Are you sharing your brand with customers and fans through pictures on Instagram? Why not? As you probably know, Facebook owns Instagram, and according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Instagram is growing faster than Facebook did at that age and now has more than 100 million users. Instagram is clearly a hotspot of activity, and if your marketing strategy is to go where the eyeballs are … then your brand needs to be needs to be on Instagram.
Lots of big brands are already on Instagram, using it as part of their social media strategy and doing it right. What does that mean? It means they are:
- Sharing interesting images
- Racking up the followers
- Sharing their brand personality
- Engaging users
- Posting regularly
Surprisingly, Instagram is still holding off on advertising … for now, but that hasn’t stopped big brands from holding court on the platform.
Starbucks was an early adopter and now has over 1.2 million followers on Instagram. Their photos consist of their products featured anywhere and everywhere, the magic behind the scenes, in-store experiences from around the world, and how new coffee flavors are chosen and tested. This is a brand that knows how to celebrate the artistic and how to tap into emotional connections. They welcome other users to “Tag your coffee photos with #Starbucks!” I don’t drink coffee, but I follow them for the pure joy of seeing a company do social media well.
Victoria’s Secret has almost 2 million followers on Instagram and has lots and lots of photos of scantily dressed, beautiful women. Victoria’s Secret is building a loyalty program with a new mobile photo-sharing contest that rewards consumers with shopping sprees for taking creative pictures based on certain themes each week. Very engaging marketing! Beautiful models and free shopping sprees … I wonder if they have more male followers or female followers?!
Nike has more than 1.5 millions followers on Instagram. They feature shoes. Lots and lots of Nike shoes. People wearing Nikes, Nikes arranged artistically and well, and more Nikes. As part of their NikeiD campaign, users can design their own Nike gear … and Instagram users can select their favorite Instagram shots as the background for the Nike Air Max model of their choice, and then share the shot over Instagram and other social media platforms. I’m not a runner, but their photos make me want to go out and buy a pair of Nikes and start running. (Don’t hold me to it!)
MTV has around 1.3 millions followers on Instagram. They feature musicians, bands, festivals and trendy, hip entertainment topics. This year, for the first time, movie fans were able to vote using Instagram photos and hashtags in the MTV Movie Awards’ Best Hero category. Their photos receive thousands of likes, hundreds of comments and are updated several times a day, at least. If you like sweaty rock stars, this is a brand you’ll want to follow.
Other brands getting close to the million mark:
- E! Online
- Red Bull
- Marc Jacobs
- Tiffany & Co
Instagram is an opportunity for brands create visually appealing content to engage with their fans. I follow several brands in my Instagram feed: NPR, Starbucks, Dallas Morning News and a few more.
Is your brand utilizing Instagram in their social media marketing strategy?
Which brands are doing it right on Instagram in your opinion?
Social media is a fast-growing, ever-changing industry, and it can be a challenge for those in the know to keep up with the ever-evolving lingo and social media terms. Every industry has its own language, and here are some of the basic terms and definitions of social media:
Social Media Terms
Bitly – A free service to shorten URLs, making them easier to share on social media platforms. Here’s Whole Foods using a Bitly in their recent tweet.
Blog – This is a “Web Log” that individuals or companies use to share commentary, such as updates, graphics, or videos. Zappos has an active company blog.
Bookmarking – The process of saving a URL in order to access it at a later date. There are different bookmarking platforms, but Google also offers a spot to bookmark sites.
Hashtag – A tag used to categorize and organize comments on Twitter. Always preceded by the pound symbol “#.” Starbucks asks users to tag Instagram photos with the hashtag #starbucks, and they use a lot of different hashtags in their Twitter feed. Here’s one they use often #ExtraShotOfGood.
Infographic – A graphic with information and data shared easily through social media sites. Here’s an example of How to Create an Infographic from Mashable
Klout – A social media analytics service that gives you a score based on how involved and influential you are in the social media world. Check out these Top social media influencers klout scores.
Like – A way to show approval on Facebook. You actually click a “Like” button. You can “like” a brand, which allows you to receive their status updates in your news feed, or you can just like a specific status update. Here you can choose to “like” Disney World’s page or “like” this status.
Links – A hyperlink, a way to connect directly to another web page, accessible by one easy click. This blog post is full of links to other sites, but here’s a link to the Splash Media YouTube channel, just for emphasis.
Link building – A search engine optimization (SEO) tactic where you strategically link to other sites (usually blogs) to increase your own site’s search engine ranking.
Meme – A thought, idea, joke, or concept that is shared online through social media sites. It’s typically an image with text, but can also be a video. The Grumpy Cat meme won Meme of the Year at the 17th Annual Webby Awards.
