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How to get more Instagram likes and comments: new study

(Social Media) We all know how big brands get likes and comments, but how does the average user garner more visibility on Instagram?

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Long live Instagram!

In the world of social media, the status of our popularity lives and dies by likes and comments. Such is the case for the photo-sharing app, Instagram. For those unfamiliar with the app, it is a basic concept of uploading a square photo to your account and adding a filter to make the image, sometimes, more appealing. While it may sound simplistic and self-serving, the app has taken the social media world by storm and is especially popular with young generations.

The app, created in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, took a note from Twitter in the sense that it allows users to connect with the more “elite”; i.e. actors, musicians, athletes, etc. These individuals have an automatic in to likes and comments on their photos due to the fact that they are well-known personalities who, as we all know, have fan bases.

So how do Average Joe Instagram users gain likes and comments?

Dan Zarrella investigated this question in his infographic below, titled “The Science of Instagram,” and what he found on the subject may be bits of gold knowledge for avid Instagram users who are looking to heighten their popularity status.

Zarrella’s study tracked more than a million photos to learn about the rise and fall of likes and comments. His first find was that the more tags you include in a photo, the more likes and comments you are likely to get. Say for example you have a photo with a group of friends. When uploading the photo, you are able to attach their user names to said photo. This allows them to be notified and also increases the likelihood that they will like or comment on the photo. Not only that, when other users are viewing your friend’s page, they can see their tagged photos and are then able to like as well. You can include up to 30 tags in one photo, and you are not limited to tagging only those present in the photo. You can also tag your location (for example the Art Institute of Chicago) and your photo will be available to anyone who searches that location.

Trick: Use the word “like” or “comment” in your caption

When uploading a photo you are also able to include a caption. The study has found that if you write the words “like” or “comment” in your caption, you are more likely to receive a like or comment. Whether it is explicitly stated (“Comment on this photo and I will follow you back”) or is stated indirectly (“I really like this time of year), other users will be inclined to like or comment on the photo because their brains have been exposed to the Instagram terminology. The study found that with the inclusion of these words, there was an 89% increase in the like-like category, and a 2,194% increase in the comment-comment category.

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The quality of the photo is something that plays a role in receiving likes and comments. The study found that desaturated photos tend to receive more attention than photos that are saturated. There was a 598% difference in likes in desatured versus saturated. This may be due to the fact that, while saturated photos grab your attention, they are not always easy on the eyes unlike desatured photos, which are more calming to look at. While on the subject of pleasing the eye, it was also found that cool colors tend to get more likes and comments as opposed to warm colors. And while saturation may not be your best friend, brightness certainly is. It was found that brighter photos attract more likes and comments versus photos that are darker.

A big part of Instagram is the use of filters

Filters are something you can add to your photo in order to change the look of the photo. There are filters to add brightness, saturation, desaturation or even the classic black and white filter. It may be surprising to learn that, while filters are a popular part of Instagram, they may not necessarily be doing you any favors. The study reported that the best filter you can have is the “Normal” filter, which is just posting what the photo looks like without a touch-up. The “Normal” filter came in first in terms of photos receiving the most likes and comments. The three filters that followed in popularity were “Willow”, “Valencia”, and “Sierra”, respectively. The rest of the filters were ranked under a category marked “average” as far as the numbers of likes and comments.

Lastly, as you may imagine, the content of the photo is a determinant of likes and comments. Photos that include faces are more popular than photos containing just scenery or objects. Whether it is a selfie or a group photo, it appears that faces attract more attention as there is a 35% increase in likes for photos with faces as opposed to photos with no faces. In addition, photos that tend to be busier are also more likely to grab a users’ attention. In an effort to analyze “busyness” Zarrella measured the edges within a photo and found that more edges equals more likes and comments.

Instagram is a social media freight train that shows no signs of slowing down. With its popularity being linked to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, it seems as though this photo-sharing app is something that will be apart of the Internet for quite some time. In order to achieve the best results while using Instagram, post photos that are tagged, properly colored and filtered, and filled with faces and edges. When following these steps, you will be up to your knees in likes and comments.

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Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.

Social Media

Why Trump’s lawsuit against social media still matters

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Former President Trump snagged headlines for suing every large social media platform, and it has gone quiet, but it still deeply matters.

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It was splashed across headlines everywhere in July: Former President Trump filed a lawsuit against social media platforms that he claims unrightfully banned him during and after the fallout of the January 6th capitol riots. The headlines ran for about a week or so and then fell off the radar as other, fresher, just-as-juicy news headlines captured the media’s eye.

Many of us were left wondering what that was all about and if anything ever became of it. For even more of us, it probably passed out of our minds completely. Lack of public awareness for these things is common after the initial media blitz fades.

Lawsuits like these in the US can take months, if not years between newsworthy milestones. The most recent news I could find as of this publishing is from August 24, 2021, on Yahoo! News from the Washington Examiner discussing the Trump camp’s request for a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit.

This particular suit shouldn’t be left to fade from memory in the shadows though, and here’s why:

In the past few years, world powers have been reigning in regulations on social media and internet commerce. The US is actually a little behind the curve. Trump may have unwittingly given us a source of momentum to get with the times.

