Is Instagram A Blog? An Eye-Opener For Digital Agencies & Brands

Instagram: @shafiqpenworks

Blogging vs Instagram: Who’s The Blogger?

I love digital marketing, I love content; so, it doesn’t matter (for me) on which platform ‘good’ content (i.e. interesting, valuable and informative) is shared.

^ This is a disclaimer that I DON’T have anything Against Instagrammers (those who run Instagram pages/profiles). Please don’t hate me after reading this blog-post.

What I don’t appreciate or find professional is using wrong terms for the services which anyone offers; carpenters don’t claim to be engineers, compounders or para-medical staff don’t call themselves doctors, butlers don’t assume them as cooks or chefs. Similarly, is it important to know whether Instagrammers should be called Bloggers or not, let’s find out!

Situations I Face Quite Often:

There are times when I keep looking for bloggers (those who publish their blogs on either their personal blogs or online branded publications) and on my Twitter or Facebook Page I share queries about the same. More than 80% comments which I receive are from Instagrammers, who consider themselves as bloggers and the most commonly line I receive in DMs and PMs is

“Hi, I am Instagram blogger”

Like seriously? Is it really a thing these days? If it is then from where did they learn about it? (PS: Please mention an authentic source)

Instagram and blog

It gets quite annoying listening to or reading such statements from people who consider them as digital enthusiasts. This clearly shows that they haven’t studied or read anything about digital and have joined the bandwagon because “Muft haath aaye toh bura kya hai” (a famous couplet by Mirza Ghalib), which here loosely means “If it’s free why not have it”.

Ghalib blog

Blogging And Instagram As Per Definitions:

Let’s not invest hours and hours of debate in defending Instagrammers as bloggers, I have witnessed digital PR professionals and Instagrammers going over-sensitive and defensive about getting a wake-up call but it’s time to dive deep in to the definitions of both the terms;

Instagram: is a micro-blogging platform, (to be specific), a photo and video sharing social networking service with captions containing hashtags (source Wikipedia). One who owns an Instagram profile or page is called Instagrammer.

Blog: is a platform where writers referred as bloggers write articles, content and blogs. These are detailed write-ups and can be about any niche or category ranging from entertainment to fashion, education to social causes and branding to brand promotion, the list is never ending. One who writes on blogs (personal or branded) is known as a blogger.

It is pretty much clear that the two terms are different, and those who use these terms as alternates, substitutes or replacements are CLEARLY CONFUSED and need to learn/study Digital Marketing in depth.

Comparing Oranges To Apples: Content Marketing vs Social Media Marketing

Those who are familiar with digital marketing jargons or have researched and invested time in understanding this subject already know that

“Blogging is a component of content marketing

whereas,

“Instagram is a social networking/social media marketing platform which falls under the head of Social Media Marketing”

Now, the daddy of all questions is, how can a social media marketing tool be termed or perceived as content strategy’s tool? (Google the difference between the two)

Pitfalls of Instagram Over A Blog

There are a few definite reasons which don’t fall in the favor of Instagram when compared with a Blog. I have tried to list down just a few (but there are many others too) so that you get to know about them in detail;

  • Instagram Doesn’t Support SEO As Blog Does

For any brand, business or organization online searches are very significant. I am sure many professional digital marketing individuals have listened to this phrase from their clients

“I want my website to appear on the 1st page of Google when someone searches the services we offer”

This is every entrepreneur’s, start-up owner’s and business individual’s chant which they keep repeating in front of the website developers, content strategists, social media optimizers and digital tanks of their organization. But how does it come to reality? Any guesses? Well, it can only be possible with “CONTENT” as much content generation as possible through Blogs, Website Content and reviewing sites etc. This in no way is possible with Instagram or any other social networking platform.

Google instagram blog

Google or any other search engine crawls for quality oriented, unique and informative content which has keywords relevant to the content inserted in the body of the write-up. Google has a predefined algorithm which extracts the best content for those who search the right keywords and this will remain the same whereas Instagram is a confused platform which switched from community building to money-making tool, no one knows what future entails for Instagrammers.

I wonder why brands in Pakistan don’t study and read case-studies to follow best practices around the world. What makes them invest heedlessly in getting more Instagrammers on board rather than engaging bloggers who are good in creating stories and genuine content?

And if brands are blindfolded by a handful of digital agencies which themselves are not aware of the micro-details then it’s about time for Pakistani brands and businesses to create a capable and educated digital team in-house to get better results and fruitful suggestions for their long-term sustainability and growth on digital sphere.

