Mobile app ad fraud scheme stuffed banner ads with multiple video players

Sold as premium inventory, the scheme resulted in two million fraudulent ad calls per day, said DoubleVerify. The post Mobile app ad fraud scheme stuffed banner ads with multiple video players appeared first on Marketing Land.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

Best Practices to Minimize Negative Impact,Downtime After a Ransomware Infection – Cyber Defense Magazine


by Jim Varner, President, and CEO, SecurityFirst Ransomware has become a scourge to businesses around the globe and always manages to find a way to infiltrate even the best defenses. Whether it was a well-known recent outbreak from WannaCry or Petya/NotPetya, which spread worldwide in a matter of minutes, or a more random incident on small business, school district, city, or healthcare provider, any one of these can be detrimental to an entities infrastructure and business operations. After getting hit with ransomware, companies may lose data and have to spend money as they try to recover their sensitive assets, either through paying a ransom or a solid recovery process or risk disrupting business continuity. 

Read the full article at: www.cyberdefensemagazine.com


Interim COO

Web application exposures continue to bedevil companies as digital transformation accelerates


As sure as the sun will rise in the morning, hackers will poke and prod at the web applications companies rely on – and find fresh weaknesses they can exploit.Related: Cyber spies feast on government shutdown Companies are scaling up their use of web apps as they strive to integrate digital technology…

Read the full article at: securityboulevard.com


Interim COO

How to Make All Your Accounts Safer With Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Nowadays, account security is a major concern for companies and their employees. It can pose a major threat to your employer if you're hacked -- if someone hacks your Gmail account, for instance, he will have access to company contacts, as well as your calendar, Google Docs, Google Sheets, and other private company information.

For this reason, Duo Mobile and other two-factor authentication apps have risen in popularity.

Two-factor authentication (or 2FA) is a safety process you can enable on any of your devices, including your iPhone, Mac, Gmail account, or social media accounts like Facebook. And it's a smart idea, too -- particularly since the total cost of a successful cyber attack is over $5 million, or $301 per employee.

Here, we're going to tell you what two-factor authentication is, and how you can enable (or disable) it on any of your accounts, to ensure your information is protected in 2019 and beyond.

What is two-factor authentication?

To understand what two-factor authentication is, let's start with an analogy.

Imagine you live in a dangerous neighborhood, and you only have one lock on your door. Alternatively, your neighbor down the street has a top and bottom lock, and each lock requires a separate key -- which means, to break into his apartment, you need to break into two locks, not just one.

Who's safer?

Ultimately, two-factor authentication is your neighbor's top and bottom lock -- but for your online accounts. It significantly decreases the risk of getting hacked by combining two methods of protection.

Two-factor authentication uses two methods to ensure you're the correct user. It combines something you know (i.e. a password), with something you have (i.e. a mobile phone), or something you are (i.e. facial recognition).

For instance, to access my online school account, I need to open the Duo Mobile app on my phone, and input my school account's password -- while a hacker might be able to guess my password, he's going to have a tougher time hacking into my phone, as well.

How to turn off two-factor authentication

It's relatively easy to turn off two-factor authentication on any of your accounts.

On Facebook, for instance, simply go to "Settings" and then "Security and Login". Find "Use two-factor authentication", click "Edit", and then switch to "Off".

Alternatively, on Gmail, you'll want to go to http://myaccount.google.com. Then, select "Security". Under the "Signing in to Google" section, you'll see "2-Step Verification". Click this section.

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 4.40.30 PMNext, select "Turn Off" to disable 2-Step Verification for your Gmail account.

It's important to note, Apple removed the option to turn off two-factor authentication for Apple IDs created in iOS 10.3 or macOS 10.12.4 and later.

However, you have a two-week period during which you can still disable the function. Simply open your iCloud email account and find the enrollment confirmation email, then click the link to return to your previous security settings.

Dropping Digital Distractions With Brian Solis

Brian Solis at Social Media Marketing World 2019

Brian Solis at Social Media Marketing World 2019 Photos. Texts. Emails. Video. Digital is a pivotal part of our daily lives. So what if we stopped using it? Brian Solis, the author of Lifescale: How to live a more creative, productive and happy life, wants us to think hard about our digital distractions and drop them from our habitual behavior. As digital marketers, this notion sounds antithetical to our mission. But Brian promises that disconnecting is beneficial to marketers as well. Below, I share Brian’s thoughts on digital distraction and business from his session at Social Media Marketing World 2019.

