How Nike Golf Used Instagram to Tell Rory McIlroy’s Story

By , On September 17th, 2014. In Piqora Features.

The world’s No. 1 golfer, Rory McIlroy, has had quite the summer. McIlroy, who is one of Nike’s highest paid athletes, sported the swoosh on his way to an impressive victory back in July at the British Open in Hoylake, England, in what was a career-defining moment for the 25-year-old from Northern Ireland.

But McIlroy wasn’t done, and he vowed to keep pushing for success in 2014. “I’m enjoying being the Open champion, but that’s not all I want to be this year,” McIlroy told reporters. “I want to do more.”

Enter Nike Golf’s Instagram.

McIlroy Blog 1

Just days after his victory, Nike Golf profiled the young phenom by posting a series of six images throughout the day using #DontSleepOnSummer, which Nike Golf had been using throughout the summer to encourage golfers to get out and improve their skills.

In a post featuring Rory working out, he wore a Nike shirt that read #WinningStartsHere. Talk about making a social marketer’s job easy!

McIlroy Blog 2

The feature wrapped up with a more intimate look at Rory: the sixth and final post featured him putting barefoot in his backyard, as an inflatable crocodile watched with wide-eyed admiration. Of course Rory was decked out in Nike gear, and I’ve highlighted an exchange where Nike responds directly in the comments thread to fans asking where they can purchase exactly what Rory is wearing.

McIlroy Blog 3

This series of images gave Nike Golf’s Instagram followers a never before seen perspective on Rory’s life outside the ropes and highlighted his commitment to continued success.

Nike Golf did an excellent job with this feature and accumulated over 46,000 “likes” and 509 comments. But you don’t need to sponsor world famous athletes to execute something similar. Could you choose a superfan and profile their unique use of your products throughout the day? Do you have a particularly interesting fashion designer you could feature? What about featuring a model who’s showing off your line in a tropical jungle?

Be creative, and feel free to have a little fun in the process.

Why the iPhone 6 (and Other New Smartphones) Are Built for The Better Selfie

By , On September 16th, 2014. In Industry Insights, Instagram Marketing, Piqora Features.

Ah, the selfie. From showing off cute outfits to skydiving, flying fighter jets and chillin’ in outer space, it seems that no time or place is too crazy for us to snap a quick shot of ourselves. Even the President and Vice President of the United States are getting in on the action.

Not that I don't indulge, as you can see from this "ParaSelfie" I snapped in Mexico

Not that I don’t indulge, as you can see from this “ParaSelfie” I snapped in Mexico

Mobile phones are responsible for a huge percentage of the images that make up the fabric of the Visual Web (in fact, various incarnations of the iPhone hold four of the of the top five slots for the most popular cameras on Flickr) and selfies account for a significant portion of these. In fact, our research reveals that on Instagram alone, there are more than 169 million photos posted to #selfie, and more than 283 million to #me.

To facilitate our love affair with taking pictures of ourselves, smartphone manufacturers are designing their latest generation of devices to be better at snapping selfies. On the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, for example, Apple has included a new front-facing “FaceTime HD” camera with a sensor that will capture 81 percent more light, a new image processor for face detection and HDR video. They have also also brought burst and timer modes to their “selfie cam.”

To help you take better selfies, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus include features such as Burst Selfie and self-timer modes  (image courtesy of Apple Inc.)

To make taking selfies easier, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus include features such as Burst Selfie and self-timer modes (image courtesy of Apple Inc.)

Apple is hardly alone in releasing devices with selfie-specific features. With their new Galaxy Note, Samsung has weighed in with a 3.7 megapixel front-facing camera that includes a “wide selfie” feature which allows people to bring more of their friends into the shot. They’ve also made it easier to snap a selfie, as users can now just tap the heart-rate monitor button on the back  to take a shot (FYI, the heart-rate monitor button will only function in that mode if the front-facing camera sensor “sees” a face.)

Not to be outdone, Nokia has dropped an A-Bomb in the selfie-feature arms race with its Lumia 735, which they tout as being “built for selfies and Skype.” Like Samsung, they’ve included a new, powerful forward-facing camera with a wide-angle lens, but they take it a step further with their “Lumia Selfie” app which helps users edit their selfies to make them look even more awesome.

