Instagram Lessons to Learn from Kim Kardashian

No matter your feelings for the Kardashian family, you have to recognize their empire built and living through social media. Each new Instagram or Tweet always seems to earn them a few extra headlines in tomorrow's paper. Kim Kardashian's Instagram is one of those that I hate following, but admittedly can't click the unfollow button. She's made history on the platform, teaching us marketers how you can utilize it, but her account is also a tale of what not to Instagram. GOOD LESSON: Make it a real throwback on Thursdays  Throwback Thursday has grown immensely on Instagram, allowing different opportunities for brands and celebrities to engage on social media. What Kim Kardashian does well is pulling photos from the Kardashian vault that doesn’t always put them in the most flattering light.

Note to marketers: If you’re sharing a photo from last Monday’s lunch meeting then you’re doing #tbt all wrong.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 4.39.40 PM

BAD LESSON: Sharing the same outfit in multiple Instagrams Listen Kim K., we know that Kanye probably did some backhand deal to get Giuseppe Zanotti to gift you the Balmain Couture dress, but one Instagram was enough. On your next, three Instagrams did you show us a new feature or something we missed in the first one? No. Your re-gram of the same outfit, from the same night only fulfilled enjoyment for you.

Note to marketers: You can say a lot in one Instagram, and most of the time that’s just enough to get your point across.

kimKardashian.jpg GOOD LESSON: Give exclusives I was actually impressed that Kimye didn’t reveal their wedding photos in a 5 page spread in US Weekly. I guess they thought after Vogue, what’s the point? Holding onto their first kiss wedding photo to share on Kim’s Instagram paid off, receiving the record top liked Instagram of all time.

Note to marketers: Use different content for different platforms to keep users engaging an ALL platforms.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 4.44.01 PM

BAD LESSON: Flooding your Instagram with photos from the same event. You’re blind if you follow @kimkardashian on Instagram and didn’t see her excessive photos from the Met Gala this year. Her Insta-diary put you in the shoes of a 13 year old girl going to a radio concert with all her favorite bands. Sometimes I wonder if Kim K. plays the “how many celebrities can I Instagram in one night” game.

Note to marketers: Is Instagram the best platform to over-share from an event? Try to keep to 1-2 photos per hour of an event, highlighting the top items and leaving the rest for an album on Facebook.

Screen Shot 2014-06-30 at 4.48.59 PM


*Photos via Kim Kardashian's Instagram account

Easy Apps for Better Instagrams

I remember downloading the Instagram app in 2011 and becoming instantly obsessed. Even though I had probably five or so friends also using the app, I loved the concept and of course the sweet filters. Over the years Instagram has continued to add features and as we all know the game has been stepped up by professional photographers and the average Joe's who know how to capture the perfect angle. The truth however, is that most of these Instagram stars are not using the app alone. A lot of people use other apps for editing and I would venture to guess most are taking their photos with the built-in camera or a real camera and importing them to post rather than taking their pictures through Instagram.

While I am nowhere near the level of IG stardom, I do like to play around sometimes and try to make my pictures a little more pretty. Here are some of my favorite apps that I like to use in conjunction with Instagram to do just that.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.51.40 AM

Instasize. Sure, the new iOS has the Square photo setting that gives you that nice square frame to shoot your photos with, but more often than not this means you’re probably losing a lot of the frame you actually want to capture. Enter Instasize. This awesome app lets you take photos or import from your library and size them to fit the Instagram dimensions. This app also provides some editing features including collage templates, filters and borders.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.48.34 AM


Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.52.27 AM

PicPlayPost. If you’re a fan of collages, check this out. Not only can you make a collage of photos, but you can mix photos and videos! I’m a fan of using this app to highlight some of my favorite moments from one event, like a concert or a wedding.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.57.54 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.12.31 AM

PhotoCollage. One of many easy to use photo collage apps, this one lets you create collages from your photo library and edit things like color, margins and corner shapes. Perfect for showing step-by-step meal prep or those classic birthday collages.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.56.51 AM

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.02.46 AM

Afterlight. Another awesome editing tool, Afterlight lets you take photos or use images from your library to change the lighting, add filters, borders and even shapes.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.58.15 AM


Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.03.00 AM

Over. Make your own Pinterest-esque quote photos with this is an easy app that lets you add text to your pictures.

