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5 Outstanding Examples of User-Generated Content on Instagram

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We have searched the ‘gram and have found 6 spectacular examples of companies dominating Instagram with User-Generated Content (UGC). These companies have been able to grow their network and digital presence by their crafty and knowledgeable use of UGC.

So, what is User-Generated Content?
To put it simply: It’s the content that the people you are marketing to create for your brand. In other words, the community that surrounds your brand is creating and sharing content for you. How much better does it get than that? Your fans are creating the content for your brand.

Why is User-Generated Content Important?
UGC is the holiest of grails. Fans are not only creating content for you, but they are also promoting your brand. They are essentially saying, “I like your brand, product, service, message, etc. so much, that I am going to post it to my OWN platforms and share it with MY friends.” It’s free word of mouth for social media.

That is why UGC is so powerful. It’s influential. It sends a message. It shows that people like your product and are willing to tell others about it. The stories and messages your community tells about your brand are the most persuasive and instrumental in developing your online presence.

Here are a few different businesses who really kill it when it comes to UGC on Instagram. Take a look at these companies Instagram platforms and learn from how they successfully grew their business via UGC … oh, and I dare you not to do a double take when scrolling.

1. Starbucks
When you think of UGC, I bet Starbuck’s is one of the first to come to mind. Why? Because who doesn’t love a good cup of coffee? Starbuck’s has completely conquered UGC by enticing its fans with awesome products and innovative ideas. Although they do create content of their own, Starbucks has the option to sift through millions of posts about its company and products. With an arsenal of UGC to choose from, there’s really no going wrong:

And their Red Cup Contest? Pure brilliance. Encouraging fans to purchase holiday-themed beverages and post about the product in exchange for a reward is the quickest (and easiest) way to develop UGC.

Whether you love Starbucks or not, you can’t deny how clever (and cute?) they make their Instagram content.

Hashtags
#Starbucks – 29,285,247 posts
#StarbucksCoffee – 1,486,910 posts

2. Airbnb
Almost every single post that Airbnb has is from UGC. Guests capture pictures of the remarkable homes and experiences they have when staying at an Airbnb location and post it to social media. Airbnb capitalizes on this. Guests do the content creation for them, they simply repost. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

Guests can see exactly what they are getting with an Airbnb location when content is posted by a fellow guest. The level of authenticity from customers posting online is unparalleled. Guests are able to peer into the location through a photo and see what their trip would actually be like.

From Atlanta, Georgia –

To Amsterdam, Netherlands –

To Flagstaff, Arizona –

All the way to Bali, Indonesia –

Airbnb does an amazing job of sharing the stories of thousands of guests and hosts across the world.

Hashtags
#Airbnb – 1,500,510 posts

3. GoPro
This company has made their brand synonymous for having a particular lifestyle. Passionate, adventure-seekers looking to capture moments. The ultimate camera: it’s durable, water-proof, and easy to carry. The ideal camera for people to take with them on their journeys. And as a result? Amazing images of people doing rad things. This brand has a hub of UGC to choose from and there’s no wondering why.

Hashtags
#GoPro – 31,812,200 posts
#GoProPhotography – 1,363,080 posts

4. Frank Body
The UGC for Frank Body is simple, but commanding. It’s playful, fun, and cheeky. Scrolling through Frank Body’s feed makes anybody want to jump on the Frank Body band wagon, cleanse their skin with a coffee scrub, and take a selfie of it. Their feed is full of compelling UGC.

Playful.

Fun.

Cheeky.

Hashtags
#TheFrankEffect – 49,785 posts
#LetsBeFrank – 45,159 posts

5. Pure New Zealand
The ultimate Instagramable content. Tourism. If your Instagram account is focused on tourism and you don’t take advantage of UGC, then there is a problem. People love to travel and see visuals of it. The New Zealand Instagram account displays beautiful moments taken by individuals visiting the country and that’s essentially it. By doing this, they are promoting tourism in their country and giving people a view into what it would be like to visit the home of the kiwis.

