We asked some of our social media gurus how they perfect their Insta-Image.
On the surface, Instagram is a fairly simple media channel that allows businesses and individuals to connect with various demographics through enticing visuals. However, Instagram isn’t just another form of advertising for a business, it is a way to tell a story and develop a relationship. The difference between an account with a large, active following and a majorly unnoticed account can come down to very simple elements. We’ve honed in on a few key factors that can drastically impact your social media channels, as well as shared what we think has made the difference in our personal social media accounts!
- Photo Quality: Improvements in cell phone technology means that professional-looking photos are now in the palms of our hands, and more accessible than ever before. Taking the time to learn about different settings on your phone can unlock even more methods to get that perfect shot. Still looking to fix those minor details? We use the photo editing apps VSCO and Snapseed to give us an arsenal of advanced editing settings. Paying attention to image sharpness and light exposure can give pictures the added touch they may need. These apps also provide more options for filters to utilize. Focusing on color schemes or specific colors can add that story-telling feel that goes with the change in seasons.
Our Pick: #withGalaxy or #shotoniphone
We’re not going to get into the politics of Samsung vs Apple, especially with both companies constantly improving their photo shooting quality. However, if you’re looking for a little photography motivation, checking out these hashtags are sure to inspire you to embrace the device in your pockets.
- Image Diversity: As much as everyone enjoys a well-angled selfie, it’s important to include a variety of styles of picture. Whether they are pictures with friends, family, or even changing up your poses, the variety of images can make your profile appear more genuine and relatable. Businesses are able to showcase more of what they have to offer with a variance in imagery. Embrace more than just what’s on the surface and expand your arsenal of imagery to show the big picture!
Our Pick: @Teslamotors
Yes, the car company. While it would be easy for Tesla to succumb to images of just their cars (that is what they sell after all), their Instagram is extremely diverse. A quick glance at their grid and there are pictures of cars at different angles, videos of its performance, a variety of locations and scenery. There are focuses on specific details in the cars, as well as information on the company as a whole.
- Captivating Caption: An emoji filled caption may occasionally fit the bill, but “no caption needed” typically alludes to the necessity of a caption. We get it! Coming up with a caption can be the hardest part of creating a social media post! Captions are a great way to create a voice for your social media page. Whether your captions include sassy remarks, “punny” play on words, or genuine commentary, embrace the dialect that feels comfortable for you.
Our Pick: @Nike
The primary function of Nike is as a retail business selling footwear, apparel and equipment. Their social media page, however, focuses on connecting with athletes on a personal level rather than just marketing their clothing. Instead, Nike sells their support of professionals. As a business their captions are motivational and relatable, just as they intend their products to be.
- Hashtags: Use them! Not only are they a sly way to be comedic, they are also a great way to engage in related networks and encourage a bigger following. Businesses can create key hashtags for consumers to reuse, tying together business and product, while individuals can find other followers with shared interests based on those hashtags.
Our Pick: @airbnb
Air BnB utilizes the hashtage #AirbnbExperiences for a majority of their posts. While their account only has about 2,000 pictures posted, there are over 20k posts that share that hashtag! This creates a massive network of both people who have utilized the hashtag, but also places that Airbnb are mentioned as a business!
- Activity: Instagram was designed to be a social networking site, so be social! In truth, it is fun to look back and appreciate the memories that come paired up with each photo. However, it’s important to put effort in if you expect to get appreciation in return. Following other accounts with mutual followers or similar styled pictures are an easy way to get followers in response.
- Developing an Aesthetic: Social media is one of the primary methods consumers choose what businesses to purchase from. Because of this increase in activity, your Instagram profile is now as important as your website homepage. Take inspiration from some of your favorite accounts and focus on what aesthetic represents you and your brand. A great way to identify the vibe you’re trying to create is with a mood board. Pinterest is a great tool for expanding your mood board. Colors, textures, patterns, and even quotes can help you establish the aesthetic you want to create. We utilize apps like Planoly and UNUM to preplan how we want our Instagram grids to look, and then pre-schedule different posts with Hootsuite when we get our look JUST RIGHT!
