Wedding Planning in a Digital Era

Marianne Granum - digital wedding planning - Wedding hashtagI got married last summer, and during the wedding planning I leaned heavily on digital resources and social networks.
My two top resources was Instagram and Pinterest, here’s what I did:

Official Wedding Hashtagg

Hashtags are our times monogram, right? At least that was my mantra when coming up with a hashtag for our wedding!

Before, during and after the wedding we encouraged our guests to share snapshots and tag them #SplussM. The wedding photographer can’t be everywhere, and this way we got so many precious, hilarious and cute memories 🙂 We even had a couple of “digital wedding crashers“! 😉

Marianne Granum - Instagram live feed at weddingTo encourage sharings, we had an Instagram live feed at the wedding, and a list of ideas for what they could take photos of (Like “your food”, “the bride and groom kissing”, “your favorite treat on the dessert table”, “your outfit”, “someone taking a photo”, “the next couple to get married” and so on).

The hashtag was also mentioned in all communication with the guests, and incorporated in our wedding decorations.

Pinteresting wedding ideas
Pinterest is an almost unlimited source of wedding inspiration! I even had a wedding board there long before even being engaged, just because of all the beautiful dresses, table decorations, flowers, cakes and venues I came a cross.

Marianne Granum - Wedding survival kitBefore my wedding I created a joint pinning boards with my bridesmaids, so that we could share the great ideas we stumbled across.

Pinterest was also helpful when I was looking for gifts for bridesmaids and groom, I came a cross the idea of “Survival kits” for the big day, and I decided to make them my self and fill them with useful and cute stuff for the day. The girls got sparkling wine, matching ear rings, hair spray, nail polish and such. While the groom got a pair of socks (in case of cold feet ;)), playing cards, alarm clock and champagne.

Other social resources can be a Facebook group for all the guests or a wedding blog following the preparations up to the big day and sharing the memories from it afterwards. Do you have other digital wedding planning ideas? I’d love to hear them! 🙂

Instagram Direct is here!

Facebook has it, Twitter has it, Snapchat practically is it, and now Instagram also introduces a feature allowing its users to send private messages (photos and videos) to one, or a selection, of your Instagram friend: Instagram Direct is here.

You can even send to people that don’t follow you back (Hello @ryan_gosling!)

What does it mean?

For marketers: A way of communicating more directly to your customers and prospects, and adjusting the message to their preferences.

For customer service staff: Solve your customers problem by replying to them with a “show and tell” video of how to fix their issue.

For teens: You went through the same thing with Facebook, and now suddenly your mom is following you on Instagram too! With Instagram Direct you have a way of streaming your content, what is for your best friends only, and what all your followers (mom included) can see.

For the fangirl / fanboy: Send a photo or video message to your favorite star.

How does it work?

First of all, make sure you have the latest update of Instagram installed.

Next, go to the feed (the tab with a house), and you’ll notice a new icon in the right top corner:
Marianne Granum - Instagram Direct - instructions

Touch the icon and you’ll enter Instagram Direct, here it is pretty much business as usual: Take or upload a photo, or record a video, choose your filter and add a your comments. Ones your done with the editing and commenting, press the next button in the right top corner.

Normally this would have uploaded your content to your Instagram stream, but with Instagram Direct there is one more step: Choosing who should receive your message:

Marianne Granum - Instagram Direct - How it works

Select the receivers and you are ready to go!

What do you think of Instagram Direct? Useful or not? And what would you use it for?

Snapshots from Copenhagen

Copenhagen View - Marianne Granum BlogThis weekend I went to Copenhagen, Denmark, to  wine, dine, see the sights and kick back.

Here are some shots from my trip, among with some of my favorites.

Copenhagen is a very picturesque city, the architecture, the canals, the many churches, the mix of new and old, modern and traditional. To the left you see the view from my hotel room, overlooking Søerne, the inner-city lakes of the city.
The Marble Church in Copenhagen- Frederiks Kirke - Marmorkirken - Marianne Granum BlogI must have a thing for churches, at least I found my camera roll filled up with pictures of them. This ( Frederiks Kirke -”The Marble Church”) was my favorite, I spotted it when taking a sightseeing boat trip and simply had to go watch it close up as soon as I got of the boat.
Nyhavn Copenhagen - Marianne Granum

Other than churches, I definitely also have a thing for colorful houses. So there was no surprise that the Nyhavn ( “New Harbour”) area was one of my favorite spots in the city. A perfect go-to place for lunch, a night out, or to take a boat trip.

For a Norwegian it was also very tempting to buy a beer to-go (not something that would fly back home ;-))Lunch in Nyhavn Copenhagen - Marianne Granum Blog

Being the seafood-junkie that I am, the Nyhavn area provided lunch after my taste. Every café, restaurant and bar in the area offered shrimps and other
tasty treats from the sea. Give Posters a Try - Marianne Granum Blog

Nyhavn is also home of Kunsthal Charlottenborg, the contemporary art scene in Copenhagen.