Hashtags
#RealMiddleEarth – 120,753 posts
#NZMustDo – 656,177 posts

Are You Using UGC?
You should be. These brands are doing an amazing job using clever and intriguing UGC to develop a loyal band of followers and fans. They are using this type of content to showcase the brand and build a community simultaneously. If you can get people excited about your brand, product, service, message, etc. and post about it, you are doing something right.

Enjoy the world of UGC and reap all the benefits.

Why small businesses need social media

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For a lot of small businesses, the idea of joining social media can seem a bit daunting. After all, with big name competitors already having a large presence, it can feel impossible to catch up, see any business growth, and make a name for your business. Why bother, right?

Wrong!

Social media can move mountains for small businesses in a myriad of ways. Below I’ve compiled a list of reasons why your small business needs to curate its own online residence.

1. Engagement

One of the reasons people choose to work with small businesses is its personalized customer service. Social media is just another avenue where you can build relationships with each of your customers and any potential customers. In today’s modern world, most consumers flock to social media to seek assistance, ask questions or heap praise. While at first the engagement may be limited, Social Media Examiner has a few helpful tips to help you increase your engagement over time.

2. Marketing

Social media is the best free way you can market your business to the public. While some of you may still be mourning the death of print media, social media has the ability to spread your message to a wider audience for little to no cost. Additionally, having social media accounts will increase your SEO, or search engine optimization. A lot of search engines consider a brand’s social media presence when determining where businesses will fall on a search result’s page. You’ll be able to garner the attention a whole new slew of customers you otherwise would not be able to find.

3. Branding

Social media allows you to increase your brand awareness and loyalty. Since social media is so prevalent nowadays, it is going to be much easier for customers to find you and connect with your brand. Additionally, a study by The Social Habit found that 53% of consumers are more loyal to brands they follow via social media. 

4. Collaboration

There are other small businesses just like yours that would love to collaborate with you! Your collaboration can help promote your service as well as theirs. Additionally, you can connect with bloggers and other influencers who can then promote your business for you via their followers. In the end, there’s no limit to who you can reach and work with through social media!

5. Targeting

As mentioned in marketing, social medias such as Facebook and Instagram allow you to appeal to specific audiences. Not only will you be able to target your ads to people who live near your business, but also to any gender, age or enthusiast who might be appreciate your brand the most. There’s no limit to who you can reach via social media.

With all of these reasons to increase your business’ online presence, what is stopping you?

 

3 Things I’ve Learned as an Intern

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As of this past Monday, I have been a Social Media Intern for Gossip Genie for two weeks! Basically, I’m already an expert on all things social media and Genie-related. Just kidding — I am definitely no expert yet; however, through my internship at Gossip Genie, I’m on the right path!

Internships are a great resource to gain relevant work experience and develop upon any existing skill-sets you may have. Below, I’ve compiled a list of important tips and tricks to keep in mind if you’re either in the process of looking for an internship or about to start your first.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

I can’t stress this one enough. You’re at your internship to learn and grow in your chosen field and your employer (should) be more than happy to teach you! If you’re unsure of how to complete an assignment, or even just where the bathroom is, don’t be afraid to ask! Your employer would much rather take the 5 minutes to explain something to you than take even more time later on to have you redo the task.

2. Be an eager beaver! 

Coupled with asking questions, always ask for new assignments! One of the most important skill-sets you should be developing upon during your internship is taking initiative. If you ever have a free moment at work, ask for something new to work on! Not only will this impress your employer, but it will help you make the most of your time as an intern.

3. Social Media, Social Media, Social Media!

As a Social Media Intern, it’s only fitting that one of my tips had something to do with social media. This tip is especially important to keep in mind if you’re in the process of searching for a new internship or job. According to this article, 55% of job recruiters have reconsidered an applicant based on things they found on his or her social media pages. Some recruiters are picky enough to turn down applicants due to a few grammar errors on social media. Just keep in mind how you’re presenting yourself to the world and future employers on social media!

