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2017: The Year Growing on Instagram Was Everything

RebelMouse can help you grow Instagram followers + drive growth on all social platforms. Let's create contagious media together!

What started as a simple, social photo-sharing app has turned into a daily staple in the lives of 400 million people. Instagram continues to shatter new benchmarks and establish its dominance in the age of social with no signs of slowing down.

Instagram's success hasn't gone unnoticed. Influencers, advertisers, and brands are going all in, capitalizing on all the eyeballs using the platform as yet another means of monetization. Publishers are piling into Instagram video, too. 2017 is certainly the year businesses take notice of Instagram.


After its launch in 2010 as an easy one-stop shop to edit and share your personal pictures with your social network, it wasn't long before the world was decorated with a myriad of vintage + beautiful #filters. The platform was named "iPhone App of the Year" by the end of 2011.

Facebook acquired the platform in 2012 and only furthered its popularity. Instagram has since added more features to its arsenal: videos, additional filters, ad options, and the recent addition of "stories." It's officially a force to be reckoned with, taking down other seemingly promising apps in its path.

So let's look at the whys and the hows around using it to grow your Instagram followers.

Instagram Is Big — Really Big

It's a Proven Moneymaker

  • By March 2017, the platform reached 1 million monthly advertisers.
  • It is expected to generate about $1.5 billion in mobile ad sales this year, and $5 billion in 2018.
  • Instagram influencers are charging up to $100,000 for a sponsored post.
  • There are various types of ads for monetization purposes: photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, stories ads with robust targeting options.

You Can Monetize with a Small, Dedicated Team

The beauty of Instagram lies in its simplicity. You don't need a huge team to execute a successful strategy on this social platform. When it sold for a billion dollars, Instagram itself had only 13 dedicated employees.

It's a platform where any publisher — big or small — can make huge waves in terms of brand awareness, and that means money, too. Take a look at ATTN:. The media company has nearly 100K Instagram followers. Their small team of five, dedicated solely to Instagram, has brought in an entirely new revenue stream from the platform — seeing growth in followers, interaction rate, and sponsorship. When done right, Instagram's a no-brainer to add to your marketing strategy. It's an easy way to gain influencers and eyeballs with a small(ish) team.

Companies Are Investing More in Instagram

While Snapchat is busy clinging on to relevance, we're seeing brands slowly begin to invest more in Instagram. Instagram has doubled its user growth in the past two years, just recently adding 100 million users in only four months. Much can be credited to the addition of the Snapchat-inspired feature called Instagram Stories, which has fueled growth + retention. At this point, nearly 100 million more people use Instagram Stories than Snapchat.

Instagram has officially hit 700 million monthly users.Source: TechCrunch

Aperol Spritz is a prime example of the ease with which you can garner Instagram success. The brand has increased how much it's been posting on its own Instagram, using both ads and organic content emphasizing their product with pretty photos and GIFs. As a result, its organic social engagement has increased 300% since January, driven by people tagging friends in comments. They've capitalized on a campaign called the "Aperol Brunch Society," which asks people to upload Instagram videos explaining why they should be the "chief brunch officer." As if we needed another reason to love brunch?

A beautiful example of the power of striking images.Source: Digiday

Engagement on Facebook tripled, sales increased by 45%, and everyone was happy. The question is: How do you leverage Instagram to do the same for your brand?

How to "Do" Instagram

It's important to not lose sight of the initial purpose of the platform: Share striking images. Once you've got that part down, ensure that your photos are relevant + branded. If you check out our Instagram at RebelMouse, you'll see tons of bright, beautiful images with insightful quotes that reflect our culture. We follow a simple strategy that can get you going in the right direction.

  1. Find beautiful images by searching hashtags on Instagram. When you find an image you like, take note of the original artist so you can credit the source back to them when you post. (Hint: Most Instagram users <3 photo cred.)
  2. Download apps. We're constantly experimenting with new photo editing and video apps like Snapseed + WeVideo. It's an easy, low-cost way to make your images look beautiful and professionally done, and, ultimately, shareable. There are always new apps to try every week, so don't just settle on one.
  3. Use the images you've found, and overlay them with a quotation and/or logo that reflects your brand.
  4. When you're ready to post, make sure to tag all relevant accounts. This means influencers, like-minded pages, and any potential sharing partners you can find. We have proprietary technology that fuels influencer search capabilities within RebelMouse.

Using RebelMouse, you can search for relevant Instagram accounts as you create content.

It's really as easy as that. You'll be amazed at the number of accounts that start finding your content + engaging with your brand. Instagram is fast, and it's easy. You don't need Adobe products or an entire team of designers to create beautiful, shareable content. And that's the beauty of it.

But remember: To really capitalize on the capabilities of the platform, you have to actually socialize. Interact, like, comment, and — the big one — follow. Here are some tips to help you find relevant influencers and gain new Instagram followers:

  • Search relevant hashtags. We are a social CMS, so we search for hashtags that relate to us. #social #smm #media #newmedia #uxdesign
  • Find influencers. If you're familiar with prominent figures in your industry, find them and follow them. Search for accounts they follow, and continue to find as many people to reach out to as possible.
  • Don't be afraid to follow many people. We aim for 200 a day here at RebelMouse. But follow strategically.
  • Direct message. Don't be shy — send a message. After all, who doesn't like to hear a friendly "hello"? Just be human. You'll start to see engagement and mentions of you increase.

RebelMouse Can Help Grow Instagram Followers

If you can't seem to move the needle on Instagram, we are more than just a CMS. We are also a creative agency with expertise in creating contagious media. With lean, multifunctional teams, we can help drive growth on Instagram and other social platforms.

