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Twitter vs Instagram in the Social Media Game
Should you have at least one or both? Why? And why isn’t Facebook a contender at all?
If you are a creative person it seems you must either already have a following pre-social media days (likely via an email list you began curating decades ago) or have a social media account that you are actively using to build and maintain a connection with an audience. If you’re like me and remember what life was like before the internet, then trying to keep up with all the latest social media platforms that come out can be daunting. I’ll go about as far as Twitter and Instagram but that is my limit. I can’t get into Snapchat, Tik Tok, or whatever other hot craze it out there that the young folk are using. I’m not all that old but I’m not all that patient either to be able to learn a new thing. I know my limitations.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around hashtags (when to use them, how to use them, and why the heck they are useful in the first place) but at least in that regard, I’m willing to learn.
And when I look at social platforms that are both useful/helpful to a writer, like me, and easy to use, it boils down to Twitter and Instagram. They likely have some of the highest daily usage by far of any other social media platform and they cater best to just sharing my work without having too many bells and whistles. I know they each have their own versions of short clips and things like that, but again, I’m willing to learn how to use them in time. Why? Because these platforms have been around the longest. And for me, I’d rather hang my hat on an old dog than a new thing. Something new might not last, especially if it’s competing against behemoths like Twitter and Instagram. It can be hard to break in when they already have practically everyone on the planet signed up and using them.
And it’s because there are so many active users it’s hard to deny why you’d want to have at least one, if not both, of these at your disposal. Me, personally, I do have both but I will say that I find Instagram to be a better place for me to spend my time.
In truth, neither of them are the best for self-promotion because they are both meant to be endless scrolling and because of this, it is easy for whatever I post to get lost in the void. Not to mention the wonky algorithm that all companies use these days that makes it harder and harder for someone like me, unwilling to spend money on advertising, to simply be seen by someone who has taken the extra step to actually FOLLOW me. Strange isn’t it, how I’ll see more “ads” these days on my feeds for both platforms than I will content from actual people I chose to follow. I know why that is, but the fact that they get away with it now more than ever before…
Aside from the many issues I have with these two social platforms, if you know how to play the game you can see some actual traction by simply using them often. And by often, I don’t mean posting multiple times a day about that book you launched and want someone to buy. That’s a sure-fire way to get unfollowed by me and others rather quickly. But before we get into the what to post of it all, let’s analyze which platform you should have, assuming you have neither and if you have both, which should get the majority of your time, should you have any to spare.
An endlessly scrolling platform means your tweet can easily go unnoticed by your followers.
It can help to include an image or gif. Clickable link. Something that makes your tweet stand out amongst the rest of someone’s timeline. This can be tricky.
Again, don’t spam just what you’re selling. Be personal and communicative in your tweets.
Better suited, these days, for someone who is looking to have longer conversations. The addition of threading your tweets together makes sharing even easier. I love stopping to check out a person’s thread, provided the opening lines hook me.
Hashtags are very important and can work to get you seen by the right groups of people if you use the right hashtags. This is key.
HASHTAG SUGGESTION: Make a list of viable hashtags for both Instagram and Twitter. You may need to have separate lists. This way you can copy/paste them at the end of your posts a lot easier than having to type them out each and every time.
It’s all about the image! If you don’t have an image that is going to catch someone’s attention, don’t bother posting it.
Again, don’t spam!
A sequence of images that tell a story as a person scrolls can be inviting and personal if done right and can garner LIKES as well as FOLLOWS and even the occasional comment.
Share photos of yourself. Nature. But enough with the food! If you must share your meal, make it a part of your sequence of photos. Not a stand-alone. Unless food is what your entire ‘gram is about…
It’s all in the description section. Nowadays, ‘grammers are writing entire stories in the description area. Before we were keeping it simple, but now we put it all in there. And stopping to read what you have to say is becoming more and more popular.
Don’t forget hashtags! The right hashtag can bring a lot of interactions with your post.
Unlike Twitter, your Instagram post doesn’t allow for clickable links within the post. More often than not you’ll be directing anyone who sees your post to your BIO to click on that link.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINK SUGGESTION: Might I suggest getting yourself a Linktree account or something just like it? This way you can update links within your Linktree and not constantly have to update across all your social media platforms.
If taking photos or creating square images in Canva is something you feel comfortable and willing to do, I suggest getting Instagram and continuing to use it over Twitter. The main reason for me is the eye-catching imagery that comes with Instagram that you just don’t get with Twitter. I very rarely will stop short in Twitter from glancing at someone's tweet as I do a speedy scroll. What will always stop me is an image. Or a thread (in Twitter's case).
Now, about Facebook. You’ll notice I didn’t include them in this “social media game” post and that was intentional. For one thing, Facebook owns Instagram. I didn’t want to include them “twice” in this instance. For another, as algorithms go, they are the biggest user of it. Intentionally blocking posts by users from their followers and even their friends in order to give precedent to those who pay. Yeah, I’m not about that at all. There was a time I could follow and be friends with someone on Facebook and only see their posts on my Facebook “wall” but now that isn’t the case. It’s become harder and harder for me to just see the posts from people I care about. No matter how many groups I leave, pages I unlike/unfollow. Doesn’t matter. There is no cleaning the mess they have created and until they do, I can’t see using Facebook as a means to build an audience. Now, I will say Facebook can be a viable place to direct your already built audience to a Page or a Group. A place for them to connect with you (Page) and with each other (Group). But as a place to grow? You gotta pay to play and I’ve heard it’s just not worth it.
What is your Twitter handle? Instagram? How often do you post on either? What makes you more likely to stop and read someone’s Twitter or Instagram post?
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