Five Instagram Tips Part 10

Let’s try to keep this going (talking to myself). Weekly Instagram tips are back on the top of my list, so hope these ones are once again helpful/useful for you.

Instagram has gained a lot of traction in the past year. And even though I’m still a big fan of the platform, I also notice how hard it is to interact with your audience on Instagram. And even though that might be just what some are looking for, being social on social media is key to it’s success for most. Or ROI as you will, as most companies have to make sure they see a Return On Investment (of time/manpower). While people most of the time people hardly question the use of the telephone or email, they do with social media, as most of it see it as another marketing tool. But how priceless is it really to interact with your fans and followers? Here’s a tool that let’s you interact with your past/present/future consumers, isn’t that good for your business/brand in the long run? And a picture tells a 1000 words, so let the photo do the initial talking, and then jump in later for the interaction.

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1. Promote your name/brand hashtag & the other “branded” hashtag

Assuming people will find you and know what hashtag(s) you want them to use is not easy in a day and age where so much is going on. You can blame that on the smartphone and social media for most of it, but you can use this in your own advantage. Adapt or die right?

So promote your brand name as as hashtag in all your other marketing efforts (print ads, back of a sticker, on a sign during events, via your sponsored athletes, your employees, retailers, etc) and of course in your Instagram (and Twitter) profile. This is the gateway to your brand/name for most people. So at the first point of contact you have a change to explain who you are, and what you want your audience to use when the post something about you.

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Since you can only see the last 50 likes/tags on Instagram, it’s hard to keep track of the people that tag you. So here is where the hashtags come in handy. I totally get that you want to promote #yourbrand, but most people might now want to use that all the time. This is where your slogan or campain tagline comes into play. Make sure the 2nd hashtag does NOT contain your brand name. It looks tacky and it shows that you are trying to hard. When people really start to use this it will become synonymous with your brand name.
Best example, in skateboarding, is the Nike SB hashtag #skateeverydamnday. Other good examples are #theyturnandstuff (from Krux trucks) and #skatemore (from DVS Skateboarding).
As I’m writing this (May 2013) the hashtag #skateeverydamnday has been used more than 300,000 times on Instagram. It’s used by a lot of skateboarders around the world, even by some who are sponsored by other shoe brands. That’s when you known it’s a real success. Which die hard skateboarder wouldn’t want to tell the world he/she is skating “every damn day”?

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2. Interact with your 2 main hashtags
So now that you have people using your #notthebrandname hashtag, as well as the #brandname hashtag, you have a chance to reach out and interact with these people. And I know this might get full-time job (hint?), but people will go crazy if their favorite brand/famous person will “like” their photo. Or even better, will leave a comment on the photo. Chances are they will take a screenshot of your like or comment, so all their followers see that you actually talk back. How rad would it be if the brand of the product you just bought, and posted a photo about on Instagram, comes back to you and says thank you for buying the product? Think that will have an impact on the brand perception? Think the chances just increased that you will buy that brand again? I think so too.

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3. Don’t abuse the hashtags
One of the problems with hashtags that become popular is that people start using them to get more followers, and adding them to photos that have nothing to do with the subject. This is where the term “MySpace photo” pops back up. Lots of selfies and other bullshit now comes up in the feed when you look up certain hashtag. Best is obviously to not do anything with these photos. I guess if you have lots of time on your hand you can start to comment on them and saying the need to chill out, but you’re never gonna win that battle…. Just stay away from it yourself. 13 years olds grow up eventually and they will get it someday. But don’t bet on that.

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4. Stay away from the most used hashtags
Yeah, I know, we all want to get more followers right. Justin Bieber has 8.3 million Instagram followers (May 2013) and it’s totally reasonable for you to get at least half of that. Within the next month. Yeah right. And the trick to your followers explosion is more hashtags. Especially the ones that everyone uses.
How many friends can you really have if you’re not famous? Best trick on getting more followers? Post great photos. Good content always wins. And of course make sure other people, preferably those with a lot of followers, tag you (more then once).

