Even though Instagram is a social media powerhouse, it still has its flaws. Considering Instagram is owned by Facebook, who has had some privacy concerns recently, some Instagram users are also concerned about their privacy. This is causing some users to search for alternatives to Instagram.
Also, with an increased emphasis being placed on your number of followers, likes, and comments, Instagram can sometimes feel like a tool for judging popularity and creating insecurities.
In addition to the flaws of the Instagram app, it’s also a good idea to diversify your social media marketing strategy so it’s not entirely reliant on one or two major platforms. Having your entire social media strategy riding on one platform could spell disaster if something happens to that platform. A diverse strategy means that your overall messaging won’t suffer just because a particular social media app dwindles in popularity.
We also like to keep our eye on new social media platforms because it’s an advantage to be early to new platforms. As these communities are created, they are typically highly engaged when they are still small and growing. This means you can create a following that while small, is highly engaged and perfectly primed for increasing. In this article we are going to explore six Instagram alternatives for growing your following in 2021, including their pros and cons.
Related reading; How to Growth Hack your Instagram account.
You might have already heard of the VSCO app, but it’s so much more than just a photo editing platform. VSCO offers similar features to Instagram in that the app allows you to take and edit photos with a variety of filters. VSCO is known for appealing to Generation Z, meaning if you’re a marketer who’s been looking to target a younger crowd, this is a great platform to do it.
Instagram makes reposting other people’s pictures more difficult, while VSCO has an easy reshare feature that doesn’t require screenshots or other apps to be able to repost. The attribute we most like about this Instagram alternative for growing your following is that users’ follower numbers are actually hidden to everyone else on the platform.
Users are able to see their own stats for how many followers they have, but they’re unable to see how many followers everyone else has. This directly contradicts the stance Instagram has taken on followers. VSCO is more focused on the actual content and fostering community.
It’s a potential drawback that the app is popular among Gen Z users because that might not be your particular demographic or audience base you’re trying to connect with. If you’re trying to connect with an older user base, VSCO might not be the app for you or your brand.
500px is a photo sharing platform that’s centered around high quality images uploaded by professional and semi-professional photographers. Users can sell licenses to their photos directly on the platform, making it a great avenue for professional content creators looking to grow their business. Thinking about all of the beautiful content we see on Instagram, we feel this is a great option and business venture for content creators and photographers.
Unlike other social media platforms that take all of the rights to the images you upload, 500px only takes limited rights. There is a paid membership option to the app which provides helpful analytics and insights.
This is perfect for professional photographers looking for the data they need to grow their business. We love that 500px has a web browser version that is significantly more functional than Instagram’s web browser version. It easily enables you to upload pictures from your computer and post them on the platform.
This platform is primarily focused for semi-professional and professional photographers, so if your content is more centered around infographics rather than beautiful photographs, this might not be the platform for you.
Steller is an exciting Instagram alternative for increasing your following because it’s more concerned with actual storytelling. Instagram is focused on visual elements like sharing images and videos, sometimes making the interactions on the app feel empty and superficial. Steller is focused on combining elements like text, video, and images into their predetermined layouts to help users tell their story.
This makes it a great app for brands looking to share more information than a simple Instagram post can show. We like that Steller is doing things differently, providing people an opportunity to connect with other users’ stories, whether it be a large brand, small business, or personal brand.
To some creatives, the predetermined layouts dictated by Steller might feel restrictive. Some content creators or marketing professionals might feel like the layouts don’t align with current brand messaging.
Even though Snapchat has had its ups and downs in the ten years it’s been around, it’s still managed to sustain a large number of users. Let’s not forget that Snapchat created the concept of “stories” before Instagram did. Even though the format of the content is slightly different, we still view Snapchat as an alternative to Instagram that can help increase your following because it still has a large number of users.
Even though the concept of the app differs from Instagram, Snapchat still provides an opportunity for marketers and content creators to show their content to a large audience, potentially increasing their following. It helps that Snapchat videos are the same size as Instagram reels, so pre-existing Reels can be easily transferred over to Snapchat.
We like that the app allows you to send direct messages to other users, similarly to Instagram, keeping that direct communication line open to your audience. To us, one of the biggest pros of Snapchat is that it’s been around almost as long as Instagram, meaning they both have staying power.
One major con of Snapchat is that the content, whether pictures or videos, disappear afterwards. Whereas with Instagram you can visit anyone’s profile to view their posts, reels, and highlights, Snapchat doesn’t have this large storage of content.
VERO True Social is a newer app that promises its users that it won’t partake in data mining, ads, or algorithms. The platform allows you to share books, TV shows, movies, music, and more that you’re interested in. Similar to Instagram, VERO has a “bookmarks” feature which allows you to save content you like from other users. VERO allows you to categorize your followers, or as they call them, “connections,” into different categories based on how well you know them. This allows you to filter out your content and only push it to certain types of connections based on privacy.
Overall, the fact that the app doesn’t have an algorithm means that it actually prioritizes the content and connections of its users. This provides authentic brands and voices the opportunity to shine without feeling weighed down by an algorithm they have to adhere to. Their voice and video calling features provide another way for marketers and content creators to easily connect with their audience. It’s an opportunity to engage with your following, ultimately helping to grow it. The fact that they’re operating at almost the opposite of everything Instagram stands for creates an exciting frontier for content creators who are currently dissatisfied with Instagram.
Some creators may view the fact that there’s no algorithm as a negative because they can’t create content specifically to rise to the top and increase their following. The other con is that VERO doesn’t have a web browser version, meaning all of your posting has to be done through the app.
EyeEm is an Instagram alternative that also doubles as a photography marketplace where users can purchase photos. It’s a great platform for content creators, marketers, and professional photographers. It bridges the gap between sharing content and providing professional photos for potential clients.
One of the most interesting and exciting aspects of this app is that it sets its users out on “missions” to capture specific content for particular clients. The prizes for these contests include cash prizes and having their images featured in a client’s campaign.
These contests are a great opportunity for creators to work on their photography skills and potentially be rewarded in the process. We also like that EyeEm provides marketers with the opportunity to shop for unique images. This means that you can find truly unique content that can’t be found in the free versions of other graphic design apps.
Since EyeEm is also an image marketplace, some users might not want to migrate over from Instagram because they might have the wrong impression of the app. While the app still has millions of users, it could still deter people who are unaware of the capabilities of the app.
When you’re searching for Instagram alternatives for growing your following, our list of six apps provides a great place to start expanding your social media strategy. As Instagram continues to become a breeding ground for insecurity and superficial content, users might start migrating and searching for other platforms.
Even though it’s a huge platform with a large amount of daily users, it isn’t perfect. They’re owned by Facebook who has had privacy concerns in the past, making Instagram guilty by association. Taking all of these flaws into consideration, it’s always a good idea to diversify your marketing strategy and to be first on the scene of a new social media app. This provides you the opportunity to nurture a small, but highly engaged following before a platform takes off and becomes huge. Which of these six platforms are you going to try?