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 9.57.07 AM


Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.07.05 AM

Camera+. This is the ultimate editing app. It’s pretty easy to use and has a lot of new features to help save those too bright or too dark photos. I even use this for initial editing and then combine with one of the Instagram filters. All in all, this is a fun one to play around with and can make your phone photos look pro!

Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 10.08.49 AM


I’m always on the lookout for stellar Instagram accounts to follow and new apps to try. If you have any recommendations, Tweet me at @c_allodi or follow me on Instagram @cmallodi.

100 Days of Happy: Are You In?

Get on his bandwagon.  

To be happy is not a new or novel idea. But to be happy for 100 days straight? Enter the 100 Happy Days Challenge. The idea? To capture one moment each day that made you happy, and to share it, either with friends or with just the 100 Happy Days team. Seventy-one percent of people who set out to do it fail, blaming a lack of time. And, those who do complete the challenge claimed to feel in a better mood every day, became more optimistic, started noticing what makes them happy every day, started receiving more compliments every day, and even found love.

Maybe it's because I just got back from an ultra-relaxing vacation, or maybe I've heard Pharrell's song on the radio one too many times. Maybe it's because it's officially springtime in Seattle... no matter, there's a lot to smile about. I've always believed in the power of positive thinking. Yes, it sounds totally cheesy, but it's a very real thing. It not only makes you more approachable, more relatable, and less stressed, but all of those good qualities carry over nicely to  work. Positive energy yields successful results. So, I figured, why not try the challenge.

I had seen friends using the #100happydays hashtag on Instagram, which is what inspired me. But, when I learned more about the challenge, I really liked the part about how it's not a happiness competition, like a race for who can see the most rainbows or have a better Sunday, and that's why I decided just to email in my pictures to the 'Happy' team. At the end of your 100 happy days, you can get a book containing all of your pictures. That's pretty cool. You can read more about the challenge here, and it's pretty simple. What have you got to lose?

In addition to embarking on my own little challenge, I thought I'd ask a few friends how their own was going for them. I'm glad they chose to share what makes them happy on Instagram, because it's fun to see!

First, my friend Christi. She told me that she's been noticing little moments in her day that she never had before, like when her favorite lipstick made a mark on her to-go cup of tea. Normally that moment would have totally passed her by, but it made her smile, and she stopped to fully enjoy that little delight.


Christi also brought up the good point that the challenge can get tough when you're having a not-so-good day. Then what? Do you still post anyway? So far Christi has made it 13 days straight. Life isn't always perfect, obviously, but here's to finding a silver lining, especially on days when we otherwise might not!

I also talked to my friend, Carlie. She told me, "I live in a small town, and my job can be challenging. The 100 Days Challenge really pushes me to find something to be thankful for every day, which is really important. It's easy to find the negatives and complain, so I'm really happy to have a reason to find the positives!" Touché, Carlie, and I really like your picture from last week, captioned, "Pizza and it's Friday #100happydays."

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.13.16 PM

I also tapped my friend Anna to talk about her experience with 100 Happy Days. She said, "I love photography and I thought it would be a great way for me to be focused on taking more pictures, even if it is just with my cracked iPhone. Then I thought about it more and realized I'm at a time in my life where I should be taking a step back and really appreciating the little things that make me happy each and every day. Whether it's a weekend getaway or just a piece of food that I love, I have so much to be thankful and happy for, so this is a fun and creative way for me to do this!"

Anna is more than two weeks into the challenge, and on day nine, she shared the picture below, with the caption, "Healthy snacks FTW."

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 11.20.37 PM

So, it's your call. You don't have to do this challenge to be happy, and maybe this challenge won't make you happy, but rather stressed out (I forgot my phone to capture this view!)... but only time will tell. All I know is that being a part of something that people all around the world are doing for themselves, is an interesting journey indeed. Want more inspiration? Search #100happydays on Instagram or Twitter.

Are you participating in the challenge? Share your photos with me on Twitter at @megelisekam.

The Selfie Obsession

Yup, it’s official. It’s a selfie world, and we’re all just living in it. The evolution of the selfie in popular culture over the last year particularly has been a whirlwind. First, the word “selfie” became Oxford Dictionary's 2013 Word of the Year, allowing duck-face experts everywhere to rejoice in the official addition of the word to the English language. (By the way, if you haven’t caught on by now, selfie is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media.”)

