It’s only a matter of time before Instagram has a button that lets you post Instagram images to Google + in addition to Twitter, Flickr, Posterous and Facebook. Or before Google makes it easier somehow. In fact, for all I know there’s already a turnkey solution that I haven’t seen.
In the meantime I came upon these directions yesterday. They worked for me, but could use a little clarity. So if you’re among the active Instagram users base who would like your photos to appear in your Google + albums, here’s a more thorough explanation on how to to automatically link your Instagram images to your new Google + account. Note that the images will not appear as a status update or “share” in your stream, but they will end up in your photos, accessible to anyone you want, depending on your permission settings. Here you go.
- Make sure you have downloaded and installed Picasa. That is not simply picasaweb.google.com, but the downloadable app, version 3.8 for Mac, in my case, which has features that make it easier for you to upload images to your Picasa account.
- Download and install Dropbox. Dropbox is a free service that lets you store, access and share photos, docs and videos from any computer.
- Authorize Instagram to automatically post photos to your dropbox via Instadrop, a simple little app that makes this possible. Then take a photo and post to Instagram. A new folder should appear in your Dropbox. Note that only new photos, post installation, will appear.
- Next, go to your Picasa 3 app, not your Google account. Under “file” click on “add folder to Picasa.” (There is no “add folder” when you are accessing Picasa via Google.) The folder manager window will appear. You have to find your actual dropbox folder and click on scan always. If you can’t find your dropbox folder, try this: harddrive/users/yourname/dropbox. That’s the location of the folder. Don’t move the folder. Instead, in your folder manager, click on hard drive, then users, then your name, then dropbox. There should be an Instagram folder there, presuming you have posted to Instagram since linking Instadrop and Dropbox.
- Next check your Picasa 3 app. You will see the same Instagram folder – mine showed up under “other stuff.” Over on the top right of the window there is a button option Sync to Web: On (or off). Turn it on. This should link your dropbox images, which are automatically updated by Instagram, to Picasa.
- Lastly, go to your google.com account, click on photos (your Picasa photos) and the album will be there. You can set your privacy settings either there, under “actions” then “album properties,” or on Picasa 3 under “share.”
You are all set. Next time you post to Instagram it will appear in your dropbox, then in your Google photos and simultaneously in your Google Plus album
Should take you only a few minutes to set up if you already use Picasa. If you don’t you should. Chances are that if Google + takes off, this cloud-based photo storing/sharing service will become an even more essential part of your social footprint than it already is.
At Mullen, we’ve learned that one of the simplest ways to get your company to behave more socially, to think about creating on all of the new platforms and to generate experimental ideas for clients, who are always interested in what they should do or try or play with in the increasingly cluttered sandbox of apps and gadgets and APIs, is to simply play with everything yourself.
Take whatever interests you and share it with your peers and colleagues. At Mullen, we’ve done that with Twitter and WordPress and Posterous and Quora (fail) and most recently Instagram, the photo sharing social platform that everyone seems to love. People may still forget to use our hashtag, #mullenunbound, but we’re making progress. Ideally our photo collection will become a great visual story about the agency, its people, and what it feels like to work here. Perhaps it will even become a lure for both new employees and clients.
As far as the latter goes, we haven’t done anything really incredible with Instagram yet other than introduce our partners to the platform, suggest ways they can invite customer participation, and simply share content themselves. But we’re working on it, getting lots of people excited about finding ways to share visual content.
My friends at Instagrid were kind enough to fulfill a personal request and add a #hashtag feature, so that now instead of simply capturing your own Instagram photos on their cool little site, you can search virtually any hashtag. Certainly that’s a reason to create one for yourself, a subject you care about, or a marketing event.
Give it a try. Instagrid.me is awesome. And you can make it even more awesome by what you do with it.
Got some cool things you’ve been doing with Instagram? Please share. Oh, and if you need someone cool to help you develop something using the platform, contact Instagrid and ask for George.
I signed up when it first came out but didn’t use it much as none of my social friends were there yet. Now it seems everyone’s posting. Even though I’ve only followed a select group of folks (it’s a lot of images to look at if you follow hundreds) I have in my feed their breakfast, lunch, dinner, meetings, architecture, furniture, reading materials and whatever other everyday tsotskes they find across the table, out the window or overhead. And I’ve been doing the same. Publishing everything from chairlift views to close ups of appetizers. And why not? It’s a fast, fun and easy way to share where you are, what you’re doing and whom you’re doing it with.
But it strikes me that the real reason Instagram has taken off is that it provides us with the illusion of creativity. The brilliance of Instagram is that it lets us snap a most ordinary photograph and instantly “art it up” with one of 15 filters. It gives us the sense that we are better photographers than we actually are. We don’t have to do anything other than point our iPhone at the most mundane of subjects. Early Bird, Hefe, Sutor, Toaster and their fellow filters do the rest. We think that we are creating, expressing, being clever. But as Douglas Rushkoff might remind us, we’re simply being programmed. Told by this app what constitutes an image. Just as we’ve been told by Facebook what defines an online profile, a digital friend, or an endorsement. Just as we’ve been told by Tumblr the new format for a blog post.