Focus Is Elusive

“My ability to be creative, to dive deep, to focus, to give myself time away from my device, was not only difficult but impossible,” Brian said. In fact, this inability to tune out the noise and focus prevented Brian from finishing his eighth book. Now, Brian isn’t suggesting that we stop using technology. He’s just suggesting we use it in a different way. Instead of using it for productivity, Brian suggests using our devices for the purpose of creativity. If we’re able to put our devices down and truly ignore the notifications, we can focus on the tasks that are important. It will improve our output in quality and quantity.

Disconnection Improves Our Health

How we currently use digital devices isn’t healthy for us. Brian pointed out that an astonishing 41% of people have had an accident relating to our smartphones. There’s a new health concern called “selfie wrist.” Plus, depression and anxiety are on the rise among teenagers, the world’s most avid social media users. “As with cigarettes in the early days, we didn’t understand that our digital indulgences were made to be addictive, and we didn’t have information about the health effects on our bodies, emotions, and psyches,” Brian said. He then added: “Living our best life isn’t really living at all.” It’s just posturing. These distractions weigh down our cognitive load, robbing us of creative moments and pulling us out of focus, and this has a real business impact and we need to change:
  • The average person spends 2 hours on our smartphones each day – and it’s not work related
  • Humans used to shift attention every 3 minutes – it’s now 45 seconds

How to Disconnect

Be Aware

Getting over our digital distractions boils down to one thing: Awareness. If we’re aware of our dependency on the digital world, we’re more empowered to do something about it. We can make more intentional choices about how to avoid these distractions and stay focused.

Measure Your Distractions

Check how many times a day you:
  • Reach for a device
  • Check messages
  • Check your feeds for updates
  • Share a picture
Knowing how often you’re taken away from your work is a good indicator of how much creativity you’re losing. This also allows you to make more noticeable improvements in your work, life, and mental health.

Dedicate Time for Creativity

Write. Draw. Paint. Play guitar. Sing. Creativity is like a muscle that needs to be worked. So just like you workout at the gym, you need to make time to be creative. And it’s not about talent, it’s just about expressing yourself. It’s about being happy, mindful, present, and intentional about how you spend your time. Block off time to be creative and block off time to check email, respond to tweets, etc. Just make sure you don’t mesh the two.

Dropping Our Dependencies

To do our best work, we need to be our best selves. And digital distractions take us away from the creative activities and ideas that make us happy. As a result, digital distractions make it impossible for us to focus on the things that really matter in life and instead take us out of the moments we’re living. So, take some advice from Brian: “Allow yourself to color outside the lines and do something absolutely silly.” Hear more of Brian’s thoughts on creativity and digital distraction by reading our full interview with him.

The post Dropping Digital Distractions With Brian Solis appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Do I Still Need a .com TLD For My Business?

Choosing a domain name for your business often goes something like this:

1. After hours of brainstorming, you discover the perfect domain name only to find out it was registered 20 years ago.

2. After a few more hours, you settle on another choice only to find out a payment of $50,000 was required.

3. After more hours and more iterations, you end up buying a .com domain name that you don’t feel great about.

This often happens due to the limited supply of top-level domains (TLDs) combined with the recommendation that all businesses should choose a .com or country-code TLD. But does having a common domain extension still matter? Should businesses still buy a .com domain name?

What is a top-level domain?

Before digging into the pros and cons of .coms vs. other TLDs, here’s a brief refresher on domain name terminology.

A top-level domain or TLD is the last segment of a domain name. For example, the most common TLD is .com. Other popular TLDs include .gov, .net, .and .edu. There are also country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) like .ca (Canada), .uk (United Kingdom), and .in (India).

One other note is that top-level domains are sometimes referred to as domain extensions or domain endings. For brevity, I’ll call them TLDs going forward. To learn more about other terms like subdomains and second-level level domains, check out our guide on What is a Domain?

