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Instagram Tutorial

For Russian misinformation-mongers, 2017 was the year of Instagram. As Twitter and Facebook cracked down on external influence campaigns between media investigation, the Kremlin’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) located unparalleled success in changing its disinformation efforts to the photo-sharing app, according to a new report approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

On Instagram, the IRA conducted a memetic battle against millions of users by creating a sophisticated and robust network of accounts related to important social justice and political concerns. These profiles weren’t primitive or poorly managed but, rather, part of a well-oiled attraction machine intended to weaponize the social clout used by power users on Instagram.

“Instagram was perhaps the most effective platform for the Internet Research Agency,” decides the report, written by cybersecurity firm New Knowledge.

How Instagram Became the Russian IRA's go-to Social Network

The IRA produced only 135 Instagram accounts. But a lot of these attracted more than 100k followers, generally viewed as inception to mark an account an “influencer;” almost 50 exceeded the “micro-influencer” milestone of 10k followers. Similar to many American influencers, the IRA monetized its social media popularity by pushing custom-made commodities—giving it access to the customers’ personally identifying data, and developing partnerships with brands.

The IRA aggressively targeted black Americans on Instagram as well as the right and left with a coordinated, multi-level influence campaign created by networks of parallel and competitive profiles, which worked in companion to cover users in a highly controlled ecosystem of the Kremlin’s design.

The most successful accounts were focused on feminism, black culture, Christianity, LGBTQ+ issues, veterans, gun rights, and collected more than 10 million interactions—engagement such as likes and comments—each. Others represented news breaks and journalists in the hopes of increasing distrust in the actual media between target audiences. The goal, as with much of the Russians’ digital activity, was to increase divisions and stoke hostilities in the US.

On Instagram, IRA accounts ridiculed the idea of IRA accounts on Instagram. In the track of the 2016 election, up to 70 posts on Instagram and Facebook targeting right-wing audiences downplayed the presence of Russian interference.

How Instagram Became the Russian IRA's go-to Social Network

Starting in 2015, the time explained by the report, IRA-controlled accounts spread 116k Instagram posts, almost twice as many as the 61k posts on Facebook, which until now have gained far more attention. The Instagram posts got more than 183 million likes and 4 million comments, generating more interactions from users than relative Russian operations on Facebook, which collectively earned about 76 million engagements. The report also recommends that Facebook, Instagram’s origin company, downplayed the outsized part of the photo-sharing platform in Russian efforts to seed discord.

Instagram’s position was “something that Facebook executives appear to have avoided mentioning in Congressional testimony,” the report says.

How Instagram Became the Russian IRA's go-to Social Network

Once these groups account reached a significant mass, they were used to promote stories that increased tensions between groups and seize the conversation among target viewers by showing potential subjects of discussion or judgments from a trusted source — one especially potent example of this strategy recognized in the report centers around a real-life human interest story.

The IRA gradually expanded the story of an 11-year-old black boy who obtained national news after creating a device to prevent hot car deaths.

 IRA-run Facebook pages and Instagram accounts reframed the story to strengthen racial in-groups: “White people invent tools for killing, this Black child is inventing a tool for saving lives,” stated one post. “these are stories of Black children the media don’t want you to see,” state another. Black Matters wrote an article about the case on its website, which it declared had well over 100k subscribers.


Instagram Tutorial

Years ago, Twitter was a dominant force in the online marketing world. Brands flooded to the quick-paced platform to get their product and content out in front of millions of users. Today, Twitter is still pretty popular, but the platform is not as powerful as it used to be. One of the reasons Twitter has seen a small decline is due to Instagram.

The Instagram vs. Twitter topic has been exciting. I’ve seen some brands, and big companies start to shift away from centering the Twitter and put more effort on Instagram. Right now, Instagram is where customers live. Still, does that mean you should forget about Twitter too?

Not necessarily. I’ll break down some of the differences and similarities between the two social media platforms and help you get a sharper picture of which one is best for your business.


Instagram vs. Twitter: By numbers

Statistics can provide you with much insight into which social network platforms you should work on based on popularity. It would be best if you didn’t make your decision only on these numbers, but they will give you an excellent place to start.