The no go hashtag list for me contains of #followme #swag #lol #instagdaily #popularpage #like #picstitch #10likes #20likes #30likes…. yeah you get it…. Embarrassing.
Huffington Post made a top 100 of most used Instagram hashtags, and I’m glad to say I’ve never used most of them….. #tbt and #friends might be the only 2.

5. Tag others when you can (as they most likely will do the same)
Tagging others in an Instagram post is a way of letting your followers know who else they should follow. It’s a stamp of approval more or less. And once they see that you tag them they will most likely do the same in the future. It’s all about supporting those who support you right?

Have a question? Feedback? Drop a comment here or tag me (@fredvanschie) on Instagram or Twitter.  Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 9 from a while back. Until next time! Quite possibly next week….

Five Twitter Tips Part 5

It’s been too long since I’ve posted some Twitter tips, but I’m trying to get back into a weekly, or bi-weekly, post. Hope some of these are useful for you.

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1. Link up your Instagram and Twitter
I don’t think you should feed your Instagram updates to Twitter every single time. 1-2 out of every 5 Instagram photos can go to your Twitter, if the text is short enough (max. 120 characters) and the tagged accounts have the same username on both platforms.
Even if you don’t feed Instagram to Twitter, which would the best option, other might do so. And if they do you want to make sure that if they tag you on Instagram, that the tag translates to Twitter. So if their friends so the tweet they can click on your username and look you up, and possibly follow you.
To link your Instagram account to Twitter open the Instagram app on your phone, click on the “wheel” in the upper right corner, and then click “Share Settings”. If you already are logged into the Twitter app on your phone, you can select the Twitter account. Otherwise you’d have to log in to Twitter and approve the setup.

(*If you have more then 9 Twitter accounts on your phone it only shows the last 9 accounts you have added to your phone. If the account you want to link is above the first 9 delete that account of the Twitter app and add it again.)

Ps. Even if you don’t have the same username on Twitter and Instagram you can link the accounts. If people then tag you on Instagram, it will automatically translate into the Twitter username once it gets posted on Twitter. I’m all about having the same username on ALL platforms, especially on Twitter and Instagram. It looks way better, it’s easier for people to find you (and know it’s you), and in the end it’s a huge part of your branding in 2013!

2. Don’t end a tweet with a URL if you also include an image.
When you add an image to a tweet (including an Instagram post), Twitter turns it into a URL at the end of the tweet. If you want to also include a(nother) URL in your tweet, it’s best to not end the tweet with that URL, as it would display 2 URLs in a row. Looks confusing for people, and they might only click on one of the URLs. If you really want/need to include a URL in the tweet, it’s best to put the URL earlier in the tweet. If needed you can always put 1 or more hashtags after the URL. That way both URLs aren’t right next to each other.

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Or, especially if you’re trying to promote an event/product with a flyer, or post a YouTube/Vimeo video, focus on that and aim to have people interact and share that, rather then trying to have them do multiple things. You only have a few seconds of someone’s attention most of the time, so make the most of it. Realize what the goal of the tweet is….

3. Fill in your profile
A lot of times when I look up a person or brand on Twitter, they don’t really display any info. I understand in some cases you want to stay low-key, but then you might be in the wrong place anyway….
You have 160 characters for your bio, and make sure you put in a website URL where people can found out more information. If people take the time to look you up, make it worth their time. If your profile has no info, what does that say about you?

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4. Upload a header
As most people look at Twitter from a mobile device (60%), I’m not to worried about the background image. It’s also hard to size it correctly since everyone has a different size screen.
The Twitter header, which was introduced in the fall of 2012, can be seen on both mobile and desktop, and you should upload one.
To upload a header just log in to your Twitter account on a computer. Once you are logged in hoover your mouse over your profile picture (you have that right?) and then click “EDIT”. The original image size for the Twitter header cannot exceed 1252×626 pixels (with a max file size of 5MB). Twitter does not specify a minimum size, but anything smaller than 640 pixels-wide will appear poor quality.

