Brands That Best Maximize Instagram for Success

January 13, 2015, posted by Chelsea Bishop

brands that maximize success for instagram

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Ninety percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, which means a single photo can say far more than its description. If your brand has a new product, photograph it. Don’t just talk about its merits; show someone using it. Better yet, show the sides of your brand your products can’t. Post a photo of your employees, hard at work (or not so much). Give your followers a behind-the-scenes look into your company and what goes into making that newest product. Make them feel like they’re a part of the process.

Pick a favorite all-purpose hashtag and use it.

Brand recognition is often achieved via repetition. Frequently using a token hashtag leads followers to associate it with your brand, and they may even use it to connect with you as well. Once you find one that works, consider registering it. While that can’t stop others from using it, it can show them that you’re serious about what those words mean to your brand.

Post regularly but responsibly.

It’s important to recognize that your followers primarily use Instagram to keep involved in their friends’ lives. Limit your brand account to no more than one high-quality, interesting image per day and write succinct captions.

For inspiration, here are a few brands that do Instagram right:

  • Starbucks
    With 3.5 million followers and more than 650 posts, Starbucks has an impressive presence on Instagram, exceeded only by its customers’ enthusiasm for its products. Starbucks both posts original content and reposts Starbucks-centric images from customers, showing that its brand truly is known and loved all around the world.
  • Timberland
    Timberland uses Instagram and the hashtag #inmyelement to showcase its popular shoes and outdoor wear.
  • GoPro
    GoPro is the go-to brand for outdoor adventure enthusiasts. This Instagram account primarily serves as a place for intrepid fans to share photos of their recent excursions while conveniently showing off the capabilities of their HD cameras.
  • National Geographic
    Known for its breathtaking photography, National Geographic is a natural winner on Instagram, with more than 10 million followers. Animals, people and scenery from around the world fill this account. Posts are often accompanied by detailed captions that elucidate the story behind the photograph.

If you need more help establishing and strengthening your Instagram presence, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Something has changed today — but do you know what it is?

January 1, 2015, posted by Lee

Over the holidays, we tend to play board games at our house. Popular choices for my wife, our 23-year-year old son, 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son include Cosmic Encounter, Risk, Guillotine and Oxford Dilemma. This year we found ourselves playing a game called TriBond.

TriBond, which is theoretically for ages 12 and up (and therefore theoretically suitable for the entire family), is a game in which players hear three individual clues and must analyze and determine what all three words have in common.  Example:  Delaware, today, and George Washington. (Answer: They are all firsts.)

Here’s one none of my children, ranging in age from tween to adult, could get:   Fossil, Citizen and Timex. My wife and I were sputtering in confusion. How could anyone miss that? They’re all watches! Then I looked around and noticed that no one was wearing a watch:  not me or my older son or my daughter (smartphones all) or my wife or our youngest. They didn’t know what a Fossil or a Citizen or a Timex was because they’d never worn a watch.

Here’s another one that my kids couldn’t get:   Little, Sloppy, and GI. I know:  They’re all Joes! This time I broke it down and asked all three kids who Little Joe was. No idea. (Bonanza having gone off the air in 1973, I barely knew.) Then I asked them what were Sloppy Joes, the curse of many of my grade-school lunches. Again, no idea, so I had to explain again. GI Joe, a staple of my childhood, they’d heard of, but never played with and couldn’t fully explain.

Then I looked at the box and noticed that TriBond, while renewed recently and purchased in a new edition, was “copyright 1993.” Which explained why all the cultural references seemed to be aimed at people in their 40s or 50s. Note to the TriBond guys:  If you want teens and 20-somethings to play your game, it’s time to update the cards.

This made me wonder what else has changed at some companies that the people running those companies haven’t noticed.

Here’s something that we at Counterintuity find more often than you’d imagine:  a client telling us that a mobile version of their website isn’t necessary. Then my business partner or someone else at Counterintuity will look at the client’s stats and let them know just how much of their traffic is from mobile. For a small manufacturer recently it turned out to be 17% — almost one-fifth of their traffic was from mobile. For a construction firm, it was 52%. They had told us that these “construction guys” are never on a mobile device, but when we told them that 52% of their traffic was from a smartphone or a tablet, they looked at each other and said, “Oh, right, they’re all looking at our website while they’re on the job.” And who is “they”? Their prospects.

