COMM0015 – Blog #1 – Maybe I should

Let’s be real honest here, I have not yet taken the habit of listening/monitoring social medias very seriously. Two reasons motivates this; 1 – At work there is a team dedicated to this and 2 – For my side business as a photographer, I am not currently looking for more work and can afford the luxury of choosing the assignments I want to take on, and, thanks to a permanent job within government, I am also fine with not having any.

Luckily for me, the photography industry is out there in almost every platforms and it remains fairly easy to stay on top of things by following my favorite photographers and gear manufacturer on Facebook and Instagram and still remain aware of what is going on in the industry, locally or internationally.

At work, my colleagues use the pro version of Hootsuite. I like how customizable, clean and precise it can be. It also allows them to work as a team to respond to comments and create engagement as well as schedule posts into the various platforms we use. Should I decide to become more serious I would probably use this system combined with various Google alerts

On Facebook, I get to see in a rawer version how other photographer use their creativity to market their services while I use Instagram to get inspired and monitor the trends in the techniques used by the photographers I follow.

While I prefer a more laid back approach, do not mistake this as a lack of interest or pure laziness on my end. I am very active on these two Social Medias and interact daily with my colleagues and friend in the industry.

How to Make Money on Instagram

Instagram is one of the fastest growing marketing tools of this generation. With a little patience and basic entrepreneurial skills, anyone can make money with Instagram.

1.Work with sponsors/brands

There are a lot of influencers on Instagram. They are followed by a lot of followers and most of them focus on a certain area to dig deep into users and are easily accepted by the public. Most people make money on Instagram by posting sponsored posts that are images of featured and tagged products or services. If you have a large and dedicated follower, the brand will pay a generous price for your promotion. One example is @kimkardashian, she often publishes some products in her Instagram or stories and then marks the brand’s name or the website links.

2. Sell your account

If you have a very successful account, you can even sell it to make profits. An account of millions of followers even worth million dollars.Of course, the premise is that you need to have an attractive account. Here are some successful accounts could imitate. @jenselter @ ireneisgood

3. Sell products on Instagram

Now, in order to more directly guide the brand e-commerce, Instagram support brands sell products directly through photos. Specifically, when a user browses photos in some brand accounts, clicking on the photo will display the label of each item in the picture, and the price is simply indicated in the label. If the user has further interest, click on the tab to view the details of the item directly on Instagram (such as material and size, etc. Currently, Kate Spade New York, Tory Burch, Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi’s and other brands have started trials. This new feature, which they believe will help them sell online in a more concise, story-like and visually rich way.

If you are interested on making money by Instaram, can also check these essays

how to make money on Instagram #socialmedia #instagram #influencers

check this article to learn how to make money on Instagram! #instagram #sociamedia# influencers

Be careful that Instagram is hurting you!

Do you have similar experience?
After you post some content on your social media account, you start to think about whether this post is appropriate, what your friends will think, or if you worry about deleting or re-editing it. Or have you ever felt inexplicably bored, anxious and empty after browsing social media?

Your Anxiety May Be Due To Instagram

Research indicates that Instagram is a visually oriented social media. The social world in which photos are piled up places great emphasis on looks, dresses, lines, luxury goods, and other things on the surface of life. This kind of direct, shallow, and superficial socialization is more likely to cause young people’s inferiority and anxiety.

To a certain extent, Instagram forces users to compare their unrealistic, well-crafted, filtered and modified lives with others.This kind of pressure to show perfection is the source of anxiety, because Instagram brings the illusion of “beautiful life.”

Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom also found this problem, in order to solve the pressure on users to feel that their lives are not glamorous, so Instagram launched the Stories function two years ago. The emergence of time-limited dynamics, although reducing the pressure on posting, but because the release becomes easy and time-sensitive, users share life more frequently and more trivial.
We have turned the desire to “present ourselves” from post to time-limited dynamics. Does the pressure really disappear? Has the comparison really disappeared?

How to save yourself from Instagram

When browsing the lives of others on Instagram, we will improve our self-expectation and expect ourselves to live the same life as others. But in our real life, we are not expecting such an expectation, so anxiety will only increase and will not decrease.

