Move over Pinterest; Instagram is the new social media darling! Started as a simple photo sharing app that gave its users a dozen or so ways to make their smart phone pictures appear more creative, artsy, and professional(ish), Instagram has become a powerful brand-building tool as well.

But not everything is coming up (Amaro-filtered) roses with Instagram. This post looks at many of the ways Instagram is the greatest social media platform, and all the ways it still needs to improve.

Instagram also has introduced sponsored content, a feature currently available only for big brands. How you use Instagram and your general feelings about ads are the biggest deciding factors in your opinion on the sponsored images we currently see. If you are a brand, the possibility to sponsor your images is a plus. If you are the average consumer, you may be wishing you had one ad-free profile to enjoy.

While you ponder your true feelings about ads on Instagram, here are some cut-and-dry pros and cons.

Instagram is the Best and Worst Social Media Platform

Why Instagram is Awesome

  • Engagement on Instagram blows all the other platforms out of the water Connecting with your customers and building a community around your brand are the things social media dreams are made of! Instagram makes this possible. It’s important to note, however, that double-tapping-as-you-scroll is by far the simplest way for someone to engage with a social media update, all platforms considered.
  • It’s visual and people like pretty pictures People also like seeing what you are all about, even if you are a business using Instagram to grow your brand. Photos = a deeper connection with your audience.
  • It makes it easy to auto-post to other platforms You can connect your Instagram account to other social media accounts like your Facebook profile, Facebook fan page, Twitter account, and Tumblr blog, and can make the choice to post a photo to any of those on a photo-by-photo basis.
  • Hashtags work (and work amazing well) Hashtags are clickable in bios, captions, and comments, and pull up other images or users with the same hashtag. You can also use Instagram’s native search to see what hashtags are being used and a count of usage, which helps in your strategy and planning.
  • You can share another user’s photo to your photo feed Sharing is caring! There’s a long list of reasons why 1 user would want to share another user’s photo so their followers can see it.
  • You can schedule your future photos posts No one likes being bombarded by 5 photos in a row from the same person as they scroll through their Instagram feed.
  • You can privatize your account Creepers, take note!

Why Instagram is the Worst

  • It’s difficult to manage more than 1 account You need to sign in and out of accounts in order to manage more than 1. This gets to be a pain very, very quickly.
  • Photo posting is exclusive to the app To use Instagram for business purposes, it would help heaps if you could post photos from your browser on your laptop.
  • Links in photo captions and comments are not clickable Typing “Link in bio” is far from optimal. This also significantly limits selling capabilities since people can’t directly click through a live link included in a photo caption to purchase what you are selling. However, Instagram does have plans to make e-commerce possible.
  • Re-gramming others’ photos isn’t possible through the Instagram app You need to download and install a different app to regram (think: the Instagram version of Twitter’s retweet).
  • Scheduling your photos isn’t so easy (or convenient) You need to use a different app, at a minimum. From there, you need to decide between apps that offer automatic posting when the scheduled time arrives, but are in violation with Instagram’s terms, and apps that follow Instagram’s terms of service, but require you to sign in to post your scheduled photo.
  • You can’t segment those you follow You are either following someone – and all of theirs posts – or you aren’t. Most other social media platforms provide some way to control your feed, but so far, Instagram is lacking in this way.
  • You can’t easily add spaces or line breaks for your photo captions Lengthy photo captions are easier to read if you can add line breaks between paragraphs, or at least between your one-line caption and your hashtags. You can use your smartphone’s Notes app to type your caption (with spaces and line breaks), and then copy/paste it over to your Instagram photo. Some people suggest using your Facebook app to do the same, but I’ve had very mixed results with that method.
  • You can’t easily tell if someone you are following, is following you back Twitter rocks in this way. Instagram should make it so if you are viewing a profile, you know immediately whether or not that user is following you.

Facebook’s purchase of Instagram is directly responsible for some of the pros listed above. We can feel fairly certain Zuckerberg will do what he can to further monetize the platform. Hopefully, he’ll improve the user experience at the same time.

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