It’s easy to not know what you don’t know. I taught graduate writing at the University of Southern California for 10 years, and one night during the seventh year bemoaned the fact that I was always paying for parking. One of my students said, “Why don’t you park on…” and named a side street near campus. I explained that it was metered parking with a limit of two hours, and this was a three-hour workshop, so I’d get a ticket. “There aren’t any meters there,” I was told. So after class I went and looked — and indeed, there were no meters there. Why did I think that street was metered? Because when I was a grad student myself at USC in the late 1980s — 20 years earlier! — that street was metered. But it had changed, and I had never thought to look.

Why is it easy to fall into this trap of thinking that things are set, that once you know something you know it for life? Maybe it’s because, for most of history, that was true. But no longer.

We live in the greatest period of change in human history. I am part of the last generation on Earth to grow up in a pre-Internet world, so we’re the fulcrum class:  We fully appreciate the Internet, and know what it was like not having it. Everybody younger just expects it. Given how much change has occurred on our watch — just to start:  the rise and fall of nations, the transformation of economies, instant access to more than one billion people across the globe, easy and seamless transfer of funds electronically, instantaneous and constant delivery of news — it would be naive to think that other things haven’t changed right within our own households and businesses and careers and communities.

What does this radical change mean? Among other things, it means that all of us are better served by questioning our own facts every day before making decisions that accidentally reflect times long gone.


Wishes are for fishes…

December 24, 2014, posted by Vartan

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How to go out of business

December 17, 2014, posted by Lee

In no particular order:

  1. Don’t know your numbers:  what your expenses are, what your projected income is, your balance sheet, a cashflow, a profit and loss, and the number. (What is the number? It’s the easily-checked-in-on number that tells you at a glance how you’re doing. It might be a monthly sales target. It might be the number of bottles on a shelf at the end of the night. It might be the number of units moved.)
  2. When things change, don’t adapt.
  3. Provide bad customer service. Or just be inconsistent.
  4. Check out on your own business. Get distracted and stay that way.
  5. When you have a problem, don’t rally your team, communicate the problem, and search for solutions. Because they might have some.
  6. Just fret, and do nothing.

Any one of these is sure to help put you out of business. A combination of two or more? Surefire.

As we saw again yesterday, when we learned that a friend’s business had closed.



Seeing that your branding works

December 12, 2014, posted by Lee

One way to know that your branding — your logo, your colors, your style, etc. — is working is when you see that it works across different platforms, and that others have started to adopt it.

Sure, we designed and ordered this Counterintuity bento mug ourselves (and if you want one, let us know — we have a few left):




But last night, at our annual holiday party, people started bringing things of their own design. Like this Counterintuity floral arrangement, courtesy of our party planners:



And these Counterintuity cupcakes, from our caterer:




And this Counterintuity vase from our party planners (note how even though our logo isn’t on this vase, our branding comes through in the color pattern):



But, get this, one guest cared enough to go ahead and order boxes of these Counterintuity cake pops all on his own to hand out. Thanks, guy! (They were pretty tasty, too.)



So were we proud to see all of this? Sure. And sorry if we’re sounding braggy. That’s not the intent. It was just great to see how well our logo and our colors are working for us.

(Not sure about your own branding? Give us a call.)




Creative vs. non-creative

December 10, 2014, posted by Lee

Recently, we’ve been having discussions internally about the Counterintuity culture. We started that conversation in October as part of our planning for next year, brought it into our annual retreat, and now it’s feeding into our work writing and designing a new Counterintuity website (launching early next year).

Questions we’ve been asking:

  1. What makes Counterintuity different?
  2. What makes Counterintuity fun?
  3. What does Counterintuity do?
  4. What makes Counterintuity successful for clients?
  5. If you could tell someone one thing about Counterintuity, what would it be?

The idea that being fun and different should be a given is what leads us to things like, say, the image on our holiday invite this year:




We’ve heard from a lot of people about how much they love this image. We’ve also heard from some of them that “of course” that idea came from Amy or myself, i.e., the owners.

