Instagram your way to fame

“A picture is worth a thousand words”

We have all heard this saying, but in terms of the future of social media, sharing visual content will continue to dominate other content. A photo sharing application turned website that is gaining power as a social media marketing platform is Instagram.


Instagram is a smart phone photo-sharing application created in October 2010. This platform allows users to take photos, apply filters and share these throughout their social media. A user can “follow” another user, and then “like” or comment on their pictures. With over 100 million users and recently acquired by Facebook, Instagram should be integrated into every marketing campaign.

The Basics of using Instagram

Building an Instagram profile with both an informative about me section and using brand logo as a profile picture, will build confidence with potential consumers.

Although most personal profiles feature pictures of food and self-portraits, businesses need a better strategy in order to engage followers.  Here are some guidelines for creating a successful Instagram strategy:

Focus on Brand

By focusing on your “brand”, a company’s mission and vision and the culture of the company can be conveyed through visual content. Deciding what kind of photos are going to be posted and how they will tell your “brand” story are both strategic decisions that need to be made before a profile is created. LuLu Lemon uses their Instagram to post photos of their flash mob yoga sessions and marathons they participate in, reinforcing their “Sweat Once a Day” slogan.


Engaging Content

After deciding on the strategy you want to use, it is important to post photos that are visually pleasing. Photos that are interesting and engaging will encourage more followers. One way to give users a more human feel to your company is posting behind the scenes photos. Lulu Lemon posts pictures of their employees with gear on or participating in events (eg. LA Marathon). Another way to maintain engagement is vary the type of content posted, such as inspirational quotes, product photos and event photos.

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Find Revelant Followers

Doing research on competitor’s sites will help to find relevant potential followers. Research what type of photos they “like” and what hashtags they are using, therefore you can form your strategy, catering to your potential audience.

Power of Crowdsourcing

Instagram is similar to Twitter in the way that it uses the power of crowd sourcing for earned media. With Instagram, a user can “hashtag” any term or group of terms in the comment section of a photo. “Hashtags” are then grouped together and can be searched. These hashtags can be brand-specific, such as LuLu Lemon’s #thesweatlife, or generic, such as Patagonia’s #camping.

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A popular social media tactic is to host a photo contest on Instagram and promoting it throughout other online media. This is a great way to get exposure and gain a large amount of followers in a short time. National Geographic recently hosted a photo contest called “Untamed Americas”, where users could post a photo of the “Americas” with the hashtag #UntamedAmericas for the chance to win a Nikon digital SLR camera.


 Share, Share, Share

The key to creating a successful integrated marketing campaign online is sharing content over all social media platforms. This goes for Instagram as well, there are options to share with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Email, Flickr, and foursquare. Hint: If you are going to connect your Facebook profile page, keep in mind that the hashtags have no significance.

Instagram is a promising new social media platform, but must have a planned strategy similar to any other. I believe that this may soon be the leader of visual content. Do you think that Instagram will continue to grow as rapidly? What are your favorite companies that have an Instagram? Leave me a comment or email me at


Red Bull’s YouTube Takeover

When talking about social media, most people think about Facebook and Twitter, maybe even Instagram, but forget about the powerful tool that is YouTube.


According to a January 2013 study by CopyPress, video provides the second best ROI in comparison to other content marketing. YouTube has 800 million unique visitors per month and over 400 billion hours of video watched each month. It is spread across 53 countries and 61 languages, making it one of the most powerful tools on the Internet today.   YouTube is a video sharing website created in 2005, based on the idea of user generated content. The cost for YouTube is similar to other social media, but requires a higher level of digital knowledge. Users can comment on videos, subscribe to users, and share video on a multitude of other social media platforms. YouTube has grown to be a powerful tool for marketers because YouTube’s search algorithm offers users video suggestions based on their interests. This direct marketing basically tells people what to watch and seeks out potential customers. Many SEO experts have yet to penetrate the YouTube search market, but with YouTube being the third most visited site on the Internet, why wouldn’t businesses want to utilize video marketing?


A company that has mastered the use of YouTube is RedBull. With over 516 million video views and 1.8 million subscribers,Red Bull is taking viral videos for actions sports by storm.

Red Bull is an Austrian energy drink company created in 1987, selling on average 4.6 billion cans per year, making it the most popular energy drink in the world. Since Red Bull’s inception it has gained a prominent role in the action and extreme sports world. By sponsoring athletes, hosting “Flugtag”, buying a Formula 1 race car, and putting on sports events worldwide; they have solidified their image as an extreme brand. Their widely known slogan, “Red Bull gives you wings” is used throughout their marketing activities and inspires many of their campaigns.

Red Bull joined YouTube in June of 2008, posting a video of professional BMX rider Kyle Strait demonstrating a BMX trick. Their how-to videos soon transformed into a personal vlog for athletes and videos of their sports events.  Throughout Red Bull’s YouTube history, you can trace their progression from solely summer sports to winter sports and beyond. Recently, Red Bull has expanded into rap battles, dance competitions, and art. Their YouTube channel does not show commercials for the drink, but implies that by drinking Red Bull anyone can achieve their goals. Red Bull is constantly trying to achieve greater things, break records and, overall be awesome! This brand culture is highly emphasized in their videos.

Throughout the years, Red Bull has had several international web series using YouTube as a platform. One named “Flugtag Roadies” gives a voice to the employees behind their flugtag event. Another series they have is named Red Bull Stash, which is a national scavenger hunt. Both of these videos are filmed both unprofessionally and professionally giving an authentic feel.

In early 2010, a man named Felix Baumgartner approached Red Bull with an idea to do the highest free-fall jump ever attempted. On October 14, 2012, Baumgartner and Red Bull put on a stratosphere dive over New Mexico, named Red Bull Stratos. During the process, Baumgartner broke the sound barrier and three world records along with it. The video of this sky dive was live streaming on YouTube and soon became viral. The video now has over 36 million views and 130,000 likes.

This led to a spike in sales of their product and buzz about the company. Red Bull’s YouTube marketing campaigns are creating engagement throughout the rest of their social media and other companies are taking note. It seems as though this stunt has fueled Red Bull to continue with their culture of go big or go home and I am excited to see where this company will go. One of the final statements they make in their most recent video is “the only limit is the one you set yourself”.

Do you think YouTube is the next gold mine of Internet marketing? What have you done to go beyond your limits? Tell me your opinions in the comments below or email me at