We need to have a serious chat about the regram. A regram traditionally meant “reposting” someone else’s Instagram photo, but in a broader sense I think the regram can now be referred to as posting any content that you did not create. Regramming was originally meant as a way to help content get additional exposure, but over the years the regram has evolved. There are beautiful accounts out there that consist almost entirely of other people’s work. There are brands who steal content and share it without permission. There are brilliant bloggers who use other people’s work to grow their following. It’s a mess! So, what are some of the rules you should abide by? Here we go:
- Instagram is a photography app – In general, you should be sharing photos that you took (or that you own the right to). As a brand/business it is sometimes hard to avoid posting graphic layouts to promote sales, products or events. We advise our clients to keep graphic content below 10%.
- Put the owner’s handle in the first 100 characters of the post caption – When regramming someone else’s work, their handle should be at the very BEGINNING of your photo caption, not buried at the bottom, hidden within the tags, or missing entirely. Hiding their handle makes it look like you are attempting to take credit for their work. It should be noted that Instagram recently made a change that cuts off long captions and inserts a “read more” link. You should make your best effort to ALWAYS include the person’s handle within the first few words of the caption so that it displays inline below the regrammed image.
- Give credit in the original caption right when you post it – You aren’t fooling anyone when you post the photo and make it look like it’s your own, and then edit the caption 6 weeks later (after it’s buried in your feed) to include a little camera emoji and the creator’s handle at the very end of your caption.
- Regram with good conscience – Are you regramming this photo for the likes and to bulk up your own feed/follower base? Or are you sharing it to help the image and/or the image’s creator to gain more exposure? One of these is ethical, the other is not.
- Are you connected to the photo? – Were you tagged in the original photo? Is your brand or product pictured? If neither of those questions is a “yes”, this probably isn’t content that you need to be reposting. Unless, of course, you are reposting because you love an image/message and want to help the image and/or the image’s creator gain more exposure (see #1), in which case make sure you caption correctly (see #2).
- Create a featured hashtag for your brand – If your brand could benefit from having content to regram, consider creating a hashtag that fans can tag photos with if they want a chance to have them shared on your feed. This way you know that they’d like the photo shared and you can feel confident regramming. Just give credit where credit is due! A few of our clients do this, and we include their featured tag right in their Instagram Bio. Look at @W3LLPEOPLE (featured tag: #NaturalWarrior) or @OneLoveOrganics (featured tag: #OLOfan) for great examples of how to execute this.
- Be mindful of how you tag regrammed content -If you are a brand or blogger, you know that there are big hashtags out there that get a lot of ‘likes’, and if you’re lucky, maybe even a regram from the account that “owns” the hashtag (as explained in #6). Tags like #DarlingWeekend (owned by @Darling) and #FlashesOfDelight (owned by @GlitterGuide) are hashtags that those brands use to pool photos of a particular “theme” that they select from to regram. If the content isn’t yours, you shouldn’t be adding those tags for a chance to have work that is not yours featured.
What should you do if you think you’ve been breaking these rules? Right your wrongs, it’s not too late and you can consider it a learning experience! Audit your account right now. Scroll through your photos. Is everything there YOUR content? What percentage is content created by you, and what percentage is someone else’s work? If you have someone else’s work on your feed, are you giving credit to the photo’s owner? Is their handle right at the beginning of your caption? We’d suggest deleting any inappropriately shared content and cleaning up your account so that it consists mostly of your own original content. If you can’t bring yourself to delete them, you can edit the caption on each regrammed photo so that it adheres to the rules…but just revisit #3 and know that this isn’t totally up-to-snuff (better than nothing, though).
An additional note for businesses/brands about Understanding the difference between fan generated content and commissioned content – If a fan shares a photo of your new body wash, you should adhere to our rules and tag them appropriately in the photo. If you are regramming an image created by a blogger who you provided free product/payment to for review, you can share and caption that photo as you wish. Out of respect for the blogger it is always nice to show them some love, send readers/followers their way, and include their handle somewhere in the caption, but if you collaborated with the blogger to create this content, it is yours to share.