Microblogging – Content sharing platforms that restrict the amount of data that you can share. Twitter is considered a microblogging platform, as is Tumblr.
Permalink – The specific URL to a web page or blog post. The links within this blog post are all permalinks to specific pages.
Podcast – An episodic series of audio radio, video, PDF, or ePub files subscribed to and downloaded through web syndication or streamed online to a computer or mobile device. I get most of the podcasts I listen to from iTunes.
RSS Feed – “Really Simple Syndication” is a format used to easily share frequently updated content, such as news sites, blog posts and videos. Here’s a link to the Splash Media blog feed, where you can subscribe and receive our blog updates through email.
Sentiment – The attitude of user comments related to a brand online. Amy’s Baking Company has recently received extremely negative sentiment from Facebook users for their alleged bad customer service. (read through the comments to see what I’m talking about)
SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via unpaid or organic search traffic. Google defines SEO.
Skype – A service that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users. If you haven’t “skyped” someone, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Tag – Is a term assigned to a piece of information so that you can describe the information and find it again. (Commonly used in blogging) At the bottom of this blog post by The Pioneer Woman, you can see she has used the tags “dogs” and “random critters.”
Traffic – Is the amount of data sent and received by visitors to a web page. Most websites monitor how many visitors they receive and how many pages are viewed. Google Analytics is a good tool to measure your web traffic.
Tweeps – A nickname referring to Twitter Followers.
Tweet – A message sent through Twitter that is no longer than 140-characters. Surprisingly, you can say a lot with very few words. Here’s an award-winning tweet from the Mars Curiosity Team.
This glossary of terms just touches a small portion of social media terms, but they are some of the most critical. Did we miss any? Are there any social media terms out there that you don’t understand?
Back in January, we asked you what six seconds could do for your company branding strategy with the advent of the new Vine app. Now, months later, we have our answer. According to Mashable, Vine has become one of the top iPhone apps of 2013 and one of the most popular social media networks since the 2010 launch of Instagram. In fact, Vine was the number one app in the U.S. App Store on April 9, 2013.
Six seconds is not much time to grab your audience’s attention. You have to be concise and creative. The good news: Vine videos are cheap to make and the perfect length of time for our ever-present short attention spans. And some big brands have been having a lot of fun exploring this new social media medium:
- USA Today – Every day, USA Today shows a quick teaser of the day’s headlines and topics.
- Lowes – Lowes Vine videos are really useful home improvement tips and lifehacks. Have a stripped screw? Use a rubber band with a screwdriver, no problem! They’ve even given their campaign a hashtag #lowesfixinsix.
- General Electric – General Electric shows off their innovative brand personality in their Vine videos. They were one of the first brands to dive into Vine and ramp up engagement, leaving viewers curious about what they’ll do next. Wanna know what happens when you combine milk, food coloring and dish soap?
- Rolling Stone – Rolling Stone Magazine has huge engagement. They often make videos asking the question, “Guess who is on the cover?” with a magazine covered in sticky notes or cigarettes or something that gives a clue to the answer hiding underneath.
- Trident Gum – Trident uses Vine to showcase their gum in unique ways. A never-ending pack of gum? Trident magic tricks? They’re definitely having fun.
- Urban Outfitters – Urban Outfitters uses their Vine account to display their products in fun ways. They share their new clothing lines, trendy collections and store displays … as well as bulldogs and spinning models.
It’s all about brand personality. These six brands have not only worked their brand personality into Vine, they’ve incorporated Vine into their marketing pretty effectively, don’t you agree? Which company uses it the best? What other companies are using Vine effectively?
Slack to share his insights and social media expertise from 11am to noon (Eastern) on April 29, 2013.
DALLAS, Texas—Paul Slack, President of Splash Media University, will be a guest on Milehiradio.com on Monday, April 29, 2013, from 11am-Noon (Eastern). Paul will share his social media marketing expertise while being interviewed by Deb Krier, who hosts a weekly show on social media marketing.
Slack has been in front of over 20,000 C-level executives, training them on how to use social media marketing effectively for businesses of all sizes. “I’m excited to speak with Milehiradio’s audience and hopefully impart a few new ideas for them to use in their businesses right away,” Slack said.
Splash Media University is an accredited school that offers online education on Social Media Marketing through a certification program called the Master Social Media Marketing Certification.
MileHiRadio.com is an Internet-based radio station dedicated to great music—with emphasis on deserving Indie artists and groups—and best-of-breed talk radio shows with national and international appeal. MileHiRadio.com programming intertwines both “talk” and “music” formats. Programming originates from across the U.S. and from international locations as well.
