If you haven’t heard already, Instagram launched a new service called Stories. Is this just a blatant ploy on Facebook’s part to steal away Snapchat users? YES. However There are a Few (Not Insignificant) Differences
The obvious difference is with the potential audience. While Snapchat users are highly engaged and loyal, they are only 100 million daily users strong. Instagram on the other hand reports 300,000 million daily users.
Unlike Snapchat, Instagram (and Facebook) are very business friendly. They want your business; they want to make it easy and beneficial to use their product.
- Hashtags, Explore Pages, Trending Tags, Places, and Search, make you more discoverable on Instagram than you are on Snapchat
- It is simpler to grow your audience with easy following with a prominent follow button on each Instagram home page and liking with heart icon on every post.
- NOTE: these features are not yet avaialbe from the Stories feed
- Those of you in the spirits biz take note! Instagram has one HUGE factor in your favor. It allows you to restrict viewing to people 21 or older. (Score one for compliance!)
P.S.: Instagram and Facebook are not making their platforms business friendly out of the kindness of their hearts. Just like Facebook works better for companies when you pay them. I am sure this will soon be the case with Instagram Stories. You know Ads are right around the corner too!
Create Your Story in Real Time (or Not)
While both platforms delete stories after 24 hours, Snapchat has Memories. If you want to save something for future reference or build a more curated story, Snapchat has got you covered.
Know When Your Content Is Saved
Snapchat offers screenshot notification when someone saves your temporary content for posterity. Instagram does not.
Snapchat also has Instagram beat with geofilters, selfie lenses, stickers and facial recognition. Which, depending on how you feel about vomiting rainbows and puppy dog ears, might be a good or bad thing. You decide.
Algorithm versus Chronology
The Instagram Stories feed prioritizes posts using Facebook engagement data. Meaning the way people interact with content on Facebook will influence the order of stories in your Instagram Stories feed. This algorithmically based order is different from Snapchat Stories which are in reverse chronological order. (For now, anyway,)
Instagram (and Facebook) believe this means that the most interesting stories won’t get buried, but it also means that it’s that much harder for small business to get attention for their content. The good news is if you can get good engagement on Facebook, you will get it on Instagram too!
These Platforms are Still Evolving
Snapchat and Instagram offer two very different approaches. Snapchat is instant, raw and silly. Instagram is (or at least has been) about perfectly curated images. How will the temporary and fleeting nature of stories translate into the Instagram world? Will it develop its own personality or continue to imitate Snapchat? Only time will tell.
Should You Jump In?
If you are interested in creating this type of content and haven’t jumped into Snapchat already, you are infinitely more discoverable inside Instagram. With Snapchat you have to use external sources to promote your Snapchat content. If they don’t find you in time, your content disappears. So the question you need to answer for yourself is "What’s most important: being found or engaging your current follower base?" If you are already on Snapchat and have a big fan base, you might decide it’s a better use of your time to stick with them.
Don’t Forget Your Fundamentals
If you want to be interesting in Stories you need to know who your customer is and what matters to them. Nothing will drive engagement like compelling, relevant content. Even if you are just experimenting be sure you know what you are trying to tell people. Don’t just throw up a bunch of disjointed stuff. Have a purpose. Remember they are called Stories. Are you telling one? If you aren’t, folks will just swipe right on past you.
If you want to start playing with Instagram Stories check out this excellent step by step from Hub Spot.
Check out some Instagram Stories from brands already trying their hand at the new game. Stories for folks you follow will show up at the top of your Instagram feed.
ProTip: You won't find stories on individual Instagram pages. You have to go to the Stories feed to see them. A lot of folks are trying to send people back to their main Instagram page to click on a link. However, it's not all that easy to get to a brand’s main Instagram page from the Stories feed. If you want folks to check out a link on your Instagram page, know that it’s a bit of a pain for them. Think carefully about where you put a call to visit a link in your story (if at all). It's probably smarter to give them everything you want them to know right in the story.