Next, there was the #SELFIE song, cooked up by the NYC DJ duo The Chainsmokers as an homage to the present Era of Instagram. It has been invading the airwaves, perfectly capturing the self-centered social media-obsessed society we live in these days. You can read more about the song here.

And then there was the selfie heard ‘round the world. On the eve of the 2014 Oscars earlier this month, host Ellen DeGeneres orchestrated the most epic selfie of all with a group of A-list actors including Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts and more. The super-sized selfie, which Ellen shared via Twitter, reportedly “broke” the social media platform, becoming the most retweeted post of all time, with more than 3 million retweets to-date.

Photo Credit: @TheEllenShow


The Oscars selfie ploy garnered some coveted airtime for Samsung, a major sponsor of the 86th annual Academy Awards. Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 was featured prominently on camera as Bradley Cooper, seen in the foreground, was filmed holding the phone as the stars huddled in for the shot.

But Samsung (which also had another successful selfie moment in their #TogetherWeRise campaign) is not the only brand getting in on the selfie train. Companies like Target, AXE and GoPro have all gotten into the mix with some kind of selfie campaign that still stays true to their brand identity, while plugging into the word of the hour. When a cultural phenomenon like the selfie aligns with a brand’s core image and can offer fans a compelling way to engage, that’s when the conversation clicks.

For example, AXE’s #AXESelfie Challenge campaign encouraged user-generated content by prompting fans to take a funny selfie with an AXE product and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #AXESelfie for a chance to win a year’s worth of AXE goods. According to an inforgraphic for the Shorty Awards, of the brand’s seven social media campaigns in 2013, the #AXESelfie Challenge garnered the most engagement.

Purina’s Beggin’ Strips brand of dog treats even got furry friends into the selfie craze with the #BegginSelfie campaign, encouraging pet owners to share photos of their dog’s selfies to be featured in their #SelfieSunday roundup on Twitter.

Photo Credit: @Beggin


Here at Curator, integrating our brands naturally into social conversation in ways that are authentic to their brand identity is important.

Here are some quick tips for brands that want to dabble in the selfie space:

-- Display your brand’s strong points but don’t exaggerate or misrepresent them. Customers will find out and call you out on it. -- Don’t take jabs at the competition. No one likes a hater. -- Focus on the “insta” in Instagram. Provide content as you go and avoid too many #latergrams. The beauty of social media is sharing a message in real-time. -- Use social media dashboards to direct social media traffic back to your website. -- Dare to be different to stand out above competing messages, but don’t stray too far from your brand’s true voice. -- Keep photos of actual people in your selfies relevant to your brand and your brand’s mission. -- Don’t over-post. Like that annoying friend in your Instagram feed that ONLY posts photos of herself, too many selfies can alienate your followers.

We’d love to help incorporate your brands into this cultural phenomenon, but first, let us take a selfie…




What an amazing thing the Seahawks have done for our NW community. How rare it is for a team and its fans to truly come together the way the 12s and Seahawks have. And even more rare for an entire region to bind together around a single entity the way we have with our Champion Seattle Seahawks. A new generation of NW sports fans — those nine- and 10-year-olds playing football at recess — can now believe they are playing in a Super Bowl… and winning.

Curator has partnered with Q13’s Bill Wixey to give back to the Seattle Seahawks directly from the 12th man. Over the next week, share your personal thank you through Instagram and tag with #thankyouseahawks. We will be gathering the images and messages from the site to create a commemorative book to be shared with the Seahawks organization and each of the players. We don’t want our appreciation for a season for the ages to go unnoticed! Download the PDF here and view your fellow 12’s #thankyouseahawks on!


Curator News Feed: July 12, 2013

Curator has been quite busy this week: Ann Marie and Chelsey were back and forth from California for client events and meetings. Noelle is currently exploring the grounds of another client, Villa del Palmar at the Islands of Loreto with journalists in Mexico. And back at the homestead, the office has been setting its sights on not only back to school, but holiday initiatives for our wonderful clients. Phew! Amongst all the productivity, we still found time to produce some pretty interesting links. So without further ado: the Curator News Feed for July 12th.