 

 

Snap Map

Raise Your Hand if You Feel Personally Victimized by Snap Map

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From what I can see, Snapchat hasn’t learned from its past mistakes. Users who felt an invasion of privacy from its long gone ‘Best Friends’ feature aren’t going to be happy about its newest update: Snap Map.

Snap Map, in theory, is a great idea. It allows users in a similar location to contribute to a community story for a place or event (think: Wrigley Field or a street festival). The problem and the creepiness come in when the app allows users to pinpoint the exact locations of their friends – whether they’re utilizing ‘Our Story’ or not.

So, how creepy are we talking here? Snapchat will now let your friends know…

When you’re in a car

Snap Map

When you’re sleeping

Snap Map

When you’re with other friends

Snap Map

What a great way to create drama, Snapchat! When stalkers everywhere are rejoicing, they should know that they are raising major red flags.

Snap Map Safety Concerns

On a very, very serious note, however, this raises real safety concerns. Children or teens who may not fully understand the implications of this feature are particularly vulnerable. Adults involved in dangerous situations (i.e. domestic abuse, gang violence) are also extremely susceptible to the negative effects of the map as well.

Even though users can opt to be in ‘Ghost Mode,’ a setting that enables only the user themself to see their location, it still feels as though a line has been crossed between what users are and are not comfortable with. This massive change in how the app works has led me personally to reconsider my usage of the app. In fact, it’s even pushed me to consider using Instagram Stories exclusively; this is definitely the opposite effect it was hoping to have.

So, we want to know: what are your thoughts on this new technology?

Facebook Advertising 101: Ad Objectives

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Closing in on 2 billion monthly users, there are endless opportunities for a business to reach new customers through Facebook ads and they are an excellent way to prove ROI for your various social campaigns.

In my next series of blog posts, I’ll go through the different steps in creating a Facebook ad campaign. First, let’s start with choosing your ad objective.

Step 1: Choose an ad objective

The first step in creating an ad is setting an objective. Each ad objective is designed to target a different stage in the sales funnel. There are three types of ad objectives: awareness, consideration, and conversion.

Awareness Ads

Targeted towards the very top of the sales funnel, awareness ads build top-of-mind awareness and interest in your product or service. These discovery ads are perfect to tell a brand or company’s story and connect with new prospective customers.

How to use Awareness Ads: Use awareness ads to build a base audience and create awareness of your client’s brand. This is the stage where high-quality imagery and creative is key, such as infographics, 15-second videos, and photos that really pop. The idea is to build awareness, which means your ad creative needs to be memorable.

Awareness ads available include: Brand Awareness, Reach

Consideration Ads

The consideration ad type is targeted towards the top-middle of the sales funnel.  These types of ads get people to start thinking about a business, product, or service, and to look for more information about it. Consideration ads are great for most of on-site (and in-app) content, including blog posts, coupons, and email newsletters.

How to use Consideration Ads: Identify your client’s top content and/or goals and amplify them through a consideration ad. Funnel potential customers to a lead-generating blog post, landing page, subscription page, etc. to that lead-generating blog post with an infographic traffic ad.

Consideration ads available include: Traffic to your website, Engagement (Page Likes, Post Engagements, Offer Claims & Event Responses), App Installs, Video Views, and Lead Generation

Conversion Ads

Conversion Facebook ads are targeted towards the bottom of the sales funnel and are aimed at directly increasing a client’s bottom line, encouraging people to carry out a specific action or purchase a company’s product or service. Conversion ads are the easiest to measure results, but also tend to cost much more than the other ad types.

How to use Consideration Ads: Conversion ads are used in conjunction with a Facebook pixel, which is a snippet of code that follows users around the web. This pixel not only enables you to remarket to website visitors, but it also enables you to track behaviors on your site. Tip: Start with broad audience and let Facebook do the work of finding users most likely to convert and then use that info in next campaign

Conversion ads available include: Conversions, Product Catalog Sales, Store Visits

Stay tuned for the next blog post in the series on the different types of Facebook ad formats.

The Gossip Genie Chicago Restaurant Guide

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At Gossip Genie, we LOVE to eat. When we aren’t eating, we’re talking about food or planning our next meal. As a team of foodies, it only made sense for us to create our own Chicago restaurant guide. Here’s what each Genie said were their favorite places to chow down.

