Optimize Social Media with Images from Pinterest and Instagram

By Ric Shreves, Michelle Krasniak

Pinterest and Instagram dominate the image‐sharing domain of the social media world. Pinterest, with its pin‐boards approach to displaying photos, remains a strong player, but with the Facebook acquisition of Instagram, the popularity of that platform has soared.

Instagram recently passed Twitter in total number of users. It’s now one of the most popular social sharing sites in the world.

Although brands are finding some success on Instagram, Pinterest remains the more effective tool for displaying your images. Pinterest provides better brand control, the ability to group your images into boards, and better analytics.

A Pinterest board.

A Pinterest board.

Pinterest also provides a Rich Pins service that enables you to use social metadata to control what’s displayed when someone pins something on your site.

Instagram is the darling of the younger generation and is married to the mobile experience. The Instagram site itself offers little to brands in terms of creating a brand experience. What Instagram brings to the table are a huge user base, a massively popular mobile app, and a rich community of people who share images.

According to L2’s 2014 Instagram Intelligence Report, images posted to Instagram see 15 times the engagement of posts on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Using Latergramme and Gramblr with Instagram

Although the lure of Instagram is strong, the practicalities of using it can be frustrating. The major frustration is the fact that Instagram allows uploads only from its mobile applications. You can’t go to instagram.com and add images. There are two work‐arounds that work reasonably well, however: Latergramme and Gramblr.

Latergramme is web‐based. Setup is a tiny bit convoluted and may keep some people from using this solution. To make it work, you need a desktop computer with a web browser and an iOS device with the Instagram app installed. To begin, point your browser to the Latergramme site and sign in, using your Instagram credentials. After you complete registration, download the free Latergramme app for your iOS device from the App Store. After you download the app, log in to Instagram, and you’re ready to begin.

In the App Store, the Latergramme app is available for the iPhone but not for the iPad. Although you can install iPhone apps on your iPad with no problem, if you search for a Latergramme iPad app, you’ll be disappointed.

Latergramme enables you to add images directly from your desktop computer or your iOS device. The website allows you to add multiple images at a time, along with descriptions and tags, and then drag them to a calendar to schedule their publication. Check out the Latergramme dashboard with the scheduling calendar.

The Later­gramme dashboard.

The Later­gramme dashboard.

Aside from the setup hassle with Latergramme, there are two other downsides: You’re limited to 30 uploads a month in the free account, and after you schedule a post, you have to finalize the posting on your iOS device.

Gramblr works differently. Gramblr is a desktop app that you download and install on your computer. Gramblr works on Windows (XP, Vista, 7,8) and on Mac OS X; it is not available for Linux. Gramblr is an emulator; it interacts with Instagram as though it were a mobile app. It has fewer features than Latergramme but doesn’t limit the number of files you can upload.

Tagging photos on Instagram

Whereas Rich Pins are the keys to Pinterest, tags are the keys to Instagram. Instagram users are perhaps the most active taggers in the social media world. It’s not uncommon to see a photo with a very number of tags, and a large number of tags doesn’t seem have a negative effect on sharing the photo, perhaps because Instagram is mobile and tags make for easy discovery of related content. As a consequence, use tags liberally on Instagram.

To make the most of tagging, you can use the tag discovery service offered on these sites:

Simply enter a tag on either of those sites to get a count of tag frequency and a list of related tags. These sites are great ways to check out the effectiveness of your proposed tags and find ideas for others you might otherwise have missed.

Of the two services, our favorite is Iconosquare for its ease of use, reporting, and tracking. After you tie our account to Iconosquare, it generates automatic reports on our account activity. The Iconosquare reports enable you to discover the optimal time to publish to reach the largest number of followers. Here is the Iconosquare reporting interface.

An Iconosquare report.

An Iconosquare report.

Whether you post your images to Pinterest, Instagram, or another image sharing site, always cross‐post to your other channels. Leverage your social media presences to help people find you on other channels and increase your reach.