Instagram Stories

Instagram just released an update that appears to be taking on Snapchat for the hearts and minds of the 18-34 year old market in the US. Stats via Snapchat) But will it? And if that isn’t your age bracket or the age of your market, do you care? Let’s see.

Introducing Instagram Stories from Instagram

What are Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories are a new way to share you moments on Instagram. The new feature is rolling out over the next few weeks so you may not have it yet, check your updates. Here are the features.

Add text and draw on images
This can be fun if you’re not already using apps to do the same thing or you don’t feel like leaving the app to do so. Use it to illustrate a point or make your images more fun. This is a great way to make sort of boring images look hip.

Stories from accounts you follow appear at the top of your feed
For brands this could be a boon. People who follow your brand will see a colored ring around your account when you release new stories. Staying top of mind is valuable, and for the moment it’s a free way to gain organic (unpaid) visibility! Make sure the quality is top notch and relevant though or we will just unfollow you.

No Public Likes or Comments
Instagram Stories do not allow public comments or likes. Users will have to tap and send a direct message. So take advantage of that and ASK for feedback by DM, then respond. Users love to be heard.

In addition to following the privacy settings on your account (for example private sharing) ou can set privacy settings to exclude some users who follow you. This can allow users to speak to individual interests and topics with their stories.

Stories disappear
After 24 hours your Instagram Story disappears, just like on Snapchat. Some paid influencers on Instagram have been doing this for brands, now they can just post and know it will be gone in a day. Think about micro stories you can tell that will grab attention. Special events and experimental content could be a lot of fun here.

Will Instagram Stories Kill Snapchat?
That has to be a billion dollar question. One thing for sure, Instagram has a considerably better product to start with, the interface with Snapchat is daunting to many. The Snapchat filters are fun and so are the geo-filters with the names of locations etc, but overall it doesn’t appeal to me personally. But I’m not in their demographic sweet spot either.

I think there is plenty of room for co-existence here, and I agree with Mark Schaefer’s position. Most people use these two networks differently, they’ve developed communities there that fit, moving to another platform could be painful, so why would they for the same services?

On the other hand, as Mark points out, can Snapchat compete with the deep pockets that Instagram has at their disposal? Facebook tried to buy Snapchat once and they declined. Time will tell how this all plays out.

Will you use Instagram Stories? Will you switch platforms or use them both?
I’d love to hear about how you plan to use them, or how you’ve seen them used on other accounts! Just got it and have questions? Here’s a link to the help section for Instagram Stories.