August 11, 2014

Whenever I speak to people about Instagram marketing, one of the first things they usually ask me is why Instagram isn't designed for marketers. Or something similar, like: when will it be more marketer friendly?

Here's the thing, Instagram isn't designed for marketers. It's designed for the average user.

And I'm totally ok with that. In fact, I actually applaud Instagram for this.

You have to appreciate that Instagram has changed very little since their early days. Yes, they've improved things and added some features. But the vast majority of these changes were to improve the user experience. And all of the changes have stayed in line with the original design of Instagram.

Instagram has stayed true to who they are and what they offer. And when you think about the fact that they are owned by Facebook, it's even more impressive that they haven't changed much over the years.

But even beyond this, I still applaud the simplicity and non-marketer design of Instagram.

Think about this: if they started allowing clickable links in post comments, what do you think would happen to Instagram? Seriously. It would turn into a link dumping, spam-aholic, annoying cesspool of marketer crap - like every other social media site.

Ok, that's a little extreme, I know. But in all reality, if anyone could just dump links into comments and captions, the "bad" marketers would go crazy using Instagram in all the wrong ways. Not only would this frustrate the "good" marketers but it would annoy the crap out of the actual Instagram users. Admit it, you'd be annoyed. And if people get annoyed, they stop using the platform...

So, rather than complaining about not having clickable links, I embrace this process and work to get quality results from my Instagram account. And you can too. You just have to try a little harder than you do on other sites.

And when people complain about not being able to upload from a computer, I sympathize. But, Instagram is - and was designed as - a mobile app. It's meant for uploads of your mobile images. I know, you want to upload your images you've edited on your computer, and your graphics you've created. But if this is the content you want to share, then you're going to have to take a few extra steps.

This may not be marketer "friendly", but again, it discourages blatant misuse of the platform by "bad" marketers just trying to flood an account with irrelevant content. And that means those of us doing it right get better interactions and results.

And I also like to point out that Instagram is actually fairly marketer "friendly" in a variety of ways.

First of all, there's no Edgerank or other system in place to determine what people see. Everyone of your followers who comes to Instagram around the time you post will see your post. And posts on Instagram actually live longer. Your gallery is easy to scroll through and visitors can see every post. Unlike Facebook which, by default, only shows "Highlights" it deems worth sharing in your page history (you can select to view all stories, but most of your fans aren't going to do this).

The one thing I would really love from Instagram is a scheduling tool. I know, Instagram is supposed to be "instant" - duh, it's called "insta"gram! And as much as I appreciate this, a scheduling tool would be awesome. Even if just to space out posts by 30 or 60 minute intervals so as not to flood a stream.

But, if they provided a scheduling tool, many people would schedule posts on Monday, let's say, for the week and then likely not be as active on their account during the week. This practice doesn't promote engagement, conversations, and the relationships Instagram is so popular for. So, I get it. But I still want it 😉

I've written extensively about best practices for using Instagram for marketing and I've shown how it can be done successfully. If you haven't read those posts, please navigate through the other Instagram posts I've shared for more information and tips.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. I absolutely love Instagram for the same reasons you summarize in your article Jenn! Your articles have really helped me improve my posts! I also REALLY wish there was a schedule tool! But until then…

    1. I’m so glad you feel the same way, Shannon! And I’m happy to hear you’re finding my posts helpful 🙂

  2. I’m hooked on Instagram and love how communal it can be. Follow whoever you want, engage in conversation, like photos, and make new connections. I do follow a few fitness profiles and notice they can be a bit salesy with the product shoutouts and profile mentions. That’s a milder, more tolerable form of marketing, but I very much appreciate the profiles that contribute as a form of marketing. Just like the profession of attorneys, marketers are notorious at finding ways to exploit and abuse. Let’s hope it’s later than sooner.

  3. Do you have a list of blocked hashtags. ( The ones that aren’t so obvious like #instagram #iphone #photography etc

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