A Review of Instagram and Twitter. What type of platforms are they, what do users go to each for, and how can you leverage that knowledge to build your brand’s accounts.

Instagram and Twitter might appeal to the same audience, but they distinctly have their own unique purpose. For those of us who belong to Generation Z, people born between the years 1995-2012, this is not some insightful breakthrough. We are the most active users of Instagram and Twitter and are well aware that we do not scroll through Instagram for the same reasons that we scroll through Twitter, usually. However, many big businesses have failed to acknowledge this difference, making their communication strategies less effective and leaving consumers uninterested in their message.

(Photo from healthista.com)

Big companies and organizations aren’t the only ones using social media to promote themselves though. In fact, many people within the Millennial and Gen Z generations have found that social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, easily enable those with an entrepreneurial vision to jump-start their own businesses. Consumers nowadays are more receptive to buying from local producers and small startups as technology and social media make it an effective and easy process to connect with sellers from all across the globe, not just those with multi-million dollar brands.

Kitty Cake Slime began as a small startup in 2018, and is now one of the best selling luxury slime brands. (Photo from @kittycakeslime on Instagram).

As a result, college students in particular have begun to try and turn their hobbies and passions into a profitable business. From reselling shoes, to custom designing clothes, making jewelry, or creating art, college students have found they can use Instagram and Twitter to reach an entire market of potential customers and help offset their ever increasing loans, or at least pay for their next couple Chipotle visits.

How does one communicate and interact with consumers best though through these platforms? It turns out, there’s a pretty common “formula for success” on each platform. Below are the key points to consider when trying to make the most effective account for your business, determined from analysis and reviews of dozens of accounts on both platforms.

Instagram is all about the aesthetic, so users go on here to see visually pleasing content. Some of the biggest pages are “foodie,” travel, and fashion accounts (excluding influencer and celebrity pages). To be successful on this platform:

  • Focus on providing interesting, beautiful, artsy, and captivating content. This should be your primary goal when posting with blatant product promotion being secondary.
  • Heavily share user generated content and regram photos from actual consumers.
  • Use humorous, clever, or punny captions. This makes your posts more memorable, gives your brand a personality, and creates a positive touchpoint in consumers’ minds.
  • Utilize the story feature, both the temporary one as well as pinned stories.
  • Have an engaging bio. Use this space to highlight what it is that makes your business unique, what you value and how they shapes what you do, or even just its mission.

Twitter, on the other hand, focuses on the message more so than the visual appeal. Users go on here for two primary purposes: for a good laugh, as Twitter is often the birthplace of “internet culture” and out-there content thrives on this platform, or for updates about what is going on in the world, as events are mentioned and referenced during live time. To utilize Twitter most effectively:

  • Embrace internet culture and find ways to incorporate it with your products or company in a unique way.
Oreo embraced the “Storm Area 51” trend and found a fun way to tie it into their product. Making their post, product, and brand relevant in the discussion. (Photo from @Oreo on Twitter).
  • Establish a clear brand identity and turn it into a person. This makes people feel like they’re following a friend rather than a company. (Just look at Wendy’s and how they’re known for being that sassy, quick-on-their-feet account)
  • Twitter’s platform setup allows for tons of interaction between users and posts. Get users engaged with your page through polls, encouraging them to share their thoughts on topics or products with comments, or even encourage them to respond to a live tweet in order to receive a product or discount.
  • Highlight events you’re doing, news about the business, or activism by sharing articles or stories.
  • Simple, clever character tweets tend to be more common than a bunch of picture of gif posts on many of the most popular accounts.

Although there is no true formula for success, following these guidelines can really help you tailor your business’ accounts to the platform you’re promoting with. Remember that Twitter and Instagram are unique in design and purpose. Although their audiences overlap, don’t let your content. What you post on Instagram probably isn’t what’s best suited to post on Twitter and vice versa.

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