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instagram photos pop

Make Your Instagram Photos Pop

It’s no wonder that Instagram is as popular as it is. It’s fun, it’s simple, it’s easy to use. I love it for personal use, but it’s also a marketer’s dream. It’s constantly growing. It has more than 300 million users with high user engagement. With a large young user base and great engagement, it’s hard to ignore. As a marketer, you need to consider it as part of your strategy.

Instagram is an important asset for visual content, a driving force in social.Click To Tweet

People love visual content. Instagram users love appealing, creative photos. There are countless apps designed to enhance your Instagram experience. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with various different photo editing apps and other photo related tools and I’ve found some clear favorites.

There are apps that help enhance your selfies, foodie shots, landscape shots, etc;. I’d like to note that I use an iPhone6. Here are the the apps I use most, what I use them for and why I like them:

Layout

Sometimes instead of posting one pic of a time, you’d like to post a collage of photos. Layout is my go-to for this. With layout you can easily combine multiple photos into a single image. It automatically shows you previews of custom layouts from the photos you from your camera roll. There’s also a Faces option that shows you all the photos in your camera roll that feature people. My favorite feature is the drag and drop. This allows you to arrange your photos, pinch to zoom or pull the sides of each photo to adjust its size and get your layout just right.

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Facetune

Facetune means not having to take 100 shots to get the right selfie or portrait. It means you can make the perfect picture. With lots of great filters and editing tools to whiten, brighten, color, take away blemishes, it’s like photoshop at your fingers tips. You’re ready for your closeup!

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Hipstamatic

This app is designed for taking a beautiful picture WITH the app. It’s not designed for you to take a pic and then upload it to edit. It’s like having an analog camera app. I like it for shots of objects like this necklace:

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Snapseed

It’s no wonder that Snapseed is made by Google. It has everything I love about Google+ photo editing. It’s like having all the google+ photo editing tools I love to use on my laptop but on my smartphone. The “tune image” tool and the Glamour Glow filter are what I use most.

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Camera+

The editing tools are great on this app. I especially like selecting “clarity” which automatically enhances the photo. I used it on the photo below. This app is also about organization for me. It allows you to do three things:

  • manage your edited photos – the photos your take in the app are stored your Lightbox photo where you can view and delete them so you only keep exactly what you want.
  • Photo details – View detailed info about your photos including when they were shot, dimensions, sizes. You can also see at a glance all the edits you applied to any pic.
  • Sharing – easy sharing features including email right from the app.

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Pomelo

Pomelo just makes photos pretty! Gorgeous, state of the art photos are created with the over 70+photos on this app. And it’s free! I love to use this app for anything: landscape, portraits, objects, you name it.

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Retrica

The best thing about Retrica are the live filters. You can preview how your photos will look, before you even take the photo. With over 100 filters, your options are countless.

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Picfx

The first thing this app does when you upload a photo is it gives you the option to crop it right away for Instagram sizing. Score! It also has over 100 filters. What’s unique about it is it’s layering effects. PicFX has tons of layers, in a wide variety of subtle tone shifts and gradients.

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The most important thing to do with Instagram and photo editing is to try out your options for yourself. I encourage you to check out a few apps beyond the ones I’ve named here. There are plenty. I’d love to hear about your favorite apps and features in the comment section below. Please share and be sure to connect with me on Instagram.

 

 

 

google plus

Google Plus Redesign Includes Smart Updates

A surprise to many, Google Plus very quietly launched a redesign with a brand new layout and a focus on images. They’ve added a whopping 41 new features designed to make G+ operate more intuitively.

What Google Plus seems to be doing is paying more attention to it’s users, feedback and improving upon those features that make it a unique network. Smart. Here is a brief overview on some of the smart updates that Google+ made with this new redesign:

HANGOUTS

The ever popular Google Hangout feature will be enhanced with a mobile app. Hangouts can include text, photos and video and can be stored for you to go back and review later.

STREAM

The Google Plus stream will now have a multi-column which people are already saying looks a lot like Pinterest. I like it because it involves a lot less scrolling 🙂

EDITING

Each section of the About tab (skills, work, education) has it’s own separate section with it’s own editing feature. This makes it easier for you to edit your profile information, quickly.

REVIEWS

There is now a reviews tab that allows users to add local reviews of movies, restaurants and other businesses.

PHOTOS

Here’s where they really zeroed in on some smart updates. Google Plus Photos just became even more “awesome”: Auto Backup allows mobile photos to automatically back up so you have the ability to easily share them right onto G+. Auto Awesome is a feature that uses groups of photos in your library to create an animation. Auto Enhance is a feature that automatically uses a filter to do brightness, contrast and other editing enhancements. Auto Highlight is another pretty amazing feature that Google+ describes this way: “Auto Highlight helps you find your favorites faster by de-emphasizing duplicates, blurry images and poor exposures, and focusing instead on pictures with the people you care about, landmarks, and other positive attributes”

 

 

How To Creatively Use Instagram For Business


Instagram turned 2 years old this weekend. It’s only 2, yet it can boast these stats: 100 million registered users and 5 billion photos uploaded. WOW. A picture is worth a thousand words, the old saying goes. It also has it’s value in social media as photos generate more engagement than anything else. That makes Instagram a pretty smart tool to use to showcase your business.