Image courtesy of www.nokia.com

Image courtesy of Nokia

The Key Takeaway: What All of This Means for Brands on the Visual Web

For brands marketing on visual networks, these new hardware features are great news.

“Selfie-optimized features in hardware devices will accelerate selfie sharing, and photo sharing in general on Instagram and other visual moment sharing channels, such as Snapchat,” said Sharad Verma, CEO of Piqora. “And this may even lead to entirely new visual networks.”

One benefit of these new features is that they can help generate higher quality user-generated content, which your brand can then harvest. A great method for gathering great UGC is through a photo contest, so check out our Definitive Guide to Instagram Photo Contests for more information. Selfies offer the lowest barrier to entry of any type of photo, so contests that feature them will naturally have a higher participation rate. And with their new cameras, the photos your fans submit will be more beautiful than ever, and can include more of their friends thanks to the wide angle lenses!

The key takeaway here is that people are taking more photos than ever on their mobile devices, and the fact that device manufacturers are coming out with selfie-specific features in their latest generation of devices means that selfies aren’t a fad. They’re here to stay, so brands should start to adopt strategies to harness this popular behavior.

“As selfies have become a huge part of our culture and how we share images, brands will need to figure out a way to express themselves similarly to stay relevant and resonant,” Verma said.  “Employee selfies, brand selfies, and encouraging their community to incorporate logos in selfies via contests are just some of the areas that brands will want to look at immediately.”

 

Here’s What You Need to Know About Halloween Promotions on Pinterest and Instagram

By , On September 11th, 2014. In Industry Insights, Instagram Marketing, Pinterest, Pinterest Best Practices, Pinterest Marketing, Pinterest Promotios, Piqora Features.

Halloween Guide Blog Post

Happy Halloween!! I know we aren’t even halfway through September, but I’m already deep into planning my costume (any suggestions are welcome; I’m currently going back and forth between a hot air balloon or an AT-AT walker from Star Wars.) And if I’m already thinking about my costume, it’s definitely time to start planning your Halloween promotions on Pinterest or Instagram.

Pinterest and Instagram marketers shouldn’t just love Halloween because Americans spent $7 billion on the holiday last year. They should love it because it’s one of the most creative, interactive, whimsical and fun holidays, and with all of this intense activity your fans are excited, engaged and anxious to share their Halloween adventures with the world!

So whether you are a retailer, publisher, travel company or practically any any other type of business, Halloween is a perfect time to run a Pinterest or Instagram promotion and get in on the fun. And to help you get the most out of your upcoming promotions, we’ve created a brand new  Marketers Guide to Halloween Promotions on Pinterest and Instagram. Some of the things you’ll find in it include:

Contest Ideas by Network and Vertical

You don’t necessarily need a direct connection between your brand and Halloween; you just want to be a part of the action and conversation.  It’s also important to remember that you don’t need to choose between Pinterest or Instagram; you can definitely do both, just be sure your promotions are platform appropriate.

Party City’s Hello Halloween promotion perfectly illustrates the power of choosing the right platform and optimizing your contest for it. As a party supply company, their catalog makes for outstanding Pinterest content, and they did a great job of capitalizing on Halloween trends and highlighting their brand’s connection to the holiday. They offered a valuable, relevant prize, made it easy and fun to enter, and gave participants multiple opportunities to “Pin&Win.” The result? Nearly 3,000 participants and thousands of Pins!

Party City’s Hello Halloween promotion perfectly illustrates the power of choosing the right platform and optimizing your contest for it. As a party supply company, their catalog makes for outstanding Pinterest content, and they did a great job of capitalizing on Halloween trends and highlighting their brand’s connection to the holiday. They offered a valuable, relevant prize, made it easy and fun to enter, and gave participants multiple opportunities to “Pin&Win.” The result? Nearly 3,000 participants and thousands of Pins!

For example, you could run a Pinterest promotion in the weeks running up to Halloween on creating your dream costume, and an Instagram photo contest on Halloween night to show off how they turned out! The guide contains tons of ideas that can be adapted to work across many product categories and industry verticals, but here are just a few:

Halloween Recipe Pin and Win Contest: A quick Pinterest search for Halloween recipes shows just how popular these are. Since people are already creating, searching for and pinning Halloween recipes, why not create an opportunity for your brand to reward Pinners for something they’re already doing?

