When social media platforms are so similar, what are they really for?
Author: Alan Richardson
I found myself this morning making a statement that summarised what I thought the fundamental difference was between Twitter and Instagram.
“Twitter is for sharing links to content. Instagram is for sharing content.”
Clearly that is too wild a summary but at a fundamental level…
- Twitter allows you to share content that has clickable links and therefore can be used as a call to action
- Instagram is for sharing content on-platform and not expecting people to click off
When you scroll through your Instagram feed on your mobile device you see:
- an image
- about 40 chars of text
- two comments
This means that your content is really the image.
If you can write a compelling 40 char description then you might be lucky enough to click through to the description you write.
From most of the comments it is rare that you will be able to tell if people have read the description or not. Mostly you will assume they have not because the comments are often very generic.
You have only one clickable link - in your profile. And most people do not click through to your profile to click on your profile link.
Instagram is really for sharing content that lives in an image.
Most brands use this for making their brand personal, by including pictures of people, because people buy from people.
When you scroll through your Twitter feed. Everyone now uses images. And the images often get in the way of the content.
- too often the images have no relation to the content
- the images themselves don’t explain the content or act as a call to action for click through
- the content is really the 280 char post
- the post has clickable links, and people do click on them
- hashtags are for extending your content reach, if you put them in the middle or at the start of your tweet you obscure your call to action
Instagram vs Twitter
- Twitter is for links you want people to click, or share.
- Instagram is for pictures you want people to ’like’ or ‘comment’ on.
That is clearly an over simplification because you can do pretty much the same thing on each platform but your call to action strategy on both platforms needs to be different.
- put the call to action in the first few characters.
- put most of the information in the image,
- use the description to stress the benefits behind the call to action
Instagram is great for promoting a single product over a long period of time.
Twitter, you can do the same thing as Instagram, but your call to action in the text needs to be succinct and strongly written.
Both platforms are very useful but your strategy on both needs to be different.
Facebook vs LinkedIn vs Twitter
In the past I’ve used Facebook and Linked in as ‘my content’ promotion. But lately I’ve started to use them to curate content as well and this has helped increase engagement.
So now… Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all look very similar. I use them for mostly the same things.
- sharing links to my content
- sharing links to other people’s content
- hashtags for extended reach
The differences are that on Facebook I also upload videos. Twitter and Linkedin I link to videos.
I amend the descriptions to suit each platform:
- Twitter: succint and punchy
- LinkedIn: business like
- Facebook: whatever I feel like
The edges are blurring
The boundaries between each platform are blurring.
Try to create native content for each platform if you can.
I do not share everything on all platforms. But somelinks I do send to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Instagram is primarily created content, rather than curated content.
Platforms need to be evaluated on the basis of:
- their technical capabilities
- the user experience when used on both mobile devices and desktop
- the social ’norms’ of the platform
- what you prefer to experience on each platform
I try to concentrate on a few platforms where I get most engagement, but I never forget the other platforms because - if people are there, then understand, I want to make them aware, of my brand.
Have you tried our free online Twitter Client Chatterscan.com? Designed for identifying shareable content on twitter quickly.