Psychologists have suggested that a person’s self-esteem is equal to the ratio of actual achievement to self-expectation.And as the gap between self-expectation and actual achievement grows bigger, our self-esteem will be severely frustrated. Therefore, the core of eliminating anxiety is:

In each stage of life, you must set goals that are consistent with your actual ability, and accept the luck components of the results, thus protecting your self-esteem and staying away from anxiety.

Here are two articles about how social media affects your mental helth:

How Instagram hurts you #mentalhealth #socialmedia check

Check out the article about the negative effects about Instagram!

The Intrigue of the Instagram Influencer – COM0011

It is certainly one of the most intriguing social media concepts to me both personally and professionally. An Instagram influencer. What in the world is that? Do people actually make a living off of promoting products you likely don’t need and boasting lavish lifestyles you likely can’t afford? Well, yes. Yes, they do. This week I’m diving into why brands are increasingly using Instagram influencers to market their products and what it takes to become a successful influencer (besides a brief stint on the Bachelor or Bachelorette franchise).

First off on your influencer journey, you have to have followers. Not only do you have to have followers, but you have to have engaged followers. Unlike celebrities, who brands often turn to, to promote a product, these influencers seem far more relatable and reachable. They must be real-life consumers who are trusted by their followers and who has an opinion the follower trusts. This trust can be leveraged by the brand they are advocating for. Developing this kind of loyal following takes time, patience, and engagement.

Next step – create intriguing and visually appealing content. No one will be influenced to buy a bottle of Rose or Sugar Bear hair vitamins by an unkept looking person in a dark picture in a messy apartment. Bright, visually appealing promotion posts are essential to becoming an influencer that brands want to promote their products.

Are brands really focusing their time and investing their marketing dollars into influencers? Absolutely. In fact, 80% of marketers agree that influencer marketing is effective and 71% of them agree that the traffic garnered from these influencers is of superior quality. While working with an Instagram influencer is something that I have not professionally pursued in my current role, there is no denying that it is a fast growing trend that gets results.

Would you ever use an Instagram influencer to promote your brand? Why or why not? Are there any influencers that you are personally a fan of? Below is a list of the top influencers currently on social media. Any of your favourites make the list?

Facebook Post: Thinking of becoming an Instagram influencer? Better read this post about what it takes and why brands are increasingly using influencers to promote their products.

Twitter Post: Are Instagram influencers the future of brand promotion? Learn more here: #Instagram #influencers #socialmedia

The Ghosts of Social Media Networking Sites Past

The Ghosts of Social Media Networking Sites Past

Of course, there are the usual suspects. The “Big Three” as I like to call them. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But more often than not, social media sites seem to come and go almost as often as the seasons. One day, you’re hearing all about the newest and coolest social networking app or site, the next day it’s heading straight back to the Silicon Valley start-up it came from. I thought my blog post this week could be dedicated to a few major social media networking sites that are no longer around, but that still had a significant impact on the current social media landscape we now know.

First up, Google +. Google has consistently struggled with their attempt to create a rival for Facebook (looking at you Google Wave). They launched Google Plus in the summer of 2011. You could upload a profile photo, post status updates, include your work/family history, and follow your friends. Sounds familiar, right? Unlike Facebook, Google + proved to be not very user-friendly and provided nothing new and was met with limited interest from the general public. After it was announced that there was a serious software design flaw that put members private information at risk, the site saw a huge decline in their already dwindling members. Google + officially shut down on April 2, 2019.

Google + had such high hopes of being the rival to Facebook.

Up next, Vine. Vine was launched in 2013 after it had been acquired from it’s original developed by Twitter. Vine enabled users to be able to upload and share 6-second video clips on a loop. At it’s peak, Vine was the most downloaded free app. However, its success didn’t last very long. With new competitors like Instagram video and, most notably, Snapchat, Vine declined in popularity. By 2016, Vine was no more, but it left behind plenty of funny videos for us to peruse when we’re bored or nostalgic. This proves that is essential for social media apps to stay on top of trends to be at the top of the heap.

Last, but certainly not least, the social networking site that started it all. Myspace. Okay, okay. “Technically” speaking Myspace is still around and even has an office and employees and a mandate. However, it is not the Myspace we all once knew and loved. Who can forget streaming your favourite songs and picking your top 10 “best friends” for the week. What nostalgia.

Myspace brings back all the nostalgia for early 2000’s teens

What do you think makes a great social media networking site? What social media networking sites do you miss the most? What is your favourite one now? Leave your answers in the comments below!

