Blogging on InstagramWe all know how great Instagram is for publishing photos. But is there an argument that it is also a great platform for hosting your blog?

We weren’t too sure initially, but then we saw WIRED Magazine’s attempts to tell a story via the network. It posted an 11-part feature story exclusively on Instagram, with feedback from users largely positive.

“Yes I am so excited for this. And what an interesting way to release a story like this. Can’t wait for more!” posted @danielle_falcone.

Meanwhile, @johnedwinmason commented: “Beautiful photos & even more powerful writing. An important story told poetically. Thanks.”

It appeared that readers liked the idea of being drip fed the story, rather than getting it all in one hit. They also liked the fact that WIRED were prepared to experiment with the platform a little – they were the first major publication to use Instagram for blog purposes – and seemed glad to be a part of it.

Let’s not get too excited just yet

We do have our reservations about the tactic, however. When you look at the engagement figures for WIRED’s Instagram story a little closer, you can’t help but notice that they decrease as the story progresses.

At the time of writing, the first post in the series has 2,636 likes and 26 comments; the last post 778 likes and 16 comments. The penultimate post, meanwhile, has 761 likes and only the one solitary comment.

This suggests that readers got bored. Perhaps the narrative wasn’t strong enough? Or is it a case of the Instagram platform not doing it justice?

We’re not too sure at this stage.

Taking influence from the Humans of New York account

However, we’re still convinced that Instagram does have potential as a blogging platform.

That confidence is largely thanks to the Humans of New York (@humanofny) account. Broadcasting to nearly 5 million followers, it aspires to introduce us to New Yorkers “one story at a time”.

The success of the account saw its creator, photographer Brandon Stanton, turn his blog into a book that immediately catapulted to the top of the NY Times Bestseller List. He has since followed that book up with another, which is another best seller.

Stanton proved that if the story is strong enough, people are prepared to take a bit more time to consume a written-word story on Instagram – although it goes without saying that the pictures have to be unique and captivating in their own right, too.

Final word

If you think that your brand is suited to Instagram and has stories to tell, get experimenting. We make no effort to hide how powerful we think storytelling is in the context of content marketing. As such, we love the idea of Instagram acting as a storytelling platform. The pictures can act as the draw, while the words see users returning to your account, intrigued to find out more.

What do you think: are Instagram captions the new blog?

Ben Hollom

February 23, 2016