Costume Contests: Obviously these make for great Instagram material! There are tons of variations here, for instance a Best Pet Costume contest (12% of pet owners dress their pets up for Halloween) or a contest where entrants have to include one of your products as part of their costume in order to qualify. Be creative, as even if you don’t offer products that are directly related to Halloween you can always tie your brand in somehow; Flo from Progressive even has her own costume line.

How to Design Your Promotions to Be Scarily Successful 

Whether you’re trying to gain more followers, increase engagement and amplification, drive website traffic or promote a specific product, you need to prioritize your objectives and engineer your contest accordingly. After you’ve prioritized your objectives, consider if you’d be better served by a promotion on Pinterest or Instagram. Brand marketers looking to drive metrics such as awareness and brand recall should seriously consider experimenting with Instagram, while direct response marketers interested in clicks, sales and conversions can harness the massive potential of Pinterest (for more info on deciding where you should run your contest, check out our post on the comparative advantages of Pinterest and Instagram.) Our Halloween guide contains detailed info on:

  • Establishing and Achieving Contest Goals
  • Barriers to Entry, and Their Impact on Success
  • Picking a Prize, and How Prizes Affect Contests
  • Harnessing #Halloween Hashtags
  • Why You Should Launch Early and Promote Heavily

That last point is critical. A promotion that harnesses the surge in social traffic around Halloween can be a huge audience booster, as well as a powerful tool for migrating your audience over from other platforms, so to maximize exposure, consider launching your promotions well in advance of Halloween, especially on Pinterest. Pinterest contests are terrific for capitalizing on people’s Halloween preparations and planning, and brands such as Party City and Spirit Halloween have launched very successful Halloween campaigns as early as late September.

These are just a few of the resources available in our full Marketers Guide to Halloween Promotions on Pinterest and Instagram. We have helped brands run hundreds of successful promotions on Pinterest and Instagram, so if you’re interested go to www.piqora.com and request a demo, we’d love to talk with you! But more than anything else, even though it’s only September,  we’d like to wish you a fun, safe, and…

Happy-Halloween

 

Instagram Marketing: How to Run Successful Instagram Photo Contests

By , On September 4th, 2014. In Industry Insights, Instagram Analytics, Instagram Marketing.
Red Bull’s #Summerishere contest feed features beautiful fan photos that engage audiences and tell compelling stories

Red Bull’s #Summerishere contest feed features beautiful fan photos that engage audiences and tell compelling stories

A successful Instagram contest can build your audience and increase your brand’s visibility, migrate followers from other networks like Facebook and Twitter, source beautiful user-generated content and engage new brand advocates. After completing a study of more than 100 contests, we’ve taken the key learnings and best practices from them and created our new Definitive Guide to Instagram Photo Contests to help you maximize the potential of these powerful tools.

The Key Takeaway: Design Your Contest for the Goals You Want!

A key lesson that emerged from the study is the critical importance of designing your contest from the ground up to achieve the results you want. Let’s say for example that your goal is maximum participation and follower growth. A great way to get there is to create a contest with an appealing, brand relevant theme, a catchy, easy to remember hashtag and a prize that your audience would value (along with several prizes for runners-up.) Then ask contestants to take a selfie anytime, at any place, and simply submit that photo to your hashtag. Oh, and tell them that the winner will be selected at random. The result: tons of people will participate in your contest. Why? Because you made it easy for them to do it.

Poshmark's #ThePoshLife contest is a great example of contest design. They chose a great hashtag, a creative, fun theme, the rules are simple and easy to follow, and they offer a valuable prize that will resonate with their target audience.

Poshmark’s #ThePoshLife contest is a great example of contest design. They chose a great hashtag, a creative, fun theme, the rules are simple and easy to follow, and they offer a valuable prize that will resonate with their target audience

Every Instagram contest should be designed to have the fewest barriers to entry possible while still achieving your desired goal. Going back to our example, by choosing a great theme and hashtag, entrants will clearly understand the style of images your brand wants and how to submit them. Just remember that the vast majority of contest entries will come from mobile devices, so make your hashtag easy to type on a mobile keyboard. Selfies are the easiest type of of picture to take, especially if you don’t require them to be taken at a particular time of day or location, or with other people. A randomly selected winner signals to participants that by simply entering the contest, they have just as good of a chance of winning as anyone else, while multiple prizes encourage them to submit more often as they have a greater chance of being rewarded.