When we visited, there was exhibitions from Sora Kim: Three Foot Walking and Karl Holmqvist: Give Posters a Try among others. Below you see a pic of the latest exhibition.

Not being in Cobenhagen since I was a kid, I heavily relied on social networks for getting recommendations and must-sees.

Before going, I asked my connections on Twitter & Instagram for travel tips, and got so many good ones! Sadly I did not have time to try out all of them, so I’m definitely going back very soon! 🙂

Do you have any recommendations for my next visit?

Email Marketing: How to Build a Strong Email List

Email marketing - how to build a strong list of newsletter subscribers?Picture from

Email marketing – how to build a strong list of newsletter subscribers? Picture from Free Digial Posters

This morning I attended a breakfast seminar on email marketing hosted by Apsis. Here are some of my take-aways from the event, and some of my own experiences regarding building a strong email list.

* Offer something in return

– Other than (of course) great content, offer the subscribers a special treat in exchange for signing up. The treat can be anything from a free whitepaper, a contest entry, a small gift, access to exclusive content and news first, and so on, but remember to keep it relevant to your brand and/or the product(s) you sell.

*Don’t be afraid to ask

– Ask your customers, prospects, and other you think might have value of your newsletter, to sign up. (and get your colleagues to ask their contacts too)

* Promote your newsletter

– Add a newsletter promotion banner to your signature, and remember to distribute it to your colleagues too.

– Pop-up promotion on your web page. Some might find it annoying, but it can pay of. Why not give it a go for a short period, and see what it gets you? (remember to watch the bounce rate at your web site carefully though)

*Don’t forget offline promotion

-Add a QR code (that works!) linked to the subscription form on your business card, marketing collaterals or on posters ( e.g. if you own a store, add a QR-code where people tend to & queue up).

*Make it easy and compelling to share

– And encourage subscribers to do so. Add “Click to Tweet” and buttons for sharing in social networks.

Your turn – What makes you sign up for a newsletter?

Tagboard – All Hashtags at One Place

These days, hashtags are everywhere in the social network sphere: We add tags to our posts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Vine, Google+ and so on.
It has been hard to keep track and following a hashtag from one network to another-but not anymore! Tagboard is a new service that allows you to do hashtag searches across all hashtag-friendly networks.

Tagboard is very handy for both personal and professional use, use-cases include:
– At an event, or while watching a live event at TV and following the debate online
– For businesses tracking their brand across networks, discovering what network(s) their most engaged and loyal fans use, and what they are saying about you.

Marianne Granum - Tagboard - Tracking Hashtags across social networks

5 things do in Brighton

Brighton took me my surprise, honestly I was expecting a somewhat sleepy beach-town (and was ok with that, it was vacation time after all), and what I found has something very different: Brighton has a refreshing mix of so many of the things I like: art galleries on every corner (almost – also by the beach), amazing architecture, beaches, delicious food and lots of street art.

Marianne Granum - Brighton Art Pavillion

Here are some of the essentials for a Brighton visit:

1:Discover the Lanes Go shopping or dining in this very charming area of the city center.

“Pizza no7” and “Food for Friends” are recommended dining spots.

2: Enjoy the art scene
Brighton is known for it’s art scene – the galleries, artists and street art is part of what makes Brighton such an interesting place to be.

3: Look for Banksy
An original Banksy art piece can be found close to the Brighton train station.
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4: Have afternoon-tea
A must when visiting England? I think so!

The Brighton Grand hotel & Hotel Du Vin are two of the places you can get this traditional dish. remember to book in advance!

5: Avoid the Brighton Marina!
If you’re looking to do some factory outlet shopping, this is definitely not the place to go! Just a few stores, mostly unknown brands and very few bargains.

For some serious outlet shopping, take the train to Portsmouth (1 – 1,5 hours) and visit the harbour area (right next to the “Portsmouth by Sea” train station), here you’ll find an outlet village with brands like: Levi’s, Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Hugo Boss, Lacoste and many others.

What did I miss? Do you have any other Brighton-recommendations?

London day 1 – food on my mind

Every time I go to London with my boyfriend (now husband, actually – not used to using that word!) I make him promiss that one day we’ll live here. This time is no exeption – I simply fall head over heels in love with London over and over again. The city it self, the art, the culture, the wibe, the people, the food … I love it all! And yesterday I found three things more to love while exploring Kensington: the Whole Food Court, Hotel Chocolat & Kensington Wine Room.

Kensington Whole Food Court (Tube: High Street Kensington )

I’m a foodie (if that’s a word?), living for good food and love to invite people over for dinner, trying new receipes and exploring new tasty
things. In other words, the food court was exactly my cup of tea! We spent hours there, first grabbing a delicious lunch upstairs (everything from Mexican to Vegan to Italian to Thai and Sushi to choose from), before going food shopping. For a Norwegian it is tough to see a store of this size and with this selection – we
don’t have anything that comes close to this! Draft your own beer,visit the rosé garden, go bananas in the cookie bar, or stay healthy with coconut water and tofu.