Don’t get me wrong. I really like Instagram. Often an image is a much better way to share an idea, a place or an enviable experience than is a check-in or 140 character soundbite. But we should remain cautious of just how much we let all the new social apps and platforms dictate what we produce and how we communicate.
Instagram or its competitor Picplz may or may not be here to stay. Twitter could take them both out. But the idea of posting images in the stream, in a more socially conducive manner than Flickr or even Facebook allows, is here to stay. Which means you may have to endure (or not) a little visual clutter coming from my direction. I make no claims to being a photographer, but if you want, you can find me out there as edwardboches. If you’re a better shooter than I, perhaps I’ll follow you back. (Smile.)
Recently Mullen had a wonderful experience working with Olympus to launch its new E-P1, the world’s smallest interchangeable lens camera. This beautifully designed camera shoots great stills and HD video. As a content creating machine, it seemed the perfect product to bring to life in the social media space. After all, aren’t YouTube, Flickr and Facebook where we show off our photos and videos?
However, you don’t simply appear, announce your presence and hope people pay attention. You start at the beginning. So here’s what we did and what might work for you.
1. Make a commitment
Seems obvious, but it’s important. Social media isn’t a campaign or a program, it’s an ongoing relationship. Olympus understood this and made that commitment.
2. Define your community
The more clearly you define your community and learn how they engage with a category, a brand, content and media, the more effective you’ll be. We weren’t trying to reach a mass audience, but rather to connect with digitally savvy photo enthusiasts who might enjoy learning and talking about the new camera.
3. Determine objectives
True, Olympus signed up for the long term — to listen, learn, share, contribute — but our real objective was to launch the E-P1, generate buzz, get bloggers to pay attention, and have the press pick up the conversation.
4. Engineer your presence
Essentially we constructed a social media brand platform, connecting Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube so we could take our questions, content and conversation to the community rather than ask them to come to us. Of course, Olympus prominently displayed links on its website, too.
5. Build a following
You can let it happen serendipitously, or you can develop a game plan. We chose to follow key influencers, promote their content, contribute to their conversations, and offer them value in hopes they might follow back.
6. Engage, share and inspire participation
Long before we were even ready to talk about the new camera we got fans and followers engaged in discussions. We shared videos, product demos, invited them to submit content, and simply talked.
7. Do something attention getting
Even in the social media space, you have to compete for attention and generate content worth talking about. We did it by partnering with Tom Dickson of Will it Blend fame. We started with a teaser video that generated nearly 200,000 views in the first couple of days, then followed with a full blown product introduction. We didn’t create a viral video for the sake of creating a viral video; rather we came up with a fresh new way to demonstrate the totality of the camera’s features. It worked, evident by this blurb in Wired.
8. Mobilize your community
Ok, in this case we did something social outside the digital realm. We invited bloggers and reporters to a product demo and photo shoot at Coney Island. But we also provided our fans and followers with the full story and useful background about the camera.
9. Measure results
As our head of analytics likes to say, “you can’t put up a weather station and measure yesterday’s weather.” So early on we put in place systems to measure the conversation, sentiment, tweets, RTs, web traffic and impressions from both online and offline media coverage. This gave us a base to compare the conversation at the start of the project with the buzz generated after the announcement. It will also give us a baseline to use in determining actual sales and their relationship to the conversation.
10. Keep on going
As we said, and as Olympus knows, this isn’t a program or a campaign, it’s a commitment. So we’re still at it. Listening, talking, sharing, responding. Of course it’s too soon to see the sales numbers, but feedback from dealers has been very positive. And we know based on previous experience that there is a correlation between buzz and sales. So that’s a good thing, given that bloggers and press are writing, prospective customers are talking, and the videos are getting shout outs everywhere.
Can you think of anything we missed? Are there best practices we didn’t consider? Have you introduced a new product this way? Please share.
Photo by Manny Garcia, Poster by Jared Fairey
I don’t believe a word of this one. On the eve of Shepard Fairey’s first major exhibit at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art (in fact he speaks there tonight) the AP sues him for basing his ubiquitous Obama poster on a photograph taken by Manny Garcia in 2006. Not like this is news to anyone. The poster has been around for well over a year. Hundreds of thousands have been given away and couple thousand sold. Fairey has always admitted it was based on the photo in question, but that he’s within in his rights. Now, in a perfect orchestration of public relations, the AP and Fairey get together to concoct a lawsuit. Brilliant. Every network, news site and daily paper in America covers the story. Fairy gets more famous. The poster becomes more coveted. And the potential value of the original photograph goes through the roof. A brilliant idea. Congratulations to everyone involved in thinking this one up. Wish it had been me. Then again, maybe I’ll get sued by both of them for writing this and using their images.