Instagram, social networks, and cross-posting for artists

As an artist promoting myself online, I use social networks as much as I can. Managing those, and the time it takes to use them, is a constant battle.

We all love Instagram, right? That annoying, limiting space that allows only posting of images via it’s own app, has limited integration with other social platforms, yet offers great scope for connecting with other artists and art lovers.

The app has a handy means of cross-posting your Instagram photo to other networks, particularly Twitter and Facebook:File 01-10-2015, 14 13 24But there are limitations to how it can integrate with those two networks.

Instagram to Twitter

The challenge with Instagram’s integrated cross-sharing to Twitter is how your tweet appears there, something like this, with no photo, just a link to Instagram:

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 14.07.56

I found there was very little response, reaction, or retweets, and the simple link to Instagram is likely to put off any Twitter followers who do not also hang out there.

What I wanted, was something more integrated, that would display just like a regular tweet, but still link back to Instagram, but that did not require me to post to Twitter manually each time. Just like this:

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 14.09.00

That’s much better! Proper image tweets like this also get more reaction, favourites, and retweets.

IFTTT to the rescue

IFTTT (“If This Then That”) is a service that can help save time and effort connecting a plethora of other online services.

In this Instagram-to-Twitter situation, I created a “recipe” that fired every time I posted to Instagram. It would create my tweet, and insert the Instagram image just as if I had uploaded it directly to Twitter.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 14.28.51

I’ll not detail here how to create an IFTTT recipe, it really is dead simple on their site or using their app.

My recipe details look like this (just follow IFTTT’s simple workflow and you’ll achieve this without a problem):

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 14.32.49

“Caption” and “SourceUrl” I believe are there by default when IFTTT creates the recipe. I added Url in the “Tweet text” field, so that the tweet would contain a link back to the originating Instagram image – helpful if you want to encourage Twitter users to follow your Instagram feed.

As a result, I now get more favourites, re-tweets, and comments on my images than before.

Instagram to Facebook

Instagram’s cross-post to Facebook works just fine as it is. But since I use just one Instagram account, but have both a personal and artist pages on Facebook, I wanted a means to post art-related Instagram images to my Facebook page, but the rest to my personal timeline.

Guess what? IFTTT again.

IFTTT’s Instagram triggers enable recipes to run only when an Instagram image is posted with a specific hashtag. So I created one that fired only when I add #art to an Instagram image:

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 14.40.10

Then send that to my Facebook page – which is configured separately to my personal Facebook timeline within IFTTT. Art-related images go to my art page, the rest to my personal timeline.

When I want to cross-post Instagram images to my personal timeline, I just use the regular Instagram Facebook button from inside the app, though I could create a similar IFTTT recipe using a different hashtag.

Seeing double

Take care when using services like IFTTT as it is all too easy to create overlapping recipes and end up double-posting content all over the place!