No social share button for Instagram. Why is that?

15 May 2020
No social share button for Instagram, Why is that?

For therapists, the use of social media as a tool for running and promoting our clinics has never been more important than it is today. With digital communications being the current new normal, the ability to share content with our current and prospective clients is instrumental in maintaining and creating new business.

Over the last few years, Instagram has fast become one of the most popular social media platforms. Therefore, it begs the question: why is there no share button available for sharing web content to Instagram as there is for other popular platforms?

As website developers, we’re often asked why we don’t provide this functionality. It just so happens there are very logical and legitimate explanations. So, if you’re curious, wonder no more. Take a look at just a few of the reasons we’ve outlined below.

Instagram have not made it technically possible

It might sound simple, but the sharing functionality from a website to a social media platform is actually created by the social media companies themselves. Therefore, to be able to share a piece of content from a website to say LinkedIn or Facebook, the platform needs to provide an API to enable that to happen. Social Media companies are in complete control of what applications or digital plug-ins they allow to publish on or share via their platform.

So, in straightforward terms, we as Website Design specialists don’t actually create the sharing functionality, it is developed and looked after by the social media platform itself. If a social media company does not provide an API to support external apps and plug-ins sharing content to their platform, then it is not technically possible to create a button for it.

This is the case for Instagram, it simply hasn’t created the necessary infrastructure, API, and developer documentation to enable any sort of share button function to share web content to its platform.

It’s a cultural thing

Social media share buttons exist for one reason: to allow people to take a link for a piece of content, whether that be a blog, image or video, from a web page and share it to a social media platform for others to see that content.

Instagram is primarily used for sharing photos and videos that have been created by the sharer. This appears to be its intended use as it has never encouraged or made it straightforward for content creators to share links. The Instagram user also tends to remain in the app itself to consume content rather than leaving via external links.

This is a huge contrast to other popular social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook where users are continuously searching for links to interesting content on other websites.

Each social media platform has its own unique culture and it’s important to remember this when you’re creating content and thinking about how you will share it. When using Instagram people will have significantly different intentions and expectations than they would if they were using Twitter or Facebook.

Although Instagram has built-in features to allow link sharing, for example, the ‘swipe up’ option on stories, this has only been allowed on selective accounts. And many influencers have voiced that one of the unique things about Instagram’s culture is that people don’t want to leave Instagram to view content, they want to stay on Instagram and absorb content specifically made for Instagram.

So, to sum that all up? The reasons that you won’t find a social share button on web pages for Instagram is that Instagram itself has not made it technically possible, and all in all people don’t want to use Instagram to find links to view content elsewhere. If they want that, they’ll go on twitter.

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