Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tools & Tricks: How to Conquer Instagram in 2015

Our regular Tools & Tricks updates bring you badass tips for making the most of the DoStuff platform and other channels you use to reach your audience.

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks for our target audience, with over 200M monthly active users and about 90% of those under the age of 35 (yes, 9-0).

We've compiled some best practices, professional-grade tools, and online resources to help you create a kickass Instagram strategy and build a loyal following of users.

Best Practices For Instagram

While a lot of companies are active on Instagram, there’s a big difference between just throwing up pictures and building an active and engaged audience. Here are five things to always keep in mind when sharing content on Instagram.

The following is adapted from this post on the official Instagram for Business blog.

Be true to your brand

Be sure that your content expresses a clearly defined personality and voice. Feeds that feel distracted and don’t support a centralized brand message do not engage users.

The head of online marketing and social media at Herschel Supply Co. says to sit down and define your message in one sentence, and try to have every photo feed into that. For Herschel Supply the message is “well travelled”. For the DoStuff Network, that defining sentence would probably be, “Do something awesome today.”

Every photo and video you post to Instagram -- or repost from followers -- should capture that feeling of always experiencing the coolest stuff your city has to offer. If a piece of content doesn’t reach that bar, then it’s not a good fit for your Instagram feed.

A photo posted by @do415 on

Where else would you rather be in San Francisco when the sun is shining?

Share experiences

Offer a view into the lifestyle that your site makes possible through the eyes of the people who use it.

Poler Outdoor Stuff has built a massive following on Instagram by sharing adventure photos from their customers and fans. Through branded hashtags like #CampVibes and #BeneathTheBrim, they encourage followers to share personal adventures with the greater community and then feature the best on the official Poler account.

In a similar way, you can bring real world experiences to life on Instagram. After all, it’s this connection to a particular lifestyle -- one of always being in the right place at the right time -- that make people want to follow you in the first place.

A photo posted by Do512 (@do512) on

Do512's most popular photo from the two weekends of ACL Fest was this shot from the back row of the Calvin Harris show -- not a professional shot taken from the front row

Find beauty everywhere

Show how your metro sees your city and make that feel meaningful to users.

Although music is the backbone of every DoSite, concerts aren’t the only thing we love about living in our cities. Don’t be afraid to share everyday moments that capture what it is you love about your town and the people and businesses that call it home.

A photo posted by DoLA (@hellodola) on

A perfectly composed shot of this morning treat turned into one of DoLA's most engaged posts -- people appreciate the authenticity of those everyday moments

Inspire action

Start a movement around your metro’s Instagram account.

Similar to Poler’s #CampVibes above, Nike encourages followers to tag pictures taken while running with the #RunFree hashtag. Chobani’s followers use the #CreationADay hashtag to show off recipes that use Chobani yogurt.

All of these brands have turned their Instagram followers into active participants in a larger movement. What would that type of participation look like in your metro? Do502 uses the #HowWeLou hashtag to encourage users to share their view of the city. Do317 uses #DoIndyRight. What’s a similar movement that would speak to your users? #SelfieWithTheBand? #DoAwesomeStuff? #ILove(insert area code here)?

A photo posted by Mercury Ballroom (@mercuryballroom) on

Less than a month after Do502's launch, Louisville locals were already tagging their favorite concert photos with #HowWeLou

Know Your Audience

Learn what people love about your site, and explore ways to capture the imagination of new users.

What is it that drives people in your metro to go to your site and open your newsletter? Is it the chance to score those impossible-to-get tickets? Is it the cure for Wednesday night boredom? Is it exploring new pockets of your city every week?

You can’t really understand your audience without talking to them, so ask around. Then use that info to constantly refine how you engage them and how you shape the other strategies above.


Every Chicagoan knows one thing...

Third-party Tools and Apps

If you're still using just your iPhone camera and the official Instagram app to power your metro's Instagram account, we have news for you -- you're behind the times.

