The news from Instagram has caused quite a stir for many social media marketers this week. However, we would like to take a moment to remind you that those in charge of operating the Instagram platform are running a company, and must do what is best for their brand, just as you do. Until now, Instagram users had the ability to include “add me” or “follow me” buttons on their profile page. These buttons linked directly to the user’s other social profiles online. However, the company has changed the rules slightly, and users will now find that they are unable to link to sites like SnapChat and Telegram.
Both of these could conceivably be considered among the leading competitors of Instagram. SnapChat and Instagram were just listed among the top five social media platforms, based on number of current users. Both place emphasis on the sharing of photos, and both enjoy a very heavy concentration of millennials among their users. Telegram is more likely to be considered the “up and comer”, but again, it is marketed to a young, but professional audience, and places emphasis on photo sharing.
You wouldn’t really want to create direct links from your website to those of your competitors, and neither do they, apparently. We can’t say that we really blame the company for wanting to prevent users from doing just that.
It was a bit of a disappointment in another way, however. Not only will this prevent a few paths to self-promotion, it also suggests that the company is not going to be changing its approach to external links. Many have been predicting that Instagram would soon allow users to include links in photo captions. Given the fact that are reducing the capability of the user to do that elsewhere on the site, it appears that this won’t be happening any time in the near future. That is certainly a bit discouraging for media marketers, but doesn’t change the fact that Instagram is a very powerful brand-building tool.