I would like to start off by making a clear (and what I think is obvious) statement: Instagram isn't like Facebook. Yes, Facebook owns Instagram. Yes, you can share you Instagram photos directly to Facebook. Yes, Instagram will allow you to see which of your Facebook friends are on Instagram. But, please understand that none of this means that Instagram and Facebook are the same thing.
And the people who are treating Instagram like Facebook are the ones who complain that it doesn't work. The people who use a Facebook strategy and Facebook content on Instagram are driving their audience crazy and themselves crazy when they realize it isn't working.
So, stop. Take a look. And realize that Instagram isn't like Facebook.
You know those people who post memes and photo after photo on LinkedIn? Yeah, they don't get it. And it annoys you. You know those people who dump tons of hashtags on their Facebook posts. They don't get it either. And what about those people who link their Facebook and Twitter accounts so that their tweets always get cut off for being too long. That's right. They don't get it.
Instagram is its own, unique, specialized, and awesome site. It's not like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat, or any other site. Yes, there may be some similarities between multiple sites, but they are all their own - for a reason!
We don't need two Facebooks, two Twitters, or two of anything else. Each site has its own identity. And Instagram is no exception.
So, please stop using your Facebook content and strategy on Instagram. It won't work!
Let's clear up a few things to get you using Instagram correctly.
Instagram Is Not About Memes
It's about images. Not memes. Yes, if you want to put a funny caption on one of your images, please do so. But don't take a funny meme that got a ton of likes on Facebook and put it on Instagram.
Instagram Is Not About Motivational Quotes
Do you have a beautiful image that would tie really well to a motivational quote? Good, then use an app to put the quote over your own unique image. But just putting a random quote on a colored background is not what Instagram is about.
Instagram Is Not About Stealing Google Images
Oh, you found some awesomely hilarious or super cute image on Google? And, of course, you shared it to Facebook and everyone thought it was great. So you shared it to Instagram too.... Please, stop doing this. Instagram is about creating your own content, not stealing images from Google (not that you should even be doing this on Facebook, but that's a whole other conversation).
Instagram Is Not About Link Dumping
The only clickable link on Instagram is the one in your bio. Putting links in your post comments doesn't direct viewers anywhere so stop putting them there! If you want someone to go to a link, make it relevant, short, and easy to remember. Otherwise, direct them to the link in your bio - which should take them directly where you want them to go.
Instagram Is Not About Games
Call me a purist, but I love that Instagram is just about sharing photos (and videos) with your audience. There's no algorithm to beat. No tricks to increase reach. No wondering where your content will appear in a feed. It's not about games or gaming the system.
Instagram Is Not About Sharing Everyone Else's Content
Sure, on Facebook, you want to be a resource and share other relevant content with your audience - and you should. But Instagram doesn't work like that. Yes, you can benefit from using User Generated Content or you can occasionally repost someone else's post using a third party app. But your Instagram account is about you and your business, not everyone else's content. So don't fill your feed with other people's posts. Be creative and use your own.
Instagram Is All About the Images
Sure, you can add a caption or comment or include a CTA or put text on your image. But, Instagram is about the image. Your image should be the message. Create quality photos or graphics that can stand on their own and don't require a short novel for a description. People are here to look at images, not read your 3 paragraph promotional content.
Instagram Is All About Being Unique and Creative
No offense to Facebook, but very little content there is unique. The same stories get reshared over and over. The same content gets regurgitated by all your friends - and even the pages your follow. Instagram isn't about that. It's all about creating your own message, your own stories, your own content, and your own voice.
Instagram Is All About Hashtags
You've heard me say it before, I don't like hashtags. But I love them on Instagram. And hashtags on Instagram are exceptionally beneficial. But these don't translate well to Facebook. If you're going to share you Instagram images to Facebook, share the image with a regular caption and then add the hashtags in a subsequent comment on the Instagram post. This way your hashtags don't show up on Facebook and drive everyone crazy.
Instagram Is All About the Relationships
Sorry to break it to you, but your Instagram post isn't likely to go viral. That's not what it's about. If you want that, head back to Facebook, try really hard, cross your fingers, do a rain dance, say some prayers, promote the crap out of your content - and then let me know how "viral" it went. 😉 Instead, Instagram is about relationships. It's about connecting with people in a genuine, honest, and real way. It's about having conversations - not one way conversations either. If you don't believe me, ask anyone who has seen great success on Instagram. They'll tell you, it's all about relationships.
On that note, all social media sites should be about relationships. And those of you doing it right, are doing this. But let's face it, we don't see as much of that anymore.
And I am not naive. I am well aware that people are trying to exploit Instagram. There are those trying to get more followers by tagging or mentioning other people. Many participate in follow-for-follow practices. Many buy Instagram followers.
And many people make the mistakes I've mentioned above.
And some may see some temporary success. It may look like they've got it figured out. But I promise you that if you treat Instagram like Facebook, or any other social media site, you're not going to get optimal results. Focus on using Instagram for what it is and you can see big results!