Instagram Hashtags – How does it work and why should you use them?

If you’re on Instagram, you have probably noticed that there are several Hashtag strategies (just like Twitter, IG lets you lable your pictures using the # icon , this makes it both searchable and says something about the picture) out there.  Some people don’t use any, others use too many ( e.g. #Take #a #look #at #the #pink #dress #I #bought #today) and others again highlight a few ( e.g. Take a look at the #pink #dress I bought today).

In my opinion, the last strategy is most valuable. Although I’m not a fan of the strategy of using a # in front of every word, I can see a big boost in the number of likes / hearts when I add a couple of tags to my pictures.

My top ways of using hashtags on Instagram:
* Hashtags are a great way of spreading your pictures, as they make your pictures more visible and findable for people with the same interest.
* Capture / communicate the feeling you had when taking the picture.
* Enter a competition – Lots of brands /companies have their own IG account, host competitions and encourage people to add their tag(s) when uploading a suitable picture.
* As part of an event – similar to live-Tweeting and live-pinning, IG can be used to spread information about events as they are happening. E.g. I see a lot of people now making a hashtag for their wedding.

How to you use hashtags on Instagram?

P.S. Wondering if you are an Instagram addict? See the signs here.

Pinterest Contests: Pin It To Win It!

Pinterest can be used in many ways, Live pinning from events, daydreaming, planning your vacation , organizing your life and much much more. One great use case for businesses and brands on Pinterest, is arranging contests.

There are lots of ways to throw a Pinterest contest, such as encouraging people to “repin to win” or upload their own pictures, introducing special hashtags and shared board or appealing to peoples adventurous side with puzzles and quests. Here are a few examples of how different brands have arranged a Pinterest competition:

The fashion brand Guess turned Pinterest users boards into campaign ads by encouraging them to style their boards and making them fit for the spring season.

Similar contests have been held by Ann Taylor, Pottery Barn and several other brands.

Pinterest contests are not only for clothes and fashion brands: Confused — a U.K. insurance comparison website recently held a “driving-in-heels” competition on Pinterest, encouraging people to pin pictures of the crazies shoes worn while driving a car.

Also car companies can launch successful and creative Pinterest competitions, as Peugeot did with their puzzle competition:

Peugeot invites people to complete the puzzles by participating in a quest for the missing pieces at the companies web pages (and hence driving more traffic to their pages):

You can create similar puzzles, by following Mashable’s guide to “hack” your Pinterest boards.

Have you participated in a Pinterest contest?

Live Pinning – the next big thing?

Live streaming, such as live blogging and live tweeting, is a popular way of spreading content and experiences from events and happenings to people outside the physical location, creating global attention and reaching a world-wide audience. The newest member to the live-streaming-family, is live pinning: pinning pictures to virtual pinning boards on Pinterest.

A PR girl( known as OscarPRGirl) at the prestigious fashion house Oscar de la Renta, kept all her Pinterest followers up to speed by live pinning from they’re bridal show in April:

US Weekly did the same for their ‘Hot Hollywood Style’ Party:

Do you know of other examples of live pinning? And do you think live pinning is THE new way of live streaming, replacing other streaming channels?