In the European Union, they have the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), widely acknowledged to be one of the toughest and most thorough privacy laws in the world, a bold title. China just passed its own pair of laws in the past four months: The Data Security Law, which took effect on Sept. 1, and The Personal Information Law, set to take effect November 1st. The pair is poised to give the GDPR a run for its money for that title.

Meanwhile, in the US, Congress has been occupied with other things and, while there are five bills that took aim at tech monopoly currently on the table and a few CEOs had to answer some questions, little actual movement or progress has been made on making similar privacy protections a thing in the United States.

Trump’s lawsuit, while labeled by many as a toothless public relations move, may actually create momentum needed to push regulation of tech and social media forward in the US. The merits of the case are weak and ultimately the legislation that would give it teeth doesn’t exist yet.

You can’t hold tech companies accountable to a standard that doesn’t properly exist in law.

However, high profile attention and someone willing to continue to make noise and bring attention back to the subject, one of Trump’s strongest talents, could be “just what the doctor ordered” to inspire Congress to make internet user rights and data privacy a priority in the US, finally.

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Even solopreneurs are doing live commerce online – it’s not just QVC’s game anymore

(SOCIAL MEDIA) When you think of watching a show and buying things in real time, it invokes thoughts of QVC, but social media video has changed all that.

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After the year everyone has had, one wouldn’t be remiss in thinking that humanity wants a break from live streaming. They would, however, be wrong: Live online commerce – a method of conversion first normalized in China – is the next evolution of the ubiquitous e-commerce experience, which means it’s something you’ll want on your radar.

Chinese company, Alibaba first live streamed on an e-commerce site in 2016, allowing buyers to watch, interact with, and buy from sellers from the comfort of their homes. In 2020, that same strategy netted Alibaba $7.5 billion in presale revenue – and it only took 30 minutes, according to McKinsey Digital.

But, though western audiences have proven a desire to be just as involved with sellers during the buying process, live commerce hasn’t taken off here the way it has elsewhere. If e-commerce merchants want to maximize their returns in the next few years, that needs to change.

McKinsey Digital points out a couple of different benefits for organizations using live commerce, the main one being an influx in traffic. Live streaming events break the buying experience mold, and consumers love being surprised. You can expect that prospective buyers who wouldn’t necessarily visit your store under normal circumstances would find value in attending a live event.

Live events also keep people on your site for longer, resulting in richer conversion opportunities.

The sense of urgency inherent in in-person shopping doesn’t always translate to online markets, but having a stream showing decreasing inventory or limited-availability items being sold inspires people to act expeditiously rather than sitting on a loaded cart–something that can kill an e-commerce conversion as quickly as it starts one.

There are a ton of different ways to incorporate live events into your e-commerce campaigns. Virtual auctions are popular, as are markets in which individual sellers take buyers through inventory. However, the live event could be tangentially related–or even just something impressive running in parallel with the sale–and still bring in a swell of revenue.

Screen fatigue is real, and there isn’t a true substitute for a brick-and-mortar experience when done correctly. But if you have an e-commerce shop that isn’t utilizing some form of live entertainment–even just to bring in new buyers–you’re going to want to try this strategy soon.

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LinkedIn is nixing Stories this month (LinkedIn had Stories!?)

(SOCIAL MEDIA) LinkedIn tried to be like the cool kids and launched “Stories,” but the video feature is being shelved and “reimagined.” Ok.

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Creating the next big thing is essential for social networks to stay relevant, continue growing, and avoid shutting down. Sometimes, this leads to businesses trying to ride along with the success of another app’s latest feature and creating their cloned version. While the logic of recreating something already working makes sense, the results aren’t universal.

This time around, LinkedIn is saying goodbye to its short-lived Snapchat-like video product, Stories. In a company post, LinkedIn says it’s removing its Stories experience by the end of September.

Why is LinkedIn retiring Stories?

According to a post by Senior Director of Product at LinkedIn Liz Li, “[LinkedIn] introduced Stories last year as a fun and casual way to share quick video updates.”

After some testing and feedback, they learned this is not what users wanted. Seems like they could have beta tested with users and heard the same thing, but I digress.

“In developing Stories, we assumed people wouldn’t want informal videos attached to their profile, and that ephemerality would reduce barriers that people feel about posting. Turns out, you want to create lasting videos that tell your professional story in a more personal way and that showcase both your personality and expertise,” said Li.

What does this mean for users?

Starting on September 30, 2021, users will no longer be able to create Stories for Pages. If you’ve already planned to have an image or video ads run in-between Stories, they will now appear on the LinkedIn feed instead. For those who used Campaign Manager to promote or sponsor a Story directly from your Page, the company says “these paid Stories will not appear in the LinkedIn feed”, and the user will need to recreate the ad in Campaign Manager.

What’s next for LinkedIn?

According to Li, LinkedIn is taking what it learned from its finding to “evolve the Stories format into a reimagined video experience across LinkedIn that’s even richer and more conversational.” It plans on doing so by using mixed media and the creative tools of Stories.

“As we reimagine what is next, we’re focusing on how we can provide you with a short-form, rich interactive video format that is unique to our platform and that better helps you reach and engage your audiences on LinkedIn. We’re always excited to try out new things and learn as we go, and will continue to share updates along the way,” the company said.

Although Stories didn’t work well for LinkedIn as they hoped, one thing is for sure. LinkedIn isn’t giving up on some form of interactive video, and we can only hope they “reimagine” something unique that keeps users coming back for more.

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