What social media networking sites do you miss the most? Take a look at the “ghosts of social networking sites past” here:

The ghosts of social networking sites past. Which ones do you miss the most? #throwbackThursday #socialnetworking

Social Media and The Insta-Traveller

Balcony view at Outrigger Reef
Waikiki Beach
Christine Harper / Flickr

Scrolling through Chris Burkard’s awe inspiring instagram feed has me ready to pack my bags in search of a pristine glacial lake, a rolling wave, or a sunrise over the peak of a mountaintop. With over 3 million followers on his Instagram, it’s clear that I’m not alone in my Burkard fandom. Instagram (and other social media sites) are changing the way people travel by being a source of inspiration, information, as well as a creative outlet to share their travelling experiences with others.

The Insta-Influence – Digital Research

The link to mobile use and travel starts well before the booking process even begins. Users are logging into social media sites like Instagram to get inspiration on where to go, and what to do when they get there. 1/3 of US travellers currently look to social media when considering a trip, and 40% of travellers in the UK take into consideration how “instagrammable” a potential getaway is. 80% of all instagram users are outside of the US, which highlights the global reach that the tourism industry has via the social media site.

The Insta-Vacation – Digital Postcards

Some vacations have users logging off of their mobile devices, but many are choosing to stay connected to share their experiences with others. Up to 90% of young travellers share their photos on social media while on vacation! 

The Insta-Recap – Digital Memories

When the vacation ends, the digital memories live on. The photos shared on Instagram are an endless stream of content that helps shape and influence future travel for not only themselves, but for the other 500 million daily instagram users.

How does social media inspire your travels?

When you travel, do you stay connected, or do you prefer to log off? I have definitely used Instagram and other social media sites for trip planning, and I enjoy a healthy balance of being both logged in/logged off. One thing I would never travel without is my camera, so my logged off memories can always be shared at a later time. 

Social Media Blog Promo Example (Facebook/Twitter)


Chris Burkard. Lake Moraine. Instagram, August 19, 2016,

Gigante, Michael Del. “Vacationing the Social Media Way [Infographic].” MDG Advertising, 28 Sept. 2018,

“How Instagram Has Taken Over Tourism Marketing.” The Pixlee Blog, 2 May 2017, 

Salman.aslam.mughal. “• Instagram by the Numbers (2019): Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts.” • Instagram by the Numbers (2019): Stats, Demographics & Fun Facts, 6 Jan. 2019, 

3 easy tips to get the most out of Instagram today

Hi, my name is Mel and I’m an Instagram addict.
Let me start off by saying, I’m truly fascinated by Instagram right now. I find I check it on average 15 times a day (for the 3 divisions of my business that all have separate accounts).
Every time I log in I have comments on my carefully curated posted images, private messages in response to my behind the scenes Instagram stories and I can target which type of information I want to see easily with hashtags.

This social media platform has seen so much growth each year since its release in 2010 and continued success with adding new features such as: Instagram Stories, Instagram Live and, most recently, full frame 10 minute vertical videos with IG TV.

A little backstory

Instagram describes itself as “A simple, fun & creative way to capture, edit & share photos, videos & messages with friends & family”

In 2013, Facebook (who also owns Instagram) attempted to purchase Snapchat for 3 billion dollars cash but their offer was rejected. This prompted them to implement their own ‘instagram stories’, a series of short clips and images lasting just 24 hours online that appealed to the younger demographic.

The Instagram platform has over 1 Billion users which can be beneficial for keeping in touch with friends and family or for reaching your target market in business.

3 easy tips you can try right now 
Although the algorithm is constantly changing, here are a couple tips to get more engagement today

  1. Use instagram stories. The more a person views your stories, the more they show up at the beginning of their feed. If you sell products, when you have 10 000 followers you’ll be able to add ‘buy now’ links to your story, this visibility and ease?? can be very beneficial. Even if you sell services and have less than 10’000 followers, it’s amazing to stay top of mind. I love when my clients message me to interact about what I’ve posted in my story. This helps build a friendship
    Everything you could need to know about stories in the article by Later, here

  2. Try analytics to measure success and target when and what to post. If you don’t have the analytics that come with a business account, you can manually go back and see which images got the most ‘likes’ so you know which content appeals most to your audience.

