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Social Media Friday: Instagram 101 by Devon Libran

Actor and Producer Devon Libran stopped by today to share Instagram 101 tips for new Instagram users or for people who are thinking of using the photo-sharing site for marketing or social networking. He provides really solid advice, and for anyone who has social media questions, please connect with him at @DevonLibran - Instagram, @DevLibran - Twitter
T.Lo: Thank you for stopping by. For the readers, what qualifies you as an expert on social media/Instagram?
Devon: Well, I'm far from an expert, but I definitely understand the importance of establishing your brand and generating a web presence. Nike, Coke, Fox, all these companies have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram so why shouldn't I? I'm mindful of my brand and am in the process of creating a solid web presence.

T.Lo: What is Instagram and why should people use it? 
Devon: Instagram or "IG" is an iPhone and Android based app that allows its users to share and post pictures and experiences instantly.
T.Lo: Why should people who want to use social media to market their products/services use Instagram?
Devon: Well first of all it's FREE. FREE promotion and an opportunity to get immediate feedback from your current consumer and potential consumers. At 11 million members strong, it's safe to say it is a "popular" app. With an almost 1200% growth over the past six months (I'm not going to even attempt to explain that math) anyone looking to grow their brand or promote their product or services should immediately link themselves with a brand (Instagram) that's growing and developing in and of itself. (Reference: http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-instagram-zuckerberg-growth-9-2012)
T.Lo: How can one gain a following on Instagram? 
Devon: Start posting! Take great pictures and share with people what you have going on. Promote your IG on other sites that you already have followers or friends on. Do your own mini "Press release" that might read something like "Attention Facebook and Twitter friends... I'm officially joining the world of Instagram" post some of your favorite pics that have been sitting in your phone and watch it grow!
T.Lo: What are some other tips you would like to share to fully utilize Instagram?
Devon: Find others in your industry who are already on Instagram. Often I will see a casting director, producer or director post a picture of a script they're working on or a casting notice, and I'll immediately have my agent or manager give them a call. Since most of these posts are happening real time, I'll know about a project before its available to the general public. 

#Hastags #Hashtags #Hashtags these are one of the biggest benefits of Instagram. If you attach some applicable Hashtags to your picture it is instantly shared with everyone else who has posted the same thing. For instance common Hashtags I use are #LALiving, #Acting #Blessed. From there I'll, click on others who have posted similar things and if their pictures catch my interest they now have a new follower.
T.Lo: Anything else you would like to add?
Devon: As with all social media sites, BE MINDFUL OF WHAT YOU POST. I know it may be tempting to post a picture of a dirty joke or a night of wild activities, but stop and ask yourself 3 things before posting.
  1. Is this helpful or hurtful to my brand?
  2. Is this picture relevant?
  3. What will this picture say about me good or bad?
There's no blanket statement or judgement for what one should or shouldn't post, but it's safe to say if you have to think longer than 3 seconds on any of these questions you probably shouldn't post. I'm guilty of this myself and as soon as I ask myself the first question I have already made a decision about whether or not this should be posted.

T.Lo: Thanks again, Devon, for sharing tips on how to use Instagram, and especially how artists can use the site to help with their careers! And to readers, don't forget to connect with him: @DevonLibran - Instagram, @DevLibran - Twitter

FAQ: How do I copyright my work?

Writers frequently ask me about how to protect their work, and here is my general advice:

  • The second you create something i.e. put words to paper, then you own the copyright to your work.
  • Ideas cannot be copyrighted. If you tell people, "I have this idea where a robot marries a woman!" That idea is not protected. However, you write it, and that story is yours. Does that mean people cannot write a story about a robot marrying a woman once you wrote yours? That's iffy. If they have a unique take, then that may be allowed. You'd have to talk to a lawyer for specifics. The main thing you should be concerned with then is your execution, not your idea, because if someone steals your execution then that is an actual legal problem.
  • If you write a story and someone steals lines/paragraphs then that is plagiarism and a violation of your copyright. This is rare, yet it happens, so even though you own the copyright, what are further ways for you to protect yourself from this theft?
    • If you have a script, register it through the WGA http://www.wgawregistry.org/webrss/regindex.html
    • If you have prose, register through the US Copyright Office http://www.copyright.gov/eco/
    • There is no need to use a third party to register your work. They'll just charge you unnecessary fees for something that would take you a few minutes to do at home.
    • Registering is voluntary, but if you have something that you are sending out and want to protect, then I recommend you register. 
For more in-depth copyright information, see the US Copyright Office's FAQ page:

Agree? Disagree? Is there something I missed? Leave me a comment and let me know. Thanks.