I’m pretty excited – because Instagram just launched STORIES! Instagram Stories is essentially a copy of Snapchat’s Snapstory function (even the Instagram CEO admitted to this). But after some testing, I’m liking Instagram Stories more than Snapchat and can see myself uninstalling the latter app as of now. I’d like to explore the current benefits of Instagram Stories and how you should use it to market your brand/business.
Overview of Snapchat Functionalities & Benefits
As you may already know, Snapchat is great because it capitalizes on attention. Through Snapchat, people can send their friends videos or images, but this media content disappears in a matter of seconds upon viewing. You can also add these “snaps” to your Snapstory. People enjoy snaps because they’re essentially real-time, unedited, and exclusive.
Snapchat is powerful for brands and businesses because people are voluntarily looking at your content. Users are actually CLICKING on your snaps to watch, so you know they’re more attentive to your posts. It goes against normal outbound marketing in which marketers are constantly pushing people to buy through paid advertisements. When people are blasting unwanted sales-like content at you, its natural to want to ignore or scroll over ads.
Gary Vaynerchuk mentioned that Snapchat was huge for his sales. Whenever he created a snap promoting his next product he would see a spike in purchases. And if you check Kylie Jenner’s snapstory she’s constantly using it to promote her new makeup launches, which always seem to do extremely well.
So if this is a platform that works, why do I prefer Instagram Stories?
Why Instagram Stories Enhance the Instagram Experience
First I want to explore why Instagram Stories are beneficial to the Instagram platform.
I just tested “Stories” today on my musician profile…disregard the bottom red bar (my phone was on battery saving mode :x).
As you can see, within two-three minutes I had over 20 views from different users.
Okay that’s not that much, but the number is continuously increasing, and I noticed I was catching followers who I didn’t know followed me. If you want to see your views, pull up the bottom arrow to check:
Oh hayyy – y’all follow me? What’s good?
This brings me to Instagram Story’s first benefit:
1. You’ll find out who your followers are, and realize some of them aren’t engaged enough.
There will be those followers who never like or comment on your posts. But you’ll only really notice them when you see they’ve viewed your stories. Instagram stories might be the key to reaching those followers who aren’t engaging with you.
2. You’re showing REAL-TIME content.
A lot of times, people will post Instagram content at “optimal times” for engagement. If you want more likes and comments you might post regular Instagram content on 8 PM on a Tuesday rather than at 3 AM on a Sunday when everyone’s sleeping. This makes Stories appear more authentic and attractive cause it is in real-time.
3. Stories come out on top:
When you open Instagram and check your news feed, you’ll now notice that your friends’ stories come up on TOP of the actual Instagram content. This means there’s a great probability that they will be glanced over. And items you haven’t checked display a red circle around the story, which makes you psychologically inclined to click on them because you’ll know its new content. Us humans just always want to push that red button…
4. And they show on your profile page too!
If you’re visiting someone’s profile page, you can click on their icon to view their snapstory, even if it isn’t glowing red. Extra exposure for you!
5. You can add personality to your brand, WITHOUT being inconsistent with your Instagram feed.
For some Instagram users, their feed is their art. You’ll rarely catch professional photographers or graphic designers go off brand with silly content. For those creators who are building a specific type of feed – you can now use stories to show content that might not be “good enough” for your feed, or showcase your interesting day-to-day life without messing up your portfolio.
Why I Think Instagram Stories is Better Than Snapchat Stories
1. Instagram lets you discover, Snapchat doesn’t.
If I wanted to find quality Snapchat content, I wouldn’t go on the app to try and find awesome new content creators. The platform makes discovery challenging. I’d have to find influencers through a separate platform, then use Snapchat to check out what their day-to-day life looks like.
To discover new talent, I would rather turn to Instagram, YouTube, or some other type of media platform that showcases portfolios. Instagram’s advantage is their search functionality and hashtagging ability. If I want to get discovered as a musician, I could hashtag content with relevant musical hashtags like #singersongwriter or #producer. There is a larger chance of getting discovered because hashtags act as searchable keywords.
Now that Instagram also has Stories, it can incorporate that human aspect of real-time, unedited, daily life content.
Snapchat = Engagement with existing users
Instagram (feeds + stories) = Engagement with existing users AND the ability to gain new followers
2. No more tedious cross-platform posting.
Let’s face it. New social apps are coming out constantly and it’s frustrating to keep up. Now that Instagram has incorporated Snapstory features, there’s no reason to keep up with multiple platforms for the same functions (unless you have the time and want to cover all the bases). I barely go on Snapchat because I have enough on my plate.
How You Should Use Instagram Stories for Marketing Your Business
Now you know the benefits. So how should you use it for your business?
1. Keep busting out awesome, consistent content on Instagram. And use Instagram Stories to show the fun side of your business others might not see normally.
By doing this, you can uphold the image you want to emulate while showcasing your “human side”. I personally love seeing what musicians are up to and respect when they have that realness factor you don’t normally see. For businesses, you could show employee/team interaction, events, “behind-the-scenes” looks, and more.
2. Post giveaways and exclusive content
This is another way to engage your users. Give them stuff!
3. But don’t post an extreme amount.
Once you finish viewing one person’s story, you’ll be led to stories of other people you’re following. Honestly, I don’t want to see 30 stories from the same person in 1 day, and it’s likely I’ll unfollow you if I have to skip through a million of yours to see someone else’s.
4. Give more than ask.
Want to promote your product? You better be giving more than you’re asking. You should provide value for your customers or fans by producing content you think people would actually appreciate. If you’re constantly asking fans to buy your album or purchase your next book, you’ll most likely get an unfollow!
I’ve just uninstalled Snapchat…I wasn’t really using it anyway :x.
P.S. I have 3 Instagram accounts. Follow me if you’d like! 🙂 –>
This blog… @digitalnomadquest