ABOUT SPLASH MEDIA
Based in Dallas, Splash Media is one of the largest firms in the United States to provide full social media marketing services for businesses around the world. Splash Media designs customized social media strategies for clients, provides text and video content, incorporates traditional Internet marketing and SEO, and monitors online reputations and brand mentions.
Splash Media’s unique services for clients include a $5.3 million video production facility using state-of-the-art virtual reality sets and an Emmy Award-winning video production staff. The blend of interactive digital marketing and leading edge video results in compelling content that drives new business leads and creates thriving online communities for clients.
Splash Media also offers its own software product: SplashCube™, a one-of-a-kind social media management tool that grades businesses on their use of social networks and provides real-time guidance for building online communities; and Splash Media U, the first training and certification program for those wanting a career in social media marketing. Visit http://www.splashmediau.com for more information.
This annual event showcases college students and recent graduates’ innovative business plans that are designed to succeed fiscally and make the world a better place.
When the third annual Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures™ Business Plan Competition takes place April 19-20 on the campus of Texas Christian University, Chris Kraft, co-founder of Splash Media LP, will be among those to judge the innovative ideas presented by some of the finest collegiate minds in the world. He’ll also be keeping a keen eye on the interest this event generates in the social media world.
“I’ve had the privilege of participating as a judge in this unique event for the past two years. The vision of the Values and Ventures competition is just as entrepreneurial as the teams competing,” Kraft said. “Social media represents a tremendous opportunity for The Neeley School of Business at TCU to leverage the participants, students, faculty and guests at this amazing event to share their experiences with the rest of the world and amplify those conversations through social media channels.”
Kraft’s company, Splash Media, is the largest provider of social media strategy and marketing services in the Southwest and one of the sponsors of the Values and Ventures Competition. He assembled a team of social media strategists and practitioners and tasked them with creating a comprehensive social media marketing strategy that incorporates all the major social media platforms—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instragram, Google+ and a blog—into a working plan that would bring The TCU Neeley School of Business at TCU into the center of the social media world, before, during and after the event.
This team’s efforts did not stop with strategy, however. They also met with Neeley representatives and walked through exactly how to set up the platforms, how to execute the strategy, and how to measure results. Neeley representatives also had free access to the accredited Splash Media University and its nearly 500 training videos to ensure they had a complete understanding of how to leverage social media to its fullest extent.
“The strategy and training we received from Splash Media is phenomenal,” said Ann McDonald, Director of the Value and Ventures Program. “We will be able to fully facilitate and participate in conversations via social media throughout the competition like never before. Fully leveraging social media will bring us closer to our competitors in this year’s event, as well as help us in our recruiting efforts for future events.”
This year’s Values and Ventures Competition brings together teams representing 28 schools from across the United States and as far away as Croatia, Scotland, Mexico and Canada. During the two-day competition, each team will present a business venture designed to succeed fiscally and make the world a better place. The winning team receives $15,000, with $10,0000 going to the runner-up and $5,000 for third place. In addition, a $5,000 energy independence award will be presented to the team whose plan best demonstrates that concept best.
The Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition takes place at TCU’s Brown-Lupton University Union, 2901 Stadium Drive in Fort Worth, Texas. The event is free and open to the public.
Follow the two-day competition at http://www.facebook.com/neeleyschoolofbusinessattcu, on Twitter @NeeleySchoolTCU #tcuvv13, and live at http://www.neeley.tcu.edu/livestream Saturday 9am-1pm for finalists’ presentations, and Saturday evening beginning at 7pm for announcements of winners.
For more information about the Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures Business Plan Competition, or to learn more about TCU, visit the school’s website.
ABOUT SPLASH MEDIA
Splash Media, LP, based in Dallas, Texas, is one of the largest companies in the United States to provide full social media marketing services for small and midsize businesses around the world. Splash Media designs customized social media strategies for clients, provides text and video content, incorporates traditional internet marketing and SEO, and monitors online reputations and brand mentions.
Splash Media’s unique services for clients include a $5.5 million video production facility using state-of-the-art virtual reality backgrounds and an Emmy Award-winning video production staff. The blend of interactive digital marketing and leading-edge video results in compelling content that can drive new business leads and create thriving online communities for customers.
Splash Media also offers its own software product: SplashCube™, a one-of-a-kind social media management tool that grades businesses on their use of social networks and provides real-time guidance for building online communities; and Splash Media U™, the first online HD video university offering on-demand social media marketing training to businesses of all sizes.