Both of these accounts have created a profile page that is uniquely them. Their aesthetics are not only appealing to the eye, they are noteworthy and somewhat unforgettable. Not to mention how well planned out every post has to be in order to have such a cohesive appearance.
At NEON PR, we aren’t just visual artists for our clients, we are infinite re-creators of our own social media identities. Any artist would be hesitant to share all their tricks and talents, but just this once we are willing to share some of our secrets. In essence, we put our work into practice daily with our own accounts. We focus on the little details without overlooking the big picture. Whether it is with a client’s page or our own feed, we know that our social media appearance is just another way of presenting ourselves to the world, and we want to make sure we put our best posts forward.
- The Gift of Gab 🗣
- Snapchat and Score a Baseball game at the same time📲
- Running all Day in High Heels👠
- Amateur ballroom dancer that specialized in Latin Dance styles
- Train horses in my free time🦄
- Has a dog named Bruce Wayne Gretzky🐕
Downtown Las Vegas’ old school watering hole is home to the famous Corduroy light room. In just under a year, this gif friendly booth has seen over 10,000 photo ready guests, from provocative social media stars to engagement photos the resulting gram shots ooze an ‘in-the-know’ cool to your followers. Insta-tip: Get there before 8:00 pm when the line starts to form (yes it has it’s own line), then enjoy some of their famous Moscow Mules with home made ginger beer. Runner-up shots: The jukebox, the mushroom mural wall.
Where big kids go to play, Gold Spike’s jumbo sized games include chess, jenga, twister, corn hole, beer pong and four square act as the quintessential prop for a shot that says “I’m fun, carefree and in no way take myself too seriously!” Insta-tip: Every third Wednesday, the Backyard hosts down-n-derby roller skating perfect for the ultimate retro photo. Runner-up shots: Fiddlestix Rainbow Grilled Cheese, Life Is Beautiful sign.
Known for its elevated Mexican food flare and fresh hand-crafted margs, La Comida spread their modern authentic vibe into the small alleyway attached to their building. You’ll find wood fencing, colorful potted plants, string lights and a shrine to the Virgin Mary because, ya know, why not? Insta-tip: Go for dinner! Get a shot in both the daylight and at night for two totally different moods. Runner-up shots: The Margaritas, the bar swing.
Vesta Coffee roasters is a downtown favorite coffee brand you’ll find in almost any local favorite restaurant in town. Their white, wood, modern industrial aesthetic is the thing that hip coffee shop frequenters dream about. On the right side of the building, a cool colored floral mural takes up the entire wall, acting as a breath of fresh dewey air in the middle of the art district’s distinctively urban environment. Insta-tip: Try one of their specials, especially the rose iced tea. Runner-up shots: Avo toast, the window seating.
The Mantis at Container Park, formally known as Queen Mantis, is a 44-foot tall, fire shooting art installation that welcomes visitors to the East Fremont corridor. The piece was originally built by Kirk Jellum for his wife and toured around Burning Man before moving to Las Vegas in 2014 where she now calls Container Park home. Insta-tip: Arrive at sunset any day of the week to join the drum circle that “wakes up” the Mantis. Runner-up shots: Cocktails from Oak & Ivy, the second floor orange container hallway.
Who doesn’t like to appear cultured and musically literate? Not grammers. 11th Street Records on 11th and Fremont has the record drenched walls and rugged appearance you’d expect from a legitimately stacked record store. It even houses a full-fledged recording studio in the back for all your musician aesthetic needs. Insta-tip: Don’t just come for the photo, take a look through hundreds of vinyls and find something you didn’t know you needed.
Park on Fremont has transformed their corner of East Fremont from urban sprawl to an eclectic and quirky tea garden oasis fit for the maddest of hatters. With tons of little nuances to discover both inside and out you’re bound to miss some things. To find our favorite insta-spot, head to the left of the fireplace in the courtyard and you’ll find a hidden alcove complete with extra seating, more garden and vintage iron see saw! Insta-tip: Bring a friend, it takes two to see saw. Runner-up shots: The ‘F*cking Beautiful’ sign, the horse painting.
