Instagram - King of Engagement

Facebook is Dead! Long Live Instagram!

The Demise Of Facebook

At one time, long ago, businesses were able to enjoy an average reach of 16% on their Facebook pages. It was a time when businesses could organically promote themselves by creating entertaining content and using fan-engaging apps. And not only did Facebook allow businesses to do this, but it also rewarded them for interacting with and providing value to their followers.

However, this might as well be a thing of legend, as businesses can no longer see these possibilities. Most are lucky to see a reach of 1% today, a peak that analysts like Social@Ogilvy say will soon dwindle to zero. With the Facebook ship all but sunk, businesses are now on the lookout for a platform where they can actually be seen and heard.

Facebook is dead

Instagram: The New King Of Engagement

Recently, Forrester studied more than 3 million user interactions with more than 2,500 brand posts on seven social networks. Their study showed that one platform stood high above the rest: Instagram.

The image sharing network boasted a per-follower engagement rate of 4.21%, 58 times more engagement than Facebook, and a whopping 120 times more than Twitter. But if we look at the user statistics, this should come as no surprise.

Every day, 55 million photos are uploaded, 86.4 million comments are posted, and 691.2 million users like various photos in their feeds on Instagram. The network has a 41% daily user rate, second only to Facebook (71%), and its popularity continues to grow. In Ireland alone we can see that the number of Social Network Account Owners with Instagram has risen steadily from 15% in November 2013, to 18% in August 2014.

Instagram - King of Engagement

Instagram Masterclass are now offering a half day Instagram Masterclass that will teach you how to effectively adopt and leverage Instagram to increase your social media engagement. We will also show you how to effectively integrate Instagram with other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Instagram’s community has grown to over 200 million monthly active users over 75% of leading brands are already present on the platform. With so many conversations taking place on Instagram every day, many brands are now getting involved and adopting Instagram to create meaningful interactions with online communities.

Instagram Masterclass

Case Studies

We have been using Instagram in many different and innovative ways to help brands and companies reach a greater audience. Here are some examples:

St Patrick’s Day Campaign: We took to the streets on St Patrick’s Day with the ‘Selfie Studio’, taking photos of the festivities and getting people to pose for photos with our giant Xperia Instagram frame and lots of Paddy’s Day props. Our activity helped Sony Mobile launch their Instagram account and end up with 1,500 Instagram followers after the campaign ended.

Taste of Dublin 2014: Sony Mobile wanted to activate their sponsorship so we developed a foodie strategy and created This was supported by the Sony Gigapixel Campaign which featured a giant image made up of thousands of fan photos taken at the food festival, all tagged in Facebook & Instagram applications which had a viral impact. We generated 50,000+ website visits and more than 7,000 new Facebook likes in 4 weeks.

St Patrick's Day

St. Patrick´s Day Campaign – Selfie Studio

Book your Instagram Masterclass now!

If you book before  Friday 26th December you will receive a Christmas Special Price. Remember that there are limited places and they are booking fast!

Instagram for Charity

Top Instagram Tools Used by the Charity Sector

Over recent times, charities have been increasing their use of Instagram. Probably not surprising, given the platform’s 200 million regular users and its user-friendly interface for mobile devices. Yet, the uptake by not-for-profits has been relatively slow until recently, meaning that competition in this sphere is still lower than with Facebook and Twitter. This could mean more opportunities to harness Instagram so your charity’s message is heard.

Instagram is a photo-sharing social media platform – it lets you post images and share them with your followers. But it does more than just that; it allows followers to ‘like’ your images, to share them further, and to bring people who like your stuff onto your profile page where they can connect directly with you.

Instagram really excels at how it lets you tell a story. And for charities and NGOs, storytelling is key – it draws supporters to your cause, and increases awareness of why your issue matters so much. Real stories bring emotion, and understanding, and support; bridging the gap between people in need and people who can help.

