’t move closer to the subject of your photo you can zoom in on Instagram when using the camera. You just need to pinch zoom – in simple terms, touch the screen with two fingers and move them away from each other to zoom in.

How to use Instagram: Edit photos

Once you’ve chosen your image, tap next to go to the filters and image editing tools. You’ll first be able to swipe through and apply filters by tapping on them at the bottom of the article.

The sun icon lets you change the brightness and contrast of the image, and you can use the slider to change the effect. When you’re happy, tap the + to apply.

For the finer details, tap the Edit button at the bottom of the screen play around with the options. We like to up the structure for a more crisp-looking image, and we often add vignette or tilt shift when we’re feeling creative.

 

How to use Instagram: Share photos

When you’re happy with the edits you’ve made, tap next. You can now add a caption to your image, and include hashtags to help people find it.

You can also tag people, add your location, and if you’ve connected your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Flickr accounts you can share the image there directly from within Instagram too. To connect your accounts, tap on the relevant option on the share screen and log in.

If you want to share your image with a select few people, you can tap Direct at the top of the page and select the Instagrammers you want to share it with.

Tap Share at the bottom of the screen and your Instagram photo has been shared!

 

 

 

How to use Instagram: Boomerang

In addition to adding a photo in the traditional way described previously, Instagram also has some additional options for sharing photos which we’ll talk about next.

First is Boomerang, but in order to use this you’ll need to install the Boomerang app. You can do this by going tapping the square icon in the middle of Instagram’s navigation menu, then tapping the Infinity symbol to the right of the centre of the screen, which looks like a folded loop. You’ll then be asked to Install Boomerang.

Once installed, you can quickly add a Boomerang to Instagram by capturing it (it’s a one second video clip that will loop infinitely) and then pressing the Instagram button. That will transport you right into Instagram where you can follow the steps outlined previously to share that Boomerang with your followers.

Similarly, you can install Layout to quickly add a collage of photos by pressing the icon next to Boomerang and following similar steps.

 

How to use Instagram: Activity

Now, you might start to see likes, follows and comments on your newly shared Instagram photo. Those will appear in the Activity section, which you can access by tapping the speech bubble icon in the navigation bar at the bottom of the app.

There, you’ll see all of your recent activity, including new followers, mentions, tags and likes.

By tapping following, you can see what the people you follow have been liking, and who they’ve started following too.

 

 

How to use Instagram: How to pinch to zoom on photos and videos

In August 2016, Instagram rolled out and update, in order to allow you to zoom on photos and videos on your Activity feed.

The update allows both iOS and Android users pinch zoom on images and videos.

To do this, simply find a photo or video you wish to zoom in on, and pinch with two fingers to enlarge it on your phone’s display. Due to the nature of the update, you’ll have to keep your fingers on-screen in order for the zoom to work.

 

How to use Instagram: Your account

The last icon in the navigation bar is usually your profile picture or a little person symbol. That’s where you can have a look at your account and edit your profile.

Tapping the Pin icon will show you a map of your Instagram posts if you’ve been tagging your location, and the person icon will show the photos you’ve been tagged in.

If you don’t like the idea of your Instagram posts showing where you’ve been, you can keep your whereabouts private using this tutorial: How to remove location from Instagram

How to use Instagram: Stories

A newer feature in Instagram that’ll be familiar with Snapchat users is Stories. These are a series of photos and/or videos that are shared with your followers for one day before disappearing (and being replaced by the next day’s story should you create one).

To create a Story, simply swipe right and press once for a photo, hold for a video. You can also change the mode to Boomerang or Hands Free (for a timer). You can add annotations and illustrations to these images too.

With Mentions you can now tag people in stories. When you add text to your story, type “@” followed by a username and select the person. When someone taps the mention, they’ll see a pop-up that takes them to that profile. Plus, the person mentioned gets a push notification.

‘See More’ Links allow those with verified accounts add links which can be viewed without leaving the app. When you see this, just tap “See More” or swipe up.

How to use Instagram: New features

nstagram has been rolling out Live Video for Stories to users to kick off 2017 too. If it’s not yet available for you, keep checking back in the Stories screen (by swiping right) to see if there’s a Live Video option next to ‘Normal’.

To start live video, swipe right from feed to open the camera, tap the “Start Live Video” button. You can stay live up to an hour, and your friends might get a notification. While live, you can pin a comment for everyone to see or turn comments off.

If someone else starts a live story, you’ll see “Live” under their profile photo in the stories bar.

How to use Instagram: New features

You’ll can also now send disappearing photos and videos directly to groups and individuals.

Swipe right to bring up the camera to take a photo or video, then tap the arrow to send it privately. You can send to groups and individual friends at the same time. Unlike other messages in Direct, these photos and videos disappear from your friends’ inboxes after they have seen them. You can see if they replayed it or took a screenshot.

You can only send disappearing photos and videos to people who follow you.

To open your inbox, tap the new paper plane icon or just swipe left. Disappearing photos and videos will be shown in a bar at the top. You can tap the ones with blue rings to see them. In a group, you can see everyone’s responses – and who else has seen them – in a slideshow format. You can then tap the faded profile photo to reply.

 

Social networks became very important in presenting yourself to the world. Whether you like to promote yourself, followers for instagram your business or if you are an artist, it can be hard to collect social follows and likes. Gaining these can make you get noticed on Instagram, but it takes a lot of time and business cannot wait that long. We offer a solution to get instant boost from real profiles who will follow you and like your posts.

To get started, connect your Instagram account to InstAmigos. Once you’re connected, you will be allowed to access our dashboard.

Now that you’re in the InstAmigos dashboard, you’ll want to setup your account to target the type of audience you want to engage with.

Once you have perfected your settings press the Save & Start button. Now, sit back, and enjoy your new organic fans and engagement.