Well, no. The idea to do an “awkward family photo” invite came from Jaclyn, our operations supervisor, who ensures that everything here operates like a well-oiled machine. And who started here four-and-a-half years ago as an assistant.

Her position here isn’t as what some marketing companies would call “a creative.” (Sure, she’s always been clever; that’s part of why she got hired.) We don’t believe in separating people into “creative” or (heaven forfend) “non-creative.” We put everybody together and ask for us all to be creative, whether you’re a writer or a designer or a primary phone-answerer. We’ve found out that that’s part of what makes us different.



2014 Holiday Decor!

, posted by Vartan

A little holiday cheer can go a long way. Check out how we decorated our office.

IMG_6995 IMG_6997 IMG_6992 IMG_6993 image 4 image 2 image 3 image 1

Where’s Digital Storytelling Headed in 2015?

December 8, 2014, posted by Vartan

Digital storytelling is how you (a brand or business) tell your story in hopes of connecting with your customers, attracting new ones, or promoting your products or services.

Industry professionals noted and followed many trends that stood out in 2014 and here’s what we discovered:

  • Mobile IS the future - For the first time ever, marketers optimized for mobile-first campaigns. This means that strategies were developed specifically for the mobile user. According to, 2014 saw the first historic and much anticipated turnover as the # of mobile users accessing the web exceeded those of PC and computer users. This changes everything.

    Mobile traffic is also mostly real-time social traffic therefore marketers must re-think how to deliver news and accurate information in a speedy manner.

  • Pay to promote on Facebook – Since FB changed its algorithms to nearly disable organic promotion, enlisting a paid advertising campaign to reach your followers has become a must-do. It may cost a few pennies, but the engagement spikes, general brand awareness, and unique targeting capabilities make it worth its price.
  • Lights, camera, action – From 6-sec. micro-videos 5-min.+ stories, internet users are engaged in all types of videos and 2014 saw that trend grow. With over 1 billion unique visitors to its site, YouTube remains a digital mecca that’s connecting social media with brands and businesses to sell, sell, sell, so get rolling!
  • Insta-sign up for Instagram - With mobile users at an all time high and stunning visual content to promote yourself a necessity, Instagram presents the perfect combination of the two and establishes itself as another must-have for your business.

So what does this all mean for 2015? It’s simple… Digital storytelling cannot exist without technology which acts as the bridge between you (the creator) and your audience (the consumer). Follow these trends–or enlist the help of a cutting edge marketing team to help you with it–and learn how to optimize strategies that best fit your needs!

digital storytelling

We just found your ideal customer

November 21, 2014, posted by Vartan


Why it just got harder to promote your business on Facebook

November 14, 2014, posted by Vartan

Facebook Advertising


We’re all too familiar with the slew of promo-based posts that run up and down our Facebook News Feeds from major brands and businesses (in addition to paid ads). In an attempt to provide a solution to the complaints and negative feedback Facebook has received, the social Megatron has decided to set into action a promotional content crack down.

What does this mean for Facebook and Facebook users? Starting January 1, 2015, Facebook is tweaking its algorithms to minimize the amount of promotional posts that show up in your News Feed.

What does this mean for your business’ Facebook marketing efforts? It’s time to get creative with how you market your products or services via posts. If you want/need to promote something unique, Facebook Advertising is the route to go.

Here’s what Facebook defines as “a promotional post”:

  • Posts that hard sell a product or service
  • Posts that promote contests or sweepstakes without supporting or “real” context
  • Posts that recycle or mimic copy and content used in ads

This is why we have the 80/20 law: 80% of your content should relate to lifestyle and soft-selling, while 20% should be about the sale.

Our thoughts? Facebook seems to be using user complaints as a scapegoat to cover up their not-so-hidden desires of moving brands and businesses to advertise on their network in hopes of receiving any sort of interaction or engagement from their followers. If you’re wanting to promote your products or services through organic posts, tough luck! No one’s going to see them. Time to enlist Facebook Advertising and Ad Manager, put together a budget and a campaign, and advertise away.

Luckily, we A) saw this coming and B) know how to maximize your advertising efforts on Facebook… We do it for a living!

If you need guidance, reach out and we’ll gladly help. Email: 

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