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On mobile the header is shown separate. Swipe the profile picture to the left and you can see the header with the profile information.(On a desktop it’s all displayed at once)

5. Don’t link Twitter to Facebook
Different platforms, different languages. Twitter has a max of 140 characters (or 120 + an image), hashtags don’t work on Facebook (yet), and each platform has a different audience. And if you tag someone on Twitter, that tag won’t translate to Facebook. And tagging others is the best way to get seen by more people.
Go to facebook.com/Twitter to unlink your Twitter to Facebook feed. Spent 1 extra minute to update Twitter and Facebook (and Instagram) separate and increase the reach of each post. Unless you don’t want as many people as possible to see, and share, your updates….
I see a lot of brands post on Instagram and then feed that to their Twitter and Facebook page. Not only do all 3 platforms display the same content (boring), but most of the time they also display a broken message. And don’t tell me you don’t have 1-2 extra minutes to tell the world about your amazing content….

Hope these tips are useful. Let me know if you have any questions. Email me at fred@fredvanschie.com or hit me up on Twitter or Instagram @fredvanschie.
Hope to be back next week!

How to link Instagram to a Facebook Page

The question I get asked the most is how to make sure your (brand’s) Instagram account can feed into your (brand’s) Facebook Page. While it’s pretty simply to have an Instagram account feed into a personal Facebook profile, it’s a little more complicated to have Instagram go to a Facebook Page. Just a little bit though….

A while back I made a tutorial email that I’ve been sending out a bunch, so I figured I put it up on here so everyone can see it. And save myself a couple emails, ha!

One more thing before I show the step-by-step tutorial, I do NOT recommend feeding your Instagram photos to a Facebook page. The main reason is that the Facebook edgerank (=algorithm) sees any link from outside of Facebook as a way to get people away from Facebook, and therefore it gets ranked lower. The result is that way less people will see an Instagram photo on a Facebook Page (in compare to a photo directly uploaded to a Facebook Page). And less views on a post means the Talking About This** number is going down, which will result in a lower post reach in the (near) future.
Another reason to not feed Instagram to a Facebook Page (or profile) is that the tagged accounts won’t translate into Facebook. And tagging others (on any social media platform) is the best way to grow your fan base and increase the reach of a post.

(**Talking About This number should be 10-15% of your total Facebook fans/likes)

Please make sure you are logged in to the Facebook and Facebook Pages (orange flag) apps before you start!

Step 1: Log in in to the Instagram app on your phone with the account you want to share on the Facebook Page. Then log into your personal Facebook profile on your smart phone. (And make sure you are an admin of the Facebook Page)

Step 2: Open the Instagram Instagram and click on the lower right tab (on the bottom). From there click on the wheel in the upper right corner.
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Step 3:
Click on the “Share Settings” button.
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Step 4a: Click on the “Facebook” button. It will now ask you to sign in to your personal Facebook profile. Follow the steps. It might open up Facebook for a second and come back to Instagram. It might even do this twice. Don’t touch anything, just let it pull it up and wait for it to be completely done.
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Step 4b: Click “No” so you’re not sharing your Instagram likes to your personal Facebook profile. Unless you want to display the sketchy stuff you like on Instagram to your Facebook friends. (You’re Instagram followers already can see that, so you’re already getting it out there, don’t worry)
FB-to-Insta-6 Step 4c: You don’t really have to do anything, just making sure the “Facebook” button is now displaying the name of your personal Facebook profile.FB-to-Insta-4

Step 5: Click on the “Facebook” button and it should now show “Wall (Default)”
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Step 6: Click on “Wall (Default)” and now you see a list of all the Facebook pages you are an admin off. Select the one you want and you’ll see the check mark behind the Facebook Page you’ve selected.
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Step 7: Now go to the upper left corner and click on “Facebook”, “Sharing”, “Options”, and “Profile” and you’re back to your Instagram profile tab/page. Now it’s time to test it out!
If this doesn’t work sign out of the Instagram and Facebook app on your phone, uninstall both app and then re-install both apps. After you’ve re-installed both apps turn off your phone and turn it back on. Then log in to Instagram and Facebook again and repeat the steps.

