Twitter Wants Photos, Not Links, from Instagram Users

Virginia DeBolt's Instagram banner

It made news this week when Twitter asked Instagram users to post images directly to Twitter instead of posting a link to the photo on Instagram. When an image is posted on Instagram, the user can choose to send a link to the image to Twitter. An image from Instagram will show up on Facebook when shared there, but Facebook owns Instagram.

Yesterday I heard an interesting talk from Meagan Rhodes (@MeaganNRhodes) about using social media. (She’s worth following on Twitter if you’re interested in social media for your business.) She talked about how millennials are all on Instagram. She’s a young woman herself (at least when compared with me) and much more in touch with what millennials are doing with social media.

I personally don’t mind clicking through from Twitter to see a photo on Instagram, although Meagan said most younger people won’t click. But Twitter wants the original image to be put on Twitter and for the link to Instagram to go away.

There are more active users on Instagram now than there are on Twitter. That’s a big change. There are some reasons for this.

  1. Instagram is all visual. The world is rapidly becoming all visual.
  2. Instagram allows more than 140 characters.
  3. Instagram allows a number of hastags in each post. And additional hashtags can be added later in a comment on your own photo.
  4. Comments on Instagram photos are directly under the photo and don’t require searching back through different threads on Twitter. That means any hashtags associated with photo are right there on the page with the photo.
  5. The Instagram accounts of people who visit and comment on your photo are right there and easy to Follow.

When you list some of the reasons for Instagram’s heavy use by millennials, it becomes clear why Instagram is taking the lead over Twitter and winning the lottery for eyeballs.

It would be good for Twitter if users took their advice and actually posted their photos directly on Twitter. But how would it benefit anyone’s brand, traffic, or image sharing from the Instagram side of things? It would not.

A while back I wrote about adding Instagram photos to your own blog. Everything I said in that post still applies for two reasons. It your blog. It’s not a link to a photo as with Twitter.

Good News for Bloggers from Getty Images

Getty Images Embed Tool

Getty Images Embed Tool

Getty Images announced a new embed feature that gives free, legal access to many images to bloggers for noncommercial use.

If you find an image on the Getty site, look for an embed icon(</>) from the search results or image detail page. Click that and you’ll get the HTML code to embed that image on your site.

Getty has images from news, entertainment, sports, archival and creative imagery content. This new embed tool takes the rights of its content contributors and partners into account, because images will include photographer attribution and, when clicked, will link back to gettyimages.com where the image can be licensed for commercial use.

For a look at the dark side of what this means in terms of advertising and to photographers, see Getty did what?

Changing Your Facebook Gender Settings

Your body. Your definition. Now on Facebook.

Facebook added the ability to set your gender outside the binary male/female choices just in time for Valentine’s Day. Now you can define yourself with a choice more reflective of who you really are if the binary choices don’t cover it.

Here’s how to update your gender settings.

1. Choose Edit Profile. If you’re on the page with your News Feed, it’s under your name at the upper left.

choose edit profile

Choose edit profile

2. Scroll down to the Basic Information Section and click Edit.

Edit Basic Information

Edit Basic Information

3. You’ll see a gender option. Use the pull down menu to select “Custom.”

Select Custom

Select Custom

4. Start typing in the input field. After you type the first letter, Facebook populates the list with options based on your first letter. I typed a “c” thinking that I would like to identify as “crone.”

The "C" options

The “C” options

As you can see, crone isn’t an option. I tried typing it in and saving, but got an error message. It will only let you choose one of the options offered. (There are about 65 choices in all.)

I typed a “f” in the box. Here are the options offered. As you can see, choices included options with “f” in many places, not just as the first letter.

the "f" options

The “f” options

5. Pick a pronoun. If you choose a custom gender definition, you have a chance to choose your pronoun.

Choose a pronoun

Choose a pronoun

The pronoun choices are limited and don’t offer some common choices that people who don’t fit the binary prefer. Maybe Facebook will add to the pronoun options later. They need to do that.