Everybody wants to be a cat, or at least be photographed with one. One of the newest art pieces downtown via the Life Is Beautiful festival, this massive wildly colorful mural by artist Bicicleta Sem Frio embodies the fun, vibrant and funky vibe of the East Fremont corridor. Insta-tip: Work your angles, try a wide shot from street level, you’ll be able to catch the entire piece.Runner-ups: The Felipe Pantone, the D*Face on 7th.
To be completely honest, we aren’t sure who owns this millennial pink vintage vehicle or where it came from, but its location in an empty dirt lot with views of palm trees and blue skies is quintessential ‘desert vibes’ making this the most opportunistic photo spot on the list. Insta-tip: Go sooner rather than later, it could be gone tomorrow!
Impress your #FoodieFam with Donut Bar’s wide array of artistically crafted treats from the Crème Brûlée to the Homer Simpson every donut tastes as good as it looks. Insta-tip: On weekends special menu items include their grilled cheese donut, get there early before they sell out!
Welcome to Neon PR’s first ever Beauty Vault!
We consulted with the strong beauties that make up our office and asked each PR profesh to give their top 3 beauty products that they ‘literally can’t even’ live without. These potions, lotions and everything in between, help us thrive and reach our full potential every day as PR professionals.
- Bumble & Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer – People compliment me on my hair often… but it’s no accident – it’s hard work! ☺ This bad boy keeps my bleached hair from breaking off by protecting it from heat tools (here’s a two-fer: use this wand for the best waves). The Vegas heat is already drying enough, and this spray hydrates and protects! I never use heat tools on my hair without it.
- La Mer The Cleansing Gel – this takes it ALL off and leaves your skin feeling super soft WITHOUT a toner. I get cranky if I have to use something else to wipe the day off my face at nighttime.
- MAC Lipstick in HoneyLove – The. Perfect. Nude. You’re welcome.
- Glossier Cloud Paint – Glossier is one of those brands you can’t help but be obsessed with. They’ve mastered the no makeup-makeup niche with a range of fun and neutral tones and an array of product options. Their cloud paints are IDEAL for dabbing and dusting onto your bare cheeks for a flush of fun color before you whisk out the door for work or play. Best use: Music Festivals – lookin at you, Life is Beautiful!
- Too Faced Bronzer in Chocolate Soleil – This bronzer is a gorgeous tone of dark warm brown ideal for that permanent Las Vegas tan. And it smells like chocolate, enough said. Best use: When you want that goodnight kiss on the cheek to leave an impact.
- Ole Henrickson Truth Serum – After deciding to re-evaluate my skincare routine, my friend recommended this daily serum to me. After about a month I’ve noticed a HUGE overhaul in the tone, elasticity and health of my skin. It’s light, fresh and again SMELLS DELICIOUS! This serum has been a true game changer in my beauty routine.
- Glam Glow super mud charcoal treatment– Not only is this an aesthetically pleasing brand, BUT their ish is fantastic. My skin always feels loved and fresh after a long night of glam glow maskin’. For those with sensitive skin, once a week is probably best – I use this when I may have not been the most *cough cough, coherent* to take my makeup off the night before. This mask helps my skin forget about forgetting about it. ☺ (It just can’t help clarify any previous decisions!)
- Watermelon sleeping hydration mask– So moisturizing and smells *insert Fran Drescher’s voice here* DA-LISH! It’s literally my go-to when I have a night that I should have ended 2 hours earlier. The best part of this mask – besides being a lazy bum and just leaving it on, is the way your skin GLOWS when you wake up. It’s like you just had an intense 3-hour facial with Bertha and she gave you all the good stuff. With this product, you can say bye to Bertha the facial-ist and hydrate your skin yo’self.
- Dry Bar detox dry shampoo– AH-MAZ-ING. Not only does this dry shampoo soak up all the icky oil between hair wash cycles, but it smells wonderful. Sometimes I use it just for the smell…. Is that weird?