Step 8: Please don’t be lazy and feed every single Instagram photo to you Facebook page. It’s boring when both platforms (and Twitter) show exactly the same content! Besides the fact that it decreases your Facebook Page (and Post) reach, as well as making your Facebook posts look like a mess with a bunch of “@” and “#” signs…. You’re better then that!
I’d suggest to feed 1-2 out of 10 Instagram photos to your Facebook Page.

Hope this helps. Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at fred@fredvanschie.com if you still have issues or questions. Or let me know on Instagram or Twitter if this worked (or not) for you. I’m @fredvanschie.

Five Instagram Tips Part 7

Last Sunday I skipped the Instagram tips, been busy with a lot of other cool social media stuff (more on that in the near future), but for today I have another batch of 5 tips for you.



1. Instagram is growing fast, but it’s nowhere near Facebook (or Twitter)
In my eyes Instagram is by far the coolest social media platform to date, but it’s still very small in compare to Facebook and Twitter. Recently Instagram past 25 million users, which is an insane number when you realize it started in October 2010. I’m assuming most of the users are active users, meaning they upload at least one photo every month. Right now Facebook has more than 845 million active users, of which 500 million log in every day. Twitter recently passed the 500 million users, but “only” 100 million are active users. Bottomline, as rad as Instagram is, it’s reach is still limited in compare to Facebook and Twitter. And sure, you can feed all your Instagram posts into Facebook and Twitter, and that will definitely increase it’s reach, but then you aren’t optimizing each platform to it’s full potential. And it looks rather messy and lazy to me.

2. Don’t feed Instagram posts with links into Facebook and Twitter
Numerous times I’ve told you not to feed your Instagram into Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes it works for Twitter, Facebook is pretty much a no go. Maybe once a month you feed it into your Facebook page to show your Facebook fans that you have an Instagram account. A lot of times when you feed Instagram into Twitter you use more than 140 tokens (160 minus 20 for the Instagram link), so you’re already blowing it.
The worst thing to do (at the moment) is put a URL in your Instagram post, and feed that to Twitter. Why? Cause a URL isn’t clickable in Instagram, and therefore it also won’t work in Twitter. All you do is show people a picture of the link (and text). Think people are gonna type in a YouTube URL in their web browser on their phone? Hell no!

3. Don’t like your own photos or ask (beg) for a follow
No need to like your own photos. I’m assuming you uploaded something you like right? Even worse is to leave the same comment on photos posted by others, asking for people to follow you. I will never follow people that want to tell the world how bad they want extra followers. And for what, just for the number? Relax, you will get more followers. Maybe not as many as Andrew Reynolds, and that’s fine. Post some cool photos (max 3 a day), add some text and a couple relevant hashtags and give it some time.

4. Post real photos, taking with your phone
I’m guilty of this a well, but the best photos on Instagram are the ones shot a few moments before it was posted, with you iPhone. Real time! I’m posting flyers and screen shots (of this post for example) too, but Instagram is really about photos that are shot right here right now. It’s cool to show off your huge photo collection you shot with your high tech digital camera last year, but I’m way more impressed if you took a cool iPhone photo. Like this Insta photo shot by Don Brown a little while ago in Laguna Beach, CA. Simply amazing!

5. Plain product is just fucking boring
This last tips is for any social media platform, and it’s by far way underrated by a lot of people and brands. The best thing about social media is that it’s 2-way traffic. So don’t treat it like a website. I strongly believe social media is mostly about interaction, and not so much about what YOU post, especially for brands. If your website (homepage) is filled with strictly product shots that’s one thing, but please be less “business minded” when it comes to social media. It’s all about creating an emotional connection with your fans and consumers.
I get it, you sell online and you want your stuff to sell. But pushing it down people’s throat is not gonna help you out. So stop posting plain product shots! Sneak peak your designers computer screen by giving away a little bit of a future graphic, show a teamrider wearing a new product, or repost a photo from a fan/follower rocking your stuff. The best way to thank someone for buying your shit is to give them a shout out on social media. They will be stoked out of their mind, and probably gain some of your followers. And buy your stuff again, and tag your and so forth.

