All Posts by Ethan


The Secret Formula to Creating A Viral Instagram Post

ImageInstagram has 500 million monthly users. Videos and photos are shared on the platform 95 million times a day.

It’s a steady-growth network that offers brands the perfect opportunity to build their audience and customer base.

It’s a unique platform to maneuver, but the visibility you can gain from it is huge.

But even with all its users, you can’t just post images blindly and wait for them to go viral.

You have to know what photos to post, when to upload them, and how to connect with other users on the network to gain more followers and likes.

It’s as much an art as it is a science.

For example, we have more than 35,000 followers on Instagram.



We didn’t get that kind of a following overnight, though.

But we did live to tell about the methods that work to help you amp up your numbers and visibility.

Here’s our formula for crafting a viral Instagram post that will appear on the “Top Posts” page.

Instagram Top Posts: What Are They, Exactly?

When you navigate to the “Explore” tab of Instagram and enter in any given hashtag, the “Top Posts” section will appear at the top.

It’s a section of the nine posts with that hashtag, determined through an unknown algorithm used by Instagram. These posts were picked by Instagram to be featured.


(Image Source)

While there isn’t a tried-and-true formula for getting on this page, there are some general rules you can follow to increase your chances.

And, luckily, you don’t have to have a huge account to get a viral post, either.


(Image Source)

The larger the hashtag, the more quickly the trending posts are refreshed. But for smaller hashtags, you may be able to remain trending for a day or two (or more)!

But before you can start posting, the first step is making sure your account is completely filled out.

Leave Nothing Blank

This might seem obvious, but you need to be sure your profile is complete.

You want to appear as legitimate as possible. That means filling out that dreaded “About Me” section, too.

And make sure to add a link in your bio to your website. Here’s how we do it:


(Image Source)

You should also link your Instagram account to your Facebook account.

Decide whether you want to link your Instagram to a personal or business Facebook, or create a page with the sole purpose of showcasing Instagram activity.

It’s up to you, but if you’ve already got connections on your business Facebook page, it’s probably wise to link your Instagram there for maximum exposure.

It’s a good idea to make sure all your images follow a similar theme, too.

Find Your Voice/Theme

Keep your demographic in mind when you’re crafting images or videos to post on Instagram.

Anyone who visits your page will have an instant impression of your brand’s identity, so you have to present yourself exactly how you want to be perceived.

And low-quality photos won’t cut it. You want to appear professional, so be sure to showcase high-resolution images, like these from Noisy Water Winery.


(Image Source)

Plus, since Instagram users are probably viewing your account from a mobile phone, any flawed or dark images will look even worse on their screens.

You don’t have to be a Photoshop genius to have nice images, though. You can easily create some high-quality images using a tool like Canva.


(Image Source)

Content on your page should be specific to your voice. Be unique and showcase your perspective in your industry, and your audience will appreciate your authenticity.

Try to make the posts in your feed somewhat match, so there’s a similar feel to each of your images. Here’s how we do it on our page.


(Image Source)

Your images don’t necessarily have to be original, either, as long as you add something to the conversation and give credit where credit is due.

Post quotes or even news stories on popular industry topics and add your own commentary to spark a dialog with those who see the post.

Try to steer clear of red, though.

Photos with a ton of the color red are psychologically proven to stop a viewer from scrolling.


(Image Source)

Blue images, however, get 24% more likes than red ones. So keep that in mind when crafting a theme: more blue, less red.

This will get people’s attention and increase your chances of going viral.

Tags are another great way to connect with people and get exposure on Instagram.

Use Tags

There are countless accounts in each industry trying to gather a community of people to pay attention to their content.

A tag will separate you from the rest. Here’s ours:


(Image Source)

A tag lets you open yourself up to user-submitted photos and an entire world of followers that you might not reach without it.

The more tags, the better. Photos with more tags have been proven to get more likes.


(Image Source)

Location tagging is also important because your images will show up when people search for that area.

Here’s what a location tag looks like:


(Image Source)

Besides tags, you should also be focused on using emojis in your Instagram captions.

Use Emojis

Everyone uses emojis.

But did you know they can actually help you go viral?

Humans process images 60,000 times faster than they process text. Emojis are the way to go if you want to convey a feeling or emotion quickly.

If you want your post to get more attention, simply add in a few emojis. The heart emoji tends to get the most engagement.


(Image Source)

It’s best to have a good understanding of exactly what each emoji means, first.

If you’re just starting out with emoticons, HubSpot’s Emoji Guide is the perfect place to start learning.

You don’t want to use an emoji that conveys the wrong message, after all.


(Image Source)

Now, let’s move onto the section you’ve probably been waiting for: ads.


Instagram ads appear like any other regular post on the platform.

There are a few ad options, but they’re pretty similar to each other overall. And they are a lot less complicated than ads on other platforms, like Facebook.

Plus, audience targeting is a lot easier.

For example, you can post photos of differing dimensions if you want your post to be larger or smaller.


(Image Source)

Since Instagram is designed for mobile users, you should keep screen size in mind when crafting ads.

Ads on Instagram might not be the best place to drive sales. And since your overall goal is to go viral, it’s best to focus on the “top of the funnel,” here.

Instead, focus on branding, views, clicks to your site, and more. The rest will follow once the users find you and join your Instagram journey.

And that’s the entire reason you’re trying to go viral, right?


(Image Source)

In addition to the regular old photo ad, Instagram also has carousel ads available, pictured above.

These are perfect for product demos that require several photos to tell the full story.

There are two other kinds of ads on Instagram:

  • Video
  • Stories

We’ll talk more about stories next.

If you’re already a pro at advertising on Facebook, just use interest-based targeting when running ads on Instagram.

Or, run ads against custom audiences full of email subscribers, past customers, and more to re-engage visitors.


(Image Source)

But you can never be sure which kind of ad is the best one to meet your goals or go viral.

For that, you’ll want to run a few tests before you spend a ton of money on Instgram ads.

Compare and contrast how certain ads perform with engagement tracking in


(Image Source)

With this feature, you’ll see how many people engaged with your posts on any given day.

InstaStories are incredibly powerful if you use them right, so we’re going to hone in on those next.


InstaStories are perfect for attracting attention to your page, which increases your overall chance of having viral posts.

People will see your account at the very top of their feed and be more likely to go to your page and click like on a photo.