Per ICANN, there are currently 1,532 TLDs for businesses to choose from. That’s an almost endless number of combinations. But should businesses use one that doesn’t end with .com? Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of non-dotcoms.

Do TLDs matter for SEO?

One of the most commonly asked questions about new TLDs is whether they affect SEO. Here’s a direct, 36-pixel sized quote from Google’s Guide on Traditional vs. New Domain Endings:

"Using a new domain ending will not hurt your search presence."

This makes sense when you think about all the different ways Google can analyze page quality like backlinks, content analysis, search metrics, traffic metrics, and 200 other proven or theorized factors detailed by Backlinko. Another much simpler way to confirm Google’s stance on new TLDs is to notice that they own and use many like https://abc.xyz/, https://docs.new, and https://domains.google.

In other words, .com domains do not rank higher in search due to their TLD. However, they might indirectly rank higher due to Google’s preference for aged brands.

An aged brand is a website or company with a long track record of quality content, frequent updates, and technical uptime. If most other factors are close or equal, a page on an established brand will almost always rank higher than a page on a newer, less proven brand. And seeing that .com domains still make up 46.8% of ranked TLD usage per W3Techs, most aged brands are likely to be .coms.

So if you’re looking to purchase an existing website, a .com domain name might indirectly provide more search value. However, if you’re buying a new domain name, the TLD you choose will not affect your search rank.

Will a non-dotcom TLD help or hurt your company’s brand?

This is a very tough, subjective question with three likely answers:

1. A non-dotcom TLD will help customers remember your brand and serve as a unique differentiator.

2. A non-dotcom TLD will make your brand seem suspect and less reputable.

3. Customers won’t notice your TLD or won’t care about it.

The most frequent answer for your brand probably depends on customer demographics, traffic sources, and other factors.

For example, if you have a tech-savvy audience, they’re probably more likely to be familiar and comfortable with a different TLD. Technical people are frequently early adopters that understand and gravitate toward new, emerging trends. They might also be more likely to notice and care about the TLD you choose.

Alternatively, if you’re selling services to businesses in more traditional industries, your audience might see a non-dotcom as questionable. Paul Graham, the co-founder of the startup accelerator and seed capital firm Y Combinator, believes that B2B businesses, in particular, should prefer a .com whenever possible.

As mentioned in a Forbes article and accompanying tweet, Graham said,

“All other things being equal, .com domain names are preferable, and things are way more equal than people attached to their current name realize.” He also stated that, “dot-com domains are probably more important for B2B, because there you need the legitimacy.”

Finally, it’s always possible that your TLD won’t affect your brand positively or negatively. If your website consists of a lot of single-page, mobile traffic, maybe your customers won’t even notice what your domain name is. Overall, as different TLDs become more common, your customers will likely be equally comfortable with whatever you choose.

Will a new TLD cost more than a .com?

Most popular, new TLDs typically cost about the same as a .com. Per DomainNameStats, .xyz currently has an average price of $0.75, which is actually less than the average price of a .com. .club also has a very affordable average of $0.99. Most other options have similar, reasonable prices but there are some exceptions.

If you’re looking to buy a .makeup domain name, that will currently cost you an average of $5,783.59. I guess I’ll have to find another place to share my extensive collection of beauty tips. Other examples of expensive TLDs include .auto ($2,000), .rich ($1,596), .bank ($801), and .tickets ($389).

Prices might also change when it comes time to renew your domain name. The cost of a domain name is primarily determined by the domain registry (e.g., Verisign, Donuts, or Uniregistry) and the domain registrar (e.g., Google Domains, Namecheap, or GoDaddy). The domain registry first negotiates a price with ICANN, a non-profit that helps prevent unfair price increases. The domain registrar then marks up that negotiated price a little.

Price raises during renewals are typically due to the domain registrar. Some domain registrars are notorious for bait and switching with a low, initial price that increases upon auto-renewal. Questionable price increases are one of the many reasons that choosing a reliable, ethical domain registrar is important.

Are there any risks with a new TLD?

One small, almost irrelevant risk is that some websites or older software won’t be able to recognize your URL is valid. For example, when you create a social media post that links to your company’s website, Facebook or Twitter recognizes it’s a URL and is able to convert it into a clickable link. Some software struggles to do this with newer TLDs.