So where to start in your visual storytelling endeavour? There are three key tools in Instagram that can improve your connection with potential and current supporters. Use these, and you’ll be taking a good step towards improving your reach:

  1.     Using good hashtags


It’s important to tag your photos with suitable hashtags so that people can find your images. Some broad hashtags for charities include #nonprofit, #CharityTuesday or #fundraising. Often, you may want to tap into particular trending topics and target a smaller group of people, like the #icebucketchallenge or #nomakeupselfie tags. Even better, why not try to mix it up by creating a hashtag around your own campaign? UNICEF USA have done this really well – their hashtag, #my5thBDay, is for Instagram users to post pictures of themselves at five years old. The campaign, highlighting child death rates in poorer countries, not only gives Instagram users a reason to have some fun with old school pictures, but has used its custom hashtag really well to build interest and momentum for their cause.

  1.     Free photo-editing tools

Photo editing


Hiring professional photographers and spending hours on Photoshop is just not an option for many smaller charities. Enter Instagram’s photo filters. These filters allow you to change the colour and lighting for an image, creating mood and more interest. Basically this means any Jo(anne) Soap can take a half-decent photo with a smartphone and then touch up the photo for a more polished look. Twenty minutes and you’re done! And for free! Where do I sign up?

  1.     15-second videos


Instagram understands the power of video, especially short ones. As well as sharing photos, the app allows you to upload videos of 15 seconds maximum for your supporters – regardless of the size, clout, or budget of your organisation. Without any long video features to compete with, you’ve got more chance of getting your message heard – most Instagram users are less selective with 15 seconds of their time rather than the minutes of commitment needed on YouTube. Couple that with the smaller number of charities using the platform at the moment and you have clear opportunities to get your message heard.

If you’re looking to increase your storytelling reach for your charity’s cause and can’t decide on which visual platform to go with, Instagram is a straightforward and user-friendly place to dive in.

Has your charity had any experience using Instagram yet? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know in the comments section.


Written by: Áine Rickard

Instagram and Food

How to Serve up Some Tasty Food Photos on Instagram

If you have an Instagram account, you’ve probably seen that photos involving food are the most popular on the platform. The reason for this? Simple: Everybody loves eating!

Food is the dominant category on instagram (winning even over photos of cute little puppies), but why? For many people, cooking is like a kind of art, the power to transform vegetables, fruits, meat into a real meal. Besides, eating is one of the simplest pleasures in life, and nothing’s better than sharing the experience! It’s like what they say: A picture is worth a thousand words.

Asia is where you find the biggest lovers of this trend. In Japan and China it’s very common to see young people photographing their food, even in the restaurants. So much so that there is even a tumblr about it.

Food and Tumblir


For them, food is like a language. It communicates and is also a tradition. Many recipes exists in families for generations, and all foods are made with love. Asians are fanatical about technology and social media/mobile phones, so it’s a perfect cocktail of their love for both things!

If you’re still not convinced about this trend, check the numbers: In 2013 Instagram showed 3.2 million photos tagged “pizza,” 39.3 million tagged “food,” and 9.2 million tagged “chocolate.”, and counting! Every day sees new photos involving plates of food, snacks and desserts. The question that many restaurants have to ask themselves is, how do they benefit from this trend and also engage their customers?

In New York city, the Comodo restaurant innovated by making a digital menu of their dishes on Instagram. Comodo’s wait-staff encourage clients to take photos using the hashtag #comodomenu to share it with their Instagram followers. Today, it’s possible to find more than 2 thousand photos of the dishes with the customers’ opinions.

Food and Instagram


Watch the video:

Another food project involving Instagram is The Good Belly Project, that happened in 2011. It was a partnership between Unicef and Made By Man. Diners were encouraged to publish a photo on Instagram of any participant restaurants using the hashtag #goodbellyproject. For every photo featuring their business, the restaurant had to donate $1.

