Social media has become a beast of an industry in the past several years filled with every combination of ideas. From photo sharing, to bite-size bits of information, to disappearing messages, it can be hard to realize that all of these platforms are designed to better our social lives but also are all in competition with one another. Especially now, with platforms finding new ways to make money via advertising and paid posts, the competition is heating up for everyone.
The Global Entities
The few major platforms that exist and thrive today are owned by three groups of people: Facebook, Twitter, and Snap. Facebook owns itself and Instagram; Twitter also owns itself and Vine/Vine Camera; while Snap owns Snapchat and Spectacles. These three major groups also, for the most part, have respective accounts on each other’s platforms which leads to an interesting dynamic in terms of promotion.
Take Instagram for example, the photo-sharing giant has a Twitter account with a massive 40 million followers that its accumulated since 2010. However, it wasn’t until this month that Twitter finally caved and joined Instagram. In fact, in the course of three weeks, they’ve only managed to get a little over 57,000 followers. How is this possible for a social giant such as Twitter to have such a hard time on another social media platform when the opposite arrangement has over 40 million (even disregarding the amount of time IG has been on Twitter)?
According to The Verge, “The companies (and their founders) were so close that Twitter attempted to buy the photo-sharing service. But Facebook swooped in to buy Instagram for a then-shocking $1 billion… A few months later, Twitter blocked Instagram from using its API to find your Twitter friends on Instagram. Shortly thereafter, Instagram disabled its integration with Twitter, preventing photos from showing up in the feed.”
Over the last few years, the companies have remained fairly civil, but still distant in their business dealings. While Instagram slowly gained a following on their competitors social channel, Twitter remained silent in the background. Even after making an Instagram account, the new channel was very scarcely promoted by Twitter. The reasoning behind this lies within the contractual agreement between the two platforms.
As social platforms have moved forward in new ways of advertising with paid and sponsored content, for these cross-platform accounts these options aren’t available. For most contracts, the competitor is barred from using the platform’s sponsored post capabilities meaning they’re forced to build a following organically.
Building an organic following can take an immense amount of time, effort, and energy, which is where some of the hesitation could come in for competitors to join platforms. However, there isn’t much of a better way to convince someone to join Instagram than if you see someone retweet one of their posts, right?
In a world fueled by technology and social media usage, finding ways to bridge the gaps between platforms isn’t always easy and sometimes it requires one to join up with their “frienemy” to do so. However, as social media users, we can be sure that Twitter will be finding new and unique ways to engage with followers on their Instagram account. Time will only tell the way in which this dynamic could grow or change.