Featured News, Marketing Advice, Social Media & Community Management

Don’t make the same mistake with Instagram you made with Facebook

October 24, 2015


Instagram has become popular. OK, it was already popular. Artists, fashion lovers, travellers, fitness fanatics and any form of foodie you could imagine had this puppy down.

It’s now a popular form of social media marketing. Now the marketers have decided that because Facebook’s reach is dwindling, now is a great time to jump onto Instagram.

I’d like to apologise in advance on behalf of the social media marketing industry. A lot of the time, we know not what we do. 

Are you wondering why marketers are so interested now? Well, you’ve probably heard the Facebook reach conversations floating about. About how it’s impossible to get noticed on Facebook (those bastards and their monetisation ploys!).

There’s talk about abusive Twitter and Facebook. And that the kids have packed up and left, so it’s only the older demographics left. Immunity and undesirability get thrown about.

And let’s not talk about poor old GooglePlus, who despite having half a billion users is apparently dead. People have been pouring dirt on that guy for at least 4 years.

Marketers have gotten frustrated with their current social media toys and are looking for a new playground.

Most marketers will feel a little nervy about the close focus I’m placing on the self examination in the process but here goes:

How do we balance between the desire to get the social media message out with the inevitable ruin of the platform?

Let me put it another way.

Let’s not suck the life out of Instagram by turning it into the Facebook alternative. Here’s a three part blog series on how we might be able to avoid that.

Yes- in 3 parts! I am that determined to save it from muddy marketing paws because I quite enjoy Instagram.

So let’s get into it, shall we?

Remember community 101

Online communities pre-date Facebook. The used to be a lot less visual and in the form of bulletin boards, MUDs (a form of online Dungeons and Dragons- don’t judge me!) and IRC. You see, connecting up with people via text and taking on online personas has been around a long time.

Leaving the online world alone for a second, communities in some form have always been around. We rely on them for information exchange, to help us define ourselves and for the connectivity we crave. When we’ve plonked them on the computer, we’ve given them the name of social media. And become so inspired by the application of social media to marketing, forgotten the principles behind it.

Your online community is an amplification of the real world.

Even trolls are jerks with a touch of disinhibition and their jerktitude amped up by 10x (or 100x depending on the jerk).

Nothing new here.

Except maybe the sassy name of social media.

That’s where it tends to fall down.

You see, we all do our community thing. We share things across neighbourhoods. Our communities are formed via sporting affiliations and general interests. We use religion, ethnic and cultural markers. Gender, sexuality and even what we eat can define part of the community we belong to.

Think about communities and how important they are. The local butcher wouldn’t come to do a presentation at the vegan society AGM. He or she knows that community won’t be sold.

Nor will your community be sold on dragging Facebook thinking into Instagram.

You see, we are more than the demographic information chosen as a focal point by marketers. We’re a tapestry. What we display one one social media is given context by the platform. And by the audience, intent and content. It’s more about you, your content and the user base attitudes changing than one platform replacing another.

Always remember your community chooses different platforms for different reasons. The same person who is a member of the vegan society could also be a member of a rugby union fan club. What they expect and want from their rugby union experience can be extremely different to what they expect and want from the vegan society. So too can be what they want from seeing you in action on Facebook versus to what they want on Instagram.

They use the platforms differently and at different times. Repeating your content may not go down as well as you think.

Don’t assume that just because the same follower follows you on a different social media that they’ll put up with the same experience.

Think about it. Would you keep switching channels on the TV and want to see the same program just shorter or longer?  Even if you were a fan, you’d want some choice.

Avoid boring, annoying and ultimately alienating your current Instagram fans. You’ve decided to swap focus between the two social media platforms. That doesn’t mean your customers want to have a Facebook user experience.

In the next instalment, we compare notes on Instagram and Facebook in terms of their abilities as an advertising platform. Stay tuned!

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