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Digital trend

Why I love Instagram (and why Macmillan should love it too)

In this listicle Macmillan Social Media Officer, Alice Hajek talks about why Instagram is her favourite social media network and the opportunities that #throwbackthursdays and #motivationalmonday posts can provide an organsation.

Instagram boasts 300 million active monthly users worldwide. Despite this rather large figure, it is a relatively new social platform for many brands. At Macmillan, we only got into the Instagram swing of things last April when our follower base stood at 3000 people. 10 months later, and with 12,000 new followers, we are starting to establish Instagram as an integral social media platform at Macmillan.

Here are five reasons why I love Instagram (and why Macmillan should love it too).

1. It’s pretty

I love how anyone can make average photographs look great. Of course, I don’t have this problem because all my photos are brilliant… Whether it is a photo of your spiralised courgetti, the sunset from your office (the number of times our digital and PR teams have grammed the sunset over Battersea Power Station must be in the thousands) or our fantastic fundraisers – it’s easy to make your pictures look good. What more could you want?

healthy food image macmillan fundraisers vauxhall sunset

2. Engagement is high

As Facebook cuts the reach of brand pages considerably, the amount of likes and comments on Macmillan’s Instagram posts can sometimes outperform those on our Facebook page. When you consider that Macmillan has 600,000+ likes on Facebook and 15,800 followers on Instagram, this shows just how strong the engagement is on Instagram and the high percentage of followers that we are reaching with our content. It highlights Instagram as a key social channel for Macmillan.

On my personal account, it’s all about the 11 like threshold. If the names of those who liked it are still visible (you need 11 likes to go from names to numbers) you might as well admit defeat and take the post down – #embarrassing.

10 likes vs. 11 likes

3. The younger audience

We have noticed that some of our followers are quite young. There are a lot of usernames full of kisses and ending in years of birth such as ‘04 and ‘05. We know this young audience is not really Macmillan’s target demographic but it is great that we are able to reach them this way. Are they taking in our messages in the 0.02 seconds it takes to double tap (like) a photo, who knows? But at least they know we exist.

However, this is the extreme end of the scale. From what we can see we’re reaching lots of people in their late teens, twenties and thirties as well as our usual Macmillan supporters. I must admit, the younger audience is definitely more useful for Macmillan than for me personally. It can be quite hard to contain my jealousy as my younger sister and cousins receive more likes than me…

4. Recent updates

We can now flick between different Instagram accounts without having to log in and out. YAY! This means it is a whole lot easier to go between my personal account and the Macmillan account, oh and the account my sister and I set up for our dog Angus over Christmas…

Instagram has also announced that we will soon be able to see how many times people have viewed our videos, which will be great for analysis and evaluations. Instagram are still behind Facebook and Twitter in terms of their analytic offering so we are quite excited about this update. They will be rolling the new feature out over the next couple of weeks.

5. Instagram content is the best (in my opinion)

There are lots of clichés on Instagram. Wanderlust photos, motivational quotes, throwback Thursday pics, dogs in fancy dress, cats in fancy dress, random items spread out on the most pristine white tables you’ve ever seen, but I love them all. And luckily lots of them can work for Macmillan.

We’ve shared a pug in a Macmillan t-shirt, motivational quotes from our case studies, throwback Thursday photos, minions up mountains, healthy recipes and cat coffee mornings, to name just a few. And there’s more we can do. We’re still experimenting with what works well but it is an exciting place to be right now.

pug minion quote

You can Follow Macmillan on Instagram here.

Parallax – the supervillain or the rising digital design trend…?

Sorry you potential comic book nerds (like me) but I meant the rising trend of Parallax scrolling on websites.

Although this technique has been around for a while 2013 has seen an explosion of this style/effect as a rising digital marketing trend amongst website design and interaction particularly in businesses promoting a specific product or service via a microsite.

What is Parallax scrolling I hear you ask?

From Wikipedia: “Parallax scrolling is a special scrolling technique in computer graphics, wherein background images move by the camera slower than foreground images, creating an illusion of depth”

This is basically a technique that uses a combination of multiple layers of information showcased through text and images. These clusters of organized information are given different speeds to create the effect of movement and 3 dimensional depth.

History of Parallax scrolling

Though the name can be mistaken for the DC comics arch nemesis of Green Lantern, the concept of Parallax scrolling actually dates back to the 1980’s in the age of 8 bit video games.

A great example would be the much loved Super Mario Bros – this game was one that followed the early concept of Parallax scrolling in an interactive environment.


But as with all Technology it has evolved through the introduction and implementation of the latest technologies like HTML5 & CSS3, where web designers & developers alike are utilizing this old school technology into a new school way to interact with the user.

Did you know?

The term Parallax, is derived from the Greek word “παράλλαξις” (Parallaxis), which means “Alteration“.

Is it a great tool that can be used on any site?

No and yes. Like any tool it has the potential to be over used which can end up as a digital marketing disaster but if used in the right (and minimalistic manner) it can provide a great method of interactive story telling that can engage your target audience in consuming the relevant information in a structured way that you control.

Though it may not fit well within a site that is content & information heavy it can be used subtly via limiting the Parallax effect to a certain component on a otherwise static page i.e a home page slider plugin.

And like all online tools that need to be considered for mobile usage first it must be flexible and ‘responsive’, but alas that is another blog post in itself!


I leave you with these examples of Parallax scrolling:


This one is quite interesting and minimalistic: http://www.tedxguc.com/#

I hope you enjoyed this post, if you have any further questions drop me a line and of course feel free to let me know what you thought of this article in the comments box below.

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