This scenario is pretty rare as most major websites quickly add support for new TLDs, but you might want to register a .com domain that redirects to your website just in case. You also might want to avoid being an ultra-early adopter of future TLDs.

Another likely negligible risk is that customers will have a tougher time finding your website when they manually type in your domain name. This probably isn’t a big deal because most Internet traffic comes from either search, social, referrals, advertisements, or email.

A study by Conductor using 310 million website visits found that only 12-29% of web traffic was actually “direct” traffic, and a much smaller percentage of that traffic is people typing your domain name into their browser.

As detailed by Moz, direct traffic sometimes includes a variety of scenarios like misattributed search traffic, “dark social” traffic, non-web documents, and improper redirects. It also probably includes some bot traffic. A more realistic estimate of actual direct traffic is probably anywhere from 0-5%.

Are there any indirect risks with a new TLD?

One indirect risk of a new TLD is that some are only available at a limited number of domain registrars. Not only could this lead to a higher price, but this might make you more prone to losing your domain name if you’re forced to use an unreliable registrar.

You should ideally try to purchase a domain name from a registrar that you believe is ethical and technically competent enough to maintain the security of your domain name. An unreliable registrar can lead to minor annoyances or major issues like accidentally transferring your domain name to hackers. A full range of possibilities is discussed in a Stack Exchange thread.

With that said, registrar horror stories are extremely rare. Most top registrars obtained their status by providing ethical, quality service. But like any service provider you do business with, you should try to evaluate a domain registrar’s competency, ethics, and other risk factors.

So should I still choose a .com domain for my business?

As seen above, there’s a lot of different questions to consider. Personally, I believe that if you’re happy with an available .com domain name, you should choose that. But if you’re not, you should strongly consider a different TLD.

In my opinion, having a brand that you believe in is way more important than settling on a name due to a concept that’s quickly becoming obsolete. Having a new TLD might even make your brand stand out.

If you agree and you’re ready to try out a new TLD, our guide on How to Choose a Domain Extension is a great place to start.

5 social media management tools on sale

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Social media management is a fun and engaging job, but it can get incredibly stressful when you're in charge of multiple brands. Handling one account is mentally taxing enough, but what if you're overseeing two, three, or more?

To lighten your workload, below are five powerful automation tools to help you with every facet of your workflow, from content curation to post scheduling to link shortening. Make sure to enter the code MADNESS15 at checkout to enjoy an extra 15% off all the below deals.

Quuu Pro Plan: Lifetime Subscription ($500 value)

Content curation is the process of sourcing content from different channels and sharing it with your target audience. It sounds simple, sure, but the act itself can take a lot of your time and energy — time and energy you could have spent on actual content creation. Quuu is a tool that automates that entire process, from handpicking relevant posts to sharing them directly on social media. All you have to do is select from over 500 interest categories that are aligned with your business and followers, and Quuu will handle the rest. Read more...

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17 of the Best Brands on Instagram Right Now

Contrary to what your friends' photos suggest, Instagram isn't just a social network for selfies and brunch pics. In fact, Instagram has a whopping 1 billion active monthly users as of June 2018 -- the last 200 million of which joined in the prior nine months.

In a time when visual content remains a crucial part of any business' marketing strategy, Instagram marketing presents a unique opportunity to visually represent your brand, celebrate its personality, and keep it top-of-mind for all those users who scroll through their Instagram feeds every single day.

Although they're few and far between, there are some brands out there -- in every industry, and with every type of target customer -- who are doing really, really well on Instagram. These industries include skincare, lifestyle, education, shoes, interior design, entertainment, and even office supplies (one of the most B2B markets you can think of).*Bonus Content* Click here to unlock 20 powerful strategies & hacks for  increasing Instagram engagement.

Ready to get inspired? Check out this list of brands that are thriving on Instagram right now, and what about their posts sets them apart. For each of these brands, we've included examples of their best posts. For some of them, we've also included their most popular Instagram post of all time in terms of engagement (i.e. combined total of likes and comments) thanks to data from Instagram analytics and management platform Iconosquare.

(Psst -- Want to get a stunning Instagram Story auto-magically created for your brand? Check out StoriesAds.com, a free Story generator from HubSpot and Shakr. Click here to get started.)