More Learnings, Tips and Techniques

These are just a tiny portion of the tips, findings, and techniques available in the guide. A few other things you’ll learn include:

– Why judged contests deliver higher quality UGC and more potential brand advocates

– How to design your contest landing page to ensure maximum participation

– Why adding up to six hashtags in addition to your official contest hashtag can increase likes by 200% or more

– Why you don’t need to spend a ton of money on prizes to drive huge levels of engagement

To learn more, download the guide here. Piqora has helped hundreds of brands achieve phenomenal results with Instagram photo contests, so feel free to get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help you!

 

Pinterest Unveils New Analytics Tools: What Does This Mean for Your Brand?

By , On August 28th, 2014. In Piqora Features.
Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

Pinterest unveiled their new analytics platform earlier this week as the latest addition to their Pinterest for business toolkit. After being announced in June and beta tested with a select number of brands, the new tools are now available for free to anyone with a verified business account.

Pinterest's new analytics dashboard (photo courtesy of Pinterest)

Pinterest’s new analytics dashboard (photo courtesy of Pinterest)

Pinterest’s new analytics dashboard provides brands with a broad overview of their reach on the platform, and will display metrics such as the number of views and impressions that their content generated, and will track those numbers over time. In addition to trend data, Pinterest now provides insights into specific Pin performance such as likes, clicks, impressions, and repins, as well as what type of of Pin a particular piece of content is, which allows you to track performance of Rich Pins and Promoted Pins. Finally, the new tools display demographic and common interest data.

All of this is great news for brands marketing on Pinterest.  With these tools, brands will be able to paint a much more accurate picture of what is and isn’t working for them on Pinterest than they were with the old analytics, and they can use this information to inform and make strategic decisions on their content.

How Piqora Can Help Your Brand Level Up on Pinterest

While the new analytics tools are good for high level analysis of your brand’s overall Pinterest strategy, Piqora can help you take the critical next steps towards enhancing your success on Pinterest and optimizing your content and revenue strategies. For example, while Pinterest’s audience demographics will report general location, gender and language, our platform takes that a step further with granular audience data, which allows you to foster relationships with brand advocates and identify and engage with influencers.

For brands that rely on Pinterest as a commerce platform, Piqora provides critical Pinterest ROI data that wouldn’t otherwise be available, such as revenue per pin and revenue per purchase. This means you can not only see what kinds of content are successful from an engagement standpoint, but how also how much revenue each piece of content generates from the platform.

Piqora's platform delivers reports that show your precise revenue & ROI from Pinterest. See the pins that led to transactions on your site, the value of those orders, the average revenue per pin, and the average revenue per purchase.

Piqora’s platform delivers reports that show your precise revenue & ROI from Pinterest. See the pins that led to transactions on your site, the value of those orders, the average revenue per pin, and the average revenue per purchase.

Piqora doesn’t just support reporting, it facilitates research. Analyzing your own content is important, but companies don’t exist in bubbles. Pinterest is a social ecosystem, and it pays huge dividends to be able to accurately and effectively analyze what the other brands in your “food chain” are doing on the platform. With Piqora, you can identify industry-wide trends and compare your performance to that of your competition.

Piqora's Trends tool allows you to create buckets of brands to represent any industry, vertical, or competitor group to track trending content and benchmark performance

Piqora’s Trends tool allows you to create buckets of brands to represent any industry, vertical, or competitor group to track trending content and benchmark performance

Finally, Piqora simplifies the process and greatly enhances your brand’s ability to run a successful Pinterest promotion. In addition to supporting multiple types of promotions that conform to Pinterest’s guidelines and providing advanced promotion reporting, every brand that runs a Pinterest promotion with Piqora is assigned a dedicated Customer Success Manager to help you establish and implement the best practices to maximize your success.

Piqora's platform makes running promotions easy, and includes metrics such as participants, Pins, repins, boards, and reach

Piqora’s platform makes running promotions easy, and includes granular tracking and metrics such as participants, Pins, repins, boards, and reach

All of these elements are critical, especially for larger brands on the network. The advantage of a platform such as Piqora lies in the specificity and richness of the data provided, which enables brands to go beyond interpreting broad trends and allows specific, actionable strategic and tactical decisions to be made, both from a content and commerce perspective.

