3 Weird Instagram Strategies that Work

We all have those friends or family members who are super into pop culture and can tell you exactly what antics Miley Cyrus has been up to of late, the perfect Snapchat selfie lens to make you look like a bug-eyed fairy, and which weird Instagram account is “totally blowing up.” I’m talking about your tween niece or your always stylish and perky happy hour buddy. Whether you love it or hate it, they keep you in the loop, right?

My two main sources for pop culture news have been feeding me a steady stream of Instagram accounts to follow for laughs. From 3-legged goats to avant garde tattoos, I feel like I’ve seen it all, but it keeps coming! Every time I take a look at one of their recommended accounts I can’t help but note what these people are doing to engage with and build their audience. They of course have entertaining content but beyond that there are fun little tricks they use to build on their followers and keep them coming back for more. So, here are some of my findings mixed with others’ – try ’em out!

1. Copy the McGyver Lizard Tag Game

No, that wasn’t a collection of random words, this pet-stagram account is dedicated to one very large reptile named McGyver. The lizard’s owners LOVE spoiling their pet and posting pic and videos of him enjoying life, usually with his human mother. I have a feeling most people are repulsed by McGyver, but one thing is for sure, he definitely is loved by his owners like a child. The owner dresses him up, feeds him treats, brings him to community parties and takes him for walks. The videos are accompanied by simple, melodic music that always makes me chuckle.

Tag a picky eater

A video posted by MacGyver the Lizard (@macgyverlizard) on

The content is definitely entertaining so for that reason alone I could understand a small community around the Instagram account. However, the account has 115,000 followers at the time of this post… The McGyver secret sauce is the account owner’s tag game. It’s so simple and it REALLY works for them. Typically when they post a photo or video of McGyver doing something mundane or otherwise, they write a brief description asking followers to tag someone along the theme of the post. For example, if McGyver is just relaxing on the bed doing nothing, they’ll post the video with a description “Tag a lazy bum” and I kid you not, hundreds of comments erupt below with people tagging their friends’ accounts. What happens next? Those friends check out this account and follow the weird lizard lady and her pet. Genius.

2. Act Like a Teen and Spam Kylie Jenner’s Feed

Instagram is favored over Facebook and Twitter by the younger crowds so following their unconventional social media habits could help you grow your own account. For example, as Taylor of Later.com found, teens frequent Kylie Jenner‘s (of Kardashian fame) Instagram account not to check out her latest outfit or the yacht she is hanging out on that day, but instead to comment with 2-5 characters, usually “first” or “lb” on her most recent post and then peruse other accounts.

A photo posted by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on

(Expand the comments to see what I mean.)

Why? Taylor dug deep to figure this out. He found that “first” meant like my first post and “lb” meant like and I’ll like you back. Visitors who are looking for more followers could go to the “lb” posters’ account to like them and ensure that they would receive a like back. Same with “first” posters. Taylor defines this practice as a sharing economy. It certainly is a strange community that’s formed around, but unrelated to, Jenner’s account. I’ve tried this on my own accounts and definitely saw an uptick but it seems that I see the most success when I’ve engaged on Kylie’s post within minutes of it being published.

3. Post a Video of You Playing with Your Food

Honestly, you’re going to do it anyway so why not take a video of the fun and then put it on Instagram? Add a note about your current state of inebriation for extra comments. The key seems to be to get all the juicy, messy, weirdness in without demolishing your food – you must respect the food (don’t be wasteful). This is simple and worth a try accompanied by some #foodie hashtags and a dash of dry humor.

Let me know if you implement any of these weird Instagram strategies in a comment below!

-Sarah Le
View Sarah Roullard's profile on LinkedIn

Unexpected Marketing Tips from Celebrities

It’s that time again when I highlight a few current events and pull out some marketing tips and insights. Today’s theme is celebrities. Celebrities are known for their popular social media profiles, fundraising efforts and unfortunate paparazzi pictures. They often have marketing super powers themselves (or on their publicity team, within their company, etc.).

1. Grumpy Cat – Tony La Russa Hilariously Tries (and Fails) to Copycat at Diamondbacks Game

The cutest and most famous moody kitty in real life has some expert marketing and licensing staff behind her. Grumpy cat has been absolutely everywhere the past few years. She appears on TV talk shows, t-shirts and even her own upcoming cartoon series. Most recently the feline paid a visit to an Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game where she “threw” the first pitch. In reality one of her handlers threw the ball, but that’s besides the point.

Grumpy Cat and Tony La Russa Diamondbacks

Everyone on the team got to spend some time with the cat, including Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa. When La Russa had his photo opp with Grumpy Cat, he tried out the expression for himself along with the handler and the results were amazing. I am siding with the various media outlets reporting on the event that La Russa is clearly getting his duck face on, failing at the frown completely, but seriously great try, man. We can’t say for sure if the idea was proposed by Team Grumpy Cat, the photographers or La Russa, but boy was it a smart, simple marketing move.

Marketing Tip: Whenever possible, get your fans to do the marketing for you – whether encouraging them to post a selfie with the product to social media or just share a positive experience with your product/service with friends, family or a company representative.

2. Mark Cuban – Provide Great, Evergreen Content to News Sites

Mark Cuban is a legend for being one of the most successful serial entrepreneurs in our era. Immediately after college he got involved in selling software and therefore developed deep roots in technology. He has a knack for social media and often takes to Twitter to share news and commentary. He is very vocal about his concern over social media paper trails and the danger of not being careful with what you say online. In fact, he’s so concerned with this problem that he has created 2 unique companies to fight back. Cuban is an incredibly savvy marketer and decided to start publicizing his startups by reaching out to Inc. last year for a special interview about them and the problems they will solve. He started early and certainly got the word out across many channels.