The Good Belly Project

The positive side is that this project could help the restaurant to promote itself, help children in need, and also give people an excuse to photograph their food!

But, menus and social projects are not all that Instagram has to offer! It has become common to see food blogs and profiles of chefs and cooks that share their recipes around the world through photography. One of the most active posters is Jamie Oliver. It is every food lovers delight to see Jamie’s latest dish!

Jamie Oliver Instagram

Stumptown Coffee, has gained almost 80 thousand followers on Instagram by sharing behind scenes shots of coffee preparation and appealing to the one thing all its followers have in common: a passion for coffee!

Stumptown Cafe

But what about the big companies? How they are using Instagram? Look at this photo from Coca Cola in Brazil:

Coca Cola in Brazil

The subtitle says: Click twice to complete… and done! Engaged!

 So, it is possible to effectively use an Instagram account to promote your restaurant or company. You just need to talk to your customers! Speak with them in their language and you will engage with your audience!

 Here are some tips for taking a good food pic to help you get started!

  • Use good lighting: Not just a tip for food photos. After all, you want your followers to be able to see your photo. Don’t you?
  • Take the photo immediately! Photos of food are nice, but photos of empty plates aren’t!
  • Only the plate metters! Forget about napkins and other objects around the table.
  • Don’t use many filters! It can impair the clarity of the food in the photo

I think I’ve gotten fatter just by writing this!

Written by: Larissa Bannwart

social media for charity case studies

5 Top Social Media For Charity Case Studies Including #icebucketchallenge

We all know social media is great for getting a message out there. And for charities, spreading the word can be a key part of what you’re all about.

As a not-for-profit, though, you have special needs when it comes to your social media campaigns. Sure, in an ideal world, raising funds from your followers online would be a dream come true. But charities also have something else, something much bigger, driving their digital campaigns: hope for a better world. And their message for change is key to who they are and what they represent. Feeding more people, cleaning up the environment, war, illness – whatever the topic, people need to hear it, and hear it now.

All pretty complex stuff. And all important. But social-media friendly?

On the surface, probably not. Overburdening your supporters with bad news stories and policy papers is not going to grab their attention; not in a world where concentration spans online diminish quicker than you can type ‘YouTube cute cats’.

Sometimes you need to get above the noise by doing something different. There are great success stories out there of not for profit’s using social media to really grab and engage supporters that we can learn from:


1. The ALS Ice-bucket challenge

The ALS Ice-bucket challenge

The ALS Association has to be mentioned for its incredibly successful campaign with the Ice Bucket Challenge (even my Granny’s heard about it).  The ‘challenge’ gave grown adults a chance to regress to childhood by playing with water, and then getting their friends to play too. All in the name of charity. Better still, it cost the ALS Association basically nothing to run the campaign #icebucketchallenge, and has brought in over €100 million in funds (yes that’s One Zero Zero million), along with thousands of new Facebook and Twitter fans for the charity.

2. Macmillan Cancer Support  

Macmillan Cancer Support

The Macmillan organisation offers support for people with cancer, and they provide lots of really useful information through their website. On social media, though, they are really rocking it, with loads of support videos on YouTube and very active Facebook and Twitter pages. The true key to their success, however, lies in how they connect day in day out with supporters. For example, a comment from any one of their whopping 500,000 Facebook fans on how cancer has affected them personally will almost always get a personal reply online, along with an encouraging message and options for a next step. Instead of being just about engagement and raising funds, Macmillan goes one further and uses social media as an extension of their support services. Unsurprisingly, they’ve garnered several awards for digital engagement as a result.


3. Greenpeace International

Greenpeace International


Greenpeace International has the digital world really working for them. Their social media activity spans all platforms including Facebook and Twitter but also Vimeo and Instagram. Regular mixed postings are made up of hard-hitting news items, new Greenpeace campaigns, and feel-good motivational quotes (very share-friendly). But their real strength lies in their use of videos and photos to draw the reader in – who doesn’t like watching Lego videos even when they are talking about the evils of petrol-producing companies? Pulling together some photos with a good soundtrack and a clear, inspiring message can brighten up any social media account and increase shares and new followers.


4. Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch

Human right violations are a difficult topic to talk about, and certainly not one that lends itself to the vagaries and whims of social media. And yet, Human Rights Watch do one really great thing with their social media – almost all of their staff seem to be active and representing the organisation online. Their personal accounts, glimpses into what a day in the HRW office looks like, and interesting news articles all shared on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube really help to humanise the brand and add a real, personal connection to their cause – social media gold dust.


5. Oxfam



Oxfam are active on all the mainstream social media platforms. But they get extra-special mention for their engagement with Pinterest, where to date they have over 1,600 pins and close to 5,000 followers. By developing visual material around food, one of the most popular topics on Pinterest, they are engaging supporters one of their key issues whilst reflecting the light informative tone typical to Pinterest feeds. They’ve also offered space on their Pinterest account for followers to include their own ‘Pins’, further strengthening engagement and increasing content with less effort.


Social media offers great opportunities for charities to reach people and spread a message – take note above. Who else in the charity world inspires you with their social media campaigns?

Written by: Aine Rickard

Dublin Blogger Conference

Irish Blogger Conference Review From

On November 29th the first Irish Blogger Conference took place in Dublin. The event was held at The Spencer Hotel and attracted a big crowd.

Amazing speakers were invited to talk about blogging and how important it has become in people’s work and lifestyle, specially in the subjects involving beauty, food and business. Conor was one of the speakers and his slides are below. gave away a great prize at the conference to one lucky blogger. The prize was a Blog Audit!

How top brands are using Instagram

How Top Brands Are Using Instagram

More and more, Instagram is illuminating our social media lives with eye catching content and captivating illustrations of the world around us.

Figures released by Instagram in November 2014 show registered accounts at more than 200 million monthly actives, with 65% of whom are based outside of the United States showing its global penetration.

In an Irish context, 18% of Irish adults have an Instagram account, with trends showing growth of 1% per quarter since November 2013, according to the latest Social Networking Quarterly from IPSOS MRBI. Of these Instagram users, 41% claim to visit the network at least once per day.

From Instagrams humble beginnings in 2010, top brands quickly identified the platform as a powerful and creative means of reinforcing their identity and increasing their exposure to customers. Instagram has empowered companies to experiment with different ways of visually expressing themselves by embracing the mantra “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Brands are telling stories to their followers with images, combining light-hearted content with business related postings.

Major global companies such as BMW, Adidas and Starbucks feature in the top 20 most successful brands on Instagram. Companies are using Instagram, in conjunction with other social media networks, to run exciting, visually stunning campaigns to launch new products.


Sitting pretty on top of the list for most successful brands on Instagram with 8.4 million followers, Nike has firmly established itself as the undisputed blue-ribbon brand on the platform. The key to their success lies in their understanding of the psychology behind Instagram. Upon visiting the Nike Instagram page, Instagrammers are hit with a blend of awe-inspiring landscapes with people in situ using their products.

Nike also reaches out and engages with their Instagram devotees and created arguably the most successful ever Instagram campaign, Nike PHOTOiD. The campaign centred around encouraging fans to design a colour scheme for their shoes and then upload them with a background image of their choosing. Nike integrated the competition across other social networks also, with many entrants sharing their compositions with friends. The best submissions were collated and published on Nike’s Instagram feed.

Nissan Europe

A household name in the car industry, the European operation for this leading Japanese car manufacturer launched an innovative campaign to promote their “Juke” range of cars. This was Nissan’s first foray in to the world of Instagram campaigns and has proved a launchpad for the success of their brand on the platform.

Instagrammers were able to take a picture of themselves, upload the photo to Instagram using the hashtag #JukeDNA and in return Nissan Europe would retweet a custom image of the uploader with the new Nissan Juke.