  • Nightmare For Instagrammers – Algorithm Update/Malfunction

Instagram blog

(Source: https://www.instagram.com/about/legal/terms/api/)

I have witnessed it many times that because of certain glitch or error many Instagrammers suffer a lot because their content starts to act up, their accounts are (sometimes) compromised etc. etc. Here comes a serious point to ponder, what will happen if one fine day Instagram will either be blocked or stop working in your region, where will your content go? After all, there’s no back-up available and Instagram doesn’t offer such service as well. You’ll be left with nothing that you can call yours, right? Isn’t it scary for both brands and individuals?

On the other hand, you can always create a back-up file of your websites’ content, design and all the necessary details. In case, God forbid, if your website is compromised or attacked by any malware, still you have the data to rebuild your website/blog as you already have the content with you. And that content is yours.

Hope this point rings bells!

  • Scarcity of Monetizing:

Let’s accept this fact, everyone wants to monetize and that’s why they are primarily running their blogs and social media pages. Instagram offers very limited options through which Instagrammers can optimize but on the contrary, through a blog you can optimize in more than many ways (ads, affiliate marketing, reviews, sponsored posts, etc.)

Blog monetize

There are better and more ways to earn through a blog as compared to earn through an Instagram account.

  • Instagram Doesn’t Offer As Detailed Analytics As Blogs Do:

Google analytics dashboard

Analytics is the game-changer for anyone. The more detailed analytics you have the better are chances to improve the traffic and overall performance of your blog or social media page. Google Analytics and WordPress analytics are very detailed and give minute detailing whereas Instagram doesn’t offer as detailed analytics. Brands should be more concerned on analytics through which they can calculate reach, engagement, impacts and impressions.

  • The Devil Is In The Details – Instagram Doesn’t Let The Devil Out

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe rightly put the importance of communication and detailing back in late 1960’s by saying “The Devil is in the Details” which is (said to be) extracted from “The God is in the Detail”.

This proves that details matter, at least for those who have interest in certain things or for those who want to acquire information. Brands require detailed pieces of content which are not always salesy but have the element of storytelling in them. A good blogger drives stories and communicates the message between the lines.

On an Instagram post, practice is, people (let’s say: audience) is more inclined towards watching pictures or videos rather than reading details, if they like the visuals they double tap, no one waits to read the entire content on an Instagram post and then double tap it. So, the dynamics of the audience on both platforms is different. On Instagram, people don’t go to read but see.

So, how can a platform that is there for visuals primarily, can have a flock of bloggers on it? Bloggers can, however, use Instagram to create hype for their upcoming blogs or write-ups just like they share on Facebook and Twitter, which are social media marketing sites and help in referrals.

For details and in-depth only blogs are recommended. Instagram doesn’t even let people insert more than 30 hashtags and if done, content (with/out hashtags) can’t be seen on the post.

Reader Is A Leader: Societal Shift!

Harry S. Truman said

“Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers”.

There’s a cultural and behavioral shift witnessed in the masses over the last few years and that is we are producing more followers than leaders. People follow others and don’t try to bring uniqueness and authenticity in them. Read, write, express and share – connect with people. That’s what the blogging is all about. Be a leader and read.

Choice is yours, who you want to be!

Considering all the points discussed above with references and examples, I personally think that Instagram is not a blogging platform. It can be called a micro-blogging platform. Just like a Twitteratie doesn’t confuse them with being bloggers, Instagrammers shouldn’t do that as well. It’s about time people start naming the right term for the right job.

So, do you still think Instagrammers are bloggers? Do share your feedback.

Shafiq Ul Hasan Siddiqui

About Shafiq Ul Hasan Siddiqui

Shafiq Siddiqui is a Digital Brand Strategist and Inbound Marketer. He has 8 plus years of extensive experience in the field of content writing, content curation and content marketing. Shafiq Siddiqui provides consultation to businesses and entrepreneurs for the creation and management of their social media marketing strategies. He has worked with international clients, based in US, UK, Canada and Europe. Shafiq Siddiqui has also worked for a Goal Based Social Network from Silicon Valley as Content Analyst and Social Media Director. Currently Shafiq Ul Hasan Siddiqui is working as Digital Brand Manager / Strategist at an international IT concern.

One thought on “Is Instagram A Blog? An Eye-Opener For Digital Agencies & Brands

  1. HM

    A much needed article! And this bubble needs to burst … I quite often encounter such people who say they are bloggers and only share their Instagram links. When asked for their blog URLS, they say, ‘we are Instagram bloggers’. What nonsense is this? When will people learn?

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