(Image Source)

This is a great place to show your wit and sense of humor. But InstaStories aren’t the only place for funny posts.

You can put them right on your page.

Stone Brewing Company, for example, is known for witty and unique posts like this one:


(Image Source)

I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of feel-good content we like to see on Instagram.

But once you get the content down, make sure you’re posting at the right times.

Create a Posting Schedule

Much like scheduling posts on other social platforms, you should schedule posts on Instagram to see the best results.

Scheduling lets you post when your audience is online and most active. That means your chances of going viral with a post during those times is much higher.

With engagement analytics in the platform, you can determine when those times are.


(Image Source)

Look at your posting times and then check out the engagement and interaction data. Which times gathered the best likes or comments on posts?

This is when you should be uploading to Instagram.

Then, once you know your optimal post times, schedule posts out in the tool to go live at those times and days.


(Image Source)

This can be a lot of work, though. Something that also helps you go viral is to get featured by an account with a bigger following.

Find Influencers and Interact With Others

Instagram is full of accounts with followings of all different sizes.

Accounts with a gigantic following can influence their followers to like another brand’s post or follow their account with just one repost.

If you’ve taken a photo that is worthy of sharing, get it out there to a larger account.

Some accounts will feature your post if you add their hashtag or tag them. Find a list of these accounts here.

The account you try to connect with doesn’t have to have millions of followers, either. In fact, if it doesn’t, there won’t be as many accounts trying to compete for their attention.

Accounts such as @thepeoplescreatives have their own hashtags that people can add to photos to get discovered.

Just add #peoplescreatives to your photo and they’ll see it – and potentially “regram” your image.


(Image Source)

Building relationships with other accounts in this way is almost guaranteed to get your post attention.

And finding influencers and brand advocates doesn’t have to be full of guesswork.

The Follower Insights feature makes it simple to identify and contact users who already know you and your brand.


(Image Source)

Here’s how you can take the first step and actually collaborate with another account.

Shout Them Out

Once you’ve done your research and identified which accounts you can exchange content with, send them a direct message.

Ask them to credit your account for the image that you want to go viral. It’s also not out of the question to ask them to direct their following to check out your page and follow you.

Propose that you will do the same for them with a photo of their choice.


(Image Source)

If you’re just starting out, it’s commonplace to provide your photos for free.

But the exposure has unlimited value and increases your chances of a viral post by an immeasurable amount.

Run Contests

An Instagram contest is a fail-proof way to gain followers and increase engagement.

Nikon even created an entire Instagram account dedicated to their 2016-2017 Nikon Photo Contest.


(Image Source)

Be sure to spend time setting it up and monitoring the contest, though, to make sure it’s successful and participants are happy.

The overall goal here should be to increase engagement and attract attention to your post (and your brand).

Here are some quick tips to keep in mind when running a contest on Instagram:

  • Your contest must have rules
  • The entry must be simple (ask users to like your post or follow your page)
  • Run contests regularly to increase the chances of going viral often
  • Include a prize
  • Use a contest specific hashtag. It’s a good idea to use a branded one.

Don’t forget to create an eye-catching graphic to share the contest, and be sure to follow up with those who entered after it ends to thank them for their participation.


(Image Source)


Instagram is the perfect platform for going viral and growing your brand.

But you have to know how to use it in a way that other accounts will love.

We didn’t gain our Instagram following in a day, but Rome wasn’t built in a day either.

With the help of our tools and a few hacks, you’ll have a viral Instagram post on your hands in no time. To be featured on the “Top Posts” page, be sure that your Instagram profile is completely

filled out so that people know you’re legit.

Post images that are in line with your brand’s theme and use tags and emojis to increase your chances of visibility.

Promote an image as an ad so that it will go viral more quickly, and only upload when your users are active. Schedule posts in advance with our scheduling tool.

Find influencers to share your content and offer to share theirs, too.

And don’t forget to run contests on your posts so that everyone will share your image with their friends.

See you on the Top Posts soon!


How to Increase Sales by Spying on Your Instagram Followers


Instagram just passed 700 million monthly active users, making it the 3rd most used social network in the world.

In short: It’s a marketer’s paradise.

Millions of active users are actively refreshing for 15+ minutes each day, just waiting for the next post.

However, are they actually looking for you? Can they find your posts?

60% of Instagram users say they’ve learned about products via Instagram. But the trick is knowing how to target those users.

To do so, you need to know where they hang out.

Here’s how you can leverage your followers (through a little spying) to increase your Instagram sales.

Recon with can help you track followers.

Understanding their behavior unlocks everything else.

You’ll know just what to post, when to post, and what tags to use to increase engagement. You’ll even know page popularity and ultimately, sales.

To get started, sign-up and link your instagram account.

Once you’ve done all the preliminary stuff, you’ll get to your account page.

On the left, there will be a dashboard that looks like this:


Go to “Follower Insights” to get more insights on your followers.

You’ll see a list of your followers. Click on a follower to get a detailed review of their account.


You should be able to see the number of posts, followers, and how many people this account is following.

Scroll down, and you can also see the three most popular posts for this account.


If you’re looking for data on a certain type of follower, or are curious how many of a certain type of follower you have, you can go to the top right corner and select Apply Filters.


You can search for followers by username, name, a word in their bio, or the location from which they last posted.

You can also use this feature to gain more specific insights.

For example, if you type “business” in the bio keyword box, you can see how many businesses are following you.

Scroll down on this menu to view filters you can add to narrow down your followers list:


Here, you can rearrange the order of your followers list, sorting by who has the most followers, which accounts are private, and more.

You can use the scale at the bottom to zero in on highly-popular or less-known accounts.

For example, if you wanted info on how to engage with real customers (not businesses) you might consider capping follower number to about 5000:


Hit apply to get a list of people who have a number of followers in the set range.


You now have an updated list of the specific demographic you want to know more about.

This information will be pivotal for telling you about user behavior, when to post, and what type of content will be most engaging, so pay attention to it.

Let’s check out a few of those right now.

Time your posts

Timing is everything.

People use Instagram for a variety of reasons. But they also use it at different points throughout the day depending on their goals.

Do they just want to be entertained or are they looking for something in particular?

According to a study, days of the week can affect motivations (and buying decisions).

The study shows that Wednesday is the best day to post if you’re looking for likes and comments (4.9 likes/comments per follower on average), while Monday is the least engaging day.


