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.

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Blogging: How to create good content faster

Blogging takes time, and given that both the readers and the search engines favor blogs with frequent updates, blogging more effectively certainly has its advantage. Here are my advises on how to create more content for your blog without using more time blogging:

– Write what you know
Reasearch takes time, sometimes it’s better to write about a topic you know a lot about instead of spending hours researching it. For instants, I’ve made some travel posts, but instead of looking into everything you can do in Milan or in the South of France, I’ve written about what I did there, my recommendations and my take on it.

– Do series
If you decide to research a topic, make a series of blog posts. This way you get more value from the time spent researching, and if you do it right, you can also become a significant voice on that topic.

– Use pictures, videos, illustrations and infographic
For bloggers, there is definitely some truth in the saying “a picture says more than a thousand words”. Sometimes you can create a whole blog post by just adding a infographic, or sharing your favorite Instagram photos or YouTube videos of the week.

– Make use of the time you on Pinterest
At times I spend hours on Pinterest, sometimes just looking at one pretty pin after an other, other times I’m looking for pins on in a special theme / topic. Sometimes this makes the foundation for a blog post, I’ve written about my vacation plans and Pinterest several times. Maybe you write a food blog, and spend time pinning good looking dishes and tasty recepeis, or write about traveling and find inspiration for your next journey on Pinterest?

– Make time of the time you spend online.
Same logic as above. Maybe you write a blog about gadgets and technology, and spend a lot of time reading about the subject online? Make a blog post about the general notion you pick up, the trends you see coming, the news that catch your eye.

– It is ok to press the reblog-button.
As a blogger, you should spend time creating your own content and finding your own voice. But there is nothing wrong in sharing posts written by others from time to time. See a blog post you like, that is spot on for the topics you blog about? If you don’t have any alternations or additional information to bring to the topic, press reblog. You give the blogger credit and your readers good content without the effort of writing your own post.

– Copy with pride
Get inspiration from others, what is your favorite bloggers doing and how can you adopt this? Don’t copy the content, but the style. If someone blogs about their top 10 Pinterest or Etsy findings, you can make a post about yours. I found the inspiration for this post, after reading 19 ideas for spending less time blogging .

What is your best blogging advice, where do you get your inspiration and what do you mostly blog about?

London Calling!

My plans for the summer are coming together, and last night I booked flight tickets for London. I’m super excited since London is one of my favorite cities and because I have not been there for a couple of years.

I’ve already strated to look for things to do and see, places to stay and go, and good spots for a bite or a drink. Like everytime I’m looking for travel inspiration, I start at Pinterest, my fresh, new London board is created and some pins are added already – have a look here.

Marianne Granum - Pinterest travel inspration London

One thing I like about going back to London, is that I’ve already done a lot of the “must-do” things for tourist, and feel free to spend my time going back to my favorite places and finding new ones. However, I still have some must-visit places left to go, and my to-do list is soming together:


On my to-do list:

– Tate Modern – It’s been on my bucket list every time I’ve been to London, but for various reasons I’ve not yet gotten around to paying it a visit – About time!

– London eye – Same reason as tate really, so this time I’m going for sure!

– Walk around with no map or purpose – My favorite activity on vacation, perfect for exploring new hidden gems, and very relaxing.

– Shopping- Come on, it’s London, I practically have to go shopping!

– Day trips – Brighton, Oxford and Southhampton are places close to London that I also think is worth a visit.

If you’re looking for ways to use social networks in your vacation planning, have a look at this blog post.

Do you have any suggestions for where to go, what to see, and what I should absolutly NOT miss in, or close to, London?

Social Media Spring Cleaning

Marianne Granum - Social Media Spring Cleaning

Spring is here, representing renewal and a fresh start – why not use this time of year to clean up your digital presence too?

Here are my 3-steps to a Social Media Spring Cleaning:

Review your strategy – what is working and what is not?
You can treat your social media activities like you treat your closet. Just like reviewing your closet from time to time and changing, adding or taking out cloths from the closet, you should from time to time also review your social media activities and campaigns, your goals, strategies and results. What worked out and what did not? What should be changed and what should you still be doing?

