In August, Instagram announced a new feature that looked eerily similar to Snapchat. Both social media juggernauts allow users to upload in-the-moment photos or super-short videos that are live for only 24 hours and encourage creativity through doodles, filters, emojis and other fun effects. While they seem like social media twins on the surface, there are key differentiators that will likely keep people using both. Snapchat has a laundry list of exclusive features including geofilters, face swaps, direct messaging, news and entertainment channels, and a wider array of playful special effects. Instagram Stories won’t replace Snapchat just yet, but its solid foundation and loyal following does give it staying power.
Why It Matters
The benefits of creating a Snapchat doppelganger were obvious to Instagram. Social media apps have essentially replaced SMS and photo sharing tools among teens, so many brands have embraced Snapchat’s fun, no-holds-barred features as a way to reach Millennials and Generation Z. Stories was just what Instagram needed to move beyond its growing reputation as a hub for bloggers’ and influencers’ carefully curated photos and short videos.
Instagram Stories lets users do many of the same things as Snapchat, but because many Instagram accounts already have a large, established following, audience reach has the potential to grow larger than on Snapchat. Instagram is also a platform that gives users real metrics – it’s integrated with Facebook and offers advanced targeting and reporting capabilities for advertisers. While Snapchat is a social media platform dominated by tweens, teens and 20-somethings, Instagram is far more inclusive.
How to Tell Your Story
Instagram Stories gives you the opportunity to play with all the Snapchat ideas you might have had but didn’t have the bandwidth for – or were too scared to try. Now, you can reach your already-engaged Instagram followers with the same type of creative videos and visuals that make Snapchat unique. This also allows you to post multiple times throughout the day without over-saturating your followers’ feeds. Just make sure to stay within your brand. You already know what engages your followers, so use Instagram Stories as supplemental material to tell the big-picture story.
Some ideas for using Instagram Stories include:
- Peeks at behind-the-scenes happenings
- Photos of your work but with the added silliness (and relatability) of fun graphics and text
- Teasers for upcoming exhibits or announcements
- Instagram takeovers and a “day in the life” series
- Special deals for your Instagram-only audiences
Several of our clients have already found creative ways to launch their Instagram Stories presence. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (MSI) posted timely videos during the Olympics featuring an LED Minecraft torch and baby chicks chirping around a tiny American flag. MSI also posted a series of stories taking users inside its Great Train Story scale model, pointing out hidden details you might not otherwise have noticed. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum gives followers behind-the-scenes peeks into their exhibits such as highlighting new butterflies in the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. Really, the possibilities are endless.
Ready to start telling your (Instagram) story?
Jennie Szink is a Senior Account Executive at Public Communications Inc. She executes digital strategies on behalf of clients in healthcare and cultural spaces. She actually prefers Instagram Stories over Snapchat - see what she’s sharing @SincerelyJennie.