5 Ways Instagram Is Different

I started using Instagram in late 2014 for the simple purpose of learning how it works and why it’s become so popular. What got my attention is that Instagram passed Twitter for the number of monthly active users (MAU) using the service. Along the way, through teaching the Digital Marketing class at GA and using Instagram almost every day, I’ve found that Instagram is different in some very specific ways from other social channels like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Linkedin.
Here are five ways that Instagram is different than other social channels.
  1. Instagram starts with the image, obviously, since it’s an image sharing service. But this distinction makes Instagram stand out, because on any other social network you can share all you like without any image (not recommended). But on Instagram, it’s all about the visual. That’s the reason Facebook paid $1 billion for Instagram: the killer app within Facebook is – and has always been since it was “The Facebook” at Harvard – the images.
  2. The key to getting engagement on Instagram is to share an exclusive image that nobody else will be able to see, as opposed to a meme that’s raging around the interwebz. That’s part of the impetus for Instagram’s #WHP weekend hashtag projects. They’re prompting users to find and take pictures of things that are unique, that most other people would never see, except on Instagram.
  3. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn all recommend that we keep our posts short, specifically under 100 characters, because people don’t read long form social media posts (generally). On the other hand, Instagram recommends that users tell a brief story using about 200 words, almost a mini-blog post, about the image that you’ve shared.
  4. Twitter has many studies showing that using more than 2 hashtags sends your engagement down the tubes. Instagram recommends that we use at least three hashtags, though they do limit you to no more than thirty (30!) hashtags.
  5. While it’s ok to tag people tag people on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ (I’ve inquired with LinkedIn as to why they don’t have a method of tagging people…no reply), there are limits to the number of people you can tag on Twitter (10) and Facebook (50), there are no limits to the number of people you can tag on an Instagram post (if you can find any, please ping me, because I couldn’t).

I’m still using Instagram, along with 300,000,000 millenials who are no longer using Facebook because their parents (that’s me) are on Facebook. What I like best about using Instagram is the simplicity of sharing an image, and also sharing that image across other social channels. I do wish that Twitter would allow full integration of Instagram photos, but alas…

What do you think about that?

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