I run a digital marketing agency. I must be on all social media platforms, and I clearly see the marketing value in each one.
But I have to admit that I pick favorites. And Twitter isn’t on my list.
Noise vs. Engagement
Of course I know how powerful it is as an engagement tool; I have case studies that prove its value and effectiveness. Not a single client goes without it, while many pass on Instagram and Pinterest. But even though I’ve begrudgingly participated, I’ve mostly found the amount of noise on Twitter overwhelming. I feel like I’m talking in a crowded stadium and hoping someone in section 104 will hear me and respond.
Instagram, on the other hand, is a completely different experience. There I feel inspired and connected. I am immersed in beautiful visuals that align with my interests, and I feel heard by other users when we interact. I’m not alone in this: Instagram has 300 million monthly active members and 70 million average photos posted per day.
So what about Instagram resonates with me in a way that Twitter doesn’t?
It’s All About the Visuals
During a recent training I conducted, I explored this idea, trying to explain how each of the social platforms has its own way of telling a story.
We’ve probably all seen this tongue-in-cheek photo breaking down that concept:
But I also found myself pointing out that these platforms are no longer so different. What has changed? Images and videos are now central to all of them. Visuals naturally have a strong pull on the human eye, and the increase in visual content has transformed the way we consume social media.
According to a QuickSprout infographic:
- The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it does text
- 90% of the information sent to our brains is visual
- Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without
A HubSpot article from January said that in 2014, almost all of the major social networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, increased the prominence of visual content. The article cites highlights from research from the past year that show the effectiveness of visual content marketing:
“… this year’s data reveals that marketers who are leveraging visual content are seeing significant increases in their blog traffic, social media engagement, visitor-to-lead conversion rates and inbound customer acquisition results.”
It’s true that the more visual Twitter gets, the less I hate it. With its new updates, I can now see expanded images and videos in my timeline and tag people in pictures I post.
But it’s worth noting that Twitter starts with text and has the option to add an image or video, while Instagram starts with a visual and then adds text. Unlike Twitter, Instagram is an inherently visual platform – without photos or videos, it would not exist.
Visual content is an important trend to prioritize moving forward, and Instagram will play a pivotal role, especially as we focus on working with younger influencers and targeting younger audiences.
According to a 2014 Pew Research Center study:
- About 26% of online adults use Instagram, up from 17% in late 2013 (with almost every demographic group showing a significant increase in the proportion of users)
- 53% of young adults ages 18-29 now use Instagram, compared with 37% in 2013
- 29% of online adult women are on Instagram
It’s an exciting time for visual content in social media, and I can’t wait to explore new ways to leverage it.
Christine Wilson is the Founder and CEO of MtoM Consulting. MtoM is a new kind of digital agency. Our team is comprised of industry-leading digital marketers that specialize in Influencer and Content Marketing, Social Media, and Digital Advertising.
Over the past three years, MtoM has grown the team to include digital media and PR innovators that have led the convergence of traditional public relations, social media, and influencer marketing. We are also one of the first agencies to prioritize research and measurement in every single campaign.