How to repost insta content (and not lose friends or alienate people)

It’s the modern trifecta; facebook for support networks, twitter for jokes and reminders that the world is both a heart warming and doomed place, and instagram for all the visuals. Instagram has changed significantly since its advent, metamorphing from a collection of X-Pro-IIed, grainy pictures of #beers #in #the #sun that only a random Turkish account would ‘like’, to arguably the internet’s top resource for inspiration and creativity. It’s a heaven for exciting, inspiring trends; a hivemind for incredible people and genius ideas; a hellhole for content creators.


And by ‘content creators’, I don’t mean vloggers or influencers, but small businesses and creatives who use the app to showcase and share their incredible work. On the one hand, it can elevate them to places beyond their wildest dreams, getting them in front od audiences traditional marketing could only dream of. On the other hand, it can mean their work is taken, cut, filtered and transformed, used for purposes they’d never agreed to and would never want to. People can steal of infringe their work without them ever knowing.


As any of us who’ve ever dared to find out anything about ‘the algorithm’ will know, insta is a shady fellow, and the rules on image ownership are often debated. So are some of the people on it (both shady and often debated). To avoid being seen as someone with little respect for artistry, innovation or small businesses – things I know we all champion – here’s some general rules for reposting work:



More often than not, the creators will say yes, but it’s still courteous to ask permission first. Remember, by posting tehri work, you’re not only aligning your brand with them, but theirs with you too, anchoring the two together – it’s only fair you ask them before. It’s even better if you have a genuine, mutual relationship with them before.



It goes without saying, obviously, but the difficult bit is often working out who’s work it is. Take some time to find out who the credit belongs to if you can, and don’t take the easy way out when you find the photographer’s name. If you’re reposting flowers, make sure you credit the florist. If it’s a make-up look, try your best to find the HMUA. But, always do credit the photographer too – in more cases than not, the image copyright will lay with them. General consensus is a mention and a tag, and a prominent one at that.



Again, this may seem obvious, but have a think about whether you’ve ever intentionally pulled the wool over your followers’ eyes in the interest of visual curation. If you didn’t create it, it’s not yours to reap the rewards from – simple as. The problem with this is that instagram has transmuted into a platform where people share their inspiration as well as their end product, as it’s a huge part of what they do. So even if you’re not passing off each individual photo as your own (which I’m 100% sure you’re not), but remember to take a look at your feed as a whole. How much of it is ‘inspiration;? If it’s a lot, and you’re not advertising yourself as an inspiration source – or it’s not part of what your business does – have a think about what people might perceive as your purpose and, fundamentally, your work.



If it’s worthy of your feed, you clearly think it’s the dog’s bollocks, so tell the world that. Ooze praise and explain why you love what they do and why people should check them out, too. It doesn’t have to be lecherous, sucky, clumsy or awkward – just genuine, heart warming, support your local girl gang kind of stuff.




Time and time again, when creators have found their work reposted by big companies without permission, and have then gone and contacted them about it, the bigger fish will ‘apologise’ by saying they thought it was a perfect fit for their brand ideology. This may be so, but usually big companies pay big money for brand building content, so why should they get it for free? There’s growing animosity from creators who’s images are used to populate feeds and invite likes for a cause, product or service completely removed from and unrelated to their work. And rightly so – they’ve put in the effort, but got nothing in return. From the research I did – yes, ladies and lovelies, I did research; like Nancy Drew, Harriet the Spy, or, more accurately, Charles Boyle from Brooklyn 99 – the disappointment is mainly towards the bigger companies who have the budget for marketing, and just try and freeload anyway. If you’re an indie business with a genuine appreciation for the product, the image and the creator, and you say so (a la 4) and you ask (a la 1) – the chances are you won’t be hated. Educated, maybe, but not hated.



If you’re not on the Canva train yet, hop on that shit immediately. It’s free and so easy to use to create quotes and visuals. Alternatively, think about hooking up with a graphic designer – there’s loads of incredibly talented ones in this group – to work on some eye-popping content for you. There’s also insanely talented photographers and mind blowing brand strategists in here, who can help take you to the next level. Not only will it all be incredibly cohesive and profesh (nail emoji here) but it’ll be exactly what you’re dreamed of too.



It’s usually clear when people are well-intentioned and when they’re not with this kind of thing, so don’t now revert back to sepia-seeped #beers #in #the #sun for fear of doing something wrong. As I was writing this, I totally panicked and critically evaluated my own ‘gram; looking back, there’s definitely captions I Would change to make clearer, or tweaks I’ve now made to make it more evident why my followers should follow these incred indies. But it’s a learning curve, and it’s different for everyone. There’s no hard and fast rules and no universal agreement, so it boils down to fairness, courtesy and creativity. If you do it properly, champion the maker and aren’t a dick, you should be fine. Most creators will be thrilled you like their work, and flattered that you’d like to use it – but the point is, they shouldn’t have to be thrilled. After all, it’s their job, and they’re damn good at it. So keep asking, keep sharing, keep inspiring, keep hustlin’ – maybe there’s an insta quote in there somewhere?

Sapphire Bates