Sharing is caring right? Humanize your brand before it’s too late!

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 5 from last week.

Five Instagram Tips Part 2

Another batch of Instagram tips for your personal or business (brand) account.

1. Write a caption with each photo (especially when feeding it to Twitter)
The power that Instagram has over Twitter is obviously the photo. On Instagram the photo is the main feature, on Twitter it’s the text. If you attach a photo on Twitter it becomes a link, which people aren’t automatically clicking on. Your text has to convince them why they should take the time to open the photo.
When you feed an Instagram photo to twitter it also becomes a link. If you don’t write any text with it Twitter will put “posted a photo”, followed by the link to the Instagram photo. Boring, and chances are people aren’t as likely to click on the link. Regardless, I want to know your thoughts or ideas about the photo you just uploaded to the Insta feed! Or when the products you’re trying to promote is dropping, or what the price is.

I’m not the biggest fan of feeding into all the different social media platforms, but Instagram to Twitter is one of the few that actually works. I highly recommend not doing it every single time, since you want to have some unique content on both platforms.
When you feed your Instagram photo into Twitter write some text with it. Only the first 140 tokes (plus the link to the Instagram photo) show up on Twitter, so keep it short and sweet. If you tag people make sure their name is the same on twitter (doesn’t make sense to tag some random person on Twitter right?). And don’t forget a hashtag or two, as the work both on Instagram and on Twitter.

2. Geo-tag with respect
Geo-tag your location if you can. Don’t ruin a brand new street spot you just found, but hype up (the exact) location of your favorite skateshop or skatepark. Make it easy for people to find it too. As a brand or (sponsored) skateboarder you can stoke out a skateshop with this. When you visit a shop, that carries your product(s), take a photo of the storefront or of the owner/employees and give them a shout out on the Insta. Maybe even leave some promo stuff for future buyers? They’ll be thankful when even one person comes in their store to claim the promo stuff.

3. Shoot photos with your regular camera
Even though the Instagram app allows you to take a photo from within the app, I highly suggest using the regular camera (or camera +) app on the phone. Within instagram itself the camera won’t focus as well, and you can’t really zoom out. With a bigger photo (taken with the regular camera), you also have a little bit more room to play with.

4. Resize the photo right after you upload it
If you take a photo with the camera first, and then upload the photo into Instagram, it might look as if the photo is stuck in a certain position. But when you put 2 fingers on the outside parts of the photo, and move the fingers towards each other, the photo becomes free to move around. I would also do this when you want to zoom in on the photo.

5. Comment on every photo in which people (hash)tag you or your brand
Like or comment on every photo that people tag you in, especially if you are a brand, shop or sponsored skateboarder.
For brands the tags and hashtags might be a lot in a short time, and since Instagram only shows the last 50 comments and likes, it can be hard to keep track of it and respond in time. But you can go behind a computer to take care of it. The best site to use for this is Ink361.com (previously Inkstagram.com). Log in and use the search bar to find mentions or hashtags. I’d prefer to leave a comment instead of a like, but it’s a little bit more work.
You should also search for some hashtags that aren’t about you or your brand specific, but are used by your (possible) consumer. Any brand in skateboarding could look at “#skateboarding” and stoke out some people.

You don’t think people would appreciate that? Here is an example….

A few weeks ago I posted a photo of the Fallen shoes I had gotten from Fallen TM Ian Berry. (Thanks again Ian!) After a skate session I posted a photo of it and used the hashtag #risewiththefallen with the photo.

Within a few minutes Jamie Thomas liked my photo, and despite the fact that I know him a little bit, it’s still pretty damn sick that the owner of Fallen likes my post (as the first person). And I know most people that ride a skateboard, young or old, would feel the same way. Yes, at the age of 33 I’m still a skate rat and people like Jamie inspire me a lot.