Instagram statistics

  • 1 billion monthly active users
  • 95 million posts per day
  • 80% of users are outside the U.S.
  • Users ‘like’ 4.2 billion posts per day

Twitter statistics

  • 326 million monthly users
  • 80% of active users on mobile
  • 77% of users outside the U.S.
  • 500 million Tweets sent per day
Instagram vs. Twitter: Which One is Better for your Business?

Even though Twitter has been around longer, Instagram surpassed the number of monthly active Twitter users. This statistic alone is what has made more brands take notice of the platform and begin to discover the art of Instagram marketing.

Twitter, however, wins in the content sharing area with more than 500 million Tweets sent out per day compared to 95 million posts per day on Instagram.

Instagram vs. Twitter: Audience

A big part of the Twitter vs. Instagram debate arises from the point that they both have the same audiences. When you take a look at their demographics, you will see that the two platforms have similar users in age, education level, income, and even location.

Instagram vs. Twitter: Which One is Better for your Business?
Instagram vs. Twitter: Which One is Better for your Business?

The primary user age for both platforms is 18-29-year-olds. After 50+ years old, the number of people begins to drop significantly. The other statistics show Instagram and Twitter are especially popular among people in their 20s who are either in college or are newly graduated. This is usually the user base that drives social media growth in general because this group is the most active.

If you are after a younger audience, you can’t really go wrong with either of these networks. The even divide in location and gender gives brands more reach than sites like Google+ or Pinterest which have users that are either predominantly male and female, respectively. As the overall demographics for both social networks are equally matched, you should look at the audience of your critical profile to find out who is following you. The more information you have about your audience, the more targeted you can make your content. Your posts on social media should be tailored to your audience as much as possible to get the best results.

Instagram vs. Twitter: Which One is Better for your Business?
Instagram vs. Twitter: Engagement

Instagram has the most engaged audience of any social media platform. It concentrates on keeping users stuck to the platform while they are browsing with a few to no distractions. There are no clickable links available in the captions while scrolling through your feed. By eliminating unnecessary features, Instagram can keep customers focused on the posted content, which is a significant advantage for your business.

Instagram vs. Twitter: Which One is Better for your Business?

On the other hand, we have Twitter which is quite noisy. The feed is filled with links to news articles, blog posts, videos, and other things that take you away from Twitter’s platform. That makes it harder to get people to see your content and engage with it. Also, because Twitter moves so fast, the lifespan of your Tweets can drastically change depending on how many other users your followers are following.

Instagram vs. Twitter: Which One is Better for your Business?
Instagram vs. Twitter: Which One is Better for your Business?

Those two Instagram by themselves got more engagement than all of McDonald’s tweets combined about “the All Day Breakfast” promotion. While Instagram has more engagement on its platform, Twitter builds engagement outside of the app. This is why companies should have a second thought about taking their focus away from Twitter. People can’t easily share a blog post on Instagram.

The engagement for Instagram basically begins and ends in the platform. However, with Twitter, you can drive engagement outside of the app by getting users to Tweet links to content on your website and other social media platforms.

Instagram vs. Twitter: Functionality

Instagram keeps you within the platform on purpose. The company highlights the posts users share. The value comes from within the app. Twitter is actually a content sharing tool. There isn’t much original content on Twitter, and the platform initially consists of users sharing links or live updates. It’s all about following what’s going on in the real time. The value of Twitter comes from the content you discover on another site. Imagine if users couldn’t tweet links. It would not be as successful as it is today. This doesn’t mean that either method is better than the other, they are just somehow different. Depending on your company’s goals, one might be more beneficial than the other. Learning the difference between how people use Instagram versus how they use Twitter is essential when it comes to determining which is best for your brand.


Is Instagram the “Twitter killer” that some people say? Not really. Even though they have a similar audience and demographic, they have entirely different uses in your social media marketing strategy. Instagram is a site to publish original content and build your brand awareness. Twitter is an excellent tool to curate and share content, as well as engage and interact with your target audience.

Which one would you prefer to use for business? Let us know in the comments below.