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Is there room in your life for two social channels that do the same thing? Is Snapchat over? Let’s break it down.
This week Instagram launched Instagram stories – and they’re amazing! On the surface, and after using it, it’s just like Snapchat, minus a few key features. But only a few.
What are Instagram Stories?
They’re short, 10-second videos that users can make and add to throughout the day. They’re called stories because when people talk or show you something for 10 seconds and then add another 10 seconds, and another 10 seconds, it weaves together a narrative. You can do one or a 100 stories in a day.
They only last 24 hours and disappear. (Although we all know that things don’t really disappear on the Internet.) The main point here, and the really, really COOL thing is that the stories (the videos) do NOT show up in your main feed. That’s right folks, they are separate and show on the top of your Instagram feed. You’ll see profile pics on the top of your feed for anyone that has a story. Click their profile pic and you’ll see the videos they’ve shared.
Why are Instagram Stories and Snapchat a Big Deal?
You see behind-the-scenes of people you follow. It’s not perfected content like you find in your Instagram feed. The benefit of having this feature on Instagram instead of Snapchat is that you may already have a following on Instagram. And, I’ve found that although I’ve personally tried to get so many of my family and friends on Snapchat that the learning curve (and, frankly just the concept) was too high a barrier.
It’s a great way to create video content and to let your users see the real you. For example: on Snapchat I make Snapisodes of recipes. Like this one and this one. I just download the mini video clips as an entire video (the entire story), put a title on it and load it to YouTube for longer life. I also embed it natively into Facebook for higher engagement with Facebook algorithms. It’s a really efficient, and fast, way to get video content for blog posts.
What I’m SO EXCITED about is that the stories do not show up in your feed (unless you choose for them to)! I’ve perfected my feed and have a pattern that I follow. Since I started doing this my followers and engagement has gone up. The fact that I can still have my feed brand-specific, allows me to be more free with the stories.
Key things that are missing from Instagram Stories:
- Ability to send a story directly to one person. You can only load to your story.
What’s better on Instagram Stories:
- You already have a following
- It’s easier to learn how to use it
- It separated your stories from your feed.
And, the coolest feature that I’ve wanted Snapchat to update is that when you are watching someone’s story, you can go back and watch the person before OR the person after. Swipe left to watch the person before, swipe right to skip to the next person. On Snapchat, once you’re watching a story, if you want to go back and re-watch it or watch the person that has a story before the one you’re watching, you had to go back to the main screen and click on that person again. With Instagram you just swipe. And, while I’m talking about swiping, I think there are too many options to swipe on Snapchat. Don’t get me wrong here, I LOVE Snapchat. I’ve been a HUGE proponent of it. I’m not giving it up, but I have to say that I’m very intrigued by what Instagram has done.
Social Media Experts Weigh In
I watched Sue B Zimmerman, aka the Instagram Expert, talk about Instagram on Facebook Live. She was almost beside herself with excitement! She’s an amazing snapchatter, giving away free Instagram advice every day. She mentioned the benefit of using stories on Instagram over Snapchat is that on Instagram she knows who is following her already and now she can connect directly with these people and brands.
Last night on Snapchat, Gary Vaynerchuck admitted that he had to decide if he was going to do a SnapChat Story or an Instagram story. Decisions, decisions. He wrote a post about the new Instagram stories and says, “Anybody who thinks this is going to kill Snapchat is completely out of their mind. It’s a “no chance” statement. Sure, this update will affect Snapchat, but it won’t be the end of it.”
I’m not convinced this will be the case. I agree that I don’t think Snapchat is going to close its doors tomorrow because of Instagram’s addition but I do think that older people who aren’t already on Snapchat aren’t going to get on it now. There is a HUGE learning curve to use Snapchat (just a bad UX) that is a barrier to entry.
Buffer did a great, quick tutorial on how to use Instagram stores.
For now I’ll continue to use Snapchat because I have connections there that I don’t want to lose, but I have to start using Instagram stories too. Over time I think I will end up using one more than the other and eventually abandon one. My guess is that I’ll give up Snapchat, but it’s way to soon to say that.
I did a Facebook Live about the new Instagram stories in my private Facebook group Blogging, Business + Balance. Come join us.