Today we are going to settle the eternal debate: which platform is better for small businesses, Twitter or Instagram?
Whether you are an influencer, artist, model, photographer, coach or someone who runs a product or service-based business, I will cover the benefits and challenges of both platforms.
To start off, Instagram is a visual-based platform that incorporates text, and Twitter is a text-based platform that incorporates photos. What does this mean? When you open up Instagram, you are more likely to see photos, when you open Twitter, you are more likely to see text.
Twitter has a character limit of 280 characters, while Instagram caps off at 2,200 characters per post. So Twitter is great for short quips, and Instagram works well for micro-blogging or long-form captions.
On Twitter, you can post up to 4 photos at a time, as opposed to 10 on Instagram.
Twitter is extremely fast-paced, with the lifespan of a tweet sitting at 18 minutes (an Instagram post has a lifespan of 19 hours). This means that content posted to Twitter needs to be easily digestible within a quick glance, in order to not get drowned out by the constant stream of updates. This also makes the app a go-to for trending content, real-time information, and news updates. In fact, 71% of Twitter users say they use the app to get their news.
The lifespan of a Tweet is 18 minutes, the lifespan of an Instagram post is 19 hours
Instagram, on the other hand, makes every effort to keep its users on the platform. One of the ways they do this is by allowing no clickable links in the user’s feed. In order to click a link and exit the app, a user will have to put a link in their bio or as a swipe up in a story (this feature is only accessible to users with 10k+ followers). This might be seen as a barrier to some brands that want to plug their websites directly in-feed. Twitter allows direct links in tweets.
Instagram also automatically compresses images uploaded to the platform, degrading the quality. This has caused many photographers to flock to Twitter, which offers 4k resolution photos.
Another complaint about Instagram is how few users are reached by each individual post. In order to optimize reach, users must use Instagram Insights to find their ideal posting window, post consistently, write an engaging caption, research hashtags in their niche and engage with other users. Even when all these steps are finished, users may still find that their reach is less than half of the number of followers they have. This has caused many creators to feel confused about the algorithm and feel frustrated with the platform.
Twitter, on the other hand, has a lot of viral potential. On Instagram, posts can be shared to stories, but stories typically have only a tiny percentage of the views that in-feed posts do. On Twitter, retweets are shown in feed, alongside a user’s own content. On twitter, someone with 10 followers could make a powerful statement and be retweeted 100,000 times. However, if you compare the average rate of views to engagement, Instagram users are more likely to engage with a post than Twitter users.
Twitter has viral potential, regardless of follower count.
As a small business, the most important thing is closing the sale. Brand authority and recognition are essential to turning a follower into a client. One of the best ways to do this is through the Know, Like, and Trust factor. On Twitter, it can be difficult for a potential customer to feel like they know your brand when your page is a mix of original content and retweets. Your work is mixed in with other’s work, whereas on Instagram, your profile is a clear representation of your portfolio.
Instagram features like stories give followers a sense of connection with the users they follow, especially when using features like the question box. They can share BTS and personal content in the stories, to which followers can reply and a DM conversation can be started, which builds a sense of community. The stats support this point, with the average percent of visitors received by websites from Instagram coming in at 3.9% and Twitter coming in at 0.3%.
Average percent of visitors received by websites from: Instagram = 3.9%. Twitter = 0.3%.
At the end of the day, you know your ideal customer better than anyone. Go where they are. Instagram and Twitter both have unique advantages and challenges. You will succeed on the platform you like the best and feel the most comfortable on. Stats are helpful information, but they don’t speak for everyone, so listen to your intuition and personal needs, assessing your strengths and weaknesses. The good news is, often content can be repurposed and used for both platforms!
My personal conclusion: Twitter is a great platform to get seen, Instagram is a great platform for connection.
Leave a comment below letting me know which platform you prefer. And feel free to check out my Instagram and Twitter. Or click here to read my blog post on the 5 Best Apps to create active and engaged Instagram followers.
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