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Anthony’s List: 

Kristina’s List:

  • Favorite Restaurant: Au Cheval
    • “It’s true what they say – Au Cheval’s burger literally melts in your mouth! Ugh, I would eat one of these every day if I could. When you order the burger, though, be sure to get the bacon. It’s thick cut, delicious, and an absolute a game-changer!”
  • Favorite Brunch Spot: Kanela Breakfast Club
    • “I’ve been to loads of other brunch spots, and none even come close to how delicious Kanela is! At this point, I’ve tried nearly everything on the menu… and haven’t had a critique on any of it! Plus, the spicy Bloody Mary comes with a mini grilled cheese. GRILLED CHEESE.
  • Favorite Date Night Spot:Carnivale or Homeslice
    • “If you’re looking to dress up a little and hit the town, Carnivale is such a fun spot. It’s bursting with color and energy, and its drinks are fruity and delicious. For a more casual, laid-back night out, Homeslice rocks, especially when it’s warm out and the patio is open.”
  •  A Spot I’ve Been Dying to Try: Piccolo Sogno. I’ve heard so many amazing things but haven’t had a chance to go yet! Definitely on my summer to-do list.

    Keenan’s List

  • Elephant and Castle
  • Sweetwater
  • Aloha Poke
  • Lizzie McNeill’s Irish Pub

Taryn’s List

Anneliese’s List

  • Favorite Restaurant of all time: Café Ba-Ba-Reeba
  • Best Grilled Cheese: Four Shadows
  • Best Pizza: Art of Pizza
  • Best BBQ: Barn and Company
  • Best Mexican: El Presidente
  • Best BYOB: Tango Sur
  • Best Steakhouse: Mastro’s
  • Place I have been dying to try: Au Cheval
  • Best Brunch: Flo

    Ali’s List

  • Favorite Restaurant in Chicago: Au Cheval (so far).
    • Order the burger. It’s the richest, most delectable burger I’ve ever had. It’s a special treat for sure!
  • Favorite Spot for Brunch: St. Lou’s Assembly.
    • TIP: They have a great back patio that’s perfect for enjoying your meal + a little bocci ball action.
  • Favorite Date Night Spot: Chicago Cut Steakhouse
    • It’s right on the Chicago River so the views are spectacular. Their service and food is ??
  • A Spot I’ve Been Dying to Try: Girl & The Goat!
    • It’s really hard to get a reservation there but it’s at the top of my list. I love Chef Stephanie’s restaurants here in Chicago, and I heard the Girl and the Goat is her best!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shannon’s List

  • Crosby’s Kitchen
    • They have a salad that I will order above all else. I’m not a “salad when you go out,” kind of gal, so you know it’s epic.
  • Taco Joint
    • If you’re looking for guac options and a killer appetizer list, look no further. They also have a sick Happy Hour special involving Modelo and Tequila.
  • Home Bistro
    • Get the mussels and fries combo. Bonus: it’s BYOB.
  • DryHop Brewers
    • Perfect for a casual date night. Grab a flight of your favorite beers at this perfect gastropub.

Jacqui’s List

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are there any places you think we’re missing? Comment on the post to let us know!

Building A Better Brand – Gifs

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It’s no secret that one of the keys to growing and maintaining a social audience is creating engaging, eye-catching content. In the age of immediate gratification, your brand only has a few seconds to attract users who are under a constant bombardment of content on their social feeds. No matter the size of your brand, a .gif is a unique way to cut through the clutter and quickly draw your audience to your page. The biggest advantage to a .gif is that it adds movement to a feed that is normally filled with static pictures and articles without forcing the user to wait for videos to load.

Although just a normal picture would look good enough to post as is, creating a chain of visually engaging images produces a fun and vibrant .gif that’s as easy to share as it is to view. Because of the eye-catching and creative animation, engagement usually sees a big boost in results. Whenever your brand has an exciting new product or addition, a.gif is also a surefire way to ensure maximum exposure.