There are some great ways of doing this but let’s talk about some Instagram Etiquette first.

It is still a social networking site, so the same rules apply. Don’t try to sell. Share. Let your pictures tell a story not be an advertisement.

Don’t overpost. You don’t want to be that person who clogs up someone’s feed with their posts. No matter how interesting it is, you can still overdo it.

Make sure your images are beautiful and eye catching. That’s the whole idea. Beautiful imagery. So pick photos that are very nice to look at.

Don’t go crazy with hashtags. USE them, for sure, because it’s smart to do. But don’t overuse them. Just because you can use 20 hashtags, doesn’t mean you should. It just looks bad and it looks like spam. Who wants to look like spam?

With that said, here are some great ways to get creative on this fun social network!

1. Give us a HOW TO photo display. Show us how you make a product at your business. A step by step process from start to end. Make it interesting.

2. Take event photos. Are you going to a special event, show or conference? Take some shots of what’s going on at the event. Give us a glimpse into your experience.

3. Introduce us! Let us meet some of the people who work at your company. This is another element of social media. Taking away the “entity” of the business and showing us that you are people too!

4. Do you have a product that is launching in the near future? Why not build up excitement by giving us some preview shots of what’s to come.

5. Take us backstage. Do you put on a production or show? Showcase it! Maybe you are getting ready to appear in an interview or you’re doing a photo shoot. Let’s see some shots of you or your team getting ready.

Instagram is fun and simple. Keep it fun and simple. Users are attracted to the creativity and beauty of the images. Stay consistent with that appeal and you’re on the right track!

What do you think of Instagram? I’d love to get your opinion.

The Beauty of Instagram

What can I say? I’m pretty fascinated with Social Media. I absolutely love pictures. I’ve been taking pictures for years as a hobby. So it’s really no wonder that I have fallen hard for Instagram. About a month ago, Instagram surpassed 80 million users. It’s only 2 years old (almost). 50 million users have been added since April. It’s probably safe to say, that photos are King on the internet. Instagram is simply a mobile photo sharing social site that allows you to upload photos and edit them in really cool ways. Whereas for the most part my social media presence is for business purposes, engaging with other business owners and building brand awareness, Instagram for me is mostly about FUN.

I have connected with friends from Facebook and Twitter on Instagram as it allows you to connect with them on Instagram if they have an account, but I also have been able to discover a few new friends. One thing I like about it is seeing what people choose to share. It’s almost always entertaining: funny, inspirational and just plain interesting. There is a lot of brand presence on Instagram and the creativity is impressive.

Recently I discovered Statigram. Wow. It takes your Instagram experience to another level. Statigram is a website that allows you to manage your Instagram site in several ways:

It gives you a feed of the photos from the people you follow, You can comment, like and respond right from the site.
You can create products like wall art, and iPhone cases.
It provides statistics and analysis of your followers, and engagement.
You can promote your instagram account with a public URL from statigram, code to copy and paste for your blog for people to follow you, and RSS feed.

Those are great features, but MY favorite features from Statigram are the Snapshots! Check out some of mine below:

Bird’s Eye View Of My Instagram Account

My Top 6 Preferred Users

My Top 5 Instagram Photos

You can also create a very cool cover photo collage of your Instagram Photos:
My Instagram Cover Photo

Too. Much. Fun. Are you on Instagram? Let’s connect!

8 Content Marketing Ideas

Content Ideas!
You’ve heard it over and over: CONTENT IS KING. I am a believer. Although I think it’s better said that GOOD content is King. Content is anything from a blog post, a tweet, Facebook post, a video, an email. Content comes in many forms. People use some more than others and in different ways but the bottom line is you need content, and you need to keep putting out that much needed content. You want your content to make people want to know more about you and your business. It should be what your audience finds valuable.

So DO know, who you’re writing for, why, and what their needs are. Your audience is the key to your content. They should dictate what you provide. Always keep them in mind. Here are some great ideas for creating good content:

1. Questions: What questions does your target audience ask about? For example, my audience asks me a lot of questions about social media basics: How do I use Twitter, What’s a hashtag? What exactly is Pinterest? These are great inspirations! You can answer them in a status post or blog post, video or a brief word photo answer.

2. Tips! Tips work great because they are brief and shareable. This is a great way to provide value in a simple consumable way.

3. Interviews: Interview experts and influencers that your audience would appreciate hearing from.

4. Photos: If content is King, Photos are the Queen. Share pics from events, your office, your workspace, your products!

5. Videos: Some people prefer to share content through video. Videos are very popular and easily shared as well. It’s easy to give quick tips and nuggets through a video or a how to video demonstration.

6. Guest Blog: Ask a fellow blogger to write a post that you can share on your blog for your audience. It’s a WIN WIN!

7. Reviews: Review a product or service that is relative to your niche. Share the benefits, how it works, how it compares to it’s competition.

8. Tell a story: Share your experiences as a business owner, a Mom, a leader, a community member. Learning how to be a storyteller is a major advantage. Give it a try!

Always keep in mind to make sure your content is relevant to your audience. Don’t feel like it has to be a novel, it can be brief. Last, remain authentic and keep it fun.

What content do you value? I’d love to get your feedback.
photo credit: Caveman Chuck Coker via photo pin cc