On August 2, Instagram quietly rolled out a new feature – Instagram Stories – that bears a very real resemblance to Snapchat, the photo sharing app favored by the 18 to 24-year-old cohort.
Instagram said on their blog that the goal of Stories is to share all your moments in the day, not just the ones you want on your profile.
“With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about overposting. 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.”
If that sounds an awful lot like Snapchat, then you’re not alone in your thinking. As with any new feature or app, there are pros and cons, but you may find that Instagram Stories is just what you need to reach your audience in new and creative ways. Here’s why:
- You can leverage your existing followers. Chances are you have a pretty decent Instagram following already mostly because the app has been around longer and makes it easy to find and follow users. Snapchat, however, is a little more difficult requiring a phone number or Snapcode to find users and doesn’t offer a discover option.
- Update your planned editorial calendar with “real-time” content. One aspect where Instagram Stories differs from Snapchat is that it allows photos to be uploaded directly from the camera roll whereas Snapchat only allows photos that have been taken within the app. (Snapchat did update this with Memories, which allows camera roll photos with a special border indicating it was taken outside of the app). This allows you a little more control when it comes to your editorial calendar.
- Convert viewers to buyers. Where Snapchat only lets you share photos and isn’t tied to a larger profile, Instagram Stories is tied directly to your profile. This means you can easily direct viewers to your website URL or Contact button all within the app.
- Pro Tip: If you haven’t already done so, update your Instagram to a business profile. Go to your profile and select the “Settings” wheel. Under the account tab, select “Switch to business profile,” and then connect with your Facebook page. It’s that easy!
There are some downsides to Instagram Stories though as it compares to Snapchat. For one, if your target demographic skews younger, then you’ll probably still want to go where the kids are and update your Snapchat regularly.
Additionally, while Instagram Stories has some cool pen and marker features, it lacks the geofilter aspect of Snapchat, which is part of the fun.
So, are you Team Instagram Stories or Team Snapchat?