Instagram Logo

Instagram announced today that it’s launching video functionality. According to their blog post, when you go to take a photo you will see a movie camera icon. You can record videos from 3 to 15 seconds long, which is longer than what Twitter-owned Vine offers at 6 seconds maximum. Instagram also added 13 filter options specifically for videos. Another great feature is that you can choose a frame to set as the “cover photo” for the video, which is what will display in the Instagram feed.

The video recording functionality seems to operate the same as Vine, though, where holding your finger on the record button allows you to film, and removing your finger allows you to pause until you are ready for the next segment. Unlike sharing photos on Instagram, but similar to uploading videos to Vine, you cannot add a video that already exists on your device on Instagram.

Currently the video recording functionality is open only to iPhone users operating a 3GS device or newer running iOS 5.0 or later, and Android users running Android 4.1 or later. At this point, there is no mention of analytics, but I bet Instagram will soon offer that to brand accounts on the platform.

What do you think of this announcement? Will you be using Instagram to share videos?


Social Marketing During the Election

It seems like we can use a little humor after tonight’s second presidential debate. Yes, I am watching late night TV which will inevitably poke fun at the event for the rest of the week, but that’s not where I’m heading…

During this crucial time in an election year, we’re all bombarded with campaign attack ads via mass media. These messages pick at the opposition, and further confuse voters. But, have you caught any of the fun and entertaining TV spots from big brands capitalizing on the political sentiment this season?

This morning, I received HubSpot’s “8 Clever Ways Brands Are Newsjacking the Election for Marketing,” and I was impressed by the span of industries participating in the political satire – not only via TV, but with integrated digital and social campaigns. Noted in the article:

  1. Pizza Hut: This video drives to “The Pizza Party” Big Dinner Box as its candidate, asking their customers to show support by signing up to receive deals. HubSpot’s article also states offering unlimited pizza for a year or a $15,600 check to anyone who asks the presidential candidates if they prefer pepperoni or sausage during the second debate tonight, which did not happen. According to this article, Pizza Hut took this question off of the table following some bad press about the stunt.
  2. JetBlue: JetBlue Election Protection website, which stems from the overwhelming “I’m leaving the country if…” statements that spur out of negative feelings each election. JetBlue will send winners on vacations to destinations based on popular votes.
  3. PBS (Featuring Big Bird!): The campaign fights back against Mitt Romney‘s statement that he will cut funding to PBS (despite his respect for Big Bird). PBS purchased a promoted tweet on Twitter to appear whenever users searched for, which strives to educate consumers about PBS’s worth.
  4. Boston Market: “Market Bowl Poll” asks consumers to vote on one of two new dishes, chicken (the left wing) against turkey (the right wing). The video incorporates #marketbowlpoll and drives to where consumers can read up on the two “platforms”.
  5. FedEX: you’ve likely seen the “Candidates” TV spot, which jabs at political attack campaigns.
  6. Cabbage Patch: Really? Did you ever think Cabbage Patch would get in on this? Check out their politician dolls: Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan, up for auction, from which proceeds benefit Rock the Vote.
  7. 7-Eleven: From HubSpot, “customers choose coffee cups that are either blue for President Obama or red for Mitt Romney, with the votes tallied at the check-out counter. Every day, the results are calculated on the 7-Eleven website.”
  8. Heaven Hill Distilleries: “To capitalize on the election season at the start of the primaries in January, Heaven Hill Distilleries introduced two types of bourbons: Red State Bourbon and Blue State Bourbon. Along with launch of its left wing and right wing bourbons, the distillery also launched two separate Facebook pages in support of each position. And for every Facebook like they receive, Heaven Hill Distilleries is also donating $1 to the Veterans of Foreign Wars,” HubSpot writes.

What do you think of brands making “light” during this very heavy political time frame? Have you seen any other brands doing a stellar job?

Social Media and the “Big Picture”

Through my experience developing social media strategies both on the client side, and on the agency side, I’ve gained an appreciation for brands who can create a seamless and sensible social presence as part of a larger marketing strategy.

Social media is a way for people to talk to one another. It’s a two-way conversation, where both parties want to be heard. As a business, you need to talk to your consumers as both an expert and a peer. You want to ensure you’re conveying your brand message in a way that doesn’t oversell, but that makes sense and draws a clear line back to your company’s objectives.

There are a few key steps you can take to ensure you don’t turn your audience off when engaging on social, and promoting your brand:

Know your target. Who is your core audience and where do they live? Listen to what they are saying and how they talk to one another. You’ll want to communicate with them the same way.

Be transparent. Clarity is important for consumers, who have become keen to gimmicks and can see when a brand is only working to meet business goals.

Keep it simple. Don’t spring for complicated just because of the technology afforded to you. Think about what resonates with your consumers, and where you can reach them.

These tips make sense for businesses just getting started, as well as for companies who are reevaluating their efforts, and planning a new campaign.

What’s the one thing you wish you knew prior to jumping into social media for business?


My name is Kerry Gallagher, I’m a Social Marketing Consultant with integrated marketing experience in both agency and non profit settings. I enjoy keeping up with trends in social marketing and digital media, and how they work with other forms of advertising. The purpose of this blog is to educate others about the opportunities in this space, and spark conversation. Feel free to reach out to me with questions or let me know what you’re interested in learning more about!