After a little bit I clicked on the hashtag #risewiththefallen and saw that Jeremy Wlaschin used the same hashtag (and #skateboarding) for 2 photos he had uploaded of his Fallen shoes. (For the record, I have never met Jeremy)

I texted Jamie Thomas and suggested he should like all the photos with the #risewiththefallen hashtag. At the time it was 5 photos, including mine. I knew the people would be stoked once they saw that Jamie Thomas liked their photo.

Only a few minutes later Jeremy Wlaschin uploaded a screen shot of the 2 likes that Jamie Thomas had given the photos with the #risewiththefallen hashtag. Both photos had Fallen shoes in them, and this buyer, and most likely Fallen and Jamie Thomas fan, was super stoked that Jamie liked his two photos.

You think Jeremy will buy another pair of Fallen pair in the next few months?
And if so, will he post a photo of it again on his Instagram? (For all his friends to see)
And maybe even tag Jamie Thomas?

This is a perfect example of why your brand should be pro-active on the social media platforms. And search Instagram (and Twitter) for the various hashtags that your consumers might use.
The ROI of Instagram, and social media in general….

Questions or comments? Drop ‘em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

For more Instagram tips see part 1 from last week.

Mobile Is Taking Over In 2012

If it doesn’t work on a mobile (smart) phone, forget about it.

2012 is gonna be the year that mobile will be dictating what is gonna reach the consumer. Social media is playing a huge part in this change.

On a daily basis, how often do you visit a website on your mobile device? Not very often huh? How often do you check Facebook, Twitter or Instagram on your phone? Five times a day? Five times an hour? Probably way more than you realize….

A few weeks ago I found out Chris Haslam was the newest rider for Bones wheels. How did I find out? Through the Bones wheels Instagram. I didn’t even see, hear or read it somewhere else. I actually still haven’t, and that’s fine. (Because I didn’t look at other news outlets). The different social media platforms on my iPhone are the tools that keep me up to date these days.

I’m 33 years old right now and I remember a time when there wasn’t any internet. But when the internet came up and took over I went along with it. If I still would have stuck with reading print magazines and watching skateboard videos/DVDs I would find out news way later than everyone else. And I would probably miss a lot of skateboarding clips/parts, since most of them only show up online. Social media is web 2.0, meaning it’s the next step, and guess what? If you’re not adapting to this, you’re gonna loose the game. It’s very simply.

The youth always is the future, so anyone over 20 isn’t really having an influence on where things are gonna go. The future is in the hands of the 15 year old skate rat that has some kind of smart phone. Maybe not the latest iPhone 4s, but more likely the hands me down iPhone 3s from one of his parents or his older brother.
And this kid, who is the main consumer for any skateboard brand out there, is getting his skateboard news through his Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account, on his phone. If it’s not posted on social media there is a very big chance he is gonna miss whatever you’re trying to get out. There is so much content being put out every day that’s it’s not easy to get it in front of the consumer. Of course, great content will reach your consumer, but wouldn’t it be great if it reached even more people? Meaning new consumers….

One of the key things for mobile is video. So make it easy for yourself and stop using your own video player. Even if it does work on a mobile device and plays withing Facebook. There are only 2 video platforms that will help you really get your video content out, YouTube and Vimeo. Everyone knows how to email, share (on social media) and embed a YouTube video. Also, do you want a ton of people see your video or you just want your own little group of regular website visitors to see it?
I personally like Vimeo better, but YouTube is the way to go. You need to go where the people are. With 4 billion views per day, YouTube videos are they way to go. I still think you need to upload the videos to your Vimeo account, but YouTube is the way to get the views.

To quote my friend, and etnies video head honcho, Dustin Aron; “If YouTube is good enough for Lady Gaga, it’s good enough for any brand in skateboarding”. “Nuff said!

Questions or comments? Drop ’em below!
Or shoot me an email at fred@fredvanschie.com.