- It’s A 10 Hair Mask– Well folks, it’s a literal 20 in my book because without “It’s a 10” my hair would be dried, dyed and fried. This miracle leave-in solution really does change your hair. The main thing that I notice is how soft it makes my hair without making it greasy. As a tried and true reviewer (trying hundreds of products makes me an expert, right?) it’s the only product I need after a shower and the smell is heavenly.
- ELF eyebrow gel– I’m currently growing my brows out and it’s pretty hard to not look like a literal wildebeest, so to tame these babies I have to use brow gel and I always brush them up to give them a different kind of look (($2 at any convenient store so THAT’s always a plus).
- Olaplex 3– This is a leave-in conditioner and it can only be found at select places like Sephora and online – it is a miracle worker, especially for blondes. Bless you, Olaplex. MAJOR KEY: Kim Kardashian’s trick on her damaged hair is to sleep in this little potion! Of course, I trust what the internet tells me…gulp. Sorry not sorry.
In a world where content is king, using every feature social media outlets offer and having a defining feature of your brand is more important than ever. There are now geotags and filters, location tags and reposts (Oh My!)! For some companies, defining elements include things like unique wall paintings or special areas within restaurants with designs produced specifically for Instagram or Snapchat (Come on, how many times have you seen The “F***ing Beautiful” neon sign at Park in Las Vegas?). One noteworthy example we love here at Neon PR is Smooth Eats, a tiny downtown eatery focused on fast but nutritious menu items that has recently caught the eye (and camera lenses) of local Instagram users with its brightly colored toasts, creatively built bowls and cheesy gooey-sandwiches that taste as good as they look! What’s NOT to ‘like’?
So what’s all the hype about? Well for starters, there’s menu items like the ‘mermaid toast’ – a play on the millennial toast trend with deep blue colored cream-cheese on a thick piece of bread, topped off with sparkling gold flakes! (But also let’s not forget their gorgeous acai bowls, earth-green smoothies and ginger health shots!) These kinds of health-food grabs are very popular right now, but separating themselves and standing out is key for success. Putting in a little extra thought into the aesthetics does make a difference. No customer really tastes those gold flakes on the toast, but the visual impact of the toast keeps customers’ cameras snapping.
Other insta-worthy examples include Downtown Las Vegas’s Corduroy, an artsy-retro like bar with a photobooth that literally has customers waiting in line for hours for the perfect shot. Another downtown spot is Sake Rok, a modernized Americanized sushi restaurant that has insta-story worthy nightly performances. While word of mouth and print are still valuable resources in the marketing mix, social media marketing and establishing a unified brand identity is a necessity.
As Instagram becomes the new homepage, “do it for the gram” has taken on new meaning. With carefully planned strategy and an engaging, evolving creative process, businesses can use these essential and FREE marketing tools to their benefit. And hey, if you didn’t gram’ it, were you really there?
It’s officially SPRING – one of our favorite seasons (especially in the desert). We like to sweeten up the Neon PR offices with fresh floral finds from these local florists:
- Miss Daisy – owner and bossbabe Jessica and her team always comes up with the most creative arrangements – guaranteed to be bright and cheery. And.. we love a good Instagram page. Check Miss Daisy’s out here!
- Sometimes, we find ourselves walking across the street to explore DTLV’s favorite eco-friendly florist Gaia Flowers off of Charleston. Their arrangements are the most unique we’ve seen yet and there’s always something social buzzing in their store – they have garden design and arrangement workshops and an array of desert succulents that don’t require a green thumb!Featured arrangement courtesy of Gaia Flowers, originally arranged for The D Hotel & Casino, adopted by Neon PR 🙂
- Garden Garage – Cactuses are our kind of desert blooms! The owner and designer Lacey adds flair to succulents with geometric and gold vases that make for perfect office décor – and they best part… unlike our flower friends, they’re still around long after a week or two.
- Whole Foods Market – we know, we know. It’s a grocery store. BUT… their floral department has been known to get the earliest batch of the beloved white peonies in before anyone else!
