April 5, 2013 / Comments Off on Take a Nap on Your Instagram Photos / Posted in: Blog
Karly Gaffney is a Manager on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group. Follow @_topshelf
We’ve all seen the numerous products and services that pull your images or feed from Instragram to create something tangible. Things like Casteagram and Instacube, but Stitchtagram is offering something a little softer to the touch.
Stitchtagram is a service that brings your Instagram photos into the real world, to be enjoyed at home, at the office or on the go. I think this is a great idea and a great start. Why not table cloths with all your food photos (don’t act like you haven’t taken at least 30 yourself), a pet bed with all your animal photos, a passport holder or tote bag with your travel photos? The opportunities are endless!
Even if you don’t love the idea, it could make for a great custom gifting item. Mom would love a pillow with all your pretty pictures on it and I’m sure your pets wouldn’t mind another pretty cushion to slobber on, cuddle with or mangle.
As they state on the Stitchtagram website, these are going to last longer than your smart phone, and the pillows are much more comfortable to take a nap on. I’m considering taking numerous pictures of my boyfriend’s beard and requesting a handkerchief be made. Thoughts?
June 13, 2012 / Comments Off on WWDC Apple Updates and What They Mean for Social Media / Posted in: Blog
Yesterday, Apple dropped an atomic bomb of updates at WWDC, sending shockwaves throughout the tech world. The MacBook Pro line, OSX and iOS all received much anticipated (and at times surprising) upgrades. Those close to the blast radius are now undoubtedly waxing over apple.com’s newly refreshed product page, basking in the brilliant wired future their new hardware toys will bring. Yes, hardware updates caused most of yesterday’s commotion, but like almost always, it will be the updates to software that will cause the fallout.
OSX Mountain Lion Notification Center
Apple continues to bring some of iOS’s best features over to the Mac, creating a more seamless experience for users across devices. In Mountain Lion, Notification Center will now post app notifications in the top left hand corner of the desktop. What’s interesting is the inclusion of Twitter. Users will have the ability to both Tweet and respond to Twitter notifications directly within the OS, effectively turning the Mac into a lightweight Twitter client in itself.
Facebook will now join Twitter as a fully integrated social layer within iOS. Users will have the ability to log into the social network at the system level, sync contacts directly with the iOS address book, “like” apps on the App Store and post updates directly from the iOS Notification Center. Functionality to post updates from the notification center has be extended to cover Twitter as well.
Photo Stream has gone social. In a move that sees Apple treading on a bit of Instagram’s turf, users will now be able to share, subscribe and comment on a stream of photos taken by friends directly from their iOS device. What makes this move even more disruptive are the endless amounts of apps available for iOS that provide comparable if not superior photo editing features than the ones provided by Instagram.
Apple seems to be moving away from attempting to roll their own social network, rather embracing the rich communities that exist today. A smart move for a company that’s best known for their top notch hardware and software and not the web. Today, social media is vital to the digital experience of users, and Apple is now incorporating the best of breed properties directly into their ecosystem.
On Monday, Mark Zuckerberg announced on his Timeline that Facebook bought popular photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion. This was a great acquisition for Facebook since photo sharing is such an important part of their user experience, so what better way to improve the user experience than to buy the best and most viral photo app?
“Providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook” said Zuckerberg, “and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.” There has been mixed feelings from Instagram users. Take a look at this Mashable Poll:
What do you think about the acquisition, will it make Instagram for the better or worse?
Google+ launched their redesign this Wednesday in an effort to create a cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing user experience. The redesign is said to resemble Facebook’s Timeline, including the addition of a cover photo that stretches across the top of the profile, a bigger photo and video displays. The redesign also features a new Hangouts page and a new Explore page.
Yammer Buys OneDrum
Yammer acquired OneDrum, a Scotland-based startup enabling users to co-author, file share and instant message within Microsoft Office documents in real-time. Adding this business functionality to Yammer will bring the enterprise social networking platform full circle to not only be a communications platform but to providing business functionality as well.
Pinvolve – Turning Facebook Pages into Pinterest Pinboards
Bazaart, a fashion catalog for the iPad, launched a Facebook app called “Pinvolve” to convert Facebook pages into Pinterest pinboards The app creates a new section on your Facebook Brand page to present all of your photo posts on a pinboard and it also allows you and the page’s fans to re-share on Pinterest. Bazaart’s co-founder Dror Yaffe says that the app has increased their re-pins by over 150% and that early adopters have seen the same. See Audrey Kitching’s Page below.