Five Instagram Tips Part 1

Instagram came and conquered 2011. If you haven’t heard of it by now, it’s basicly a mix between Twitter and Hipstamatic. Snap a photo, add a filter (optional), add some text (optional) and upload it to the feed.

While the app only works on the iPhone (and iPad & iPod touch) it went from 1 million to 15 million users in 2011. Can’t thank the homie Steve Clare enough for the skype call in February of last year and telling me I needed to join in. My first insta photo was a photo of that skype call….

A lot of people in the skateboard industry (riders, employees, shops) joined the madness in 2011 and surely but slowly brands are seeing the value too. Along with Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is the social media platform where your brand needs to be present.

Here are some tips and tricks for using Instagram, both on a personal and on a brand level.

1. Sync your username to Twitter (and all other social media)
I’m all about syncing all your usernames, but since a lot of people feed their Instagram into Twitter it’s very important for you, and your brand, to make sure both usernames are the same. This also allows people to respond to an instagram post on your twitter. Even though I’m all about the iPhone there is a huge amount of people on Twitter that use a different mobile device. And ‘currently’ Twitter has 100 million active users, Instagram has 15 million (Jan 1, 2012).

2. Use your hashtags wisely
The world famous pound (#) key is slowly loosing it’s meaning to the hashtag. When you post a photo about skateboarding, just write (hashtag) “#skateboarding” instead. Once you post the insta photo you can click on the hashtag and see all the photos that people have posted with the same hashtag. It’s a great way to find people with similar interests. And others can find you too.
I’m all about using the hashtag, and the “at symbol” (@) in the actual caption, so it reads like a normal sentence. E.g. “Loving my new @zeroskateboards deck, #skateboarding rules!”
And please don’t use more than 3 hashtags that make sense in the caption. Using 10 lame hashtags to gain more followers is making you look very desperate! (#iphoneography, #instagram, #popularpage, #follow, #followback, #swag, etc)

3. Don’t clog the feed
One of the main themes for social media in 2012 is LESS IS MORE, and Instagram is no exception to that trend. I recently tried to post no more than 3-4 photos a day. Your life, or brand, is no doubt way cooler than mine, and I’m not being sarcastic here. Even though I keep unfollowing (and follow) people that clog my feed (“cloggers”), less is more. Good content will attract people, but too much of anything…. You know the rest.

4. Size your photo right
When taking a photo on your iPhone hold the phone up straight, no landscape photos for instagram please. (It’s pretty much the same for every blog out there.) The black bar on the top and bottom doesn’t help the look of the photo. One out of 5, or maybe even 10, can be a product shot (plug), but just have your designer size it up right. I normally size the product images to 900×900, then email the photo to myself, save it on my iPhone, and then upload it to Instagram. A minimal effort that makes it look that much better. And I’m an amateur!

5. Promote your Instagram
After I got on Instagram in February 2011, and saw that most of the Altamont teamriders where on it too, it was time to start an Altamont Instagram and start promoting it. While most not so social media people in the office asked me if “Instagram was gonna be the new Facebook”, I went ahead and worked with Altamont designer Tristan Ellis on a flyer. Right before I was gonna post it on various Altamont social platforms Patrick O’Dell walked into the office. I asked him if he wanted to start an Instagram account, so we could include him on the flyer, and he did….
I remember running into Figgy a few days later and he was all hyped that he gained a couple hundred followers in a few days. Yup, it’s really that easy.

* I ran the Altamont Instagram from April 2011 til early December 2011
** DGK took it to another level with their Instagram ad in the Transworld Skateboarding (Dec 2011)

Questions or comments? Drop a comment below!

DGK Instagram Ad

DGK starts off 2012 by setting the standards. Or should I say they start of by being smarter than everyone else? As if you weren’t convinced that social media took over in 2011, you surely know it will be your main focus for 2012 right?

I still can’t believe I keep seeing ad after ad in the various skateboard magazines that don’t have the URLs spelled out to their social media platforms. Don’t these brands want to communicate/interact with their fan base, their consumers, their brand ambassadors? Print ads are (nearly) dead and way too expensive, and I don’t think DGK gained a ton of followers from this ad, but at least they recognize the current state of consumer communication.

