Advice For Marketing With Instagram

marketing with instagramOver the last year, I’ve become very attached to using Instagram. Although I’ve had little training in photography, I consider myself an amateur photographer (or fauxtographer, as defined on Urban Dictionary). I don’t have a fancy camera, but I’ve been doing what I can to get pretty handy with my iPhone.

I started using Instagram last year in preparation for my family’s trip to London last fall because it’s easy to share pictures on Twitter and Facebook with just a few extra taps. When you’re relying on spotty wifi, the more you can automate your social media, the better. Once I started using the app, I was hooked.

Because I didn’t start using Instagram until after Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, I don’t have a lot of experience with the “early days” of Instagram. But from what I hear, there was very little advertising and spam on the app (other than #HashtagAbuse). As with any social network that rapidly gains popularity, savvy marketers will develop strategies to get their companies in front of as many eyes as possible. For businesses who have visually-appealing products, Instagram can be just as effective as Pinterest for driving traffic to your website. created this infographic that gives great information on why it’s important to consider Instagram in your social media strategy. With 150 million monthly users, a clever Instagram strategy could build your audience in a meaningful way. Forget about the “hipster” stereotype of Instagram, and read these statistics:

Disclosure: I received compensation to share this infographic on behalf of InstaZebra. All other opinions on Instagram and social media marketing are my own.

Want to connect with me on Instagram? Find me here.

Six Good Reasons To Kiss The Irish

kiss me im irishSt. Patrick’s Day is Sunday, and it’s a time that being Irish is celebrated. Although my ancestry includes a mix of Irish, English, Native American, and Scandinavian, if somebody asks me – I’ll say I’m Irish.

In November when our family went to England, we took an unexpected trip over to Dublin for a day. We couldn’t fly out of Manchester because flights were full, and the train rides and exit fees from Heathrow would have been pretty expensive. However, if we bought some ID-90 passes for Dublin, we had an almost certain shot at getting seats in business elite for our flight back to the US. So we got some tickets on Aer Lingus and enjoyed less than 15 hours in Ireland (half of which were spent asleep). We walked the streets, had some delicious Irish coddle, enjoyed little shops and did a fair amount of people-watching. Those hours in Dublin whet my desire to spend a significant time in Blea Cliath (the nickname for Dublin). Someday!
dublin collage

Last week we published this infographic at work, and it’s all about kissing the Irish. With stats like this, you can see why I’m proud to be Irish!

6 Good Reasons To Kiss The Irish [infographic]

Are you Irish? Or do you just like to pretend to be at St. Patrick’s Day? Either way, Happy St. Patrick’s Day this weekend!

Facts About Sweethearts Conversation Hearts

Awesome Things About Sweethearts [infographic]

Conversation Hearts

Those cute little chalky snippets of confectionary sentiment. Who doesn’t love looking at the cute messages on a conversation heart?

Did you know that NECCO (the New England Confectionery Company) began producing stamped candies in 1866? That’s one year after the Civil War ended! An invention from 1847 called the lozenge cutter by Oliver Chase revolutionized the candy industry in the United States. NECCO printed messages on their candies over the next 2 decades, and the earliest candies were different shapes back then: baseballs, watches, postcards and horseshoes. NECCO started printing the Sweethearts conversation hearts (as we know them) in 1902.

conversation heartsA lot has changed since then, including the way people communicate. Sweethearts with classic sayings like “SWEET TALK” and “MARRY ME,” have been replaced with sayings like “TWEET ME” and “CRAZY 4 U.” At one time, NECCO distributed Sweethearts with outdated sayings like “DIG ME” and the cheerful “YOU ARE GAY”, but they have been discontinued. NECCO says that creating text for their candies can be tricky. The new sayings can’t be “offensive, distasteful, or too wordy,” according to Walter Marshall, retired NECCO vice president.

I’ve always loved Necco candies, especially the wafers. This is in part that I grew up with Necco as a nickname for Nicole. Yes they’re chalky, and I know that not everybody likes them, but both Necco wafers and Sweethearts hold a sweet part of nostalgia in my life.

Do you love (or despise) conversation hearts? And do you like this infographic? With my sentimentality for conversation hearts, I urged my creative director at work to produce this graphic. Pretty awesome, right?

Thanks, Joseph, for humoring me.

What Is Kwanzaa?

All about KwanzaaDo you have any idea what Kwanzaa is?

I have always been interested in other cultures and traditions, which is one of the reasons  I studied humanities in college. I love to see what brings people joy, reverence, reflections, sorrow, nostalgia, and elation. December is a month that typically focuses on Christmas, and on Hanukkah to a smaller extent. But for years I’ve been hearing more references to Kwanzaa in pop culture than ever before, and I decided to do some research for an infographic about Kwanzaa.
All You Need To Know About Kwanzaa [infographic] Via:
Kwanzaa (spelled Kwanza in African countries) is a non-religious holiday celebration of the harvest which runs from December 26th to January 1st. An estimated 18 million people worldwide and 5 million Americans (2.1% of U.S. adults) say they plan to celebrate Kwanzaa. It is a celebration of the harvest and African heritage. Customs include traditional music, dance, art and readings of prose or poetry with a focus on celebrating origins and ancestors.

One of the awesome parts of being a social media manager is leading the content strategies for our company blog. We use a lot of infographics to promote our blog and educate our readers. I wanted to find a topic that an infographic hadn’t been created for yet. It was fun to find out more about Kwanzaa, because most of what I knew about Kwanzaa was from this spoof video:

Do you celebrate Kwanzaa?