Does working in your florescent-lit cubical or being stuck in the same space every day not sound like an ideal work environment anymore? We love venturing outside of the office for an hour or two every day for a refresh button – and call on our downtown Las Vegas as a giant office space. With iPhones acting as mobile hotspots these days, you can connect almost anywhere. Take that extended lunch and grab your laptop (and a bite!) and make it a point to check out some of our favorites below!
VESTA COFFEE ROASTERS
Their seating is first come, first served so make sure you get there with time to spare at this popular Downtown coffee shop. Order the Sweet Dream toast and the Macadamia Almond latte and get to crankin’!
DOWNTOWN CONTAINER PARK
This downtown urban oasis has a 40′ tall fire-breathing mantis art installation from Burning Man outside to welcome you in – trust us, you can’t miss it. We love grabbing an outdoor table in the Spring or Fall in Container Park and sitting outside at Black Cup Coffee (full view of the park) or Bin 702 (hello comfy couches!). With over 20 local shops and boutique eateries to choose from, you’re sure to find a spot with nearby quiet bustle for the perfect amount of focus and distraction for work-time inspiration.
Lunch time? Order a vegan sandwich (it’s the most unassuming deliciousness ever) and pull up a chair at The Market‘s indoor bistro space by the window. They serve Peet’s Coffee (and wine – if it’s one of those days).
We know, we know… isn’t this the nightlife hotspot with the giant oversized games like Jenga, beanbag toss and chess? Exactly. But during the day, Gold Spike is a co-working space with Wi-Fi connectivity that welcomes all. With conference-style tables, this co-working is the perfect excuse to get all of your colleagues together and work on that project – and maybe take a much-needed break for life-size Connect Four and a Unicorn Grilled Cheese from Fiddlestix – located inside Gold Spike.
Nearing the end of the day and need to grind out a deadline? Music sets the tone for your work pace and we love DTLV’s favorite watering hole Corduroy‘s rock music turned down a little lower at their opening time, 4 pm, (and almost our closing time), to wind down the day. Since this downtown hot spot opens at 4 pm, you’ll find locals who have just wrapped up meetings crunching out the last hour of work. There is a garage-style window that rolls up to make it an indoor-outdoor space perfect people watching when you close your laptop and grab a celebratory cocktail for finishing that deadline.
FLOCK & FOWL
With perfect lighting and dreamy wallpaper and light fixtures, this is our extended lunch go-to. Open at 11:00 am during the week, Flock & Fowl is your haven in DTLV for ‘flocking delicious’ food and warm interior hues to ignite subtle inspiration.
Where do you like to work outside of the office? Tweet to us at @NeonPR_ and let us know!
There is no doubt that the fields of public relations and social media are blending together more closely than ever. More PR teams are working to secure press traction digitally by working with social media influencers, targeting different brands to engage in cross-promotions that are then shared by those brands’ social networks, etc. At the same time, more social teams are working with news outlets’ designated online and digital teams to get their clients featured on traditional news media’s social pages.
As PR and social media become even more intertwined over the next several years, communication experts can expect PR firms to start building out social divisions, and social firms to start partnering with traditional PR mediums – so it’s important for those working in the communication fields to keep their skills sharpened in both realms – cheeky one liners are good for press releases and can be used for social media attention grabbers. As media folks continue to get inundated with press releases, they’re beginning to ask for photos that illustrate the news to be embedded within the release – which also doubles as the main source of content creation for social media accounts.
Overall, it’s a very synergistic relationship between PR and social media teams, even though there can be quite a bit of a crossover. Take event activations or influencer relations, for example. Both of these services can be handled by a PR firm or social media agency, and quite often, brands that hire PR and social teams will have both teams collaborate as there is always a common goal: more press, more social media chatter, more influence for the brand.
At Neon PR, we believe a multi-channel marketing mix leading with PR is crucial to increasing your stories’ reach and getting content seen. Which means, social media should PR hold hands, not arm wrestle! So, publicists, high five your clients’ social teams and ask for photo tips! Social teams, feel free to ask PR teams how to contact news outlets for social campaigning that works for clients!
