I’m a self-proclaimed social media addict. You can find me hanging out on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram (again), and Facebook. I use each platform differently, but ultimately, I use social media to market my blog, increase my website traffic, build relationships…and yes, I use social media to entertain myself, too. Of course, just when you think you’ve nailed your social media strategy, something big changes and throws everyone for a loop. Most recently, the loop has been the introduction of Instagram Stories. For the last few weeks, all of the bloggers and businesses I know have been wracking their brains about the debate: Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories.
but first…What are Instagram stories?
Over the last several months, there’s been a number of updates and new features that have rolled out on Instagram. The first major change was Instagram’s new algorithm that everyone was upset with for a while, and the second was the introduction of Instagram Stories. According to Instagram, stories are:
“a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.
With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about over-posting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed.”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Yes, that’s because it’s very similar to Snapchat’s Story feature. Hm. Way to throw us all for another loop, Instagram.
Initial Thoughts about Instagram stories:
There’s no denying that when you look at Instagram Stories vs Snapchat Stories, there’s a lot of overlap. Anyone who says they didn’t just rip off Snapchat’s idea is being naive. However, I had other concerns about the new feature.
My concern with Instagram Stories was the fact that it adds at least another 30-40 minutes to my “social media routine” each day. I know I’m not the only person who’s been asking themselves questions like, “do I follow too many people?” “When am I going to fit this into my day?” “What if I miss something”? It’s introducing us to a new level of potential FOMO.
Aside from adding more onto our plates, another important concern that bloggers and brands have is, “do I use Instagram and ignore Snapchat…or do I use Snapchat and ignore Instagram?” No one knows where to put their content. It’s a challenge that we’re all working through right now. There are services like kenji that help to optimise your Instagram posts and direct a target audience towards your page, which could drive more sales.
As a bloggers, we need to think about the Instagram Stories vs Snapchat Stories debate strategically.
Where Instagram Stories Wins over Snapchat:
Engagement and views: There’s no comparison. For many bloggers and small brands, Instagram is the social media platform of choice, so there’s already an established follower base. As well, thanks to hashtags and the “explore feature,” it’s easier to grow a following on Instagram than it is on Snapchat. As a result, you’re guaranteed to have more impressions on your instagram stories.
User experience: This is definitely more trivial than the previous point, but the user experience feels “friendlier” and more sophisticated on Instagram. You have the ability to go backwards in someone’s story, which comes in handy if, heaven-forbid, you miss something. I also love the way the screen flips, if you want to skip someone’s story all together. It’s very sleek!
More brush options: I really love to hand-draw words and little elements onto my Stories, and Instagram has three different options to choose from. I really love that you can adjust the thickness of the brush. They also make it easy to choose different colours. Minimal detail or not, it’s still a win for Instagram.
Where Snapchat wins over Instagram:
Filters and Geofilters: Yes, Instagram offers filters, but they aren’t nearly as fun, unique, or hilarious as the ones you can get on Snapchat. While there are ways get Snapchat filters on your Instagram Story, I can’t be bothered. It sounds like a lot of unnecessary effort, tbh.
Better sense of community: Because (most) people have a much smaller following on Snapchat than on Instagram, it feels like a more tight-knit community. I sometimes refer to my Snapchat friends as my “Snapchat fam!” I also feel that I’m more engaged with Snapchat Stories than I am with Instagram Stories, due to the sheer volume. I’m sure I’m not alone on that one.
It’s random: Even though Snapchat is an extension of your brand, it’s still a separate entity. I’ve never really had a strategy for Snapchat, aside from connecting with people and being myself. Even though it’s expected that an Instagram story will be more raw and unedited than one’s highly curated and staged profile, the content on Instagram Stories should relate back to the brand in some way.
SO…what should you post and where?
I think that most bloggers and small businesses are still trying to determine their game plan, but here’s the strategy that I’m working with right now:
What to post on Snapchat:
Snapchat is still a great place to share those miscellaneous, random snapshots of life. Use it when you’re out with friends, or at a blogging event. Snap your random thoughts, when you feel like having a conversation with yourself. (Bonus points if said conversation occurs with a dog or flower crown filter.) If you’re a small business, use Snapchat as a way to share exclusive, behind-the-scenes content, special promotions, or contests. Snapchat is a place where your most engaged audience will want to follow you. They want more content, so they can get to know your better!
What to post on Instagram Stories:
I’ll be honest. Up until now, I’ve been holding back on posting to my Instagram story, because I haven’t been sure what I wanted to post there. After all, it’s not the “same” as Snapchat. Instagram Stories should be personal and raw…but not too personal or too raw, if that makes sense.
It’s important to keep in mind that the content you share should have some relevance to your blog or brand, or else your audience will most likely not be interested. For instance, if you’re a fashion and beauty blogger, and all you post about on your Instagram Story are snapshots from the gym and photos of your lunch…it’s likely that your audience won’t be interested.
Instagram Stories are a great place to share your blogger mail, office tours, relevant events, and behind-the-scenes previews of what you’re working on. Since I post a lot of flat lay shots on my Instagram account, I’ve posted some behind-the-scenes looks at my process. The feedback was great, so now I’m considering the idea of sharing a step-by-step look at how I put my flatlays together.
You can also consider creating daily or weekly series’ to share on your Instagram Story. I’ve seen some great ones already. For example, Lauren from This Renegade Love has been featuring some of her favourite Instagrammers and why she’s inspired by their content. Furthermore, Gaby from What’s Gaby Cooking does a cooking tutorial on Fridays. This started as a Snapchat tradition, but she felt like it was more fitting for Instagram Stories. In either case, these are new traditions, but they are in line with what each respective bloggers’ audience expects from them.
What NOT to post on Instagram Stories:
Whatever you do, don’t overshare! Please, don’t send out 35 snaps about the dude that cut you off on the highway. Ain’t nobody got time to listen to that, okay?! Also, don’t duplicate your content. If someone follows you on both platforms, they don’t want to see the same content twice. If you’re not sure where to post and you decide to share unique content to each platform, that’s a great time to cross-promote. There’s no shame in saying, “if you want to see more snaps from this event, be sure to follow me on Snapchat!”
So, Instagram or Snapchat?
Ultimately, there’s value to using both platforms…and because Instagram Stories are still relatively new, there’s a lot we can all learn about them. Just keep in mind, if you’re a blogger or small business and someone follows you on Instagram, it’s for a reason. People follow because they like your feed and/or your brand. If this same person chooses to follow you on Snapchat, it’s because they want to learn more about you.
What’s your take on the Instagram Stories vs Snapchat Stories debate? Do you have a strategy?
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