Pinterest and Instagram- Thoughts from the 2014 Social Media Insider Summit

By , On August 25th, 2014. In Industry Insights, Instagram Marketing, Pinterest, Pinterest Best Practices, Pinterest Marketing.

With more than 270 million active users between them, Pinterest and Instagram are two of the largest visual social networks on the planet.  And while they both offer rich visual experiences, the question brands continue to ask is: how are they similar, and what are the differences between them? That’s the question I explored at this year’s Social Media Insider Summit in Tahoe, CA.

Social Media Insider Summit

The Similarities: Positive Interactions, Rich Audience Interest Data

Pinterest and Instagram are happy networks, and interactions on these platforms are generally positive (especially when compared to Twitter or Facebook), mood-elevating, aspirational and inspirational.

Both are image and interest-based public networks, accessed primarily through mobile devices (75% for Pinterest and nearly 100% for Instagram,) and are unique in that users follow others primarily because of similar content interests, not personal relationships. This willingness to share and consume content outside of personal circles is remarkably high; more than 50% of Instagram profiles are public, and 50% of re-pinning on Pinterest happens outside of the feed.

From a marketer’s standpoint this makes for incredibly fertile ground. Users leave “trails” about their interests (such as hiking, prenatal yoga, barbeque recipes, or chaise lounges) on these networks, allowing marketers to segment audiences and create a targeted content marketing strategy. These “trails” also help brands identify and engage with specific influencers for different categories, gather insights into trending photos, and apply those insights to marketing on other channels.

The Difference: Instagram and Pinterest Occupy Opposite Ends of the Purchase Funnel

There are some fundamental differences between Pinterest and Instagram, especially as far as content types, content discoverability, and user intent are concerned.

1) Instagram is a visual moment sharing platform, where people take, post and share original photos. Pinterest is an inspiration collection network, where users Pin existing products, recipes and photos from the web. Bottom line: Pinterest is not for UGC, and Instagram is not for curation.

2) Content discovery on Instagram is driven by hashtags, not virality. There is no re-gramming, as the emphasis is on original content creation and sharing. Content discovery on Pinterest is driven by re-pinning and organic pinning directly from a website, as more than 90% of Pins originate from a website and 80% are repins.

To get noticed on Instagram, create and promote a compelling hashtag that reflects both your brand and the lifestyle it represents, for example #lifeinlevis. Great hashtags will get adopted by your audience, and more hashtags (up to 7) drive more likes.

To enhance your content’s discoverability on Pinterest, you should optimize your website for pinning, and Pin regularly across all your boards, as more Pins leads to more repins and clicks.

3) Instagram is a channel to build strong emotional bonds with your audience and engage in powerful visual storytelling. It’s a very “human” network, and brands have to act like humans when it comes to posting on Instagram. This starts with following general etiquette, such as not posting more than a few times a day. Another important factor is consistency; pick a theme, and stick to it for a period of time. Doing so builds recognition and helps followers learn what to expect from your brand, while bouncing from theme to theme can confuse users and cause un-follows.

Finally, for content to succeed on Instagram, it needs to be ‘relatable,’ and should feel like a human took that photo in the moment. Photos should have a person in it, or look like they were taken from a person’s perspective.

4) Pinterest fuels mid-to-bottom funnel types of interaction, and e-commerce, retailers, publishers and travel brands can use it to drive social engagement as well as direct response metrics such as clicks and sales. To maximize returns from Pinterest, brands should consider distributing the best content from their website and catalog consistently on Pinterest, as it lives for a very long time! 50% of clicks come from Pins that are more than 2.5 months old, and 50% of revenue from Pinterest is generated by Pins that are older than 3.5 months.

What About Ads?

Pinterest and Instagram are both in their second phase of rolling out an advertising program. They have completed initial testing with select partners,and are now scaling those programs to Long Tail advertisers. Pinterest recently extended their Promoted Pins product to CPC ads that are available to any advertiser, while Instagram is hinting at a broader advertiser program with the launch of their campaign tracking dashboard.

Summing Up: Use the Right Tool for the Right Job!