(image source)

The hour of the day also impacts engagement.

According to the author of the study, 5 p.m. is the most engaging time of the day:

“We think this is because less people are posting at that time and that more engaged users are using Instagram at that time,” he says.


(image source)

But this doesn’t mean that posting on Wednesday at 5 p.m. will improve your sales automatically.

Other timing factors coming into play that can affect conversions as well.

Time zones, for instance, can impact the engagement rates. If you’re posting at 5 p.m. ET, it may be midnight or later for international followers.

Your followers may also have different behavioral patterns based on who they are.

If your core audience is businesses, for example, you might find better engagement on a Monday than a typical ecommerce Instagram account would.

Or if they’re night owls, you may find a later evening post to be more effective.

In one poll, 50% of social media managers said that evenings from 7-9 p.m. were actually the best time to post on Instagram for younger audiences (basically, don’t be afraid to experiment).

This is where having a tool like comes in handy.

You can use the analytics tool to find out what times your posts got the most (and the least) engagement from your followers.

Go to the left-hand dashboard and select “Analytics” to view this drop down menu.


Next, choose “Post Performance.”

After the redirect, you’ll see something like this at the top of the page:




This calendar ranks the times of your past posts. You can use it to find the best and worst times for your account.

If you can’t post at the ideal times for some reason, don’t worry!

You can use’s Schedule Post tool to automatically update your account during your peak hours.

Just go to schedule post on your dashboard and you can flip through the calendar to select a day to post.

Click on the day, and you’ll be walked through the process to post.


Keep in mind that the “best time of day” can shift over time.

You want to track your metrics over time, find patterns, and experiment with posting schedules to get the best results.

Know your engagement history

If you’re not sure whether or not your audience is engaging the way you want, you can also use to look at your engagement history.

Under the Engagement tab in the Analytics drop down menu, you can get this information.

Due to Instagram’s API limits cannot pull historical data so you’ll want to link your account as soon as you can.



In the top right corner, set the time period for which you’d like to view your account statistics.

You will be able to see several things that you wouldn’t see on Instagram, how many likes your posts have gotten on average this week, and how many interactions (likes and shares) you’ve received.

Scroll down to view a pie chart showing how many photos or videos you have posted this week, and which of those mediums have accounted for what portion of your total engagement.

Post TypesMostEngage

Below that, you can view which filters you have used this week. That way, it will be easy to spot which ones have received the most engagements.



You can go to Analytics, then “Follower Growth” to see graphs of how many followers you’ve lost or gained. Net follower growth for the week will also be displayed.



If the data from isn’t current, go back to the “Follower Insight” tab and click the “Update” button at the top right of your screen to import your latest Instagram data.




This will give you the most accurate results and help you understand your audience’s behaviors over time.

“Regram” your followers’ posts

Okay. So you’ve spent some time tracking engagement. You’re timing posts during peak days and hours.

Now what?

Well, now you have to use that data to create a connection that leads to conversions.

One of the best ways to do that is by including your users’ content on your own feed – also known as “regramming.”

Regramming helps you build trust with your followers.

They feel connected to your brand because you’re recognizing them.

In fact, 4 out of 5 of users will give brands permission to share their images, and 65% of Instagrammers say they feel honored when a brand mentions them.

Bigger brands like Tic Tac (@tictacglobal) do a great job of this:



Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t make it easy to repost other’s content on your own page.

You will most likely have to use another app like Repost It! Free to reshare a post and credit the creator. (Always credit the creator and even give a shout-out to their @IGname in the caption.)

Start by opening the app and clicking on the camera icon in the top right corner.


Clicking this will take you to your instagram feed.

Scroll through the feed until you find the photo or video you want to regram. Then, click the three dots at the top of the post.


From the menu that appears, choose copy link. You will then see a green popup telling you the link has been copied to your clipboard


Now that you have the link, click in the top left of your screen to return to the Repost It! App.

The photo will be saved on the main page of this app.


Click repost to be directed to the final steps–setting a time for the post to go out, and adding your own caption.

You can also regram content through a manual screenshot on your mobile device.


(image source)

Always make sure to add a caption that gives the appropriate credit to the original source by adding:

  • Credit: @username
  • Image: @username
  • Hashtags (#regram, etc.)

J.Crew is brand that does a great job of regramming with the appropriate credits:


You can also share the posts to other platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, to maximize your impact.

Just remember to get approval if you’re regramming content from other businesses that users have not submitted to you directly or tagged you in.

Comment (and like) back to followers

You will most likely get a response to any posts you make or regram.

You want to do your best to comment back as much as possible, especially if users have questions about your product.

Take the popular makeup brand Glossier, for example. They frequently respond to comments on product launches:


Comments show that people like your posts and want to engage with your brand.

Instagram also recently launched a feature that allows you to “like” a comment the way that you do on other platforms:


It’s important to respond to posts as quickly as possible. Typically within 24 hours.

This way people feel like a priority and they will know you actually read their comments.

Here, you can see Zappos responding to comments on their pictures while keeping their brand consistent:


Responding to comments humanizes your brand and boosts conversions.

People are using social media more often for reviews, especially in the comment sections.

One study found that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 72% of consumers say positive reviews make them trust businesses more.

So if you have positive reviews, respond!


There might come a point when get too many comments to reply to on a consistent basis.

This is totally normal.

Focus on your first 24-hour period after a post, respond to as many as possible, and then move on.

If you notice that a certain post is getting a flood of feedback, you will want to keep track of that, of course.

But for the most part, you want to respond as much as possible (just remember to respond to scheduled posts, too).


If you pay attention, your followers will tell you a lot about how they use Instagram as well as what they think of your brand.

The problem is that Instagram won’t give you many of these insights.

Instead, you’ll have to use a tool like to track user behavior and spy on your followers.

Look for the best time of day to post, as well as which channels and audience types are the most engaged with your brand.

After that, use posting tactics to target that audience behavior.

Respond to comments and questions as quickly as possible, regram user posts and mention users in your content as well.

This will help build trust, grow your follower base, and ultimately drive your sales.image11


How Sunny Co Clothing Gained 750,000 Instagram Followers in 24 Hours

How Sunny Co Clothing Gained 750,000 Instagram Followers in 24 Hours

On May 2nd, Sunny Co Clothing went from 7,000 Instagram followers to over 750,000.