17 of the Best Brands on Instagram

1. Lego

Followers: 3.8M

If you're not following Lego on Instagram, you're missing out on some entertaining content that isn't just product plugs for kids.

The famous plastic building block brand populates its Instagram feed with fun takes on pop culture references everyone is bound to appreciate -- something many businesses can learn from on their own Instagram accounts.

While most of Lego's posts do serve to announce the release of new Lego characters, the main value in its Instagram account is to emulate familiar social tropes in a classic Lego way. Some of them are pretty impressive, like the life-sized flying car from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

2. Califia Farms

Followers: 219k

Califia Farms natural beverage products have some of the most attractive packaging we've come across. In fact, it's so iconic that it won top honors in the global packaging design category from Beverage World Magazine.

Instagram is a perfect platform to showcase that cool, curvy bottle, and the folks at Califia don't shy away from doing just that -- most of the brand's posts feature the beverage's containers in some way, whether they're the main subject of the photo, or more of an accessory in the context of the active, healthy lifestyle Califia's buyer personas love.

Califia Farms Instagram showing waffles Califia Farms Instagram

Something Califia does really well on Instagram is create fun, playful videos and GIFs. Check out this one, which they used to teach viewers how to create a fresh tomato basil soup:

And this one, which is just plain fun to watch:

3. #FollowMeTo

Followers: 499k

Ever seen those photos of a woman leading a man by the hand in all different parts of the world? That pose was made famous by a couple named Murad and Natalia Osmann for their #FollowMeTo project.

Their Instagram account is a mix of stunning images of the classic #FollowMeTo pose that have been edited beautifully, as well as some really interesting behind-the-scenes photos of their world travels -- including some fun photos of the "making of" the famous pose.

FollowMeTo Instagram account showing snow on mountains FollowMeTo Instagram account showing Chichen Itza FollowMeTo Instagram showing woman in blue dress follow-me-to-instagram-2.png

4. Lorna Jane

Followers: 822k

If your brand were a person, how would you describe its personality? Australian activewear company Lorna Jane has done an awesome job answering this important branding question with its Instagram content. Spend just a few seconds scrolling through these photos, and you'll quickly be able to name the target Lorna Jane buyer: a young, sporty, twenty- or thirty-something woman who values looking good while maintaining an active lifestyle.

The images posted by Lorna Jane, which often show the brand's clothing and accessories, as well as images of women who embody its target buyer persona, are colorful, playful, and inspirational, which is a perfect representation of the brand's essence -- in other words, its heart, soul, and spirit.

Lorna Jane Instagram account showing woman holding dog Lorna Jane Instagram account showing donut holes and limes

5. Letterfolk

Followers: 306k

Letterfolk is a small business run by a husband-and-wife team who create and sell beautiful, handcrafted felt letterboards. Each letterboard comes with a full set of characters so people can personalize the walls of their homes, which means endless room for creativity.

Instagram is the perfect platform for them to inspire customers and aspiring customers with real customers' boards, as well as ideas they've come up with and staged themselves. Their Instagram content is funny, thought-provoking, and relatable -- all recipes for shareability.

Letterfolk Instagram account showing they said meme Letterfolk Instagram account showing couple on June 24 2017

Letterfolk's Most Engaging Post

letterfolk-instagram-most-engaging-post

[Click here to see the post.]

Why it's engaging: Not only is this photo showing a funny and clever message, but it's also very, very relatable to women -- one of Letterfolk's target customers. It's also a very taggable photo, so the comment section is rife with Instagram users mentioning their friends' usernames so they can share in the fun.

6. Apartment Therapy

Followers: 1.9M

Apartment Therapy's Instagram account really is a source of therapy, if you love the sight of cozy homes. If you've seen social media posts from Apartment Therapy before, rest assured the pictures of residences on its Instagram account are just as creative.