PS – A few people have asked me if Mormons celebrate Kwanzaa. As far as I know, very few do. It’s considered a secular holiday, and it honors traditions of African ancestry. Just as a Christian might make an observance of Passover, some Mormons observe Kwanzaa.

The Cost of True Love

The true cost of the 12 days of Christmas
‘Tis the season to be jolly, and give gifts to the ones we love. Or at least give presents to people we feel obligated to buy for.

One of the most beloved Christmas tunes of all time is “The 12 Days of Christmas,” which dates back to the late 1700’s. The tune gives an elaborate list of gifts that are given to his “true love” over a twelve day period. “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a cumulative song, meaning that each verse builds on top of the previous verses. Each verse describes a gift given by “my true love” on one of the twelve days of Christmas…and so forth, until the last verse:

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

12 days of Christmas illustration12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords-a-Leaping
9 Ladies Dancing
8 Maids-a-Milking
7 Swans-a-Swimming
6 Geese-a-Laying
5 Gold Rings
4 Calling Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Many of the gifts listed in the song would now be considered ridiculous to give. But have you ever wondered how much it would cost to give all of these gifts in modern times? Hint: it’s over one hundred grand.

The Cost of True Love: The 12 Days of Christmas [infographic]

Since 1984, the cumulative costs of the gifts in the song have been used as an economic indicator. The Cheif Economist at PNC Bank began the tradition, and is maintained by PNC Bank 29 years later. Two pricing charts are created, referred to as the Christmas Price Index and The True Cost of Christmas. The former is an index of the current costs of one set of each of the gifts given by the True Love to the singer of the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The latter is the cumulative cost of all the gifts with the repetitions listed in the song. The people mentioned in the song are hired, not purchased. The full cost of all 364 gifts in 2012 would cost $107,300.24. I love my husband, but those gifts will NEVER be in our Christmas budget.


Not feeling rich enough to give all of those gifts to your true love, but can’t spend $107,000? How about a free and fun Christmas printable with the illustration for the infographic that my coworker Joseph LeBaron made? Download the 8″x10″ printable here.

Thanksgiving “Pie Chart” – And How It Was Made

Thanksgiving Pie ChartsHappy Thanksgiving! 2012 has been an amazing year for me. After so many years of tough trials, health problems, financial woes, and other worries, it’s been so wonderful to have a lovely, fun and successful year.

This year I began working as the social media manager for, a website that helps prospective students make informed decisions about their education choices. Not only is this job a great fit for me, but I have a lot of fun with it. Although our site is higher education focused, we also like to have a good time for holidays and other seasonal events. We work on creating content that is not only engaging, but is also shareable. Joseph, our creative director, decided to make a really fun “pie chart” infographic about Thanksgiving pies.

It turned out fabulous, didn’t it?

Pie Charts [infographic]


If you look closely at the pictures in the infographic, you can see…it’s made with real pie!

Infographics have become a popular marketing tool in the last few years. It’s a great way to make visually-appealing data representations, and can bring in new audiences to your website if done correctly. For as many infographics that are made well, there are just as many that are made poorly. For this infographic, Joseph used data from a recent survey from Pillsbury revealing that 94% of Americans plan to eat pie over the holidays, and two-thirds of Americans prefer holiday foods over gifts. He took the percentages from a Schwan’s survey (the makers of Mrs. Smith’s pies), where Americans were asked what their three favorite pies were.

20121122-060231.jpg 20121122-060522.jpg Joseph made lots of phone calls to local bakeries and pie shops to see where he could buy the pies he needed for the infographic. After realizing all of the photography and footwork would be hard with one person, he recruited me to be his assistant for the day. We started out the day by driving to Marie Callender’s, which was halfway across the Salt Lake Valley from us. Marie Callender’s had all but one of the pies that we needed for the infographic. We purchased traditional apple, apple crumb, chocolate cream, key lime, peach, pumpkin, pecan, lemon meringue, and blueberry (which used up our November “creative budget” for the department).

20121122-060547.jpgAt first, the plan was to get all the pies, then do the photo shoot back at the office. As the pies were being boxed up, we realized that they may be too damaged if we waited to take them in the car (especially the lemon meringue). So we asked the manager if we could set up the camera and tripod in the back of the restaurant at a table with the best natural lighting. Dozens of pictures later, we boxed the pies back up and carefully arranged them in his trunk. I held the lemon meringue pie in my lap (with the box open) to make sure that it survived the drive back to the office. We drove a few blocks over to Granite Bakery, which was the only place we found (after many phone calls) that had a cherry pie in stock.

Once we were back at the office, Joseph began working his creative magic. Because most of the fruit pies had a pastry crust, it was hard to see the fruit inside. Joseph used a sharp knife and commenced in crust excision and pie surgery to remove the tops of the pies. He cut the pastry tops on 4 of the pies to the percentages that he would use for the bottom half of the graphic.

20121122-071154.jpgOnce all of the photography was finished, Joseph uploaded the pictures into PhotoShop and began creating the layout of the graphic, and editing, formatting and resizing the images. The finished product published on our blog, and we’ve been promoting it since it was complete.

Oh, and are you curious about all the pie we had? After all of the pictures had been taken, all of the pies were taken into the break room for employees to eat. Ten pies, twenty employees….you do the math.

What do you think? Do you like how it turned out? Does it make you want to try making your own infographic?