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Growing your Instagram vs. TikTok: What’s the difference?

This just in: Instagram and TikTok are the hottest apps amid life in quarantine, and there's no better time than now to build your brand across both platforms.

Instagram, the "OG" of today's teen social media, was founded in 2010 as a photo and video-sharing app now owned by Facebook. It allows users to share images and videos to a feed, while followers can leave likes and comments. TikTok, on the other hand, is a video-only social networking service; launched in 2017 as an upgraded version of, it features 15- to 60-second videos that range across a variety of genres and niches, from singing to dancing to comedy to pranks. Both apps are at the top of their game—but how do they differ, and which is best to use?


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Finding followers

Building a strong following and fan base is key on both Instagram and TikTok, yet lately, creators have found growing on TikTok to be much easier.

"I love interacting with my fans on both platforms, but it's definitely easier to grow a big following on TikTok," says Kings, who has 2.7M TikTok followers and 89K Instagram followers. "You're rewarded for posting multiple times a day, whereas on Instagram, it's usually best to stick to one post per day."


she actually fell over at the end😳😂 your battery % is the chance of you doing this dance with me!! @carolinesm528 ##kings

♬ original sound - sheiskings

The "For You" page is a vital element of TikTok: the app boosts videos recommended for each user on this customized feed, which often features creative or trending content. "TikTok has an endless amount of videos on the 'For You' page, so it allows lots of users to get exposure," explains Bella Diakomanolis, who has 460K TikTok followers and 26K Instagram followers. "You can also use trending hashtags that pop up daily on TikTok so you can reach a larger audience. There are trending hashtags on Instagram, but they don't play as big of a part since they aren't considered 'trends,' per se."


@lyssynoel @oceangela @luanndiez GIRLIES💘💘 ##whoeverhas ##playlistlive ##playlist2020 ##got2bStyled

♬ What the Hell - Avril Lavigne

Examples of popular TikTok hashtags that have emerged during the coronavirus outbreak include #happyathome, #boredathome, #lifeathome and #videocall, opening up opportunities for creators to produce original, spirited content that lightens the mood in such a difficult time.

Curating content

Instagram features images of creators' most positive moments, often called a "highlight reel." Photos are frequently edited and filtered to contribute to an aesthetically pleasing feed.

TikTok is where followers can go to get a behind-the-scenes look at someone's life. Videos are not, by any means, perfect, and flaws are featured and celebrated. "Instagram is about sharing what you're doing daily, projects that you're working on, travel, and more. On TikTok, you can literally post anything: Dance, comedy, allows people to have fun and show a different side of themselves!" says Dance Moms star Pressley Hosbach, who has 145K TikTok followers and 332K Instagram followers.


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As a singer, Kings has a similar mindset when it comes to social media—she posts "artsy" content on Instagram and "funnier, carefree" song covers on TikTok (for example., singing her Starbucks order, which received nearly 60M views). Posting varied content across different channels is allowed, but in building a solid brand, your social media must shake hands and be uniform across the board. "I focus on singing on both Instagram and TikTok, even though each platform shows a different side to me," Kings explains. "At the end of the day, both apps are great ways to grow your brand. As long as you remain authentic and are having fun with it, you're doing it right."

Do you spend more time on Instagram or TikTok? Comment below!

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by Carrie Berk | 3/23/2020