"#Fireworks don't fly. (On planes)" via TSA's Instagram account

Marketing Agencies Will Disappear in 10 Years Study Says, PR Daily. Shocking headline. Interesting content. Glad we’re already doing the content marketing and “PR thinking” thing… – Dan

How To Become More Unstoppable Every Day, Fast Company. This is a feel good story about a girl who pushed outside what she thought her limits were and went for it, not to break some crazy world record or become the best at it, but for her own happiness. Her most recent project was to learn to dance in a year, all while holding a full-time job. My favorite line from her is on her site, here: "This isn't a story about dancing, though. It's about having a dream and not knowing how to get there—but starting anyway. Maybe you're a musician dreaming of writing an original song. You;re an entrepreneur dying to start your first venture. You're an athlete but you just haven't left the chair yet." – Maria

TSA's Gun Policy: Confiscate It, Instagram ItCNN Money. It's the reason we arrive at the airport hours before our flight even boards. We all dread it: TSA security. Well, now you can follow your favorite airport gatekeepers on Instagram. The account already has 40,000+ followers with only 11 pictures posted since it joined June 27. No doubt these pictures are alarming--a stun gun disguised as a cigarette holder, grenades, throwing knives, loaded pistols. Reading some of the comments, the account is already pretty controversial. What do you think; does TSA's Instragram account make you feel more safe in the air, or otherwise?  – Megan

32 Tricks You Can Do With Wolfram Alpha…, BusinessInsider. Wolfram Alpha, if you're not familiar, is kind of a nerdy Google that came out a few years ago. Whereas Google is almost entirely focused on searching for links, Wolfram Alpha is a search engine that's focused on answers. Take the first tip on this list: You can input the names of Subway sandwiches and the toppings you want to include on those sandwiches, and instantly find out an approximation of how many calories will end up in the sandwich you build. Crazy. – Paul

The Number Facebook Doesn't Want You To See, BuzzFeed. Here's an uncomfortable truth: None of your Facebook friends care about your updates. Oh, they see them; they just don't care. That's the gist of this article by BuzzFeed, which points out that while most Facebook posts "reach" hundreds or thousands of people, that reach doesn't often translate into interaction. I've found a lot more success posting in Groups and Lists with fewer people, but a narrower focus. That way, my friends who like social media, for instance, see my social-media-news updates, and those posts get a lot more feedback. – Paul

The Pixar TheoryJon Negroni. Ever thought Pixar movies were connected? You were right. This article will blow your mind. Special thanks to former Curator, Lisa Kennelly, for sharing this on her Facebook page and possibly changing my life. – Chelsey

The 7 Types of Hashtag Abusers, NY Mag. Hashtags are everywhere and they're a great tool, but it's also important to keep your hashtag usage in check. Don't be afraid to admit, are you one of these hashtag users? – Brooke

3D Printing, As 3d printing has become more accessible, it's still remained a bit out of reach for people who just want to tinker and not drop a few grand in equipment. I ran across a great writeup on the new eBay app that lets you print stuff called Exact, which looked rather interesting, yet seems to be more about customizing existing models. Then in the comments ran across the really interesting site which lets you actually upload your designs, both 2d or 3d if you have the know-how, and get models printed and shipped to your door. Check it out if you've been kicking around a product idea or two, it looks really well polished with a solid community around it. – Shawn

The World's Most Active Twitter City? You Won't Guess It, Forbes. A fun article in Forbes this week that revealed the results of which city in the world is the most active on Twitter. Think the no. one spot would go to New York, Tokyo, or maybe London? Well, guess again. Read the article to find out which city ranked at the top. Funny enough, San Francisco (where Twitter is headquartered) was not even ranked amongst the top 20 most active Twitter cities. – Annie

Wax Dummy for Coupons, Design Taxi. We’ve all seen business beat the street with a stack of coupons to bring in customers, but I’ve never seen a company mix the coupon offer with their service in quite so clever (yet slightly disgusting) of a way. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so I’ll just tell you the business is a waxing studio and the person handing out the coupons was wearing them. It’s proof that nothing gets people’s attention like a good mix of curiosity and schadenfreude. – Matthew

Curator News Feed: June 28, 2013

Summer is in full swing here in Seattle, and this week we're buzzing about clever Guinness ad placements, pantsuits on Twitter, the return of the Twinkie, and even the unthinkable: unplugging from social media. The jury's still out on the likeliness of that last one, but we'll leave it up to you. Enjoy our last links of the week for the month of June, and let us know what you've been reading, too!