Two recent posts to Apartment Therapy's Instagram feed are below. From the plant-friendly living room on the left, to the comfortable A-frame on the right, this brand gives its Instagram followers plenty of inspiration to personalize their own space and, according to its Instagram bio, "live happy, healthy lives at home." Apartment Therapy Instagram account showing plant-inspired living roomApartment Therapy Instagram account showing bedroom in A-frame apartment

7. Paris Opera Ballet

Followers: 340k

The city of Paris is known for many lovely things -- wine, cheese, and art are just a few. But that last one, art, is photographically captured on the Instagram account of the Paris Opera Ballet, or Ballet de l'Opera de Paris.

The account captures candid images of the ballet's dancers during performances, rehearsals, and backstage, giving viewers an artful glimpse at what goes into the ballet's productions. It also makes use of something called banners on Instagram, when larger photos can be divided into multiple pictures to create a tiled banner of smaller photos. (There are several apps available to pull that off, but to start, check out Tile Pic).

The way this account highlights performance venues is noteworthy, too. The third photo beneath the first two below provides an intimate shot of rehearsal, conveying a gritty behind-the-scenes feel that can generate excitement for productions.

Paris Opera Ballet Instagram account showing performance of Crystal Pite Paris Opera Ballet Instagram account showing male dancers

8. Tentsile

Followers: 189k

"Stunning" is the first word that comes to mind when I scroll through Tentsile's Instagram photos. The company sells tree tents, what they call "portable treehouses" that will "literally take your camping experience to a new level." Their Instagram is full of shockingly beautiful scenes of their product in use in all matter of terrain: rainforests, mountains, beaches... you name it.

Tentsile Instagram account showing campground Tentsile Instagram account showing water hammock

Tentsile's Most Engaging Post

Why it's engaging: Tentsile's followers are interested in seeing the unique tent uses and setups that customers come up with. Not only is the post above a video -- which are known for getting more engagement than photos -- but the preview shot alone shows an intriguing location for a tree tent. For starters, how the heck did they get it up there?

9. Desenio

Followers: 910k

Look at the colors of any well-known brand and you'll notice that they use the same colors over and over again -- in their logo, on their website, and in their social media images. Using the same colors over and over again is a great way to establish brand consistency and help consumers become familiar with your brand.

That's what the Swedish online art print company Desenio does beautifully on their Instagram account. They use a lot of blues, greens, greys, and blacks, which evoke senses of calm, healing, luxury, and trust.

desenio-instagram-1.png desenio-instagram-2.png

Desenio's Most Engaging Post

Why it's engaging: When your Instagram account is predicated on brand consistency, deviating from the usual theme or color might be off limits. But in minor doses, throwing something new into your feed can give your account a boost of engagement. The post above was a simple holiday card from Desenio, but it was so dramatically different from the look and feel of the business's usual interior design, followers just had to click through to see more.

Many of the comments included exclamations of how beautiful and evocative the post is. One commenter was inspired enough to describe what winters are like where they live. To increase your own comment rate, follow Desenio's lead by posting images of things and situations that remind your followers of things they care about in their personal lives.

10. No Your City

Followers: 26k

The folks at No Your City produce a documentary series that captures the fascinating stories of people all over the world, but mostly in New York. The brand's Instagram account, though, is less about these stories and more about showcasing gorgeous images from the city itself.

What we love about these photos is how closely they follow the best practices for taking great photos with your phone. Each one of No Your City's photos seems to follow at least one of these recommendations, whether it's focusing on a single subject, embracing negative space, playing with reflections, or finding interesting perspectives. The photos are consistently stunning, and as a result, the brand has built a solid following.

No Your City Instagram account showing Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, New York No Your City Instagram account showing brownstone apartment in Brooklyn, New York

11. Vans

Followers: 15.2M

Vans is known for its stylish shoes, but the brand's use of social media is just as stylish. Its Instagram business account is no exception.

The maker of the classic checkered slip-ons has an aggressively flashy Instagram feed, featuring both standalone product shots and action photos of people expressing themselves in their favorite Vans gear.

Vans' Instagram account's most unique quality is likely how much skateboarding content it has. The brand doesn't just appeal to teenage skaters anymore, but it shows its loyalty to that lifestyle in an engaging way. Below, Vans features an Indian girl with a caption that describes her as the "only girl who regularly skateboards in her town."