Brand marketers looking to drive metrics such as awareness and brand recall should seriously consider experimenting with Instagram, and success will come as you tweak your creative to find the vein that resonates with your community. Direct Response marketers interested in clicks, sales and conversions can harness the massive potential of Pinterest to promote their products, turbocharge referral traffic, increase average order value, and drive sales.

 

Live Promotions from Expedia, New Amsterdam, Pet Supplies Plus and Joe’s Jeans

By , On August 25th, 2014. In Pinterest Promotios.

Here are 4 of the best Pinterest and Instagram campaigns that Piqora customers have recently launched.

Expedia #throwmeback Promotion

Expedia #ThrowMeBack Instagram Promotion
Expedia ​is taking advantage of the #TBT trend on Instagram. By asking followers to share a #ThrowMeBack photo of their favorite summer memory, they are tapping into the power of nostalgia to drive participation. This is a great example of best practices for Instagram promotions.

 

New Amsterdam It's Your Town Promotion

New Amsterdam #ItsYourTown Instagram Contest
New Amsterdam offers to throw a cool New York party in a lucky winner’s hometown with their #ItsYourTown photo contest. ​ This promotion looks to leverage local pride, and the heavy use of location hashtags on Instagram.

 

 

 

Pet Supplies Plus Pinterest and Instagram Promotion

Pet Supplies Plus Be Our Neighbor Instagram and Pinterest Promotion

Adorable pet photos on social media have been driving traffic since at least 2007. Pet Supplies Plus invites their audience to share a photo alongside their furry friend on Instagram and Pinterest to take advantage of a fundamental force on the web. The promotion is simple and makes use of people’s natural tendency to celebrate their pets.​

 

 

 

 

Joe's Jeans #JustAPerfectDay

Joe’s Jeans #JustAPerfectDay Instagram Contest
What does a perfect day look like to you? The beach? A picnic? A trip to the mall? Joe’s Jeans asks Instagram followers to submit photos of #JustaPerfectDay for a chance to win gift cards, tapping into the universal love of weekends with a great hashtag strategy for this campaign.

Instagram Photo Contests: You Don’t Need a Big Prize to Enjoy Huge Success

By , On August 22nd, 2014. In Industry Insights, Instagram Analytics, Instagram Marketing, Piqora Features.

 

#ThePoshLife Contest Page

It turns out that for Instagram photo contests, a huge prize doesn’t necessarily guarantee massive participation. In our recently completed study of 100 Instagram photo contests, the largest prize offered was valued at several thousand dollars, which generated fewer than 100 participants. In fact, of the top 10 performing contests (ranked by participation), only three offered a prize valued at $1000 or more, and the rest were significantly less than that.  This might sound counterintuitive, especially for brands with experience running promotions on Pinterest, where prizes valued at between $1000-$5000 generate 3x more participation than prizes valued at $500-$1000, and 5x more than prizes worth less than $500. On Instagram, however, the landscape is much different.

Great prizes don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Gaiam rewarded weekly winners with yoga products from their line as part of their highly successful #YogaForEveryone contest

Great prizes don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Gaiam rewarded weekly winners with yoga products from their line as part of their highly successful #YogaForEveryone contest

We aren’t saying that the prize isn’t a factor for a successful promotion. The average value of a contest reward on Instagram is about $850, and sometimes going above that benchmark can pay off big. Brilliant Earth gave away a $1000 gift card as part of their #BrilliantLove contest,  generating 13X the number of participants, 6X the Likes, and more than 8X the number of user submitted photos as the next-highest performing contest.  However the other contest was no slouch, with more than 3,000 participants submitting over 6,000 photos which generated nearly a quarter of a million likes and nearly 20,000 comments. And the cost of the prize for this phenomenal level of engagement? About $100. The key takeaway here is that there are other elements that will play a much bigger role in the success of your promotions, such as:

Having Clear Objectives and Designing Your Contest to Reach Them

The results of your contest are dictated to a huge degree by how you design it, and what you want it to achieve. For example, if your goal is maximum participants, choose an appealing, brand appropriate theme with a catchy hashtag, ask entrants to take a selfie anytime, anywhere, and tell them that the winner of the contest will be selected at random. Why? Because all of these factors create a low barrier for entry.

