This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

December 3, 2016

How to do an Instagram post, and how it will improve your Facebook posts

Instagram is a lot of fun. It's a Smart Phone app that allows you to take a photo and post it. People can look at it very quickly, and swipe to another photo, and another, and another. And the important thing to remember on Instagram is that it's about the photo, not the caption written below it. And so your Instagram posts have to have an interesting visual, they can't rely on an explanation. If the visual doesn't make sense, especially in a small size as viewed on a phone, then people will just swipe to the next post.

And that means that you can't rely on the caption to explain the visual. If you're the kind of person who gets upset because "no one ever reads the caption" on Facebook, you are seeing the effects of an app like Instagram. People have learned to look at the picture.

Yes, you can write a caption, and even do comments on Instagram, but that's not what it's all about. The captions are usually short, and always contain a "hashtag" - which is this - # and combined with a keyword like #dachshunds, so that people can click on the #dachshund hashtag and see a LOT of dachshunds on Instagram. Or whatever, maybe #sunsets or #cats, or anything. The point is that it's all about the visual.

Glancing at photos on your phone is a lot of fun, and Instagram does it the best of any app. And once you get used to that, you get into the habit of not even bothering to read a caption, and you certainly don't look a the comments, which are mostly just a bunch of emojis, anyway. You know smiley face, hearts, that sort of thing.

Of course Facebook isn't a phone app, and it does include a lot of space for a caption, and for comments. But if you start by assuming that people won't read the caption, or the comments, your Facebook posts will get better. I call that making the visual be "self-contained".

If you want to write something, consider writing a blog, or using Twitter. I also post a lot of things on Google+, which is designed more for people who like to read captions, and explanations. But most of the world just prefers to look at pictures, so if you post a photo that looks confusing on Facebook, even if you write a careful caption, don't be surprised if someone comments "what is that?" - they're used to Instagram.

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