Twinkies Are Back! Now What?AdWeek. How do you resurrect a brand from the dead? We’ll find out as Twinkies hit the shelves once again. But, they face one of the biggest challenges of any brand as companies have had the opportunity to introduce alternative products. But, Twinkies may be ready to combat this, starting with a new tagline that plays off of the product’s comeback – “The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever.” Consumers and marketers alike will have to decide in the coming months if the statement is true. – Annie

Are you Really a Ninja? How to Rock Your Twitter Bio as Hard as Hillary Clinton, Fast Company. Writing your own bio can be hard, writing your own bio under 200 characters is quite the task. I'm taking cues from these celebrities on Twitter and starting to re-think my own Twitter bio. – Brooke

'The Great Gatsby' Visual Effects Reel Unveiled, Huffington Post. If you have five minutes, this is a pretty cool video that shows the before and after of where a green screen was used in filming. If you have a couple hours, go see the movie! (Bonus, the Lana Del Rey song from the soundtrack accompanies the reel.) – Chelsey

Guinness Transforms Office Windows Into Pint Glasses, PSFK. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones. Case in point: Grey Group Canada’s use of window stickers and existing blinds to simulate a pint of Guinness. The result: brilliantly integrated advertising at a fraction of the cost. Check out the photos in the link and tell me you’re not thirsty. – Matthew

10 Social Media Mistakes You May Be Making (Because I Did), Marketing Land. I love this post from Courtney Seiter, one of my favorite new social media connections of 2013. In this post, she lays it all on the table — all the mistakes she's made over the years as a social media marketer, and how to avoid them. This post is packed with good information and insights. I promise you'll find something useful in it. – Paul

credit: Humans of New York Facebook page

Humans of New YorkFacebook. At Curator, we believe that brands should be storytellers. Facebook and other forms of social media are the perfect place to start. What began as a photography project has turned into a chronicle of thousands of stories. I love how this captures tiny yet gripping snapshots. Find their website here. – Megan

Brands Celebrate DOMA Ruling on Facebook, TwitterMashable. On the heels of Supreme Court's decision to deem DOMA unconstitutional this week, I thought I'd share the brands that decided to celebrate alongside millions of Americans in this step towards equality. – Maria

How Instagram Almost Ruined My Life, Fast Company. This is an interesting take on how the Instagram phenomenon has, to some extent, prevented people from actually seeing and experiencing life, instead opting to showcase their glossy version of it for all to see. Kind of makes you think— in today's social media-savvy society, how important is it to unplug every once in awhile? Tell us what you think! – Noelle

Dallas Weather, It’s hot here in Dallas! Matthew and I have been tag-teaming the Seattle’s Best Coffee rollout here for two weeks and we’re now 10 of 14 days with 100-degree weather – Dan

Curator News Feed: June 21, 2013

This week, among other things, we celebrated our neck of the woods' mouth-watering new lunch haunts (take that, Capitol Hill), envied one lucky Curator's weekend getaway, and dreamt about exotic vacations of our own: all things that may be best captured with an artsy Instagram-filtered video (or not -- see infographic). Take a moment to relax on this Summer Solstice with our links of the week.

Photo Credit: Hayley Young

Susan G. Komen for the Cure Cancels Half Its Races, TIME. I said it a year ago and I’ll say it again…impacts from a poor PR decision can be felt for years to come… (and it’s too bad when it happens to a group that does so much good). – Dan  

Instagram Launches 15-Second Video Sharing Feature, with 13 Filters and Editing, TechCrunch. Move over Vine, Instagram now lets you share videos more than twice as long. And, just as Instagram allowed those of us who don’t even own a camera to start taking pictures like a pro, the video capability also comes with 13 filters and video editing. All sounds good, right? Well, according to NPR, maybe not. Like with the evolution of any technology there is fear that with this change also comes some skepticism. I’m looking forward to diving into a bit further and learning more ways on how this can be leveraged from a PR-standpoint. – Annie

A Great Way to Keep Track of and Show Off the Exotic Places One Has Been To, PSFK. At Curator, we’re fortunate to work with some great travel brands. Part of our day-to-day job is to come up with ways to inspire people to think about where in the world they’d like to travel. This week, I came across this map, and loved the concept of a visual way to showcase every country you’ve visited. Once you’ve traveled to a country, you scratch off a layer of gold foil to reveal the colorful map below. If you’re heading out on a great adventure this summer, you may want to get yourself a Scratch Map. – Ann Marie

