Insta-lovin: A 101 Guide to Instagram

It’s hardly a secret that I’m an Instagram fangirl, if you read this blog somewhat frequently you might even have grown tired of all my Instragram talk ( I dedicated my love to the picture-sharing-service here, here and here). Today I felt like doing more than just talk about how great Instagram is, and actually show it. So I have put together a little Instagram 101 guide.

*Insta-heart it

To indicate you like someones photos, you can click the heart icon below the photo. Liking (or hearting) is a key feature of Instagram, and serves as both giving reconginitons to others and saving the picture so you can easily find it later (stored in the “photos you’ve liked” tab on your profile).

A faster way of adding a heart to the picture, is double-clicking it. A pretty basic tip, but it saves you a lot of time if you are browsing to a large stream of photos.

*hashtags and mentions

Like Twitter, Instagram lets you add hashtags (#) to your updates.
Hashtags makes it easier to categories your photos, and helps others finding your pictures. If you e.g. search for #cupcakes (I tend to do that a lot!), more than 400 000 pictures pops up.

Hashtags are also used to enter contests and shout-outs.

To interact with other IGs, Instagram lets you – again like Twitter, mention others using a @ and the username of the IGer you are talking to.

*Create photo magic

A key feature to why Instagram’s popularity keeps on growing, is the fact that it enables everyone to take great photos. With all it’s filters and features, you almost can’t go wrong.

The photo to the left is taken with the Camera+ app for iPhone. To the right, the same photos is given som Instagram magic.

To make this effect, simply to as follows: 1, upload to Instagram, 2,tap the sun icon ( low left corner) to add brigther colors, 3, tap the drop icon and select the radial / round shaped icon to make one area of the photo focused and the rest blurry.

*Insta-Widgets

To add even more value to the Instagram experience, check out some of the numberous widgets and services such as statigr.am for all your Instagram statistics and pingram.me to showcase your IG photos the Pinterest way.

With Instacanv.as you can showcase and sell your IG photos in your very own online gallery.

What’s your best IG trick?

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?

Twitter thoughts from a 4 year old

Some days ago I woke up to the following Tweet:

Four years on Twitter… What have I been up to?

Although it is a couple of years ago, I still remember when I first heard about Twitter and that it caused me to go straight home and signing up.

I had attended a seminar by Norwegian Marketing Association , and one of the speakers, Øyvind Solstad ( at that time working for NRK -Norwegian Broadcasting, and one of the first Norwegians signing up for Twitter) asked the audience: “How many of you are on Twitter?” The answer was close to none, most of us had not even heard about the microblogging service, but my curiosity was awaken and after the seminar I decided to give it a go, so I sign up and posted my first tweet. According to MyFirstTweet.Com it was:

Very well, I signed up and posted my first tweet – what happened next?
Not much. At first. Most of the time I just observed others, followed their advice, read their links and admittedly, spent a lot of the time “stalking” my favourite celebrities (especially the cast from The Hills).

My own Tweets was very limited, as this graph from TweetStats.Com clearly shows:

I was clearly not enjoying the full potential of Twitter. I now know there is more to it, so if I could go back to the early Twitter version of me and give some advice it would be:

Just do it!
2011 was the year I fully re-discovered Twitter and started sharing my own thoughts and engaging with others. While I earlier tended to over-think every tweet (‘Can I say this?’ ‘What if people disagree?’ ‘This is stupid’) and mostly ended up not writing anything at all, I had now adapted a “just do it” attitude to Twitter – and it helped my get passed my self-censorship (might have caused some spamming though – sorry about that!) and start creating my own content. And that’s when the fun began!

Engage with others!
Twitter is packed with inspiring people – old friends, people you look up to and experts of every kind. Twitter is probably the closest I’ll get to famous authors, celebrities and influential people like Norway’s prime minister. It would be a pity to not make the most if it – so ask questions, mention, retweet and hand-out #FF’s!

Update your info!
I cannot remember if the bio field existed when I signed up, but I do remember it took me a long time to come up with something to say (self-censorship hitting again). Now I know it is as crucial as the profile picture – I want to get a sense of who I’m following and don’t follow people without a picture and a bio. A funny or interesting bio can also make me hit the following button on people I just stumble upon or don’t have much in common with.

What did your first Tweet say? And what is your best Twitter advice?

My Gallery Is Open!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about signing up for Instacanvas and getting my own gallery, and yesterday I got the message I’ve been waiting for: My gallery was finally ready, and all I had to do was to decide what pictures I wanted to showcase (there’s no limit) and “cut the ribbon”!

The galleries with most weekly hits / traffic, are featured on the main page, so if you want to help me out my gallery, you can find it here: instacanv.as/mariannemixi.

You can request your own gallery at: instacanv.as.

Does any of you have an Instacanvas gallery already? What are your thoughts on and experiences with it?

Get Organized With Pinterest

I’m hooked on Pinterest, not only because it is loaded with amazing photos, but also because it allows you to create boards and organize your stuff, ideas, inspiration in your own way.

Cloths, icons and landsmarks from different eras in history:

Boards made by: Amy Leader

Did you think you had to have a white wedding? Think again:

Boards made by Perfect Palette

Looking for travel inspiration? Pinterest is the perfect place to start planning your dream travel.

Boards made by: Croft Global Travel

Are you redecorating? Why don’t make boards for every room?

Boards made by: Follow This Bird

Travel, Food, Colors, Seasons decoration, Gift ideas, Clothing, Redecorating – the list goes on and on, with Pinterest boards you can start collection ideas and inspiration for nearly anything!

Pinterest made my day!

This Monday morning started as a normal Monday morning: I was too tired and late for work. To make it even better the bus showed up 30(!) minutes late.

Therefore, I had no high expectations going through my emails. What could the mailbox possibly have in store for me? Nothing good, I was sure… To my surprise, I found an invite to Pinterest. I had signed up for the waiting list on Friday, and was eager to try it out.

Pinterest is sort of an online pinboard or scrapbook, where you pin your favorite pictures to a board. It resemblance WeHearIt it and Stumbleupon, and is a great way to get inspiration and connect with people that share your interests.

A neat feature is the Pin It tool, simply drag it to the tool bar on your web browser and pin pictures from all web pages you visit.

It is also a great tool for building brand awareness, check out Ragan’s PR Daily: 3 ways to use Pinterest for business right now to learn more. For a tutorial, check out SortaCrunchy’s Pinterest Beginner Guide.

My pins and boards can be found at: http://pinterest.com/mariannemixi/.

Your turn – What do you think of Pinterest, and how do you use it?

Frame it…

…with PicFrame:

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OSLOVE

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A night at Oslo technical museum

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Capturing autumn