That’s a 10,000% increase in a single day.

Most companies can only dream of this viral success. It’s nearly unheard of.

But in this case, it wasn’t necessarily an accident, either.

Once you dig a little deeper, you’ll notice that this campaign would have been a smashing success even if it didn’t ‘go viral’ to these extreme lengths.

The good news is that nothing they did was special, necessarily.

Beyond the hype and hysteria surrounding this massive success, was a solid plan backed up by excellent execution.

And if you reverse engineer it, you’ll quickly realize that nothing’s holding you back from running the same blueprint this week.

Sounds enticing, right? Here’s how to get it done.

Step #1. Start with Proven Creative

More than 95 million posts (pictures and video) are shared on Instagram every single day.

It’s saturated with fashion bloggers, fitness stars, and you name it.

These people are your competition whether you like it or not. Before getting anywhere near someone’s pocketbook, you’re competing exclusively for their attention, first.

So what do you do?

You need to know what works and what doesn’t.

Staples is about as boring as it gets. And yet, miraculously their account is not stuffed with photos of boring office supplies.

Instead, they use Instagram to promote their partnership with schools. Apparently, Staples gives away a ton of school supplies every year and are huge supporters of education.

Here’s a post where they featured a well-deserving teacher. Notice that they even added appropriate hashtags (which big brands always seem to screw up) that help broaden their visibility.

Staples (@staples) • Instagram photos and videos

(Image Source)

The photo of this teacher works for two other important reasons:

  1. Photos with faces are more popular than products or scenery.
  2. Authenticity is the most important factor of a “powerful visual” according to Getty Images.

That might sound tricky for B2B companies to pull off. But these next few are exceptions to the rule.

Email marketing company MailChimp uses storytelling to highlight people both inside their company and out (including their customers).

Check out all the real, smiling faces:

SocialInsight io - How Sunny Co Clothing Gained 750,000 Instagram Followers in 24 Hours - Google Docs

Smiling faces are good, but not always a necessity.

For example, take this Marketo Facebook ad example:

SocialInsight io - How Sunny Co Clothing Gained 750,000 Instagram Followers in 24 Hours - Google Docs (1)

Ok, I know: Pretty corny.

But hold off on judgment for just a second.

Hero images have been used in advertising for decades to help viewers empathize and project themselves into being the ‘main’ character depicted.

The Marketo example above shows someone who just triumphed over adversity and now seemingly has the whole world in front of them.

They’re also turned away, so you can can’t see their face, which only makes it easier to imagine yourself in the same position.

And the background colors are both vivid and bold. It sticks out, but it also reinforces the ‘hero’ motif.

Now let’s bring this all back to Sunny Co Clothing.

Here’s the image that went ‘round the Instagram world several times over:

Sunny Co Clothing (@sunnycoclothing) • Instagram photos and videos

Notice anything familiar?

  • Hero image, turned away, with stark, contrasting colors.
  • It seems like a real, authentic person (as opposed to an obviously staged shot).
  • And it emphasizes the lifestyle or outcome (relaxing by the pool) as opposed to the product itself.

Not a bad start so far.

Step #2. ‘Seed’ Your Campaign to Get if Off the Ground

Most small and medium sized companies fear advertising.

They feel like it’s a gamble or a waste of money. Even though it’s anything but… if you do it right.

For example, Instagram ads adopt many of the same features from Facebook. That means you get access to using custom audiences that allow you to laser target campaigns to everyone from followers, to website visitors, email subscribers, or even past customers.

SocialInsight io - How Sunny Co Clothing Gained 750,000 Instagram Followers in 24 Hours - Google Docs (2)

(Image Source)

Wall decal store Walls Need Love uses an ‘organic to paid’ approach to make sure their ad dollars are well spent.

For example, they’ll work with bloggers and influencers on ad creative to post organically to their followers. Then they’ll use analytics to see which types of images work best, for example.

They noticed that “light and airy photos got the most likes” on Instagram. So guess which they now put ad dollars behind to reach new audiences?  

SocialInsight io - How Sunny Co Clothing Gained 750,000 Instagram Followers in 24 Hours - Google Docs (3)

Most Instagram users are familiar with Curalate’s Like2Buy feature that adds a simple link to your profile to simplify the buying process.

Once again, it’s a paid option. And once again, it pays off handsomely.

Users who click through using Like2Buy spend 32% more time on the site. So it should be no surprise that they also view more pages and buy more products, too.

The first step to any viral marketing campaign includes seeding your audience. You need to hit a certain threshold, or critical mass before true (and elusive) word of mouth takes over.

Contrary to popular belief, things rarely ‘go viral’ on their own. With little or no prompting.

For example, if you wanted to make a video ‘go viral,’ you’re looking at $50,000 in some cases.

Obviously, that’s a lot of out-of-pocket cash you might not have lying around. So ‘eating’ the cost for your own products is often the next best step.

An excellent SocialBlade article helps us run the number behind Sunny Co’s text book example.

  1. The “$80 bathing suit” might cost as little as $3 bucks on wholesaling websites.
  2. Customers were charged $12.98 for shipping, even though a package that size should only cost $2.77 according to one expert interviewed.
  3. That means Sunny Co is actually ending up with possibly $6 bucks per ‘free’ swimsuit as a profit.


(image source)

So first things first: They’re not even losing money on this deal.

If we were to take a ‘worse case scenario’ view, maybe they broke even.

But in this case, they still come out way ahead!

  • They got hundreds of thousands of new Instagram followers.
  • They got email addresses from each person who redeemed this offer (so they can try to upsell later).
  • And they got immeasurable new brand awareness that would have cost them hundreds of thousands in advertising or PR costs.

Step #3. Reward Followers of Your Followers

So far we’ve looked at how Sunny Co’s photo and distribution strategy created a perfect story of virality.

But there’s one final piece we haven’t touched on yet:

SocialInsight io - How Sunny Co Clothing Gained 750,000 Instagram Followers in 24 Hours - Google Docs (4)

‘Seeding’ gives your viral marketing campaigns a fighting chance. But there needs to be something about them at the end of the day that compels people to pick up the baton and run with it.

  • First, Sunny Co required that people both (1) repost and (2) tag the company to redeem the offer.

That leverages the Instagram’s network effect to bring in the followers of your followers.