Monkey Light Pro-Bicycle Wheel Display System, Kickstarter. I love browsing Kickstarter to see all the cool (and weird) stuff people come up with. Stumbled upon this earlier this week and thought it was an interesting concept that could be really awesome for brands. Would be pretty awesome to see  a triathlon or a bike race with people riding bikes with unique sponsor messaging. – Chelsey

The Eater California Wine Country Heatmap: Where to Eat Right Now, Eater. This weekend is my wife's birthday and we're heading down to Napa to eat incredible food and drink great wine. Over the course of the next three days you'll find me on this map somewhere. Enjoy the weekend! – Scott

eHarmony Takes Care of their Followers, Facebook. Today, a planned eHarmony server upgrade didn't go as smoothly as expected and their site crashed, so they took to Facebook (primarily) to keep users informed as to what was going on. Here's their page — scroll through this week's posts to get a sense of what they did. Two big takeaways: 1) This is one of the reasons it's so important to cultivate your social media communities. They can act as emergency meet-up spots if something ever goes wrong on your website — but not if you don't take care of them the other 99.9 percent of the time. 2) eHarmony was proactive, and made sure to let everyone know ahead of time that they'd be doing work on the site. That kind of nuts-and-bolts status updating is extremely helpful when people are expecting service from you, and you know that service might be interrupted. – Paul

It's Hip to be Pioneer Square, Seattle Magazine. I was feeling the love for our neighborhood this Friday, and then happened across this article about Pioneer Square, so freaking square it's hip. They call out some of our office favorites like Matt Dillion's Bar Sajor and Russ Flint's Rainshadow Meats, and couldn't help but share. – Maria

Build a Movement, Not a Campaign, and You'll Ignite Passion in Your Brand's True Believers, Fast Company. This is a great read that pinpoints the difference between influencers and advocates and also details the how, when and why to employ each group for different purposes in a brand campaign, based on your campaign goals. I like the description of brand advocates as a "volunteer marketing army." Activating your already passionate brand advocates makes plenty of sense, as these are the fans who are more apt to spread the word on behalf of your brand based on pure passion and loyalty, rather than direct incentive. Cultivating a relationship with these advocates takes time and effort, but the rewards tend to pay more dividends in the long run. – Noelle

A strongman from Hungary has managed to pull a 50-ton commercial plane using just his teeth, Metro. Whenever I am looking for some weird news, I know I can always turn to my other favorite part of the world: Europe. They did not disappoint. You’ve got this bionic “strongman,” a pink plane, and a gang of Wizz Air cheerleaders adding some extra pep. Is this Superman in real life?  – Megan  

Infographic: Should You Post An Instagram Photo Or Video?

  Credit: Derek Gavey

Instagram rolled out a new toy to users on Thursday: video. The new feature was ostensibly a response to Twitter's introduction of Vine (in basest terms, "Twitter for video") earlier this year, but that doesn't make it any less significant.

The question remains, though: Significant in a good way, or significant in a bad way? Unlike Vine, which is its own social network, Instagram video is built right in to the trusty Instagram app. That means users will try and fail with video in a space that's already been heavily curated to other users' specific photo tastes. Snapping a good photo and shooting a good video -- even one that's 15 seconds or less -- are two entirely different beasts.

There are some best practices users can adhere to, though, to make their foray into "microvlogging" as smooth as possible.

Play to the medium

We have a pretty good idea of what will work best with Instagram video thanks to its chief rival. The best Vine users are the ones who have fully embraced the medium — i.e. formatted their content specifically for six seconds of video, rather than simply recording something for six seconds. What's the difference? Well, take a look at this Vine Paul made of his dog randomly running around in a circle:


(Hey, we all need to experiment to find our voice.)

Now take a look at one of Lowe's brilliant Vines, which focus on DIY home repair tips:


The difference, in a word, is storytelling (yes, in 15 seconds or less).

Channel Dieter Rams: 'Less, but better.'

Instagram video providing 15 seconds compared to Vine’s six is like Twitter opening the gates to 300 characters per tweet. But even at 140 characters, do you always use them all? Not if you don’t need to. Treat your 15 seconds of Instagram video like the last $20 in your pocket: stretch it where it counts, and give it up for valuable content.