By selecting a brand appropriate theme and a unique, memorable hashtag, entrants will clearly understand the style of images your brand wants for your contest and will remember how to submit them. Selfies are the easiest type of of picture to take, especially if you don’t require them to be taken at a particular time of day, location, or with anyone else. And a randomly selected winner signals to participants that simply entering the contest ensures they have just as good of a chance of winning as anyone else.   On the other hand, if your goal is to utilize your contest to source great quality UGC, your approach should be different. For example, having a judged contest is a great way to nudge up the quality of photo entries, as participants know that in order to win, they will have to come up with more creative pictures than anyone else.  A few other things to bear in mind that can make a major difference in designing your contests include:

– The vast majority of Instagrammers are Millennials (more than 90% of Instagram’s user base is under the age of 35), so if you are targeting them make sure your creative is edgy and interesting.

– “Selfies” have the lowest barrier to entry, as they are the easiest to take, while photos that involve other people, are time-of-day or location dependent (i.e. sunsets, moons, landmarks) are naturally more difficult.

– Sweepstakes are best for maximum participation numbers, but if you’re after great quality UGC, judged contests are the way to go. – Long-running contests should have a place in your overall contest and community strategy but should not be overdone, as they can lead to fatigue.

Your Audience, and How You Promote Your Contest

Cross-promoting your Instagram contests across all of your social channels is one of the most powerful tools for fostering success. Doing so at the beginning of your contest and several times throughout aids performance and is a great way to encourage your fans on other networks to follow your brand on Instagram. And while having a big existing audience is a distinct advantage, the power of cross promotion is universal, as evidenced by the fact that a contest ran by a brand with roughly 1300 Instagram followers and 500,000 Facebook fans was able to generate more participation than a one with more than 1,000,000 Instagram followers and 21,000,000 Facebook fans. Here are some other great ways to create buzz around your Instagram contest:

– On the first day of your contest, post an image with your contest’s official rules and entry requirements.

– While Instagram is mobile dominated, you should design your contest creative in such a way that it can be used on web landing pages and as a post on Instagram and Twitter

– Post a high quality photo of your contest prize with a caption explaining the rules and other contest details; this is a great resource for entrants to refer back to if they have questions about your contest.

– Temporarily update your Instagram bio during your contest to include a call to action, your contest hashtag, and any links that are relevant to your contest. Doing so notifies anyone who visits your Instagram profile of your contest, and can help drive more entries.

A Great Hashtag   Hashtags are critical for successful instagram contests. They help people find your contest and build conversations around it, and they are the vehicle by which your fans submit their entries. While you can’t “own” a hashtag on Instagram (or any other social network for that matter), it pays to take time to select a hashtag that isn’t likely to be used by anyone else. If your hashtag isn’t unique and distinctive, your contest can fade into the background noise of larger conversations. Additionally, you run the risk of picking a winner who just happened to use that hashtag for some other purpose, and wasn’t really a contest participant.   Choosing the right hashtag doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remember that you’re asking fans to type it into their mobile devices each time they snap a photo to participate. Making your hashtags catchy and easy to remember will help you maximize the number of entries your contest receives. Some key learnings from our hashtag research include:

– Incorporate your brand’s slogan, or if appropriate, abbreviate your brand name (i.e Lululemon becomes #Lulu)

– Incorporate the name of your contest, i.e What Are Your Habits? becomes #thisismyhabit

– Use dates and places for campaigns at live events (i.e., #SFGiantsGame6)

– Investing in a hashtag tracking tool can greatly enhance effective contest management

– For more data about hashtags, download Piqora’s Instagram Hashtag Report

Photo contests are an awesome tool for building audiences, increasing brand visibility, and tapping into original, highly creative user-generated content on Instagram. The data and techniques discussed here are just a small portion of what will be available in Piqora’s upcoming, in-depth guide to best practices for Instagram contests, so stay tuned!

Thoughts from eTail East on Marketing, Eating and Philadelphia

By , On August 19th, 2014. In Industry Insights, Instagram Marketing, Pinterest Best Practices, Pinterest Marketing, Piqora Features.