Here’s a similar idea but different execution from a kids clothing brand:

SocialInsight io - How Sunny Co Clothing Gained 750,000 Instagram Followers in 24 Hours - Google Docs (5)

Three requirements this time:

  1. Like the post
  2. Follow them
  3. Tag a friend (or better yet, multiple friends)

They’re also giving away six pairs of pants to one person. Think about that for a second.

Sure, that person could selfishly keep all six. Or, they could share it with the friends they tagged (so that they can all work together to better their odds of success).

These little tricks aren’t just gimmicks. Consider this:

The half-life of a post on Instagram is about an hour according to a study by Takumi. That means half of everyone who will see your post has done so within ~60 minutes (give or take).


(image source)

One hour is nothing on internet time.

The vast majority of people will completely miss that post. Unless, of course, you do something to extend that half-life.

Something like including viral hooks that get people to continuing sharing it over and over and over again.

  • The final piece of the puzzle came down to a double dose of scarcity.

The 24-hour time period meant you had to act fast to beat the cutoff and to be one of the lucky ones to receive the free swimsuit.

Here’s why that’s critical.

Most people today don’t need things. If they have access to Instagram (and time to browse), they’re already in the lucky 1% of the world’s population.

That means, when you think about it, there’s almost no reason they need to act now to buy your product.

However, using scarcity to create urgency out of thin air can drastically improve your odds at getting people to take action.

For example, dog food e-tailer Bob & Lush wanted to increase product sales. So ConversionXL made just one tiny tweak to a product page to see which variation sold more at the end of the day.

Here’s what each looked like:

Implementing Urgency on eCommerce Product Pages For a 27 1% Lift [Case Study]

Notice the difference?

That tiny, outlined box with an expected delivery date resulted in a 27% revenue increase!

A variation on this tactic is the ubiquitous countdown timer you see across the interwebs.

This time, (formerly WhichTestWon) ran another test. One product page variation had a countdown timer, and the other did not.

The results?

The Count Is On! Or Don’t Count On It- Which Version Increased Product Purchases- - BEHAVE

The countdown timer variation scored a 8% conversion increase.

Countdown timers and delivery dates are important. But the real reason is because of the underlying principles they’re both striking: Urgency.

Sunny Co executed many things well on their viral swimsuit giveaway.

But the 24-hour cutoff gave the campaign (and more importantly, their followers) the urgency reason to take action ASAP (before it was too late).


Viral marketing campaigns are hard to predict.

There’s no set formula to guarantee it’s going to happen. Sometimes it even happens when you least expect it.

Sunny Co Clothing’s viral success was no accident, though.

You can tell there was a solid game plan from the beginning. They were following tried-and-true promotion principles that have been around for decades.

As is so often the case, the idea isn’t what was original.

It was execution on the fundamentals that put Sunny Co in the best possible position to take off.

And fortunately for them, that’s exactly what happened.



Instagram Will Now Block Offensive Comments


For a while now Instagram has been a front runner of trying to create safe spaces within their online communities. Today they are introducing two new tools for their users. The first tool will be used to block offensive comments. The second tool will be used to filter out spam (only in 9 languages right now). These tools are the first steps towards creating communities that foster kindness and creativity.

Many people were complaining about how the toxic comments being made were keeping them from enjoying the app in its fullest. These users felt like they couldn’t adequately express themselves without feeling like they were going to be attacked. Well that’s where Instagram has decided to step in. Instagram has successfully developed a filter that will actually block comments on posts as well as live videos that are deemed offensive. All other comments will be there as normal. Users will also have the option to not use this filter. The comment filter will only be in English initially.

To access the filter:

1. From your profile screen click on the gear at the top right.

2. Scroll down until you find, “Comments” and then click on it.

3. Here you will be able to turn the filter on and off. Additionally, you will also be able to hide custom phrases that you personally find offensive.

The spam filter is only available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, French, German, Russian, Japanese and Chinese. More languages will come with time as their algorithms improve. The system that will block offensive comments and delete spam will be become more and more effective over time through reports from users. These are a few important steps that Instagram is taking to help better the community.


Instagram Will Now Allow Longer Videos


Instagram has been rolling out a string of updates recently. Starting with the announcement to change the chronological feed, and followed up today with their announcement of 60 second videos.

In the last six months, the time people spent watching video on the platform increased by more than 40 percent.

More and more users are consuming video on the platform and they are seeing great engagement on their content.

Instagram videos have been limited to 15 seconds since they were introduced in June 2013. At the time many thought 15 seconds was too long, especially when compared to competitors like Vine who only allowed 6 second videos.

Users feeds have been gradually transforming from static images to a collage of motion and sound.

The team at Instagram has seen this trend. In addition to the new longer video format, the update will re introduce the ability to make videos out of multiple clips on iOS devices. This will allow the user to pull multiple files from their camera roll and combine them into one uploaded video all within the Instagram app.

This is not a new feature. Multiple clip upload was available when Instagram first introduced video however the feature had been removed in past updates.

The Instagram team put together the video below to showcase the feature.

How does this effect my Instagram strategy?

Engagement is the most important metric to focus on with Instagram’s new interaction based algorithm. With video consumption up by more than 40% in the last six months we can see an amazing engagement trend.

Users and brand will need to incorporate video into their strategy in order to achieve peak engagement levels with their followers.

This is easier said then done, most mobile video is consumed without sound and you have a small window of 3 seconds to grab someones attention.

How do you think 60 second videos will impact your Instagram strategy?





Your Instagram Feed Will No Longer Be Chronological


photo via @littledrill

Studies show that the average Instagram user misses 70% of whats in their feed.

Today Instagram announced it will be changing the order of posts in its feed. Your feed will no longer be in strict reverse chronological order, rather posts will be ordered “based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”

Instagram says that initially, “all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.” However, eventually posts less pertinent to a user will be filtered out entirely.

For the user this change means that you should ideally see the posts most intriguing to you they are hours old. This is very similar to how Facebook’s feed works, and how the recent change to Twitters feed reacts.


This change was to be expected after Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012.

With a relevancy-optimized feed, Instagram will lose some momentum as a real-time content feed because users will not always see the most recent posts at the top of their feed. Users and brands will also have to worry about providing high quality posts in order to be chosen by the algorithm or their posts could be de-prioritized.