9-year old Caine Monroy builds an arcade from a big pile of cardboard. This video is worth the 10 minutes, it will melt your heart.
As Tsotsis points out, “Facebook took about four years to reach its first 100 million; The idea of Instagram becoming the world’s first formidable, mobile-only social network is extremely compelling.”
What does Instagram mean for brands?
Lindsay Stanford made a case for Instagram as a content machine for brands in a previous SMG blog post. In her post, she provides some great examples of how brands and bands have used Instagram to drive engagement with friends, fans and followers.
Now that Instagram is available on both Android and iOS, I think that marketers, if they’re not doing so already, should put some serious thought into how they might work Instagram into their strategies.
Here’s one of my first Instagrams, which was taken in SMG’s back alley:
Armoured Soul street art in SMG's back alley (Photo: James Cooper)
Here’s my Instagram of SMG’s nameplate in our Toronto office:
SMG's nameplate with reflection of office in glass (Photo: James Cooper)
Download the app for yourself — it works with Android version 2.2 and higher and it’s free.
March 19, 2012 / Comments Off on The Next Wave of Visual Content Curation / Posted in: Blog
Last month, during Social Media Week, SMG hosted an Ignite-inspired event called Spark. I was thrilled to be one of the six speakers and chose to speak about a topic near and dear to me: Vistual Content Curation. Over the past year, visual content curation sites have been making some big waves. The most popular are Instagram, Tumblr and, of course, the new kid on the block, Pinterest. In my presentation I spoke about how brands are leveraging these platforms to engage with users and showcase their products. I also gave some data points about the number of users on each platform; Instagram had 15 million users, Tumblr had 44.3 million blogs and Pinterest had broken the 10 million-user mark with 11.7 million. To me, a month in internet land is like six months in real life, and some exciting and interesting news has been announced in that short time that will really push these visual content curation platforms further into the mainstream spotlight.
Instagram announced last week they have reached 27 million users on the iOS-only app, nearly doubling their user base in two months! With more and more brands utilizing the application to promote products and integrating the API for content creation, the pressure to expand to more mobile devises is on. There have been rumours swirling for months of Instagram expanding to an Andriod app but last week at SXSW they announced it was in beta testing and would be coming “very soon”.
Tumblr boasts 48.6 million blogs to date and recently rolled out their ‘highlighted posts‘ feature early last month. Well-known for not wanting to integrate advertising to the platform, Tumblr has struggled to turn a profit. The highlighted posts feature could be a way to remedy this and get brands to pay for their posts to be featured. Essentially, for one dollar you can mark a post ‘highlighted’ and it will show up on the dashboard with a customizable sticker. This announcement was received with mixed reviews. Understanding and commending the desire to keep Tumblr authentic for artistic expression, some still feel that ‘highlighting’ is the same as advertising.
Pinterest, which estimates to be at 13 million users, announced last week at SXSW that it would soon be introducing new and improved profile pages which were launched Friday. The profile esthetic is very similar to the new Facebook timeline, clean and visual with less content, and allows for larger images to be visible on the profile. For brands, this is an exciting opportunity to create a customized brand experience in an interface that users are familiar with. The infograph below has some really great information the growth of the platform and features brands that are seeing success on Pinterest.
What can we expect in the coming months as these content curation platforms continue to grow and more and more brands get on board? How can you leverage your brand now on these exciting platforms and prepare for what’s to come? Check out my full presentation from Spark to inspire and ignite your content:
The following post was submitted by Patrick Gladney, Director of Research and Insights at SMG.
I enjoyed being a guest on the 49pixels podcast on on Wednesday night. Together with National Post columnist and twitter king Jonathan Goldsbie, we rehashed the details of 2010’s Toronto Municipal Election, the composition of twitter and pondered the future of technology and politics.
I believe there is still so much opportunity for politicians and political organizations to use social media effectively. There are some new models being showcased today in the US, where the GOP is using social media in new and intersting ways, such as Newt Gingrich’s adaptation of phone banking which incents loyalists to contact others via skype to ask for their support.