    As well, apps like When To Post (, can help you

  3. Respond to comments within 1 hour after they’re posted. The more engagement on your posts, the more Instagram thinks you’re a valid account and you may even be featured on the ‘explore’ page where even more people will find your content.


With so much of the 18-44 year old demographic choosing to spend their time on Instagram, businesses have even more opportunities to target their ideal clients with a modern platform that feels more organic and in the moment.

What’s one thing you love about Instagram and why? Please tell me I’m not alone!



Local Talks Ottawa, Personal Branding Discussion, March 26th, 2019 (@LVD media, @LittleMissOttawa)
Forbes Magazine,




Are you using Instagram to its fullest potential? 3 easy tips you can implement right now for greater engagement.

3 easy tips to apply right now for Instagram success   #instagram #socialmediamarketing

Why Your Brand Needs Instagram Stories

Photo from Canva

Photo from Canva

If you have tried Instagram, then you are most likely familiar with Instagram stories. It allows users to upload pictures and videos for a 24 hours period. After the 24 hours are complete, the story or video disappears. The social media platform SnapChat first introduced SnapChat stories in 2013. Instagram stories were introduced shortly after it and have been popular ever since. (Read, 2016)

Instagram stories are a fun way to interact with your followers. Most people use them to post funny pictures or videos, but did you know they can help increase your brand? Let’s learn how these simple stories can grow your brand, direct people to your website and help grow the relationship with your readers. Does your brand use Instagram Stories?

Photo from Canva

Photo from Canva

The first thing we need to do is understand a little more about where you find the stories and how you upload to them.

  1. You will need a profile that is set up and with your camera and microphone enabled. In the top left corner, you will see your profile photo in a circle with a blue plus sign on it. (Phillips, 2017) Click on the circle.
  2. Select the appropriate post type. The types are as follows;
  • Type – Mainly text and graphics added to a colour background
  • Live – live video where Instagrammers can watch and chat
  • Normal – upload photos from your phone
  • Boomerang – record quick video that is played on a loop
  • Superzoom – creates a short video zooming in on a picture with different zoom options.
  • Focus – It will center a face in the video. The background will move but the face will stay center.
  • Rewind – Allow you to record a video and plays it backwards.
  • Hands Free – Allow you to take video with different graphics over the video. (Phillips, 2017)
  1. Record or upload your photo or video. (Phillips, 2017)
  2. Edit your video or photo with the options provided. You can change the filter, text, pictures, stickers, and mention other Instagrams (links to them). Instagram is constantly adding new options to change and layer on your photo or video. (Phillips, 2017)
  3. Save the photo and post it. (Phillips, 2017)

What’s your favourite type of Instagram Story type? Let’s look at ways to use them.

Photo from Canva

Photo from Canva

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 6.49.49 PM

Photo Screenshot Instagram Stories by user

Question and Answers

It’s very important for brands to interact with their followers to form a genuine relationship. People have questions and it’s important to answer their questions in a timely manner. Going live on Instagram Stories is a great way for your followers to be able to ask and receive a response in real time. This also makes your brand seem more approachable. This is especially helpful if someone like the company president answers the questions. People feel like the company is really listening to them and they like being able to talk to someone with some authority over the company.

Season of Savings-10

Photo from Canva

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 6.49.32 PM

Photo Screenshot Instagram Stories by user Sportschek


Your followers may be following thousands of people and sometimes it’s hard to get them to see your post. Since the algorithm doesn’t show posts by date anymore, it’s very possible your follower could not see your post at all. When you post an Instagram Stories it appears at the top of their screen. It’s a way of taking your ad out of the crowd and put it right in front of your target market. The reader still has to click on the Instagram Story to see it, but you have increased your chances of them seeing and responding to your ad.

Photo from Canva

Photo from Canva

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 6.50.07 PM

Photo Screenshot Instagram Stories by user Disney Food Blog

Linking to your blog

This ability is currently available to Instagrams with more than 10,000 followers. I love this function on Instagram stories and if you have a blog you should want this too. This gives the ability to post a photo and have a “swipe up” link to your website. For example, if you run a cooking website. You post an Instagram story saying you have a new recipe just posted on your site. You can enable the swipe up function, and if they follower swipes up on the screen with their finger, they will be brought to your website. Without this option, the follower would have to go to your Instagram profile, click the link, arrive on your main blog page, search for the new recipe, and click on it. Both will get your potential client to the same place but one is more convenient for the reader. Your followers want the easiest path from point A to point B.