Here’s a great example of a .gif Gossip Genie made to promote our client, Vienna Beef.

Gifs can also be an invaluable tool when it comes to announcing events, contests, and news. Generating results is more important than ever when you present your audience with a call-to-action. Using a .gif , like this one created for Vision Expo East 2016, helps bring your all important event announcement or registration post to the feeds of eager viewers ready to learn more or sign up.

Although its pronunciation is up for debate, its ability to quickly add a breath of fresh air into any brand’s page is not. The next time you get ready to take brand pictures, consider how you can incorporate your vision into a fun and exciting gif!

Social Media Trend: Instagram Themes

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Ever since Instagram changed their algorithm, brands and influencers have been trying to figure out ways to stand out on this visually appealing platform. Remember the days when we used to post a picture just because we liked it? Even if it was grainy or out of focus? So long are those days! Now that we live in a time where people can make a living off their Instagram account, perfection is key and so is being deliberate on every single detail, down to the exact filter.

This ultimately results in one stunning Instagram theme, where photos transition effortlessly into the next. Brands and influencers who can execute this flawlessly truly are magicians because not only is it an art, but also a science.

Check out some of my favorite accounts and their overarching themes!

Pop of Blue

Dark and Moody

Vivid Colors

 Greyscale 

Muted Neutrals

Gorgeous, right? No matter what your personal aesthetic is, we can all agree that each theme is so well done and thought out.

If you’re thinking about creating a theme on your own feed, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Find what inspires you

Whether you love to travel or are into fashion (maybe even BOTH), figure out what you want your theme to represent. Obviously it would represent you, but what specifically about you? If you’re an avid traveler, your theme may consist of all the exotic places you have visited with colorful imagery. If you’re a fashion blogger, your theme may consist of fashion and makeup.  If you’re an interior decorator, your theme may consist of color, contrast and so much more. The point is, the possibilities are endless just as long as you know what inspires you and makes you happy!

Know your personal style 

Knowing what you like and what you don’t like will help narrow down your theme from the get-go. For example, my wardrobe and everything in my bedroom mainly consists of neutrals and black. With that, I know I wouldn’t want my theme to be bright and colorful because that’s just not who I am. I know I like dark colors with hints of gold and pink, therefore I would want my theme to match that aesthetic.

Be picky

When it comes to your Insta-game, don’t be afraid to be picky! If you’re taking the time to create a theme for your feed, make sure you are 100% proud of it. Don’t settle for grainy pictures or mismatched color combos because at the end of the day, it defeats the purpose of a well curated feed.

Have fun with it

Let your imagination run wild! Of course themes have to be cohesive, but if you get bored of one, feel free to change it up. I have seen many Instagram accounts that change themes every couple rows and they still look effortless and stunning. Check out the one below!

 

 

 

When Do I Use Emojis? A Guide for Brands

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Working in social media, I get all sorts of questions from clients and friends alike: How do I grow my blog? What is a Facebook ad? Do I really need LinkedIn?

A question that comes up rather often is ‘How do I know when it’s appropriate to use emojis?’ Good question. There truly is a fine line between when emojis add to the look and feel of a page and when they are just out of place. Because this can be a tricky situation, I created an easy-to-follow infographic to help you navigate!

Photography at Gossip Genie

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Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about photography. I was the kid who carried their Fischer Price camera around their neck everywhere and I even started my own photography business at 17. My side-hustle photography business is still going strong, and I actually initially met Jacqui because I photographed her family.

While I absolutely love working in social media, one of my favorite parts of the job is when I get to whip out my bulky, reliable Canon Mark II. Social media is innately visual, so eye-catching, high-resolution images are VITAL for platforms like Facebook and Instagram. In fact, 74% of social media marketers use visual assets in their social media marketing, ahead of blogs (68%) and videos (60%). That’s why we always recommend that clients utilize our photography services. I know that I’m biased, but I think we have a team of talented photographers and visual artists!

Here are some of my favorite photos that my team and I have taken at Gossip Genie:

 

 

Let us photograph your product or services! Get in touch today.