If you haven’t heard about #Bloggergate, (btw, can we all agree to stop putting ‘gate’ at the end of every dramatic event?) you probably don’t spend a lot of time on the Internet. To summarize: Elle Darby, a semi-influential social media persona, contacted the White Moose Café hotel in Dublin, Ireland requesting a discounted or complimentary stay in exchange for social media posts on her Instagram and a property review on her YouTube channel.
If this type of request seems all too familiar, then you probably work in public relations and can empathize with the owner of the property, Paul Stenson. In response to Darby’s request, Stenson took to Facebook (either out of complete and utter frustration or pure purposeful genius) and posted Darby’s email with his response. The ensuing firestorm of support and backlash made international headlines, with winners and losers all over the place.
This entire ordeal exposes the tightrope that brands and bloggers walk in the world of influencer marketing and provides a guide to the complicated structure in which these bloggers and businesses work. At the brunt of it, bloggers and influencers leverage the trust of their audiences for personal gain as well (INSERT $XXX hotel stay for free), not just solely because they’re doing their audience or the brand a service.
The word “Collaborate”
The term collaboration has oft been a favorite of the modern corporate culture quo, included in bios and company visions from Silicon Valley to Timbuktu but now, much like influencers are doing to social media platforms, the word has been diluted in its effect (include how many times she says collaborate). Let us take a look at the dictionary definition of collaborate:
col-lab-o-rate (v.) – work jointly on an activity, especially to produce or create something
The traditional interpretation means that two parties come together to contribute ideas and work towards a goal or product together, equally, and typically results in tangible ROI. The watered down version used by influencers and bloggers reads more like this:
col-lab-o-rate (v.) – give me something free and I’ll say something nice about you to my loyal following
One of these things is not like the other…
No matter what side you take in this battle of brawn, the people who decided to attack both Elle and the property/management so personally and vindictively looked like total a**holes.
The Phrase “No Press is Bad Press”
Ever heard of the White Moose Café hotel before? Did you know who Elle Darby was? No? Now you do.
In the last 30 days, Elle has seen an increase of 20,129 followers on Instagram 18,098 new subscribers to her YouTube channel and 4.1 million views. Those numbers alone make her a winner in this debacle, but her transparency regarding the email and how she makes an income most likely gained more trust from her viewers.
Paul Stenson and the White Moose Café
Paul Stenson is an Internet troll who takes his trolling very seriously. He continued to post responses to the various backlash from bloggers and influencers on Facebook, eventually banning the groups from his property entirely. He then held a press conference and designed shirts to sell as hotel merchandise. Finally, he sent billing to Darby for the amount of press garnered in her name. According to ClearStory, a data measuring service, the incident spread across 20 countries with a potential reach of 450 million people, the equivalent of $4.3 million in advertising.
In the end, #Bloggergate won’t upend the blogging industry or band brands together to fight the freebies. What it does show is the value of earned media, and how to take advantage of an opportunity. Stenson was able to drive engagement for his property and subsequently Darby’s channels, and put them both front of mind for a massive audience…for free.
We call that a win-win in PR Land.
Here Are My Top 3 Tips to Get Good Media Coverage
(Click here for the full BuzzFeed article featuring our CEO & Founder, Megan!)
- Do your research on journalists you’re pitching and personalize the pitch. PR pros should take the time to get to know the journalist they’re contacting and what matters to them. Reference their beats or past articles you find interesting, and make it a point to demonstrate, in some way, that you’ve done your research on them if you expect them to further research the topic you’re pitching.
- Be objective. More than ever, self-serving or over-promotional pitches aren’t what media are looking for. As hard as it is, being as un-biased and neutral as possible is what news media connects with most (do you like being around your friend that brags about themselves to no end? … didn’t think so.) and most often results in feature stories.
- Culminate relationships with your clients and media outside of the office and email. You’ll find the real stories aren’t lying around in what comes out of stiff conference room meetings, and ideas flourish more naturally when you develop a more meaningful relationship with clients – go grab cocktails or go on a local adventure involving fresh air. The benefit is 2-fold: it shows you care to know more, and you’ll have more interesting content to pitch. Same goes for media – maybe you’ll find what strikes a chord with key media players for your clients when meeting for coffee and talking about their personal likes and dislikes.