Vans Instagram featuring Kamali, an Indian girl who skateboards

Vans' Most Engaging Post

Why it's engaging: Just because you're promoting an ordinary product launch doesn't mean the social media post supporting the launch should be equally ordinary. Vans' recent video, above, endorses a line of shoes called ComfyCush, but the video itself is a little, well, weirder. And for a business so dependent on style, the right amount of weird can give Vans an awesome amount of engagement.

12. Divinity LA Bracelets

Followers: 238k

Here's an example of a small business performing very well on Instagram. A beaded bracelet could have any theme.

divinity-la-instagram-1.png Divinity LA Bracelets Instagram account showing woman kayaking

Divinity's Most Engaging Post

Divinity LA Bracelets' most engaging Instagram post

Why it's engaging: The caption reads: "Each Sea Turtle and Hatchling bracelet sold helps a Hatchling make it to the ocean." People tagged their friends to show them the cute sea turtles, or to say "WE NEED TO SAVE THEM!"

13. WeWork

Followers: 479k

WeWork provides shared office spaces in cities and countries all over the globe -- so it only makes sense that they should post a lot of photos showcasing their beautiful co-working communities. They do an amazing job photographing the spaces in ways that make followers like us wish we could jump into the photos and plop down with our laptops and a coffee.

They don't stop at posting photos of their shared workspaces, though. WeWork uses Instagram to capture and share moments from some of the largest branded events that members (and their friends) look forward to all year, like WeWork Summer Camp. Hashtags are used to label these events -- like #WWCamp -- and to encourage customers to share their own photos of the spaces, using WeWork's memorable slogan: "Do what you love."

Our favorite is the #DogsOfWeWork hashtag. Not only is it awesome because, well, dogs ... but it's also a great way for the company to promote their laid-back culture while also inviting customers to interact with their brand on social. Near the end of each year, they actually choose the best photo submissions to the #DogsOfWeWork hashtag on Instagram and Facebook and put together a calendar for the following year.

Creative WeWork office space Creative WeWork office space with mural and palm trees we-work-instagram-6.png

WeWork's Most Engaging Post

Why it's engaging: For all its beautiful photos of people and office spaces and dogs, some of you might be surprised that one of this company's most engaging Instagram posts of all time doesn't take place in a WeWork office space at all. The video above is an example of influencer marketing done right. By partnering with actor and investor, Ashton Kutcher, the company caught the attention of its audience, and made it shareable by showing its followers a speech Ashton gave that resonates with WeWork's followers.

Use free design tools like Canva, PicMonkey, or even PowerPoint to create these images easily.

14. Finfolk Productions

Followers: 222k

Ever wanted to be a mermaid? You can come pretty close, thanks to companies like FinFolk Productions. Believe it or not, silicone mermaid tails you can put on and swim around in are actually quite trendy in certain areas and for certain age groups -- typically young girls, which is one of Instagram's core users.

Finfolk Productions' Instagram feed is full of beautifully shot photos that play into the mermaid fantasy by looking more like mythical art than real people.

Finfolk Productions Instagram account showing woman underwater wearing mermaid fin Finfolk Productions Instagram account showing mermaid fins

Finfolk Productions' Most Engaging Post

 
 
 
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SPECIAL REVEAL: The Finfolk Swarovski Crystal Silicone Tail ✨ Available now on the website for purchase. 🐚💎💍 (UPDATE: tail has sold!) • Alright, beautiful mermaids and mermen, this is a release I (Bryn) have personally been anticipating for a long time. Thanks to our amazing team here at Finfolk, everyone agreed to this project and came together to make it happen. As many of you know, my own wedding is upcoming this spring. I never knew that planning a wedding would open up so much inspiration for me. While searching through many couture bridal gowns and other items, I began to envision how a truly couture bridal mermaid would appear. Apparently, all iridescent white with over 8,000 hand laid Swarovski crystals is the result I concluded upon. It is with great joy and some anticipation, that we release to you all, the Finfolk Swarovski Crystal Silicone Tail. Available now to be obsessively gazed upon (as the staff has now done for weeks while completing it), and for purchase to one very special and lucky mermaid. This is a project truly and especially from my heart, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as we enjoyed conceptualizing and creating it. • Included with this tail is a matching crystalized Stargazer top and stunning custom made Octavia circlet by @thevirginiamermaid 💎 💍 🧜🏼‍♀️ • • #finfolk #finfolkproductions #finfolkmermaid #mermaid #mermaidtail #swarovski #swarovskicrystals #crystals #rhinestones #glitter #sparkle #wedding #bride #bridal #couture #couturefashion #fashion #bridesmaid #weddingdress #diamonds #iridescent #weddinghair #weddingphotography #photography #