This ain’t social media, but it speaks volumes
One of the questions that came up was the Obama adminstrations use of Instragram. Goldsbie asked why instragram? As my colleague Brandon Smith said the next morning, there are 12 million reasons why, and they are all on Instagram. Also, it just so happened that Obama (the administration, not the man) tweeted during the State of the Union Address, suggesting that those attending SOTU watching parties take photographs of the gatherings and post them online. Kind of a cool way to build community, I’d say.
January 16, 2012 / Comments Off on Instagram – A Brands Content Machine / Posted in: Blog
Lindsay Stanford is a Director of Client Engagement, Content and Community at Social Media Group. Follow @lindsaystanford
About a month ago I wrote a post about Instagram becoming an up and coming social network and all the cool offshoot tools and platforms that leverage Instagram content. Clever marketers have also taken notice and several prominent brands are getting on board and creating some noteworthy user experiences. Now that Instagram has released their API, brands are able to promote contests to connect with users and utilize the content through this exciting app.
Topshop launched their “Wish You Were at Topshop” contest across 4 UK and 1 US retail shops last summer. The idea was that users would go into Topshop, get styled and made-over in the new summer line, post their photo on Instagram, then upload it to the Topshop Facebook page and tag themselves for a chance to win a £1000/$1000 summer spree. The contest, that promoted their new summer fashion line with real shoppers as models and drove traffic to their Facebook page, ran for 8 days in 5 cities and generated over 3,375 photos for the brand. Below is a small sample of entries from the New York shop:
Fashion brands are a natural fit for Instagram. Gucci, Burberry, Levi’s, Club Monaco, Kate Spade and Marc Jacobs have all embraced the app to promote seasonal trends and give followers behind-the-scene glances at fashion shows and photo shoots. There are even photos taking followers all the way through concept to final product and all the steps in between, giving them the opportunity to see design, craftsmanship and production – everything it really takes to get that pair of 501s to the retail stores.
Chef Jamie Oliver was an early adopter of Instagram, and one of my favourites to follow. With an exciting cooking career and traveling the globe to promote his various Jamie Oliver products, Jamie’s photos are visually mouthwatering and he’s always ready and willing to engage with fan comments from his over 174,000 followers. He promotes his magazine, cookbooks, kitchen products, family events and recipes with clever candid comments that encourage follower interaction.
Bands and musicians have also started to engage with fans through Instagram to create richer fan experiences and run contests, some have even leveraged the content to create music videos. The Deftones, who have a band Instagram account, created a contest promoting their summer tour. They asked fans to upload and tag photos from the shows they attended with #deftones and #thecityyouattend. Each day a “Fan Instagram of the Day” photo was featured on the band’s website and Facebook page. At the end of the tour, the winner was chosen from those photos and won an ESP guitar signed by the band.
The Vaccines and A Place To Bury Strangers have both recently put out videos with the content generated solely from fan Instagram photos. A clever and inexpensive concept that integrates the fan experience right in the video. The Vaccines video generated a lot of buzz and was featured in a Mashablepost which received over 1,400 shares across various social platforms.
And lastly, venues have embraced Instagram to leverage the content to promote services and enrich the user experience. The Brooklyn Bowl kicked off their Instagram experience with a contest encouraging users to tag Instagram photos of their bowling experience with #brooklynbowl for the chance to win 2 tickets to any show at the venue.
Instagram allows a brand enthusiast a richer, more personal experience and with a little incentive, also a producer of content. What are some of the cool Instagram campaigns you have seen or participated in?
Last year when Facebook announced their new Timeline Profile Page design during the F8 Developer Conference, it also opened up an opportunity for companies to further collaborate with the social network and to create new services around the new feature. Our first two entries into the Round Up this week will look at two of those collaborations.
Post Full Sized Instagram Photos on Facebook
The popular photo sharing app Instagram announced on their blog earlier today that the app is now allowing users to share full size Instagram photos to Facebook. If you choose to Share Instagram photos to Facebook, the images will be automatically added to a Facebook album called “Instagram Photos” and visible on your Timeline.
Instagram Photos Album on Facebook
Instagram Photos on Timeline
Ready to take some awesome new Instagram shots to include in your Facebook Timeline design?