Users will see the biggest benefits from the relevancy-optimized feed. It will make sure users don’t miss great content eve if you don’t spend 15 minutes scrolling through your entire feed. It will also allow users to feel more comfortable following more accounts, they will no longer have to worry about drowning out the posts of their favorite accounts by following too many users.

A shift towards filtered feeds tend to boost engagement on quality content, as they are prioritized in followers feeds. Getting your content seen will become more and more of a competition as social media platforms switch to  relevancy-optimized feeds.

Let us know how this change is effecting your account in the comments below!



6 Instagram Features You Don’t Know About

One of the beauties of Instagram is its minimalistic design, simplicity, and ease of use.

In fact, the majority of the app can be accessed through 5 simple navigation buttons found at the bottom of the app.

While this level of simplicity is great, sometimes, it leads to more advanced features being missed or overlooked.

In this post, I am going to show you 6 hidden features that will help take your Instagram game to the next level.

1. Get Notified When an Account Posts

Have you ever wanted to receive a notification every time one of your friends or favorite accounts posts on Instagram?

Maybe, you have always wanted to be the first like on every photo your BFF shares?

Regardless of if it’s simply to stay in the loop, keep tabs, or play elaborate pranks, you can receive push notifications for any Instagram account you follow.

Here is how to set it up:

Go to the account profile from which you would like to receive notifications.

Confirm you’re following the account (you can only receive post notifications for accounts you follow).

Click on the 3-dot button located at the top right.

Mail - EthanEd@hotmail com (3)

Click “Turn on Post Notifications””.

Mail - EthanEd@hotmail com (2)

This is a feature that can be turned off at any time. In the future, if you get annoyed or tired of the post notifications from a particular account, just repeat the sets and you’ll see “Turn off Post Notifications”.

2. Hide Ads You Don’t Like

There has been much backlash concerning sponsored posts in more and more Instagram users feeds.

It does feel like advertisers are getting better with their targeting, and their understanding of the platform is making sponsored posts more natural.

However, if you do see an ad that annoys you or you would rather not see, you can do something about it!

Click on the 3-dot button located at the top right.

Mail - EthanEd@hotmail com (4)

Click “Hide This”.

Mail - EthanEd@hotmail com (5)

You then have the option to provide feedback on why you hid the ad. Providing feedback is not necessary, but it may help you in the future by reducing the amount of ads shown to you that are not relevant.

Instagram will ask “Why don’t you want to see this ad?”

(no subject) - edwards@socialinsight io - Social Insight Mail (3)

They will then thank you for your input.



3. Spy on Those You Are Following

Are you curious by nature? Do you like to creep?


If so, there is a fun way to see what the users you follow are up to at a glance.

You’ll be able to see things like photos they have liked and new users they are following in a news feed format.

Simply click on the heart on the bottom navigation.

(no subject) - edwards@socialinsight io - Social Insight Mail

By default, it will take you to your personal notification feed, click on “FOLLOWING”.

Mail - EthanEd@hotmail com (6)

Now, you can view the recent activities of those you are following. You can see the things they have liked, commented on, and new follows.

This can be useful for you business to see what type of content your customers are engaging with or are interested in.

4. Remove Yourself From Tagged Photos

It’s happened to us all, maybe a friend tagged you in a horrible photo (they look great of course), or maybe a spam account tagged you in some garbage post.

You don’t want either of these posts to pop up when someone goes to your profile and clicks on “Photos of You”.

So, how do you remove yourself from them?

Go to your profile

Click on the button with the silhouette of a man inside a tag.

Mail - EthanEd@hotmail com (8)

Now tap on the image from which you want to be removed.

Tap the 3-dot button at the top right of the image.

(no subject) - edwards@socialinsight io - Social Insight Mail (1)

Tap “Photo Options”.


Now, select “Show on My Profile” or “Hide from My Profile”.IMG_3579

You can take it further by selecting “More Options”, giving yourself the option to be removed from the photo altogether or report the image.

(no subject) - edwards@socialinsight io - Social Insight Mail (2)

5. Clear Search History

Are you tired of seeing all your past searches piled up every time you go to the explore tab?

Do you just want to get rid of the clutter and clean up your “search” altogether?

Good news!

You can!

It’s pretty easy to do as well. Follow the steps below to remove your search history.

Go to your profile page.

Click on the 3-dot button located at the top right of the page.

Mail - EthanEd@hotmail com (13)

Scroll to the bottom and tap “Clear Search History””.

Mail - EthanEd@hotmail com (12)

Confirm Your Request!

Your search history has now been cleared! Feel free to head back to explorer and confirm.

6. View Every Post You Have Ever Liked

Have you ever liked a post, only to think of it later when with friends and not been able to find it?

Maybe you can’t remember who posted it or perhaps it was from a few days ago.

This next trick ends that once and for all.

There is an easy way to see every post you have ever liked, all in once place!

First go to your profile page.

Click on the 3-dot button located at the top right of the page.

Mail - EthanEd@hotmail com (13)
Tap “Posts You’ve Liked”.

Mail - EthanEd@hotmail com (14)

That’s it! You are now looking at a full list of every post you have ever liked on your account. Making it easy to find that post you wanted to share with others later.


There are a lot more features available to you in this little app than you might realize. These are my 6 Instagram features you probably didn’t know were available. However, there are a lot more.

Feel free to share in the comments some of the awesome features you enjoy that are hard to find!


Instagram Rolls Out Multiple Account Management in App For iOS

Basic RGB

Adding multiple Instagram accounts is now available – If you’re lucky.

Do you dread posting to your business Instagram because you have to log in and out every time just to switch between your personal account? Do you miss notifications on your professional account because you’re logged into your personal account? Ever wish you could just switch between your accounts?

If so, it might be your lucky day!

Instagram is slowly rolling out multiple account switching for iOS device users. This is a function they have been testing on Android for awhile and it is finally coming to iOS.


How to add multiple Instagram accounts in App

Step one: In order to see if you have access to this new feature, you first need to navigate to your Instagram Profile page and click on the “Settings” gear.
IMG_6515 PNG

Step two: Scroll down to the bottom of the setting page and click the “Add Account” button located near the bottom. If you do not see the button, check you have the latest version of the Instagram app.

IMG_6516 PNG

Step three: Enter the login info for your second account and you’re done!

Once the accounts are linked you can easily switch between the accounts by holding down on the profile image located at the bottom right of the screen.