Photo from Canva

Photo from Canva

Showing Personality

Instagram stories are a great place to show your brand’s personality. Since the stories only last 24 hours, it’s a great way to post things your brand is doing and topical items you don’t want on your regular page. For example, a company carefully cultivates their Instagram feed, but it’s Mothers day and they want to wish all the Mothers a happy Mother’s day. They don’t want to disrupt their Instagram page image, so they can post it on their Instagram stories and it will be there for 24 hours. The audience will know the brand cares about them, and the brand doesn’t have to post something different than their regular posting strategy.

Untitled design

Photo Screenshot Instagram Stories by user Earsjohnny

You can also run polls and directly ask questions to your audience. Getting direct and quick feedback can be incredibly helpful to a brand. Instagram Stories have the option to ask yes or not questions, ask open ended questions and have sliding polls. Your audience will love being heard and participating in them.

Instagram stories are a quick and easy way to engage with your followers, increase your brand awareness and help ensure your message is getting in front of the right people. Your brand needs to use this tool. Instagram is an incredibly popular social media and Instagram stories are a free tool available to you on it.

Do you think Instagram stories could help your brand? We would love to know in the comments.

twitterLearn how Instagram Stories are a must use tool for any brand. #brandigstories

9034450384_4498736680_m 4 reasons why Instagram Stories are helpful to brands. #brandigstories


Phillips, K. W. (2017). Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business.Irvine: Entrepreneur Media, Inc.

Read, A. (2016). Instagram Stories: The Complete Guide to Using Stories. Retrieved from




So you want to create an Instagram Contest?

So you want to create and Instagram contest?

Photo from

“Getting your community involved in a contest is an effective way to build your market and brand message”. (Phillips, 2017)

As soon as I read that quote, I knew I wanted to run a contest on my brands Instagram. I see contests run all the time, but I have never really run one for myself. They look like so much fun. If people are already following you on social media, then they are already interested in your brand and content. It’s great to reward them for following you.

Contests are great because they can be so cheap to run on social media. (Phillips, 2017) People also love free stuff. Think about it. If someone offered you a tee-shirt for one dollar you would probably say no. You don’t need another shirt in your closest. Yet, if someone offered you a free tee-shirt, you’d probably take it. It could be the total wrong style and color. You never know when you might need it. You probably would have done something for it too. Sing a song? Sure. Do a little jig? Ok. It’s the power of the free stuff.

I thought it would be fun to talk about how to run a contest on Instagram. First, we need to speak about the types of contest generally run, and then we will discuss how to actually run one.

Types of Instagram Contests

Photo by Canva

Different types of Instagram contests


The reader has to press like on a certain picture and usually follow your Instagram too. Readers love this type of contest because it only takes a second to enter and they don’t have to share anything or do any real work. It’s super easy to set up and doesn’t cost anything besides the prize, which is always a great thing. (Phillips, 2017)

  1. Hashtag

People who wish to enter this type of contest have to place a pre-decided hashtag in the caption of an specific image type. (Phillips, 2017) For example, the #smithstravelcontest on travel photos.

This type of contest helps associate your brand with a visual image. Even people who have no idea your contest is happening will see the hashtag on other people’s posts. It could lead to new followers on your page. It can really increase your follower count. (Phillips, 2017)

The con is some people will find it troublesome to upload a picture to their page and place the hashtag in the caption. Some people will not want to do the work and participation may be lower. (Phillips, 2017)

  1. Requesting emails

This type of contest has people click on your website link in the profile bio and sign up on your sites email list. (Phillips, 2017) This is great because it also gives page views on your site. When a site is new, many bloggers or site managers are looking trying to figure out how to get more people on the actual site. This is a great way to do it. They might take the time to look around the site after first entering their email address.

The con to this is the prize really has to be worth it. Not too many people are going to through all the steps unless it’s a really good prize. (Phillips, 2017)  Especially since people know once a blog has your email, they will start sending emails to it. Some sites will be responsible with them and others will not be. Some people will make an email address just for entering contests because of this situation.