Explore new networks
Are there any new networks generating a lot of buzz now, or a network that is still under the radar that you happen to know about? Look into how these can benefit your personal or professional brand. My new favourites are Vine and Snapchat, which both present a lot of new opportunities and exciting use cases for your company and /or personal brand.

Update bio and “About me/ us”
Did you get a new job or more responsibilities, learned a new skill? Got a new cool hobby you want to share? Did your brand get a new feature, a new product or a new partner? A lot happens in a year, make sure others know about it. Remember to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date too.

Your turn – what did I miss? What are your best tips for cleaning up your social media presence?

Pinterest Introduces Secret Boards – And What’s Cool About It?

If you have a Pinterest addiction and are looking for ways to hide it, Pinterest just gave you the perfect option: create secret boards. Yesterday the virtual pin board network announced a new feature: Secret boards, now you have the option to create Pinterest boards for your eyes only.

Why it’s good:
*You can finally hide your “guilty pleasure pinning”, or make a board perfect before making it public and allowing everyone else to see.

*Secret boards are also convenient for pinning christmas gift ideas, making boards with baby clothes, toys and decor before everyone knows you’re expecting, planning someones birthday party or keep the best cupcake recipes you’ve stumbled upon hidden from your sneaky friends 😉

*Most other social networks have privacy settings, so that the users can make their own choice when it comes to what the want to make public and what they want to keep private. By introducing secret boards, Pinterest is one step closer to a giving the users more control of their content.

Why it’s bad:

For now it has some drawbacks: You can’t make existing boards private and you can only switch between hidden and open board once (apparently because someone might have repinned some of your pins while it was public). I’m also missing a feature allowing you to decide who can see your board and who it is hidden from.

What do you think about the secret boards? Will you be using them, and for what?

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.

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?

Online Help for a Great Summer Vacation

Summer is here, which (for the most of us) means that vacation time is near. To get the most out of my spare time I turn to social media and online services, which are great resources in planning and executing traveling plans. Here are a couple of ways I use these resources before, after and on vacation:

Lately Pinterest has served as a great travel inspiration for me, in the early phase of traveling planning I check out the pictures of the place and make dedicated traveling boards.

I always ask for activity suggestions on Twitter, and have received some pretty sweet tips of places I might have missed otherwise. Following the local tourist office, you can pick up tips and stay on top of events happening during your stay. Some of the local must-do/see/buy might have their own Twitter account too, like the amazing Creeme Brulee Cart(!) in San Francisco.

For the best deals and a complete overview I always book my flights and hotels online (I almost can’t believe “offline” travel agencies still exists, is anyone still using those?). Seat Guru and similar services makes sure you get the best seat possible. Even though I’m in a love-hate relationship with Trip Advisor, I always have to check out my hotel options here before booking anything. Bad service, dirty bathrooms, nasty breakfast buffet? Trip Advisor has made me change hotel plans more than once.

On location, Foursquare (in addition to gaining neat scores and badges) is great for picking up recommendations – when checking-in somewhere I always read the tips other visitors has left. Menu recommendations are a great way to discover hidden treasures on the menu.


Chocolate Fondant from The Edge, Oslo – the best in town!

As an eager hobby photographer and Instagram-Addict, I spend a lot of my vacation time taking pictures. To me, the best part of going somewhere new is exploring all the hidden gems and unique locations – every place has them, it is just a matter of finding them! Once I find them, and “shoot them, I upload them to Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest – Who knows, maybe my pins from Milan can inspire someone else going there, or give advises on where to go and what to see? Never the less, it is a great way to save vacation memories and share them with friends and family.

What is your best tip for vacation preparations, online or offline?

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?

The State of Social Media 2012

The State of Social Media 2012 by The SEO Company
The State of Social Media 2012 by The SEO Company

What are your Social Media predictions for the rest of 2012?

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