6. Save

Related post from 2010 (or this has been a long time coming) Have You Thought About the Gender Choices on Web Forms?

Note: This post was syndicated on BlogHer.com.

7 Ways to Use Instagram Direct To Market Your Business

Is your marketing campaign growing rather stale? A little “ho hum?” If your social media marketing mix is becoming a little too predictable, you may need to shake things up a bit. The perfect way to add a excitement and catch your audience off-guard may be to adopt a hip new social media tool.


This is a sign that your current campaign is not working.

Don’t worry if you are currently scratching your head asking yourself, “What hip, new marketing tool have I missed?” The answer is Instagram Direct. Yes, there’s a new tool in town and it is changing the way businesses market through social media.

What is it?

Instagram Direct introduces new features to the Instagram repertoire of tools by enabling you to select who you share your photos, messages, and videos with. And, after you have sent your message to this “select” group of followers, you can actually keep tabs on who has seen it. Furthermore, said followers will be able to respond in real time–triggering conversation.

How can you put it to work for you?

Here are 7 ways for your business to put this platform to work.

1. Attract the early adopters

Let’s face it. Early adopters and the cool, young crowd don’t want to hang out in the same place as their parents. That’s why Instagram Direct is a great way appeal to this desirable demographic. It’s new and it has not yet been populated by the supposed “past their prime” audience.

2. Showcase a new product

Creating a buzz about your company’s latest offering is the best way to ensure its success. Instagram Direct’s visual format is the perfect way to foster this. By sending your best customers and most avid followers an attractive image of your newest product, you will generate interest–especially if you encourage them to share it.

3. Run a contest

Everyone loves the chance to win and Instagram Direct is a great venue for running a contest. Ask participants to take funny snapshots of themselves with your product, ask them to come up with quirky advertisements, or create a new slogan. Not only will this generate a buzz and goodwill, but it will also provide your business with some great material to showcase on your website and other social media platforms.

4. Offer loyalty rewards

We all like to feel special. And we are more likely to frequent a business that makes us feel exactly that–special. Foster loyalty among your followers by sending them exclusive coupons, discount codes, or a special in-store deal.

5. Share special content

Offering your most avid followers access to special content is another great way to make them feel valued. You can share “behind the scenes” images, funny or touching customer testimonials, employee stories, product tips, and any other exclusive content that you think will best showcase your products and services.

6. Excel at customer service

Customers feel an affinity with businesses that provide them with personalized service. Instagram Direct will better enable you to do exactly that. If a client posts a photo or complaint about one of your products, you can respond to them on a one-on-one basis. Besides handling customer concerns and queries, you can also send thank you messages to your most active followers.

7. Glean Information

By following your followers, you will be able to see, firsthand, what they are saying about your business and your products. This will offer valuable insight into what is working and what is not.

Silence those yawns. Abolish those “ho hums.” By introducing Instagram Direct to your social media marketing mix, you can step out of the doldrums and experience renewed customer enthusiasm. Now that’s something to applaud.

Does your business make use of Instagram Direct? How?

Guest Author Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger. She is a unrelenting social media junkie who has written a bevy of articles on social media marketing, online reputation management, and pretty much every social media platform known to man. You can follow her neurotic and OCD ramblings at The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss.

Image courtesy of photos.com

10 Places You Should Share Your Design Work

10 Places You Should Share Your Design Work

The social web has made sharing more important than ever, especially for graphic designers who are continually seeking new (and potentially lucrative) clients. Now, sharing your design work is more than simply publishing a portfolio; it’s engaging in a community and making real business-networking connections that can pay huge long-term dividends. Portfolio-driven and personal/professional websites aside, here are 10 places you should share your design work.

Facebook

Facebook is perhaps the best platform for sharing your design work. What makes Facebook (and other social sites) perfect is the fact that potential clients are likely not surfing portfolio websites – but they are paying attention to designs being shared here.

Pinterest

Rapidly growing in popularity, Pinterest is a great platform for setting up your own board to showcase your design work.