With more than 800 million people on Facebook (55% of the online world population), 300 million people on Twitter, and 15 million people on Instagram (iPhone only still) you would think you’d find your consumers there. Maybe, just maybe, not all of them, but most of them….

Check out DGK skateboards on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And more importantly, they actually care about what you have to say, so interact with them if you have a question or want to say something. Nice one guys!

Social Media At Agenda LBC

Last Thursday and Friday the Agenda tradeshow was held at the Long Beach convention center.

Shop owners, buyers, distributors, skateboarders and lurkers from all over the world came out to Long Beach, CA to see to new Fall/Winter 2012 collections from all the brands. Since ASR called it quits last year Agenda has become the new ASR. But even though the security guards told people not to skate inside (lame), the energy and vibe at the show was really good.

I helped out eswic with a social media contest to create some interaction between the new brand and the visitors of the show (I’ll post a review of that later), so I was curios to see what the other brands were doing with social media at the show.

The Agenda Show did a good job telling all their visitors about where you could find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, by various signs throughout the show, as well as a full page “ad” in the booklet of the show (on the floor in the picture above). And bonus props to Agenda for having the same username on all 3 platforms!

On Thursday morning Jim Thiebaud of DLXSF posted on his Instagram (and Twitter) about a giveaway with Ishod Wair’s new pro model (of Real). Even though it was narrowed down to the Thursday between 1-2pm, when Ishod would be a the booth, I was curious the see how many people would show up.
But unfortunately the thing was called off because they got too busy with the shooting range they had at the booth. The shooting range was also a great example of (real) interaction btw.
Jim has a good amount of followers on Twitter and Instragram, many of them who are shop owners, the Ishod thing would have attracted a decent amount of people for sure.

I tried the shooting range myself and aimed for the twitter shout out by Jim with all 5 shots, but didn’t hit the target. Dutch people are not as used to shooting guns as Americans, so that’s my excuse. Did you shoot and win anything?

Overall I was surprised, or should I say disappointed, that none of the other brands had any social media interaction planned. Or if they had it wasn’t displayed properly. For a brand to have all these shop people, media and friends walk in/by your booth, you thought these brands would for sure want to interact with all these people at the show. Or at least inform them where they could find them on the various social media platforms so they can keep them updated in the future…. Maybe at the next tradeshow?

Flyer Eswic At Agenda

Jimmy Arrighi (aka @worldsbestdad on Instragam) announced in late October 2010 that he had left RVCA to launch a new endeavor. Last Monday, January 2nd, he sent out a press release that his new endeavor would be eswic, a new clothing brand.

He started off with a bang, or should I say boom, as the team consists of Leo Romero, Ed Templeton, Cairo Foster, James Hardy, Stevie Perez, Dakota Servold and Donovan Piscapo. Most of them were on the RVCA skate team before joining eswic.

I met Jimmy in the spring of 2004 when he joined Justin Regan and the Emerica team on a skate trip to Holland. On my many trips to California after that he was always kind enough to to let me skate the RVCA ramp and hook me up with some clothes and the latest magazines.

Since I was laid off from Sole Tech recently (due to budget cuts) I reached out to him and told him I wanted to help him get his social media stuff on the road for him. I was assuming he had a 100 things going and I figured I’d return a favor.

Since the Agenda tradeshow is this week in Long Beach, CA I had this idea of doing something interactive with the twitter and instagram accounts of eswic at the show. When I told Jimmy what I had in mind, he immediately backed the idea. Here’s the flyer I came up with yesterday. It’s very basic but the power of social media, just like skateboarding, is the simplicity.

A lot of people underestimate the power of social media, especially in skateboarding. Print ads are not really reaching the consumers, and most (smaller) companies simply can’t afford them anymore. And you still think everyone is checking out your website once a week/month? Think again. Social media is the future, and the future is now!

And in case you weren’t paying attention, here is the introduction video for eswic.