Since Instagram doesn't offer brands any way to schedule posts or manage large communities on their official app, a number of great third-party services that have popped up in recent years to help brands step their game up.

And while Instagram's Polaroid-inspired filters may have looked cool in 2011, there are now much more sophisticated apps for creating great looking photos on your phone.

Tools for Managing Your Account

  • Iconosqaure - Formerly known as Statigr.am, Iconosquare offers you a much more complete way to manage your Instagram community. View your feed as a grid, list, or slideshow, respond to comments (with emoji!), search for hashtags, and look up valuable metrics about your followers.
  • Repost - If you're looking for a better way to share cool photos posted by your users (via @hellodola), look to Repost. This mobile app will create a perfectly sized copy of the photo along with an overlay of the originator's username.
  • ScheduGram - Since Instagram doesn't have an official API, it's almost impossible to build a third-party scheduling tool. ScheduGram figured it out, though, through "virtualized" software and other impressive coding tricks. If you're looking for a scheduling tool, this is the best.
  • JustUnfollow - JustUnfollow helps you clean up who you follow and find more relevant people to build your community around.
Tools For Editing Photos


  • VSCO Cam - Long the hush-hush favorite app for professional photographers, VSCO Cam (pronounced "Viz-Co Cam") is the hands-down leader for editing photos on your phone. With a full tool-set for touching up photos and a huge catalog of presets, VSCO Cam will have your photos looking uber cool in no time (via @do314).
  • Instasize - Sometimes the square proportions of Instagram's camera aren't enough to fit everything you want to share (via @do502). Instasize adds a clean, white border to any photo to give it the proper 1:1 dimensions to fit on your Instagram feed.
  • Over - There are times when a photo alone can't tell the whole story. Over lets you add beautiful text and artwork to your shots to paint a complete picture of what you want to say.


You can easily copy the look of HazDF's text overlay using Over

Other Resources

Here are a few more links to bookmark to help you make the most of Instagram. If you have any more you want to share, paste them in the comments below or post them in Slack!



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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tools & Tricks: How to Conquer Instagram in 2015

Our regular Tools & Tricks updates bring you badass tips for making the most of the DoStuff platform and other channels you use to reach your audience.

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks for our target audience, with over 200M monthly active users and about 90% of those under the age of 35 (yes, 9-0).

We've compiled some best practices, professional-grade tools, and online resources to help you create a kickass Instagram strategy and build a loyal following of users.

Best Practices For Instagram

While a lot of companies are active on Instagram, there’s a big difference between just throwing up pictures and building an active and engaged audience. Here are five things to always keep in mind when sharing content on Instagram.

The following is adapted from this post on the official Instagram for Business blog.

Be true to your brand

Be sure that your content expresses a clearly defined personality and voice. Feeds that feel distracted and don’t support a centralized brand message do not engage users.

The head of online marketing and social media at Herschel Supply Co. says to sit down and define your message in one sentence, and try to have every photo feed into that. For Herschel Supply the message is “well travelled”. For the DoStuff Network, that defining sentence would probably be, “Do something awesome today.”

Every photo and video you post to Instagram -- or repost from followers -- should capture that feeling of always experiencing the coolest stuff your city has to offer. If a piece of content doesn’t reach that bar, then it’s not a good fit for your Instagram feed.

A photo posted by @do415 on

Where else would you rather be in San Francisco when the sun is shining?

Share experiences

Offer a view into the lifestyle that your site makes possible through the eyes of the people who use it.

Poler Outdoor Stuff has built a massive following on Instagram by sharing adventure photos from their customers and fans. Through branded hashtags like #CampVibes and #BeneathTheBrim, they encourage followers to share personal adventures with the greater community and then feature the best on the official Poler account.

In a similar way, you can bring real world experiences to life on Instagram. After all, it’s this connection to a particular lifestyle -- one of always being in the right place at the right time -- that make people want to follow you in the first place.