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Hotel Chocolat (Tube: High street Kensington )
From one food adventure to another – it is time for dessert. Hotel Chocolat is a café, gift shop and small factory (they make the chocolate bars in
the store). We tried the tasting menu with three types of hot chocolate: Dark, Chili and Salty caramell. I got happier and happier by every sip, the best hot chocolates I’ve tastet so far!:)

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Kensington Wine Rooms (Tube: Nothing Hill Gate)
This place came highly recommended by friends of us, and it was definitly no disappointment! Enjoy a full dinner
or the bar menu (tasty tapas dishes) and charge your wine card and go sampling the selection of more than 40 wine types. You can learn a lot about wine this way (I discoverd that wine with a taste of honey is not for me, and found a Riesling that was the perfect cheese wine).

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(Blogging from my phone – sorry about the typos!) Today we’re of to explore London’s art scene! Let me know if you know of a place we cannot miss!:)

Instagram: The Hashtag Effect

I just stumbled upon this article, 8 Data-Based Tips for Optimizing Your Content on Pinterest and Instagram on Cheetahanalytics.com and thought I’d share a few interesting findings.

The effect of hashtags
That the use of hashtags on Instagram generates likes and followers is no big secret, but this graph indicates that hashtags has a huge positive effect on the number of likes and followers:

Marianne Granum - Effect of Hashtags on Instagram likes - Cheetaha Analytics

Graph from cheetahanalytics.com

Popular hashtags

What tags you use is almost just as important, not all hashtags are as effective, here is a list of popular hashtags:

Marianne Granum - Most Liked Instagram Hashtags - cheetahanalytics.com

Graph from cheetahanalytics.com

Not surprisinlgy, the most popular hashtags touch upon Instagrams social dimention, interaction and getting something in return. Any hashtags you find surprising on the list?

Before you start adding hashtags, be sure to avoid these hashtag mistakes.

Digital Detox

Summer is here, and for many of us this means vacation time (YAY!). Have you thought about taking a vacation from more than just work/school? Maybe a digital detox with no emails, social network updates or phone calls is what you need? If so, here are some advice on the road:

– Take baby steps
Start with going without your smart-phone for a few hours and see how it feels. What’s the worst part? What do you miss the most?

– Don’t do it on your own
Tell your friends about your detox and ask for support, mentoring or a partner in crime.

– Find a substitute
To me, the scariest part about a digital detox would probably be not being able to upload photos to Instagram – I take photos all the time!:-D If you are like me, consider buying a lomography camera and re-discover the charm of not seeing the photo right away.

Marianne Granum - Lomography Fisheye
Picture borrowed from my sister, Hilde, taken with a lomography fisheye camera.

– Stay busy
Go on a phototrip, try a new recipe, play board games, take up an old hobby or learn a new skill.

– Go to a digital detox hotel or camp
If everything else fails, gather a group and go somewhere with no reception, no wi-fi and no power outlets. Did you know there are several digital detox hotels and sonatinens to go to? Here is list of the Top 10 Digtal Detox Hotels.

Are you considering a digital detox? And if so, what do you think is your biggest challenge?

Instagram: Top 3 Annoying Instagram Habits

There are lots of does and dont’s when it comes to Instagram, most of us have done some of the dont’s (I know I have!), here are the three Instagram habits that bug me the most:

– #Hashtagging #Every #Word

You probably seen this on Instagram and might have wondered if it is a good idea? It’s not. The point of adding a hashtag is to make your picture searchable and easy to find for people looking for that particular topic.

Turning every word into an hashtag is pointless – have you ever searched for #is #and #a ? No? Nobody else either… Instagram allows 50 tags per picture (which I think is plenty), make sure to add tags that people actually search for and don’t “waste” tags on these words no one searches for.

– Hashtag “cheating”
I guess this is a “crime” most of us are quilty of, adding popular hashtags that have nothing to do with the picture just to generate more likes.
While this might be effective, it’s also annoying and ruins the purpose of hashtagging and searching for photos on Instagram. If generating a lot of likes is your thing, try out the Tags for Like app. Tags for Like generates hashtags based on categories, determine your pictures category/ies and find popular hashtags to label it with.

– Adding a #Nofilter tag to pictures that 1) it’s obvious that you have not used any filters, and /or 2) is not that impressive.

Am I the only one that find the miss-use of #NoFilter tags annoying? Use #NoFilter when you’ve captured something quite stunning and have no need to editing it, or when the lighting is perfect or you created a natural filter (under a lamp, using your sunglasses or a paper sheet e.g.), not when you’ve taken a random nature pic that quite frankly could need some earlybird-magic 😉

What do you think is the biggest Instagram no-no?

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