Which Photos to which Social Networks?

whichphotoserviceEven though I lead social media workshops for United Methodist churches in my area (and I’m leading four-FOUR-in October), I’ve really only got a handle on the more text-based forms of social media: Facebook, Twitter, blogging, text-messaging, etc. While such forms will never be obsolete, media-centric services like Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine are rapidly rising and I can’t hold out any longer.

With the wide variety of photos that I take and share, which media service is best for which type of photo?

So which Photo goes where?

Remember the goal of “social media” is to use media in ways that start conversations and create lasting connections. So there’s a fusion of promotional and conversational elements to consider for each social media service.

I’ve been on several of those services for a few months now figuring out what to do with the photos I take or see and want to share. I think I’ve come up with an approach that uses each of them distinctly, and thought I would share it to inform your own social media strategies.

  • If the photo is a meme or debate-sparking, it goes on my blog Facebook page. The purpose of the photo is to become viral to boost likes or incite conversation.
  • If a photo is idiosyncratic or quirky, it goes on my Instagram. The purpose of the photo is to have some level of consistency so people will want to follow that collection–like a museum collection, if it is well-curated, then people will visit. It’s not there yet (only joined the service recently) but I’ve got a direction at least.
  • If a photo is of my darling 11mo Anjali, it goes on my personal Facebook wall–occasionally on Instagram as well. The purpose of the photo is that she is adorable but I like to keep those on FB which has the highest privacy walls to outsiders (the NSA can look all they want).
  • If a photo is a future resource or a Star Wars meme, it goes on my Pinterest. The purpose of the photo is that it becomes a personal archive that people can follow or not–the goal is not promotion so much as if other people like the collections as well. I see Pinterest (at least at my current stage of doing things) as more archival and categorical than promotional. I could be wrong.

How do you do all this??

While it looks exhausting, once you get into a rhythm it doesn’t take too much time, especially with a smartphone app.

One word: IFTTT. If This Then That is a web program that allows you to create triggers to interact with various social networks. For instance, whenever I post a photo to my Instagram, IFTTT creates a twitter post of that photo and shares it automatically. But the reverse is helpful as well: whenever I put a photo in an album on my iPhone, it automatically posts to my FB page. Pinterest isn’t supported yet (“shakes fist”) but by tinkering with it you can find ways to make it work. I really like it.

Using IFTTT, Twitter becomes the catch-all for several of the services as posts to either the FB page or Instagram are automatically shared. The key then is to have a good caption: Followers can click if they like the caption, and ignore it if they don’t. So it marries the visual nature of photo-based social networks with the text-based nature of Twitter.

A final pro-tip is Buffer, which allows you to write posts and share them later. I was called out on Twitter for posting the same link 3 times in a row because of a chain reaction from IFTTT that I hadn’t noticed before. I fixed it but Buffer helps me schedule some posts when I know I’ve overloaded Twitter or FB and need to wait a few hours but I don’t want to have to do it later.


Anyway, just trying to stay on top of social media learning and I thought you might be interested in my process. Thoughts? How do you use the photo sharing services effectively?

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  1. Darcyjo says

    Hey, Jeremy!
    Good to see a guy with a Pinterest account–there are some, but they’re not all that common. Currently, I use Pinterest for a lot of different things. My favorite, however, is the secret boards. When I have articles that I want to be able to find again, yet don’t really want to share with the general public, I post it to one of my two secret boards for later use. This allows me to reference articles (on ministry, for example), that I don’t really want to discuss with the general public or my congregations.
    In the meantime, I’ve just started a blog. Hopefully I’ll develop the rhythm of writing again, now that I’m out of seminary.
    (oh, and by the way, I’ve” followed ” your Pinterest boards.)


  2. says

    I have yet to fully embrace the use of Buffer, but I have been using it more and more. I tried IFTTT, but it didn’t fit my needs (it was only sending partial posts to Evernote.) I don’t find IFTTT useful for Instagram as the app has built in integration for Facebook and Twitter, and since IFTTT doesn’t support Google+ yet, I don’t see the point in setting up an IFTTT recipe for something the app already has built in. I will probably use it more when Google+ and Instapaper are added.

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