LinkedIn

Post your latest designs to the business community; with a few good connections, you’ll have the work and the references needed to land great contracts.

Forrst

Share and collaborate with other creative professionals, some of whom might just hire you for their own projects.

YouTube

Whenever you create an outstanding design, take 90 seconds and make a video that discusses your decision-making process. Share your video on other social sites and quickly establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Dribbble

Dribbble isn’t just for designers; a lot of potential buyers browse Dribbble these days.

DeviantArt

Still one of the most popular sites for designers, DeviantArt has a robust community that’s happy to “reshare” your posts.

Creattica

Unlike many other sites, Creattica reviews each work before publishing it. That third-party validation is critical and results in potentially thousands of shares across a wide network.

Press releases

Whenever you complete a big project for a client, offer to submit a press release announcing it. This is especially true for newsworthy releases such as a new website launch or redesign. The press release should include the fact that you were the designer; when it gets picked up by media sources, everyone will know your name.

Business and marketing blogs

Most graphic designers focus on getting posts published on design blogs, but designers aren’t your clients. Instead, post design-relevant information on business and marketing blogs to establish your expertise and talent.

Where else can you share your design work?

Author’s Bio: Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint.

Yes, Pinterest Can Help You Grow

I do something a bit eccentric with Pinterest. I keep track of books I read in the two book clubs I belong to. I could be doing better with Pinterest, and I’ll bet you could, too.

Pinterest screen shot of book club board

A screen shot from one of my book club boards at Pinterest.

Are you missing out on the value of Pinterest? Apparently it’s a secret traffic getting, marketing tool known only to women. If you’re missing out, you may suffering from male-Pinterest-blindness, or you may be like me and not yet organized to harness the full potential of this site.

Lauren Bacon, the genius behind Curious for a Living recently posted Why Pinterest is Seriously Valuable (and What It’s Teaching Men in Power). Here’s a small Snippet of what she said.

This morning, I read Kevin Roose’s New York Magazine commentary on Pinterest’s valuation with a familiar combination of amusement and irritation. Now, to be fair, the headline (“It’s Time to Start Taking Pinterest Seriously”) is the worst part – but I’m pretty confident he didn’t write it, so I’ll just shake my fist at that headline writer. (Perhaps New York would consider “It’s Time for Men to Start Taking Pinterest Seriously”?) But the body of the article is frustrating to read, as a woman in tech, because it feels like Roose is having a series of “Aha” moments that he could have had ages ago, if only he’d looked outside his own personal preferences and seen what has been patently obvious to every women I know in the tech sector: Pinterest is a freaking gold mine.

Further, she states,

Tech sector leaders – startup founders, VCs, and so on – need to climb out of their solipsistic holes and start targeting users that aren’t themselves.

There are plenty of convincing facts in this article at Curious for a Living to encourage men to take a look at women’s spaces. I suggest you read every word of it very carefully.

BlogHer’s Master Class

BlogHer, which absolutely pays attention to the needs and habits of women, recently held a Pinterest Master Class. They published the class so that anyone can learn how to make the most of Pinterest as a marketer or a brand.

At BlogHer, we like to share the knowledge. Here is our Pinterest Master Class — a series of three videos equaling an hour of content — all focused on getting the most out of Pinterest. We want to share the expertise we’ve developed with digital influencers — and with brands — who want to learn how to better leverage the enthusiasm of the powerful female consumer for this digital marketing space.

Jory Des Jardins, a co-founder of BlogHer, led the class. The Pinterest Master Class videos are available on BlogHer, YouTube, and right here.

BlogHer Master Class: Harness the Power of Pinterest (Part 1 of 3)

Pinterest Best Practices and Busted Myths (Class 2 of 3)

BlogHer Master Class: Harness the Power of Pinterest (Part 3 of 3)

This session is the most helpful in terms of thinking about how to create and produce images that will work with your blog and bring in traffic from Pinterest.

Pinterest is about getting up to scale with good content. Get organized and start pinning.