This was a very fun project which allowed fans of the car to have their “15 minutes of fame” by being retweeted by a huge brand like Nissan, and of course Nissan received a huge volume of exposure from people sharing their custom Juke image with their friends.

Jameson Irish Whiskey

Even on our own shores, traditional Irish brands are using Instagram to project their image and promote their products to both the Irish and global market. A company established in 1780 embracing Instagram, is a true indicator of the importance in innovation to remain relevant in today’s world.

When people think of whiskey, they can often conjure up the image of old men imbibing the spirit. Jameson’s Instagram page does a fantastic job at challenging this preconception. Their gallery contains many posts featuring young people enjoying Jameson. Content showing photos from Jameson sponsored music events and posts celebrating the arrival of the weekend resonate with a younger demographic than traditionally associated with whiskey drinking.

Jameson’s hugely popular annual “First Shot” competition which showcases the talent of emerging filmmakers is also given promotion on Instagram. Hollywood A-list actor and director Kevin Spacey is an ardent and continued supporter of the event. Using the hashtag #jamesonfirstshot, Jameson’s Instagram page highlighted Spacey’s association with the First Shot initiative by showing an image of the star attending the awards event. By aligning themselves with a celebrity of this calibre, and supported with a visual evidence, Jameson were able to bring some gloss, validation and Hollywood feel to their filmmaker awards.

Join the party!

We are only scratching the surface of what can be achieved through the magic and potential held within Instagram. Some of the world’s leading brands are taking advantage of this untapped digital marketing resource, isn’t it about time your business got in on the action?

Contact us today to enquire about our Instagram Masterclass which is aimed at educating businesses large and small on how to utilise Instagram to its fullest as part of your digital marketing strategy.

Written by Martin Gaffney.

Martin currently lives, studies and works for a large multinational in Cork City. He holds a Higher Certificate in Business and is currently studying a Bachelor of Business in Management at Cork Institute of Technology. Martin is an avid technophile and his interests range from engaging digital content to market research. Electronic music and Cork City FC are Martin’s other love interests. You can find him on Twitter @GaffKiiid.

Pixels and Palates Cook Academy

Pixels & Palates Event at Cooks Academy

Cooks Academy is celebrating their 10th birthday party.

If you are a food writer or food blogger and are interested in celebrating with us please send us an email to with the subject Pixels & Palates Event.

This event will take place on Monday 1st of December at 6.30pm on 19 South William Street, Dublin 2

The theme is Pixels & Palates which includes:

  • Fun competitions like our ‘Cook Off’, ‘Molecular Gastronomy Challenge- Guess That Taste’.
  • A Foodie Social Media talk from digital experts, with the inside scoop on new trends, building your profile and mastering tools like Instagram.
  • Unique prizes include a 4 week Certificate course worth €2,950, a full day pass to use our Sony Mobile Pop-Up Photo Studio, a Digital Audit for and more.

You’ll have the opportunity to win these amazing prizes, enjoy an evening of mingling, great conversation and digital discovery. Food & drinks are on us so come and meet fellow bloggers, food writers and digital gurus.

Looking forward to seeing you in Cooks Academy for their birthday party!

Please follow @cooksacademy and #cooksacademy10 on Twitter and Instagram

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How to use amazing Instagram content to boost your digital marketing

If you don’t care about the future of your business or customers, stop reading now.

Instagram is a tremendously powerful platform and it’s your duty to leverage it for your business. User engagement levels are 15 times higher than Facebook, and over 75% of leading brands are already present on the platform.

Maybe you already knew that or you are already using Instagram.

But are you using it like the pros?

Most people are going in blind and then wondering why that photo of John’s leaving drinks didn’t get any likes; or why that whiteboard brainstorming session didn’t get any feedback; and don’t get me started on stock images of the product. The images aren’t appealing, and who wants to follow an assortment of photo garbage?