Instagram Contests Get Much More Engagement Than Regular Posts

Photo from Neil Patel

  1. Tagging

This is a super popular Instagram contest because it’s easy to set up. It doesn’t require the reader to do very much. All they have to do is tag a friend or family member in the comment section. For every person they tag, they get an entry into the contest. Every person that someone tags is a new potential follower for you. Hopefully, they check out your page and love it as much as the person that tagged them in the post. (Patel, 2017) This is probably the most common type of contest I see on Instagram. It’s usually combined with having to follow the page or pages running the contest. (Patel, 2017)

  1. Selfies

Depending on what type of account you have this might be a great contest for you. This contest would work really well if your brand or product is something they can hold or wear. (Patel, 2017)

People will post a selfie holding your product and tag you and your hashtag in the photo. It’s very important if they tag you in the photo that the photo needs to be related to you. Instagram does not like people tagging people in unrelated photos. (Patel, 2017)

This contest is great because their followers will see them using the product. People are more willing to try a product if they see their peers are using it. (Patel, 2017)

  1. Voting

This can be done in a couple different way. The first is you can have people upload a photo with a certain hashtag. The photo that receives the most “likes” wins. (Patel, 2017)

Or you can create a poll in your Instagram stories and have people vote on a certain topic. You will then pick a winner from the people who voted. You can do this a couple ways. There are websites and programs you enter all the usernames of people who voted in. The program will randomly select a name. Some people will use a random number generator and if the number is a 6, the 6thperson that voted wins the prize. If there is only a few entries, some Instagramers will write the names and put them in a hat. They can even do the draw over Instagram stories to make it a little more fun.

Both types are fun to enter because people love being heard. One is much quicker and easier for the person to enter though. So, you will have to gauge your audience’s interest level. (Patel, 2017)

There are numerous other contest types and variations of these. The most important thing is to have fun with it.

So now that you have decided what type of contest you want to run, you have to actually do it.

Instagram Promotion Guidelines

Photo by Canva

First, let’s discuss Instagram’s official promotion guidelines for the contest. Make sure you absolutely follow them.

  1. You have to clearly state the rules. They need to be very clear. We are talking your little sister needs to able to understand them and she is in grade six clear. (Patel, 2017)
  2. You have to list the terms and eligibility requirements. This means it needs to clearly state who can enter. For example, the ages and residency restrictions. If only Canadians can enter, you have to state it. (Patel, 2017)
  3. “Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered.” (Patel, 2017)
  4. You cannot encourage people to tag themselves or other people in photos if they are not actually in or related to the photo. It has to be an accurate tag. (Patel, 2017)
  5. You must include a line in the contest that releases Instagram by each entrant or participant. And you must also make it very clear that the promotion is in no way endorsed, administrated by, sponsored by or had anything to do by Instagram. You need to make that very clear. (Patel, 2017)

Instagram also makes it clear they will not assist you with any part of the promotion. They state they will not answer any questions regarding any part of the promotion too. You also agree that if you use Instagram, you do so at your own risk. (Patel, 2017)

Creating the Contest

Photo by Canva

Now that we know the types of Instagram contests and the official rules for running one, let’s get into what you need to set one up.

  1. When do you want to start and finish the promotion?

The first thing you have to do is choose a start and end date. If you don’t decide a start date then it’s easy to say you will start it “tomorrow” and we all know “tomorrow” never comes. Decide on a start date to give yourself the incentive to actually start the promotion. (Phillips, 2017)

You need to pick an end date to ensure people will enter right away. You also don’t want them putting off entering. Readers are seeing so much information on Instagram, it’s easy for them to forget about your contest. (Phillips, 2017) Those cute puppy pictures really grab someone’s attention on there.

  1. What’s the goal?

You have to figure out what you are trying to get from the contest. Do you want more followers, more engagement, are you trying to build an email list? You need to know what you want, to be able to get that result. If you aren’t clear, neither will be the reader. Take a moment to write down your goals. The more you see them, the more you can keep moving in a direction that leads to them. You are putting your time and money into this contest so make sure you get a great result. (Phillips, 2017)

  1. What is your contest hashtag?

With hashtags being so important in social media, it’s important to create a custom hashtag for your contest. Take some time to really figure out your hashtag. You don’t want one someone else has used, it should be unique to your brand. (Phillips, 2017)

  1. Is Instagram the best place?

“Ninety percent of those who use this platform are under 35 years old, with most users falling within the ages of 25 to 34, followed by those 18 to 24 years old.” (Phillips, 2017)

You have to consider if your target market is even on Instagram. You need to tailor any contest to the people you are promoting it too.

