Recently while scrolling through my Instagram feed, I came across a graphic quote that I created that was posted on someone else’s account. Someone had shared it without giving credit. They even went to the trouble of taking my logo out of it and just reposting the content.
It was a weird feeling. I felt violated, and it was just a silly text only quote from Oprah that I had created quickly in Canva. It wasn’t art or anything, but it still felt odd.
Here’s why…it’s not ok to post somebody else’s quote, photo or video on social media without giving credit.
Sharing is an important part of an effective social media strategy because it’s a great way to give a shout out an account you admire, it puts you on that accounts radar (they’ll get a notification,) and it also helps you with content creation so you don’t have to always come up with your own posts all the time.
Facebook and Twitter have sharing and retweet buttons so that you can easily take content from other people’s accounts and share it on your own account, while giving credit to the original author at the same time. This can help to grow both your account and that of the original creator. It’s a win-win for everyone and a great way to connect with like-minded businesses!
However, Instagram is different-they don’t offer direct sharing. (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was coming, but at the time of this blog post it still doesn’t exist.)
Instagram doesn’t make it as easy to share content from other accounts, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. It just takes a little work around. A hack, if you will!
First things first: Ask Permission!
Many people would be perfectly happy to have their content shared on Instagram. Other accounts would prefer that their posts are not shared. It is ALWAYS a good idea to ask in the comments first, letting them know you will give credit. This is good Instagram etiquette, and it introduces a conversation in the comments with the account as well. That gets that person engagement points with the algorithm, yet another benefit of this process!
Here are two ways that you can respectfully share content on Instagram:
Repost It Pro App
(There are others, but this is the one that I use-I like its simplicity!)
Go to your App store to download an app called “Repost It” for your mobile device. You can use it to find and share content that would make a great addition to your feed. When you share it, it puts a little image on the bottom of your picture that displays the username from the original account that it came from. That way, you can share the content and make sure that its creator is given credit. If you pay the $1.99 for the upgraded version, you can take this tab off, and simply tag the creator when posting AND @ mention them in the caption (Just put an @ sign before their name to tag them in the comments!)
Both forms of credit- tagging and @ mentions – are critical.
Take A Screenshot
While using the repost app will definitely give you a cleaner image, another way to share content from other accounts on Instagram is to take a screenshot of the photo. You will then grab the screen shot from your saved photos and reposition it to fit in the Instagram window. This can be tricky if people use image sizes other than a square. If you’re using a screenshot, you will also tag, and @ mention the account in your caption.
No matter which option you choose, you should always tag the original account so they know that you shared their content. This is a great way to interact with other accounts and get a genuine conversation flowing!
Why Give Credit to the Original Account?
It’s important to give credit where credit is due! Creating content is not always easy. Even simple images or quotes take time to create. If you go through the process of creating content for your social media accounts, you want to be recognized for it. After all, you created it for a reason.
It’s also important to make sure you are not overlooking the photographer or other artists who spent time creating the image that you are sharing. Make sure to tag everyone that was tagged in the original post as having a hand in creating the content that you want to share.
A Note About Stock Photos
If you are not great at capturing photos, or your service/product doesn’t lend itself to visual representation, it’s certainly okay to use stock photography on Instagram. We have so many more options available to us than back in the day with sites like Unsplash and Pixabay. Even my favorite quick graphic program, Canva, now has free and paid stock photos right within the browser! Have fun choosing great photos, just be sure you’re using the photos in the way that the license that you’ve agreed to allows (sometimes you can only use a photo once for example.)
Oh, and NEVER just go to Google and grab a photo and use it-that can get you in big trouble (like 100s or 1,000s of dollars in fines kind of trouble!)
Sharing is super important across social media. It’s so important that I have it as one of the four segments on my content brainstorm worksheet. You can grab that worksheet here to help you plan both your original and shared social media content!