People want to engage with you, but most of the content you upload doesn’t relate to them.

It’s key that you get involved, start with a good foundation, create meaningful interactions with your community, and fine-tune your message to improve your brand’s visibility.

What’s the best way to do that you ask?

I’ve been playing around and experimenting with Instagram for the last two years. With ups and downs I’ve built a strong following by captivating and engaging my audience. I won the ‘Best Job in the World’ campaign by Tourism Australia, helped their marketing team with one million Instagram followers, and was a finalist in the first ever Insta-Film Festival.

These experiences have taught me a number of ways to organically grow and maintain a strong following. Yet nobody teaches these things in school.

I want to share with you a few examples and techniques that have helped me along the way. Here’s a teaser to skim the surface.



1. Pick Your Topic
Cats, food, fashion, nature, portraits, sunsets, selfies. Whichever you select, your photos need to be centred on that topic. Consistency is key.

If you have a talent (everyone does) you could showcase that. Be it dancing, drawing, literature, fashion trends, great cooking or an obscure interest. There are bound to be people searching for the same interest.

Pick a topic that you’re most happy with and stick with it. It will define who you are.

If all else fails, just take photos of your pet.




2.  Hashtags (Done Right)
Ok so people (usually always) say you need to tag your photos. Each photo is allowed a maximum of 30 tags. But wait!

Stop hash tagging so much! You’re annoying people.

As you’re posting you can tag your photo with some relevant tags (zero to eight maximum), then wait and put the remaining tags as a comment so that not many people will see them, but makes your photo still findable in search.




3. Reaching out to Accounts
To take you photos to the next level you need to get them in front of a huge audience.

There are hundreds of accounts with huge followings that repost other peoples photos. If they pick your photo you’ll get credited, and get great exposure.




Your job is to find accounts that post similar photos to you. Tag your photo with their name, tag their account and hashtag in your caption or in a comment under your photo, and hope they love your photography.

The more accounts that feature your photos the more likes and followers you get. In order to be featured your photos need to be epic.



Here’s your chance to learn a lot more.

We’re offering you a course in the coming new year 2015 with some amazing material that will definitely help your business succeed. If you’re interested then drop us a line.

I’m @daxon on Instagram, or tweet me @daxon


Dublin Blogger Conference – For Lovers of #socialmedia

Dublin Blogger Conference

Want to be in with the chance to rub shoulders with the beauty, fashion, food, lifestyle and business bloggers of Ireland?

The Irish Blogger Conference takes place next Saturday, November 29th, at The Spencer Hotel and we’re giving you the chance to attend! The afternoon will kick off with a glass of Prosecco upon registration and include eight speakers covering a variety of topics including: Setting up a Blog, Blogging 4 Business, The Reality of Blogging, The Blogging Community, Top Tips 4 a Successful Blog and more. There will also be a Q&A with the speakers, followed by a networking session. This is not to be missed!

Thanks to Fiona for the invitation for Conor to speak at the conference about ‘The Business of Blogging’.

You can find more info on the event on Twitter @cooleventsinfo

For more great social media news, follow us @socialmedia_ie

Image collected from Fliker

Lovin Dublin lovin 8-)

Lovin Dublin 2 are delighted to be the social media partner for the winners prizes at the Loving Dublin Event.

Introducing The Lovin Dublin Show Live. A night of inspiration celebrating Dublin and highlighting the future talent of the city. is hosting their first live event in The Bord Gais Energy Theatre at 7pm on Monday the 24th of November.

The night will present the “crème de la crème” of what our city’s foodies have to offer. It promises to be an inspiring and eye-opening evening which will allow both the established and new-comers to the Dublin food scene, to demonstrate their talent, flaunt their style and showcase their innovation.

For more information about the event you can visit their website

Thanks to the Lovin Dublin team for the invitation and we look forward to meeting all the foodies at the big event.

Their Twitter @lovindublin and follow @socialmedia_ie for more great social media news.