If you have a business Instagram, which you should if you are using it for business, you can look at the Insights tab and see what demographics most frequently look at your posts. Your contest should be geared towards that demographic. If it says 18-24 years old, a new hearing aid gift certificate for $50 will not be an appropriate prize to win. If it says they are based in a surfing destination maybe a surfing package might be nice. Especially if your brand is a surfing company. They are your target market. They are also most likely to have friends and family with a similar interest in surfing. (Phillips, 2017)

You always want your contest to be a success, so aim it at the people who are most likely to make it one.

  1. Theme it up!

The best contests tend to have a theme because they get people excited. It could be based on a holiday coming up, or groups like single dads. The more people can relate or are interested in the theme, the more they will be likely to enter your contest. (Phillips, 2017)

91% of Instagram Posts with 1,000+ Comments are Contests

Photo from Neil Patel

  1. What’s the prize?

What are you going to give as a prize? Just like we mentioned earlier, the prize needs to be something your readers want. It has to be geared towards them. If you want them to like, comment, etc, you have to give them a prize they want.

If you are a tee-shirt company, give away a free tee-shirt, if you are a spa, give away a free facial and massage. It has to be worth the reader’s time to enter. (Phillips, 2017)

  1. What are the rules?

Like we talked about before, Instagram says you have to clearly state your contest rules. Take some time to decide on them. They need to be very clear and easy to follow. These should include eligibility requirements, how many winners there will be, what are the prizes and what they have to do to enter. (Phillips, 2017)

  1. What’s your contests title?

Keeping with the theme you have already made up, you have to think of a super great title for your post. (Phillips, 2017)

  1. Create the actual post.

Now create your gorgeous post. It should look professional and include all the promotion rules, and information we spoke of earlier. It’s best to show the prize in the post too. Use websites like Canva to easily and quickly create a beautiful promotional post. And don’t forget those fun hashtag you thought of before.

  1. Promote

Promote your contest on all your social media. If you have a newsletter, include it in there too. Tell your friends and family about it and especially your readers. (Phillips, 2017) They can’t enter if you don’t tell them you are having a contest.

Instagram Contest Picture

Photo from Instagram user @dmariept and

  1. Who won it?

Depending on what kind of contest you are holding, don’t forget to announce the winner or/and thank the people who entered. (Phillips, 2017)

If people vote, thank them for voting. If they liked a picture, thank them for the like. If they entered through email, send them a great thank you for it. They were nice enough to enter, so be nice enough to say thank you. (Phillips, 2017)

This all seems like a lot of steps to running a simple contest, but they are all important steps. The shorter version is making sure you are creating a contest people want to enter, the rules need to be clear, the prize great, the post relevant to your brand and more importantly have fun with it. It’s a contest, and it’s supposed to be fun. Go out there and help someone win one of your great products. You know they are great, so go let one of your followers try them out too.

Have you hosted an Instagram contest? Have you entered any? What do you think is the best kind of contest to run on Instagram?


footerTwitter Did you know Instagram contests can boost your engagement levels? Check out to find out how you can host an awesome Instagram contest. #instacontest #acsocialmedia

footerFacebook Are you looking to host an amazing Instagram contest? Check out to find out what you need to do. #instacontest #acsocialmedia


Patel, N. (2017).7 Instagram Contest Ideas to Grow Brand Awarness. Retrieved from Neil Patel:

Phillips, K. W. (2017). Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Business.Irvine: Entrepreneur Media, Inc. .


The Influencer: A Whole New Ball Game

Content is fire, social media is gasoline

Okay, so you’ve wound up on this article because of an intriguing title, that to be honest, much of current generation have yet to fully grasp and understand how crucial it is to build an online platform for yourself, or especially your business. We’ve all been there; I have friends running and managing their own media pages on Instagram and Facebook, as well as running and managing client’s social media pages getting paid a solid amount. Even more so, I’m currently doing the same with my photography account and my personal account, taking advantage of a network-driven platform and leveraging it to my advantage.

So the question must be asked: What exactly is an “influencer”?