Take advantage of the tools available

Instagram video has a few tools that prep you for cinematic quality videos:

-Filters: Enough said.

-Frame lengths: Instagram tracks your video length below the camera with small notches that show the size of each clip. This is a helpful tool for time-lapse photos to create consistency.

-Cinema feature: For iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 users, Instagram has built a cinema feature that allows you stabilize your video after you take it. It's perfect for those videos where you capture your feet as you walk to happy hour or tour a new city.

Know when to use a photo, and when to use a video

Sometimes a story is best told with one frame. Photographs can capture detail and focus on a subject in ways videos can’t. Try not to overload your feed with the same content. Here's some help in deciding on whether you should share a photo or video on Instagram:

-Is your subject moving? Video.

-Do you have multiple focal points? Video.

-Is your subject a person? Photo. Is the person sharing advice? Video.

We've also put together this handy infographic (click for full size). Check it out, and be sure to follow us on Instagram.

Curator Best Times to Instagram

Curator News Feed: June 7, 2013

What you can learn from our favorite reads this week? Well, you can find out how to properly take your throwback Thursday Instagram photo, discover the best places to eat in Seattle and have your mind blown over a new hybrid pastry, to name a few. Read on to see what else the team was reading and talking about this week!

Where to Eat in Seattle Now, Four Seasons Magazine. Last year we had the pleasure of working with the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver BC for a wine tasting event. Since that time, I’ve received a weekly email, which shares travel content from Four Seasons Magazine. I find that the brand does a beautiful job curating content that offers just the right blend of practical and inspiring information. The “Concierge Recommends” feature always feels like I’m learning a bit of secret insider information. Today’s email contained this piece on “Where to Eat in Seattle Now.” Perfect timing as I make my plans for the weekend. Spinasse for pasta? Don’t mind if I do. – Ann Marie

Where Did Throwback Thursday Come From, Digital Trends. If you keep posting selfies from 12 hours ago and adorning them with the #tbt hashtag, people are going to call you out. Here's how to throwback Thursday like a pro! – Brooke

Photojournalist John H. White on Layoffs 35 Years at Chicago Sun-Times, Marketplace. Last week, the Chicago Sun-Times announced that it was laying off its entire photo department and, instead, would be training its reporters to capture images for their stories via iPhones. While I understand cost-saving measures, photojournalists simply cannot be matched by a smartphone, no matter how many automatic Instagram filters you put on a pic. The quality, the emotion and the depth that a professional adds to a story just can’t be beat. I mean, what would have happened if the Sun-Times went the other direction and laid off all of its reporters and said they’d simply train their photographers to write a some copy?…I mean a picture IS worth 1,000 words. – Dan

Beyond Flat: Six iOS 7 Fixes Apple Needs To Make, Gizmodo. Based on rumors over the past several months, it sounds like Apple is gearing up for a pretty dramatic redesign of iOS, its mobile operating system, with the release of iOS 7. A lot of those rumors have focused on a shift to "flat" design — getting rid of designs that imitate real-world objects (e.g. the yellow-legal-pad look of the Notes native app) in favor of clean, clear typographic representations. Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, writing for Gizmodo, says that Apple should take it beyond just looks: "Flatness, deep down, is really just a call for designers to think harder about how they use the space of the screen…. [It] isn’t really about sharp corners or shadows—it’s about purity of function." I think Apple needs to hire her. – Paul

Obama's Speechwriter/Stand-Up Comedian Gives a Graduation Speech. Not Surprisingly, It's Badass. Yes, I'm sharing another graduation speech. The title explains what I would say about it—it's badass. Happy Friday! – Maria

7 Types of Facebook Fans, All Facebook. An interesting Infographic on My favorite advice: Don’t feed the troll. It also shares a nice reminder to reward our truly loyal Facebook fans. Since “45% of consumers are more likely to share negative experiences on social media,” we want to make sure we engage with and keep the good ones when we can! Worth a look when you have a few minutes. – Annie

Everything You Need to Know About the Cronut, The Week. In honor of National Doughnut Day and because I’m also a sucker for croissants, it feels only right to share this miraculous new treat – the Cronut. If anyone is in NYC and can send me one (or five) I will be forever grateful! – Chelsey