Why RebelMouse Is the Best Content Marketing Platform

RebelMouse is a unique platform and company. The company was founded on the vision that media companies would need an always-modern solution to thrive in the new connected internet, and that brands would have to behave like new media companies and use the same platforms.

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Why Premium Creative Agencies and CTOs Choose to Develop on RebelMouse vs. WordPress and Drupal

The Intersection of Design and Development: Where Your Clients Thrive

We started RebelMouse seven years ago knowing that there was a fundamental design flaw in the world of traditional CMSs: Every instance, on every platform, had to be updated independently. It's similar to an era when users had to manage their own Microsoft Exchange Server for email. The costs of managing, maintaining, and iterating on a CMS to keep it awesome and world class is typically a $10 million-a-year endeavor. But even then, these cost-prohibitive CMSs are still behind the times.

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At RebelMouse, we've solved this in a very elegant way. At the core level of our platform, we can natively render different layouts and track the exact differences in performance when comparing a test to your other layouts.

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Create Modular + Reusable Design Patterns on RebelMouse

Content saturation is an industry-wide problem, and the e-commerce space is no exception given that it's filled with big brands, small Etsy stores, and everyone in between all fighting for similar audiences. The best way to fight this symptom is to understand your audience and provide them with what they want.

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Instagram-style E-commerce Features on RebelMouse

Revolutionizing E-commerce on RebelMouse

Whether you're a brand with a blog or a media company with a site, driving purchasing behavior and building an audience that uses your content to find things they love to buy is vital. We're very proud to have built out the same functionality that everyone is now used to on Instagram, with layovers on images that lead to products with attribution.

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Building Premium Communities and User Journeys on RebelMouse

RebelMouse is much more than just a replacement for a traditional CMS. Our platform is a tremendous community-building experience. Today's social ecosystem has given us a seemingly limitless number of premium creators who understand how to create gorgeous and relevant content that drives the growth of their own audiences. These creators and influencers are either experts in certain topics, or heavily engaged in targeted content that drives their interests. They're not only consuming the content they're passionate about, but they're contributing to the conversation, too. The new role of the editor is not just to cover the most important topics and people around their expertise, but also to invite those preferred influencers into their community and get them to participate in creating premium content.

Read our deck here...

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Dynamic Voting: Grow Traffic and Engagement Organically

Help your audience find its voice.

Creating quality content is no longer on marketers alone. We live in a universe of creators who are willing to not only consume content that resonates, but play a role in the creation, promotion, and conversations surrounding it.

Since the start of RebelMouse, we've been on a journey to create dynamic media that is easier for content creators to curate and amplify on social. It's why we've built an online engagement platform centered around the power of communities that thrive naturally in the digital ecosystem.

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How to Monetize Your Website in Today’s Publishing Environment

In order to define distributive publishing, we have to ask the following question: If you have quality content, but nobody sees it, does it even exist? The answer is no, because your content needs to be supported in a way that lets it move seamlessly across all channels, especially site, search, and social. But let's take this question a step further: If you can't monetize your content to generate the support it needs, how do you create quality content in the first place?

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New: Add Images to Sections Using Sections Dashboard

Choose a cover photo for each of your site's sections

It's important to make sure that your website structure is organized nicely, and this includes implementing a proper tagging system and section strategy. To make sure that every page on your website stands out, we've added the ability to add a cover photo to each of your sections in our Sections Dashboard. Here's how it works.

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Set up success on search with a detailed web schema

Since search took over Facebook as the top referral of web traffic a few years ago, the growth of Google hasn't let up. It's estimated organic and paid search accounts for 68% of all trackable website traffic, and, perhaps even more noteworthy, 53% of that traffic is fueled by organic search.

The revival of search has brought with it a maturation of what makes for a solid search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. The algorithm is now savvy about robotically written articles designed to win a specific set of keywords. As Google's search engine has gotten smarter, its web crawler software, casually called the "Googlebot," has also evolved in terms of how it indexes data.

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Facebook Offering Small Business Grants Program During COVID-19 Crisis

Program to provide $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for small businesses

Publishers big and small all over the globe are grappling with the financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Trying to find the right brand messaging in this unprecedented time is a balance that none of us have ever faced before.

We've developed a live-blog experience that's designed to maximize your potential on search. Keep your audiences up to date by the second as they turn to you for the latest news, updates, and guidance.

In an effort to help ease the strain on publishers, Facebook has announced a Small Business Grants program for publishers. The social network is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits during the crisis. The offer is available for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses across 30 countries.

More information on how to apply for the program is forthcoming. Click here to learn more and sign up for updates. Check out Facebook's COVID-19 Business Resource Hub here.

Live-Blog Feature: Publish Real-Time Updates + Maximize Search Performance

Make sure your audience never misses an update

Many organizations are facing communication challenges after the recent outbreak of COVID-19. With so much information available everywhere, it is harder than ever to control the message of your own audience.

At RebelMouse, we're constantly iterating on our platform to help you make your content as relevant as possible. In the current news environment, staying on top of breaking stories using live blogs is incredibly important.

We've implemented our own version of the live-blog experience that's designed to maximize your potential on search. We power this new functionality using WebSockets, which allows for near-instant updates.

The advantage of creating a live blog using RebelMouse is that we index each live-blog update for search so that you receive SEO credit for every single update. This means if one of your live-blog updates hits on a key search phrase, it can drive a lot of traffic from search. This is superior to the traditional way of doing live updates where it was simply embedded JavaScript loading posts.

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