MOO Brings Facebook’s New Profile Page to the Real World
MOO Cards, one of the most innovative business/greeting card design and production companies in the industry, recently introduced their latest collaboration with Facebook which translates the Facebook Timeline Cover Photo and profile details into business cards. The best thing about the service is that once you grant permission to the MOO App on Facebook, the system will access to your information, and pull all your photos and past updates to allow you to fully customize the content that you print.
This isn’t the first time MOO Cards has collaborated with social platforms to introduce this type of service. Last year, MOO Cards teamed up with About.me to develop a business card series featuring the social network user’s very own profile page.▼
Forrester Research’s Findings about Social Media in Asia
Forrester Research‘s recent study about Social Media in emerging markets reported some interesting results. After surveying about 100,000 consumers in Asia, Latin America and North America in the last two quarters of 2011, the study found that these consumers in emerging markets are often enthusiastic adopters of social media. Ninety-three per cent of respondents indicated that they use social networks once or more per month, significantly higher than the 49% of European respondents who said the same.
Consumers in emerging markets are also content creators, especially in China and India. The study reported that 76% of Chinese social network users also publish a blog or website/upload videos and music etc. The percentage is even higher in India with as much as 80%, while in the U.S and European countries the numbers are both below 25%. Another interesting finding showed that in some developing countries such as China, Brazil and Spain, people use social networks to communicate online more frequently than using email or IM.
Do you think there are big opportunities for companies leveraging social media to expand their business in Asia or other emerging markets?
The 2012 International Consumer Electronic Show (CES)
This year’s International Consumer Electronic Show is running next week between January 10 to 13 in Las Vegas! The big topics and announcements to expect at this year’s CES include Tablets, Smartphones, Windows 8 as well as Mobile Apps and the latest Social Media trends! Let’s wait and see!
December 2, 2011 / Comments Off on Instagram – a movement in the making. / Posted in: Blog
Part instant picture, part telegram, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks today. In as little as nine months, over seven million users have downloaded the iOS-only app and contributed over 150 million pictures. What began as a way to share mobile photos in real time has transformed into a content curator of live world events and has spawned several clever offshoots to boot.
So what makes Instagram so unique? It’s a global movement. The top 10 downloads come from four continents: Asia, North America, Australia and Europe, which makes it one of the only social networks to crossover continents. Not bad for a four person operation from San Francisco, right? Following users from around the world is one of the my favourite features because at any given moment I can see pictures from Spain, Japan and Brazil without even knowing the users, just by following their feed. It’s a very intimate thing to share moments of your day through photos. It’s also very comforting and somewhat rewarding when I start to receive comments and likes on my photos from users who are thousands of miles away. My follower list continues to grow, as do the likes and comments on my photos. For me, it’s the most innovative social network I am a part of.
Instagram is one of the world’s biggest content curators. What took Flickr almost two years to accomplish, Instagram completed in less than half the time. Over eight short months Instagram produced 100 million photos, that’s 15 uploads per second. And we’re only talking Apple users here, pretty incredible. Social sharing is fully integrated so I can post my latest shots on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and even my Tumblr account which has transformed into a photo blog thanks to all of this. Following real live events has also been a great feature of Instagram. From the Royal Wedding to natural disasters, there are even countless feeds dedicated to the global Occupy movement. Instagram makes it easy to keep up to date in real time to what is going on in other cities and countries.
So now you have all this great content, what do you do with it? This is where the really cool stuff begins. Countless awesome offshoots have sprouted up in the past few months to leverage and amplify Instagram content. A few of my favourites are:
Statigrams – allows you to instantly turn your Instagram stats into cool, sharable infographics.
StickyGram – allows you to turn your Instagram images into lovely little magnets that are delivered to your door. You can also enter your images to weekly contests to win free magnets.
CanvasPop – recently integrated Instagram images to create stunning wall art printed on canvas.
I thought I would share my own Instagram content experience, (yet to be publically marketed, I might add). I recently decided to get new contact cards from moo.com and used 45 of my favourite Instagram photos as the backside to my cards (which I appropriately took a photo of and published to Instagram). They look fantastic and are great conversation starters.
With the recent launch of the Flickr integrated app on Android and no word on a Blackberry app, it looks like Instagram is going to dominate the Apple-only space for a while. I eagerly await the other amazing features, apps and off shoots Instagram has in store over the coming months and, I might add, am completely addicted to this app.