After adding multiple accounts you will also be able to get notifications for each account. Instagram will now specify which account the notification is for to make it easy to discern.



This is the answer to the pleads of many users who manage more than one account! It has been a major pain point for brands and businesses. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction to make the user experience more enjoyable!

Let us know in the comments if you have this feature available to you yet. We would love to see how fast this rolls out!



You’re doing Instagram ads wrong (Here’s how to make it right)

More and more people are starting to run Instagram ad campaigns.

It’s no longer just huge companies utilizing the new paid platform but rather entrepreneurs in every niche.

With almost one third of the US population using the social network and the ability to run an ad for as little as $3 a day, its no mystery why.

That’s a huge audience to have access to at a very low entry price.

The problem is, not a lot of people are seeing the results for which they had expected or hoped.

Is this because Instagram is a bad platform for paid advertising or because we haven’t figured out how to advertise on it yet?

I’m here to tell you it’s the latter.

To date I have managed over five figures in Instagram ad spend for myself and others.

This means, I have had the opportunity to come into more than one business, see the horrible results they were getting, make a few adjustments, and bring their CPC well below their other PPC campaigns.

If you’ve been considering marketing on Instagram, or you’ve just started, and haven’t really found success, this post is especially for you.

I am going to show you all the key components of creating an Instagram ads campaign that converts. After implementing these tactics, your ads will get more clicks, and that traffic will lead to conversions.

Instagram is a separate platform; treat it that way

Instagram may be owned by Facebook, and you may build and create your campaigns, with the same tools you use to create your Facebook campaigns but they are not the same platform.


Just because something works on Facebook, does not mean it will work on Instagram.

Running a successful Instagram ads campaign involves more than simply selecting to also display your campaign on Instagram while publishing your Facebook ad sets.

Your campaign needs to be crafted, specifically, for Instagram. The more you tailor it to the network, the more your campaign will resonate with who it is served.

For this point, there are three main aspects you need to focus on.

Aspect #1 – The audience: First up is the audience for your Instagram ad set.

Just because an audience is performing well for your Facebook ad sets, it does not mean it will perform well for your Instagram ad sets. In fact, from my experience, it almost never does.

This does seem a bit counter intuitive; however, keep in mind; Instagram is its own platform.

Split testing will be a necessity as you begin to flush out Instagram audiences.

Try loosening your age parameter for certain audiences. Target more specific interests or try wider interest groups.

It’s hard to say, at this point, what the sweet spot is for your audience size, and every niche is different.

It will be up to you to really dive into your audiences and see what works. I have found that running as little as $7 through an audience will give you a good impression of how it will perform.

Aspect #2 – The imagery: The second part of creating a platform specific ad is the imagery.

While you can generally use the same images as your Facebook ads, is that the best thing to do?

Instagram is known for it’s aesthetic. Each niche has its own feel and flavor.

Spend some time on the network, find accounts in your niche and get a feel for what they post.

There are accounts for every niche with which a product or service could be associated.

After you have a feel for the network you need to split test multiple images. Create at least three different images that you feel are high quality and fit the aesthetic of Instagram to test.

I have seen bad images more than triple the cost-per-click of ads in an Instagram ad sets.

Aspect #3 – The copy: Finally, you need to write copy that is specific to the Instagram platform.

There are a few things that need to be remembered when running an Instagram campaign when it comes to copy.

That link you have in the copy of your Facebook ad won’t do anything on your Instagram ad.

Instagram only allows hyperlinks in a user’s bio. Any link you have in your ad copy will not be clickable inside the app.

The other important fact is that hashtags can be used in your ad copy.

I still do not have enough conclusive data to say if they do or do not extend the reach of your ad. I hope to have that soon.

If it makes sense with your ad, you can even encourage the ad audience to tag a friend. This will, naturally, extend the reach of the ad and help you get more organic traffic.

For all three of these aspects, you need to split test as many variations as you can.

Simply put, don’t make assumptions without data, hoping to “make it rain!”


The goal is to collect data on what the Instagram platform responds. This will help you flush out your hypothesis and allow for easy creation of optimized ad sets.

The easiest way I have found to split test Instagram ads quickly is using Adspresso.

Once you’ve corrected your basic platform issues, it’s time to move on to your funnel.

You’re getting mobile traffic; optimize for it

Marketing on Instagram is different than marketing on a lot of other platforms.

Instagram does not show ads on a web platform. Rather all of its sponsored posts are displayed inside the mobile app.

Guess what.

That means the traffic you are buying is mobile traffic.

Is your funnel really a good funnel for mobile traffic conversions?

We create distinct audiences for mobile ads. Is it time we start creating distinct funnels for them, too?

Mobile landing pages face the tough challenge of supplying enough information to make a visitor convert, with a fraction of the space compared to desktops.

Mobile traffic suffers from much more friction than regular desktop traffic.

There are two types of friction, real and perceived:

  • Perceived friction is the mental block that occurs in the mind of a visitor when they land on a mobile landing page with a sea of text, a form with too many fields, or an offer that is not compelling.
  • Real friction occurs when people struggle to fill in too many fields with their thumbs, or they can’t click the call to action button. Or maybe your page is not responsive, and they have to scroll or pinch and zoom to get to CTA.

Traffic conversion plays a huge roll in the success your Instagram campaign. Friction kills conversions…

Here are a few ways to reduce friction.

Use a responsive landing page: This feels like it should be a given, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.

With mobile traffic, it’s important to remember that every screen is different.

There are hundreds of different phones and tablets out there, all with different screen sizes and dimensions.

The landing page to which you are sending your Instagram traffic needs to respond to every size.

Responsive design means adapting to the device accessing the web page and displaying the information in the way best suited to that device.

Part of optimizing your responsive design may mean cutting back on some of the landing page elements. That could consist of images or text.

It’s important to make it easy to skim your content from a mobile device.

Focus on using bullet points, short paragraphs, and small amounts of copy.

Nathan Chan and the team at foundr Magazine do a great job at this with their Instagram landing pages that can usually be found Here.

They keep their pages responsive, the copy and content easy to skim, and because of it, they see high conversion rates on the page.

Use One-Step Opt-ins: Build your form into your landing page to see higher mobile conversions.

Every web page you visit seems to be using a two-step opt-in process.

Some tests have shown that two-step opt-in provides a higher conversion rate, compared to a one-step opt-in landing page.

When it comes to mobile traffic, I have found the opposite!