A post shared by Finfolk Productions (@finfolkproductions) on Feb 24, 2019 at 10:40am PST

Why it's engaging: The post above is two things in one: a new product and a sentimental announcement by the company founder, Bryn Roberts. For most of Finfolk's followers, the white mermaid fin above isn't just a different color from the typical fins made by the company. It's also emblematic of Bryn's recent wedding, for which she wanted to make a bridal-style mermaid fin that all of Finfolk's customers would appreciate.

I never knew that planning a wedding would open up so much inspiration for me. While searching through many couture bridal gowns and other items, I began to envision how a truly couture bridal mermaid would appear. Apparently, all iridescent white with over 8,000 hand laid Swarovski crystals is the result I concluded upon. It is with great joy and some anticipation, that we release to you all, the Finfolk Swarovski Crystal Silicone Tail.

15. Shiseido

Followers: 660k

Shiseido started out as Japan's first Western-style pharmacy 140 years ago and has since developed into selling high-quality brightening and anti-aging skincare, makeup, and fragrance products.

Its company mission is to inspire a life of beauty and culture -- a mission they portray beautifully through their Instagram content. If you take a look at their feed, you'll notice they post three images at a time so the posts appear in a row pattern on their larger feed -- a very clever and original way to organize their content.

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Shiseido's Most Engaging Post

Why it's engaging: Back in late March 2016, Instagram started rolling out the ability to upload 60-second videos -- and we've seen some amazing Instagram videos from brands ever since, like the one above from Shiseido. The one above lasts nearly all 60 seconds and its product demo is curiously satisfying to watch. The subject's purple hair also gives followers a slightly edgier look to consider when browsing the company's makeup collection. (Hot tip: Posts featuring faces, especially for a skincare brand, are ideal for boosting social media engagement).

Don't be intimidated by highly professional Instagram videos like theirs. You can post highly engaging videos on Instagram without a huge video team or a bottomless budget. Here's a step-by-step guide for making great videos on Instagram without breaking the bank.

16. Sephora Collections

Followers: 626k

Sephora Collections' brand personality is playful, colorful, and feminine. It does a wonderful job of characterizing this personality in its Instagram content, using bright colors, patterns, and fun captions.

This branded Sephora account also diversifies its feed with a lot of fun Instagram video content that gives off the same playful vibes.

Sephora Collection's Most Engaging Post

Why it's engaging: Sometimes, you just have to cut right to the chase. Sephora made magnetic makeup brushes and wanted the world to see them. Businesses must be careful how much product-focused content they're posting, but when you come up with something you know your customers will love, your best bet is to simply show it in action.

17. Staples

Followers: 64k

The folks at Staples do a lot of things right when it comes to Instagram content, but there are two that particularly grab our attention -- engaging with followers by asking questions and including calls-to-action in captions, and staying true to the brand's playful-yet-practical personality.

When it comes to engaging Staples' followers, it's all about asking questions in the photo captions. For example, check out the second photo below featuring a series of emojis -- its caption reads, "That's pretty much our day. How about yours? Tell us in emojis." Scroll through the comments on that photo, and you'll see followers had a lot of fun responses. The caption paired with the first photo below -- the one with the cupcakes -- asks users to tag someone who they want to thank.

Staples does a great job staying true to brand by posting fun photos such as the "2016" shot written in office supplies and using the #OfficeHack hashtag to engage their following.

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The folks at Staples also use Instagram to post cute videos and GIFs, like the one below that shows businesses how they can use Staples supplies to create a "revamped breakroom."

 

A revamped breakroom = a reenergized office

A post shared by Staples (@staples) on Feb 7, 2018 at 8:58am PST

Ready to populate your Instagram Story with pics and videos that are as captivating as the content above? We believe in you -- just download the free branding guide below and get to posting.

Instagram Hacks