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Opinion

The Differences Between Instagram and TikTok for Creators

We are constantly questioning whether short form video content, more in depth video discussions, or engagement through Instagram posts and stories are the most successful tools for successful influencer marketing.

There is no denying that influencers have a massive role to play when it comes to the success of social media today. Brands are continuously incorporating them into their marketing strategies to reach bigger audiences. 

However, as digital evolves, choosing the right creators has become attached to choosing the right platforms – and when talking about Instagram and TikTok, this decision can have different impacts on marketing efforts.

The current landscape

There are over 25 million businesses on Instagram at the moment. Of these users, 89% are outside of the United States. Furthermore, 72% of teens around the world use Instagram, making it an excellent platform if they are the target consumer base. 

In terms of demographics, 490 million users are male and 510 million users are female. Instagram is worldly known for its wide range of features, with Instagram Stories being incredibly popular: 500 million accounts check Stories on a daily basis.

TikTok in turn has 689 million users worldwide, 100 million of which are based in the United States. In Europe, there are 100 million TikTok users, with 17 million in the United Kingdom.  

The revenue of the platform in 2020 was estimated at $1 billion, but its success can also be measured by its six billion lifetime registered downloads on Google Play and iOS App Store.

The focus on short videos led to the development of these platforms – and social media has changed as a consequence of this. The reason behind it is the audience’s behaviour: they are always on the go, consuming content under busy schedules. With a running length of minutes or purely seconds, short-form videos provide a very snappy way of creating, sharing, and inspiring viewers. For brands, the format turned into an exciting and effective way to reach new audiences and nurture relationships. 

Although very similar, both Instagram and TikTok offer features with small but relevant differences that set them apart. Instagram Reels is a good example: the tool allows users to record videos up to 30 seconds, while TikTok users can record videos that last for 60 seconds. It may seem like a trivial variation, but when it comes to creating content, this length is key – and should be considered. 

The power of Instagram

In the past years, creators have found a real home on Instagram. With a powerful combination of videos, images and GIFs, the platform offers the perfect landscape for influencers to leverage content production and humanise connection with followers.

The possibility of setting an official Instagram Creator profile has become a powerful option to differentiate those accounts from other regular users ones. Creators can then simplify direct messages, sell featured items in-app and understand their growth, as well as benefit from flexible profile display options.

Also, Instagram offers a great environment for collaborations – which have become an important strategy in the past years leading growth for brands, creators and the app itself. Partnering with businesses or with other creators can multiply the benefits of efforts when it comes to content production, along with reach and results amplification.

Aside from this, creators can make the most of direct messaging on Instagram. This feature is overlooked most of the time, but it turns out to be a potent communication channel to connect with followers and increase community building on a more intimate and personal level – an amazing way to help influencers stand out in the crowd.

The power of TikTok

TikTok delivers excellent results for creators today. Short videos combined with the power of music have transformed the way young users consume content – a solution that certainly led to the platform’s success among a specific age range.

Songs set the tune for all types of lip syncs, challenges, dances, and trends on TikTok, spotlighting creators’ creativity and designing a whole new environment for brands to gain traction with more flexible and fun communication formats.

There are some specific features on TikTok that attract creators and empower their performance – especially when partnering with brands. The possibility of creating their own custom audio inside the app is an example of an excellent branding tool to build more personalized and exclusive content. It requires the creator to download the audio and then edit it on TikTok, renaming it for search – a simple and efficient way of gaining more visibility on the channel. 

Music is such a strong communication tool on TikTok that the app offers yet features for creators to use songs from other videos and adjust clips, leveraging vlogs in addition to other edition features mixing texts and filters.

Combining Instagram and TikTok strategies

Instagram and TikTok can be merged into an influencer marketing strategy if considering the right metrics for each channel. This is crucial not only to understand their current performance but also to make impactful changes for growth, establish assertive KPIs and go after innovative approaches.

Using data is actually an important part of social media marketing development as it sets a foundation for the decision-making process and decreases the risks along the journey, leading to more thoughtful strategies. The good news is that both Instagram and TikTok, as well as other social channels, have been updating their analytical features towards offering more precise insights for users – which gives brands and creators free access to essential metrics. 

All of the great ways to combine these platforms in a strategy start with the marketing goals. While Instagram is a more mature channel, its social shopping capabilities have reached another level, helping creators lead more conversions. It also offers huge potential to showcase the branding culture and build a consistent audience base. Under the Facebook umbrella, it ends up gathering wider demographics with the benefit of being connected to the largest social company in the world.

TikTok complements this scenario by bringing reach and engagement. It’s fun approach is an appeal to Gen Z users as entertainment is still what rules this environment and creators tend to adopt the essence of the platform. Plus hashtags work pretty well as tools to enhance the audience impacted – they’re actually what links communities across the channel. In a nutshell, TikTok users are connected by their interests – a turning point in a digital landscape where followers and likes used to reign as the main KPIs. 

In addition, Instagram and TikTok have something powerful in common: the opportunity for human connection. Influencer marketing strategies have stood out in the last years because creators help humanize brands therefore enhance their relationships with the audience. 

Authenticity is the core of those social channels and the types of content that resonate in each of them need to be considered at the first stage of strategic planning. In other words: translating those platforms’ data into real and inspiring content addressed to each audience’s behaviour is key to make this match successful and effective. 

*Sources: Business Insider, Business of Apps, Statista.

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