One example is the Instagram campaign I ran to promote a webinar for Bryan Harris at Videofruit.

Initially was sending traffic to the landing page below requiring a two-step opt-in.

The traffic to this landing page was converting at 34%.



We decided to split test, sending the traffic directly to the opt-in link and saw a 38% increase in the conversion rate.

Opt-in popups can be difficult on some screens, especially with mobile users, when they lose a portion of their viewing area for keyboard use when filling in forms.

One-step opt-ins reduce friction and increase conversion rates on mobile landing pages.

Reduce user input: The less a user has to enter with his thumbs, the higher your mobile conversion rates.


Getting more information from your leads certainly makes it easier to segment them; however, it could be killing your mobile conversion rate.

I click on almost every ad I see, just to examine the landing page and funnel other marketers are using.

Huge input forms are one of the most common mistakes I have seen with Instagram ads.

I cannot tell you how many times I have been scared off a landing page on my phone, simply because of the number of opt-in fields.

A good example of this is the landing page Unbounce and Hubspot are serving its Instagram ads for their upcoming Digital Advertising days.

Proven Strategies for Growing Your Digital Retainers (1)

Pull this landing page up on your mobile device, and you’ll find a confusing heading, followed by a never ending opt-in form, concluding with a sea of text.

The landing page created both perceived and physical friction for the mobile visitor.


Instagram is an ideal marketing opportunity for businesses interested in paid acquisition.

You get all of the targeting capabilities that Facebook provides, and the competition is still very low.

I’ve shown you everything you need to know in order to be successful on the platform, including how to optimize your funnel.

Now, you need to take action.

If you’ve been considering Instagram marketing, pull the trigger. Create a plan, based on this post, and create your first campaign as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about how to determine whether Instagram is right for your business or how to make the most of it, let me know in the comments below.


5 Instagram Case Studies and What You Can Learn

It’s no longer a surprise that Instagram has grown to over 400 million active monthly users. What is surprising is the fact that only 23% of brands use it.

Why would anyone want to use Instagram to sell products or services? I mean it’s just a place to post selfies, food pics, your OOTD, and baby pics… Right?


It has become one of the top engaging social media platforms for businesses. It is a good reason to check out for some fast options to increase the number of Instagram followers and get specifically those followers likely to engage with your content.


Instagram gives businesses the opportunity to share their stories with a vast audience in an inspired, original and creative environment. But are Instagram ads a wise investment?

Initially the ads were only available to large companies. However, recently the ability to run ads on Instagram has been opened up to everyone. So let’s take a look at 5 of Instagram’s pilot case studies.

1) Bloom & Wild


Bloom & Wild used the Power Editor feature to create their Instagram ads. First, they took their existing email list and created a lookalike audience from it.

Next, they tested their ad images by running a few low dollar campaigns posting like they normally would. However now they would compare the engagement between the photos and whichever photo received the most attention would be used for their main ad campaign.

They found that videos performed best for them and had the highest conversion rate.

After selecting their winning ad they scaled up the ad spend and added a strong call to action on their ads.

The Results

“With the use of Instagram ads, Bloom & Wild increased their bouquet orders by  62%, and saw many new customers commenting on their account and buying bouquets from their shop.”

This is a great example of how a small business can be successful on Instagram. They didn’t have the money that a large corporation would. They simply created a small, but engaged following on Instagram.

2) Burt’s Bees


Burt’s Bees is a great example of small dollar physical products benefiting from Instagram Ads.

To promote their new collection, known as the lip crayon line, Burt’s Bees looked to Instagram Ads. Their goal was to expand awareness and increase ad recall within the beauty community.

They knew they could find a booming beauty environment on Instagram and looked to seize the growing attention of their market by showing off their products in a original, natural way.

First, they targeted females between 18 & 24 in the United States. Then they delivered ads to them that showcased their product and corresponded with their theme of “Delight Your Lips.”

The Results

Burt’s saw a 5pt lift in product awareness and a 16pt lift in ad recall. I guess on  “selfie central” it’s pretty important to know what you have on your lips.

3) Mercedes-Benz

Pretty much anyone who can drive has heard of Mercedes-Benz. So what was their goal when running Instagram ads? The well known car company was launching the GLA, which was their first compact SUV. They wanted to gain exposure in the new category.

First, they decided they would create engaging ads on both Instagram and Facebook for their followers and those that would see the ads. Then they reached out to photographers and asked them the question, “What would you pack in your GLA?” the photographers would take a picture of what they would bring, but the items would be laid on custom GLA cargo mat to show how versatile the vehicle was for a weekend trip.

Here are some of the photos they posted as ads:


The Results

The automobile company saw a 14pt lift in Mercedes-Benz Instagram ads, a 54% increase in website visits from Instagram and Facebook branding ads, a 580% increase in website visits when Facebook and Instagram ads were combined with Facebook direct response ads.


Another example of a large brand utilizing the platform is Philadelphia (cheese). What type of boosts could a cheese company see? Philadelphia was one of the first companies or brands in Australia to use the Instagram advertising.

Philadelphia used very creative pictures to capture the hearts of foodies everywhere. Who can resist a food photo on Instagram? Check out one of their ad photos below.


Their goals were to target the 25-40 year old females that were prone to throw a casual get together party. The pictures helped show what you could do with the Philadelphia cream cheese to help those party planners. Looks like cream cheese is used for more than just bagels!

The Results

Philadelphia saw an 8pt lift in message association, an 8pt lift in purchase intent and most notably they saw a 41% sales uplift.


Lastly we have this classic American retailer. Levi’s focus has been the idea of living in the moment, and they express that in their photos. It helps that they have become the most recognized jeans in the world, but you would think because of that they wouldn’t see a benefit from the Instagram ads, wrong!

Levi was one of the first advertisers on Instagram. In the first 9 days their ads featured people wearing the iconic clothing while sharing a beautiful moment outdoors


They focused the ads on people within the age group of 18-34 in the U.S. They emphasized for their marketing campaign that users would see the image twice on average, and the picture would be put in the user’s feed only once.

The Results

For their ad campaign Levi’s reached 7.4 million people in the U.S and they saw a 24pt lift in ad recall. That’s a huge reach targeting millennials.

In the End

You don’t have to question if your company would benefit on Instagram. You just need to decide when you are ready to take advantage of those benefits.