Instagram is not Facebook. And that’s OK.

Greetings social media marketing enthusiast! As a social media marketer, I’m spending a little time trying to convince small businesses and freelancers not to see Instagram as the new Facebook. I started the journey with this little gem entitled don’t make the same mistake with Instagram that you made with Facebook. This is the continuation of that conversation.

Instagram is not Facebook. And that’s OK.

In a lot of respects, Instagram is not a mature advertising market.

Instagram users don’t have an expectation of encountering advertising like they do with Facebook.

Firstly, the concept of advertising is newer on Instagram.

Secondly, Facebook has (until recently iterations) been incredibly text based. Instagram is more about the visual.

Your big photo advertising a course looks like a billboard on Instagram. Especially mixed in with beach shots, nice looking cake and pet photos.

Instagram is also a place where advertising has to be crafted towards the platform itself. It’s a place of capturing moments and visual story telling. It’s about lifestyle. And whether you plan to sell aspects of that lifestyle or simply show the behind the scenes of your operation is immaterial. Endearing your customers comes from making use of visual story, not advertising, to drive the connection.

Advertising will be slowly adopted and there are already some good and not so good examples of advertising in play on Instagram. Sharing what you are up to with quotes, advertising boards, event promotions and the like are already happening.

Many a download or ticket is being pushed by the “check the link in my profile” call to action. People are still scrambling to find who is using what scheduler and upload feature to make this happen.

But even through these kinds of mechanics and questions, Instagram still has a way to go to develop into a fully mature advertising platform. And with that, it means the audience will need time to adjust to the existence of advertising itself.

It’s still a big, beautiful scrapbook. So tread carefully.

No one enjoys the introduction of advertising on a small or large scale. Many a backlash and boycott has begun with a movement towards ads. Just ask Facebook!

Don’t invite or incite by stepping too heavily on the advertising land mines inherent with social media.

Early adoption is a social media marketer leg up

There’s one thing you can see commonly with social media platforms that generally holds true. If you think it’s going to take off, get in early.

This is beyond being the company that misses out on their preferred handle or comes late to the party. When you are first in line on social media and you’re willing to play and learn as you go, you enjoy better success.

By cracking the code and being the familiar face your customers see when they first arrive, you’ll gain early followers. In a lot of instances, being the brand that is brave enough to be on a platform early will get you early followers. Through algorithms and search patterns, you can be discovered easily.

Besides, you stand out when there is less competition. Community members are more willing in the early stages where the adventure is still fresh and the choice, limited.

Plus, you get added points for being seen as a pioneer. The fans and followers you didn’t expect can come from identifying your company as an early adopter. You receive kudos for being cool, unique and brave by being there.

But things start coming unstuck once the advertising moves in. They become further unstuck by the arrival of marketing by brands on mass. In fact, mass amounts of marketers tend to herald the decline of a platform. Marketers are uncool. We’re up there with the sign that reads “Oh no, the Baby Boomers just got here. Run!”

Often seen as locusts that strip out the original intent of a social media platform, good luck with younger audiences. You can probably expect the early adopters to be not just on a new platform, probably 3 platforms since. Youthful and tech savvy people are out like we’re the library monitors.

So growing a base of Instagram followers now won’t be as easy as when the platform first began. Nor should it be. It means you have to work for your following.

Next time I put my social media marketer hat on, we’ll be tacking interests versus identity in the end user in terms of Facebook and Instagram.

I hope you join me. It’ll be a hoot!

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