So what’s so genius about this strategy? He is a celebrity so he can definitely snatch up these interviews without any trouble, creating a huge ripple of publicity after the fact. That aside, the key takeaway here for every marketer is that Mark Cuban didn’t just offer original thoughts and conclusions to address a problem, he provided evergreen content. News sites are still picking this interview up and writing about it a whole year later. The video went viral and continues to be shared. The content still strikes a chord today and is likely to continue to carry resonance, not because of the solutions Cuban proposes but the problem that will continue to exist for many years to come as social media networks show no signs of slowing down in popularity.

Marketing Tip: Incorporate evergreen content when pitching journalists or creating content so that the topics carry a longer lifespan.

3. Kate Hudson – Silly Instagram Post Promotes Clothing Brand

Kate Hudson is famous for being film legend Goldie Hawn’s daughter as well as a talented actress in her own right. She is very active on Instagram, where her per-post engagement is through the roof. Kate is very good at posting little insights into her life while sprinkling little tidbits of promotion for her various projects, posed as personality-rich, behind the scenes snapshots.

#repost #regram 😂😂😏😂😂 @theoliverhudson @fabletics @fl2

A photo posted by Kate Hudson (@katehudson) on

In particular, this post from September 3rd, 2015, featuring Ms. Hudson and her brother, Oliver, modeling garments from Kate’s workout clothing line Fabletics. Oliver is wearing a fabulous Fabletics body suit and Kate is wearing leggings, a sports bra and jacket. The image is staged as a “Who Wore it Best” contest with Oliver winning by a landslide. Kate reposted the image from Oliver’s Instagram account. The picture is funny, interesting and captures a special family moment, all in one – great appeal for both their fans.

Marketing Tip: When posting a promotion to Instagram, make the image a special peek into your personal life, ideally with humor when possible.


-Sarah Le
View Sarah Roullard's profile on LinkedIn

Unexpected Marketing Tips from the News

The study of marketing can introduce you to many different, seemingly unrelated stories and ideas. Here are a few hand-picked news stories bearing unexpected marketing tips.

1. Fresh-Brewed Space Espresso is Now a Thing

Astronauts can now sip on freshly brewed space espresso and other hot beverages or even stocks using a new espresso maker aptly named the ISSpresso. The picture above from Twitter shows Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station, drinking hot espresso from innovative cups brewed from the all new ISSpresso sent up by a SpaceX Dragon Cargo Capsule. Chrostoforetti is also wearing a Star Trek uniform top, just to add to the impressive scene and luxury of the moment.

The real story here is the cup holding the espresso. Yes, the cups are very special. These cups are highly engineered vessels promoting capillary fluidics. Use of the containers will provide important data for the study of the “passive movement of complex fluids as part of the Capillary Beverage investigation,” according to NASA’s blog post on the implementation of the new system and containers. These Zero-G cups direct fluid into the consumer’s mouth using geometry and physics. The user’s lips depress the “spout” of the cup allowing fluid to flow at the consumer’s discretion – slowly or in one big gulp.

Marketing tip: The cup is the quiet hero here, and without that caffeinated brew it wouldn’t be able to get the press it needs. Partnering up with a popular cultural trope can boost awareness for your product. Consider this in your next marketing campaign – pair your product with something meaningful and relevant and see where it takes you.

2. Foursquare’s CEO is Now Satisfied

Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare during a TechCrunch Disrupt 2015 InterviewThe location-based check-in app is finally where Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, envisioned it. Crowley explained to a correspondent at TechCrunch Disrupt that the app now teaches users about new places to discover around them. The Foursquare Apple Watch app even notifies users on the go of places they have saved to try out nearby them in real-time. The CEO states that

So Crowley states that his original vision for the app has been achieved – suggestion algorithms, ad units, data-licensing and the company in general. Yet, as a Mashable article about the interview points out, Crowley doesn’t bring up any future features or goals for Foursquare. He avoids acquisition questions as well. The thought is that a highly publicized interview and the whole premise of TechCrunch Disrupt is to discover and discuss upcoming technology and ideas.

Marketing tip: Always leave a little something for your fans to get excited about. If you just announce things they already know about what will they be interested in coming back to you for? Give them a future feature, product or service to chew on and build anticipation around your brand.

3. Actor Ryan Gosling Finally Ate His Cereal

So, a celebrity ate some cereal, eh? It would seem like a ridiculous thing to post about let alone becoming viral. There’s some deeper meaning here, though.

Vine user Ryan McHenry has been trying for years to get Ryan Gosling to eat his cereal, albeit through the TV screen while running Gosling’s movies and TV appearances. These videos quickly went viral and got McHenry a large following. McHenry had been suffering from bone cancer and passed away on May 1st. Gosling responded with a touching tweet sending condolences to McHenry’s family and then posted the above Vine video, which quickly became viral.

Marketing tip: Fans of your product, service, persona, etc. may get a little weird with how they “honor” you but there is much value in honoring them back. Sending shout-outs to your fans is always advisable and feel free to have fun with it just as Gosling did.

Learn more about this touching story with some extra glorious Vine and YouTube videos here.


-Sarah Le
View Sarah Roullard's profile on LinkedIn