An influencer is essentially someone who is able to influence consumer purchase decisions by promoting x-product(s) through their considerably large social media platform.

Now, why on earth is being an influencer a game-changing lifestyle? In the business world, being an influencer has redesigned the marketing industry as more people and companies become heavily immersed into social media, all with the goal to reach more people around the world. Not only do you get products either free or largely discounted by these brands, but it increases your network and also increases your online net value, making you a very competitive individual to partner up with. Becoming an influencer has changed the entire marketing industry, as it became the most prominent form of digital marketing in all of 2018. According to Forbes, the infamous platform, Instagram, made up for 93% of all influencer campaigns in 2018 alone, above its parent company Facebook. In addition, Instagram alone beat YouTube as one of the top platforms for many popular online celebrities, such as KingBach, or Amanda Cerny. Isn’t it cool to work directly from your phone?

Who is an influencer?

I know for many that aren’t very involved with the new wave of social media platforms and the understanding of how to capitalize on the powerful tools platforms such as Instagram and Facebook offer, the idea of scaling one’s profile might sound very intimidating. However, the rise of micro influencing simply redefined how someone with even a few hundred to a few thousand followers can become an effective representative for any brand. I, myself, am currently representing a few of my own partnered brands (@aboveandbelowofficial, @serengetee, @halifornia.apparel, @livingstonebrand), and I have learned to effectively scale and grow my account, along with making amazing new connections from around the world. Not only do I get products both free and largely discounted in bundles, I’m able to get products before they’re even released to the public.

Aside from my own experience, influencers in general are huge assets for brands to collaborate with because they are able to boost conversion rates and increase sales. The most important factor in all of this lies upon selecting the proper talent to create a relationship with, since influencers allow brands to engage and interact with millions of niches and audiences at large scales. This is entirely different from previous methods of marketing, where companies used to pay online platforms to place an ad for their brand; whereas now, it is all about creating partnerships and infusing a brand image with an individual in a more natural way. According to Adweek, “brands don’t need to worry about ‘banner blindness’ or viewability because they are literally appending themselves to content from the creators themselves.”

The reason influencers generate sales effectively is that they are social celebrities with high engagement rates. Their photos and videos reach hundreds and thousands, or even millions of people. And even a small percentage increase in conversions can generate a large increase of sales

Shane Barker, Digital Marketing Consultant –

Is There Any Longevity to Being an Influencer?

Here’s the thing; building a brand for yourself is definitely not the easiest thing to do, and it definitely doesn’t happen over night. The toughest part for anyone in this new age of social media marketing is scaling and maintaining your following, and finding new ways to consistently increase your audience engagement. Not to make this whole new endeavour intimidating, but it is just the harsh reality of it, just like any piece of artwork; you have to be consistent and pick a niche. One thing that makes an individual a great influencer is their ability to create good content that is focused on a specific niche or target audience. What about the longevity of all this? Is there any future to this whole “influencer” thing? Actually, yes there is. In a world of business and a heavily intuitive social media platform with millions of people at your fingertips, millions of opportunities for you to grasp, it ultimately lies on your creativity with how you want to present your content.

“You’ve marketed yourself, and therefore your brand, to thousands of people already. And they like it.”

Brenna Spalding from Influencer News –

Every post you share and upload to your profile, every story and update you send out online, ultimately shapes your personal brand image. Depending on how you structure and design your profile to look like, that now becomes an aspect of who you are as a person. This becomes your personal brand image. It doesn’t necessarily mean it has to stay that way forever, but as the great Marshall McLuhan says, “we become what we behold… we shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us”.

A New Direction

As more and more companies immerse and expand their services onto these social media platforms, the idea of door-to-door marketing and news flyers slowly ceases to exist. Instead, networking on social media platform occurs through the DMs (direct messages). Just like anything in life, there will always be more than one side to the story. In this case, yes, there are an abundance of opportunities at your disposal, but the only thing you are limited to is how creative you can be with your content. The idea of a greater connected interpersonal lifestyle is what the future could be for the entire business and marketing industry. If this is the future of social media, could it possible affect our personal lives, possibly through audience exploitation? Would our lives be ran by statistics and numbers? If the influencer game becomes over saturated, would there be any sense of uniqueness or trust between brands and people, if they are all doing the exact same thing? What could the marketing industry look like for 2019, and beyond?