2014-08-12 12.19.11 One of the great things about working in marketing is having the opportunity to travel to conferences and symposiums. Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at the eTail East Conference in Philadelphia. eTail is a medium sized, focused event aimed at helping eTailers develop their skills, evaluate their process and learn about new channels and technologies. In addition to the delicious food that I’ll flood the end of this post with, Philadelphia was truly a great host for the event, and I’m left with a really positive impression.

Nick Mueller and I kicked off the week with a brand new presentation on Pinterest and Instagram: Marketing on Where Your Audience Looks. It’s a really fun, quick talk that really hits a couple key notes about just how much value there is for brands on these two visual networks. This turned out to be a big theme for conversation for the whole week. It seemed like every other marketer that I talked to mentioned how Pinterest was now one of their biggest traffic (and revenue!) drivers and how great a fit it was for their audience. It was great to hear about how marketers are finding success in different ways.

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Jill Renslow from Mall of America gave a great presentation on how MoA is using mobile to help their customers find parking, book reservations for dinner and generally engage with the Mall in a way that creates real affinity. How cool is it to go shopping, tweet about it, then run into an iPad-toting mall employee who hands you a $100 gift card?

I also spoke with a couple of women from Steven Singer Jewelers, and wow, what a message. Their brand screams “I HATE STEVEN SINGER” on billboards, their website and even their business cards. It’s a clever message that puts the psuedo pain that their customers feel when spending more than they might otherwise want to on necklace or gold dipped rose for the special person in their life.

These events are always a great way to pull your head out of the day to day of your daily role and learn a little bit. I find that they also humanize many of the relationships that I have with people. Too large a percentage of our interactions these days take place through a keyboard and a screen and the opportunity to meet face to face, shake hands and share a laugh is not to be discounted. Add to that the chance to sample the local cuisine and you’ve got what can only be qualified as a great week. If we met at eTail, let’s stay in touch! You can find me on Linkedin, Twitter, or shoot me an email. And if you’re interested in Piqora let me know and we’ll set you up with a demo.

More from the trip:

We had great seafood all week, especially this great Hot + Cold Seafood Platter at R2L:

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Philly is a great city for any architecture buff:

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Philly sports fans are as passionate (and angry) as they come. But they have a beautiful stadium, as shown here:

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And what would a trip to Philly be without a pilgrimage to the Rocky statue?

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Thanks for reading!

Pinterest Marketing: Pinterest Unveils Messages. What Does This Mean for Your Brand?

By , On August 12th, 2014. In Pinterest, Pinterest Best Practices, Pinterest Marketing, Pinterest Promotios.

Pinterest recently debuted their message feature, which allows Pinners to have one-on-one or group conversations about specific pins. This enhances their “Send a Pin” feature, which is wildly popular (with more than 2 million pins sent via the service every day) but was heretofore limited in the sense that users couldn’t really continue the conversation around pins once they had sent or received them. Now, users and brands can keep conversations around their favorite products going without having to leave Pinterest’s site.

Pinterest’s messenger comes with some pretty awesome features. Pinners can interact with pins directly in the message feed, save pins from messages to their own boards, click on pins to see their source, and send entire boards or user profiles to their friends. The platform supports group chats of up to 10 people, and Pinterest incorporated its Guided Search feature directly into the messages field, so users can discover and share content in real time that is relevant to the conversation they are having.

What Pinterest Messages Are, and What They Aren’t

For brands hoping that Pinterest messages will be a megaphone to reach a huge audience of Pinners, prepare to be disappointed; they are, by design, intimate. In order to participate in direct messaging, the user must be following the brand, and vice versa. This was done to preserve the Pinterest experience, and protect users from the potentially spammy applications of messaging. That said, on Pinterest a whisper can be much more powerful than a shout, and this new feature goes a long way towards transforming Pinterest into a commerce-enabled collaboration tool where people can get together to discuss (and buy) their favorite things.

What Pinterest Messages Mean for Brands

The implications that Pinterest messages have for marketers are huge. Imagine the power of being able to have intimate conversations with your brand’s key influencers directly on Pinterest, fostering deeper relationships with them and quickly building a network of brand advocates. Messages also have the potential to be a huge audience builder, as a non-user who gets a message from a friend will receive a link to check it out on Pinterest. You might consider running a Pinterest promotion to capitalize on this new feature and its potential for viral growth, as you can now message individual participants to thank them and encourage them to share the promotion with their friends, drawing those friends to your Pinterest profile.