A photo posted by Do512 (@do512) on

Do512's most popular photo from the two weekends of ACL Fest was this shot from the back row of the Calvin Harris show -- not a professional shot taken from the front row

Find beauty everywhere

Show how your metro sees your city and make that feel meaningful to users.

Although music is the backbone of every DoSite, concerts aren’t the only thing we love about living in our cities. Don’t be afraid to share everyday moments that capture what it is you love about your town and the people and businesses that call it home.

A photo posted by DoLA (@hellodola) on

A perfectly composed shot of this morning treat turned into one of DoLA's most engaged posts -- people appreciate the authenticity of those everyday moments

Inspire action

Start a movement around your metro’s Instagram account.

Similar to Poler’s #CampVibes above, Nike encourages followers to tag pictures taken while running with the #RunFree hashtag. Chobani’s followers use the #CreationADay hashtag to show off recipes that use Chobani yogurt.

All of these brands have turned their Instagram followers into active participants in a larger movement. What would that type of participation look like in your metro? Do502 uses the #HowWeLou hashtag to encourage users to share their view of the city. Do317 uses #DoIndyRight. What’s a similar movement that would speak to your users? #SelfieWithTheBand? #DoAwesomeStuff? #ILove(insert area code here)?

A photo posted by Mercury Ballroom (@mercuryballroom) on

Less than a month after Do502's launch, Louisville locals were already tagging their favorite concert photos with #HowWeLou

Know Your Audience

Learn what people love about your site, and explore ways to capture the imagination of new users.

What is it that drives people in your metro to go to your site and open your newsletter? Is it the chance to score those impossible-to-get tickets? Is it the cure for Wednesday night boredom? Is it exploring new pockets of your city every week?

You can’t really understand your audience without talking to them, so ask around. Then use that info to constantly refine how you engage them and how you shape the other strategies above.


Every Chicagoan knows one thing...

Third-party Tools and Apps

If you're still using just your iPhone camera and the official Instagram app to power your metro's Instagram account, we have news for you -- you're behind the times.

Since Instagram doesn't offer brands any way to schedule posts or manage large communities on their official app, a number of great third-party services that have popped up in recent years to help brands step their game up.

And while Instagram's Polaroid-inspired filters may have looked cool in 2011, there are now much more sophisticated apps for creating great looking photos on your phone.

Tools for Managing Your Account

  • Iconosqaure - Formerly known as Statigr.am, Iconosquare offers you a much more complete way to manage your Instagram community. View your feed as a grid, list, or slideshow, respond to comments (with emoji!), search for hashtags, and look up valuable metrics about your followers.
  • Repost - If you're looking for a better way to share cool photos posted by your users (via @hellodola), look to Repost. This mobile app will create a perfectly sized copy of the photo along with an overlay of the originator's username.
  • ScheduGram - Since Instagram doesn't have an official API, it's almost impossible to build a third-party scheduling tool. ScheduGram figured it out, though, through "virtualized" software and other impressive coding tricks. If you're looking for a scheduling tool, this is the best.
  • JustUnfollow - JustUnfollow helps you clean up who you follow and find more relevant people to build your community around.
Tools For Editing Photos


  • VSCO Cam - Long the hush-hush favorite app for professional photographers, VSCO Cam (pronounced "Viz-Co Cam") is the hands-down leader for editing photos on your phone. With a full tool-set for touching up photos and a huge catalog of presets, VSCO Cam will have your photos looking uber cool in no time (via @do314).
  • Instasize - Sometimes the square proportions of Instagram's camera aren't enough to fit everything you want to share (via @do502). Instasize adds a clean, white border to any photo to give it the proper 1:1 dimensions to fit on your Instagram feed.
  • Over - There are times when a photo alone can't tell the whole story. Over lets you add beautiful text and artwork to your shots to paint a complete picture of what you want to say.


You can easily copy the look of HazDF's text overlay using Over

Other Resources

Here are a few more links to bookmark to help you make the most of Instagram. If you have any more you want to share, paste them in the comments below or post them in Slack!



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