Instagram Stories is the shiniest new toy, and everyone is talking about it. Launched last month, Instagram Stories lets users share snapshots that disappear after 10 seconds. Sounds familiar. Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, clearly launched Instagram Stories as a response to the wildly popular Snapchat.
And now every small business owner is asking the same questions: What’s the difference between them? Which one should I use? Should I use either of them?
Snapchat Vs. Instagram Stories
Well, let’s just get right to it: functionally, Snapchat and Instagram Stories are the same. You take a picture, add a line of text and some scribbles (maybe an emoji or two) and post it. Someone else opens it and 10 seconds later, it disappears. You can send your creations to specific people, or make public “stories” that anyone can see. Both sites are mobile apps only and require a smartphone to use. Most of the differences between Snapchat and Instagram Stories are minor technical tweaks to the same concept.
Filters Vs. Doodles
Even though Instagram is famous for its filters, Instagram Stories leans heavily on the doodling feature. Users can choose from a variety of pen sizes and colors to bring their artistic visions to life. This is in stark contrast to Snapchat’s one pen size and standard color options. However, Snapchat still dominates when it comes to funny filters. There is no dog face option in Instagram – just the standard Instagram filters.
Recent Vs. Popular
One of the biggest differences is between Instagram Stories and Snapchat is how you see who you see. Snapchat sorts stories by most recent. Instagram, courtesy of their parent company Facebook, runs posts through an algorithm. You see stories from the people or companies you interact with most first, regardless of when they were published.
Which is Right for My Business?
If you already have an Instagram account, start with Instagram Stories. You already have the platform, so testing out the new feature will be easier than creating a whole new account.
If you don’t have an account on either platform, whichever one you start with will depend on your business. Which rings more true for your business?
- My customers are generally under the age of 25
- I want to share creative, silly posts
- I like to explore new technologies and stay ahead of the curve
- My customers are generally over the age of 25
- I want to share day-in-the-life pictures
- I prefer to use technologies I’m more familiar with
Should I be Using Them?
Well…it depends. If you’re trying to target Millennials, they’re going to be on Snapchat or Instagram more than any other social network. Consumer-facing goods and services also do well with the quick and informal tone. Everyone else? Well….
Like most things, it comes down to time. Dollar for dollar, when it comes to social media Facebook is still your strongest bet. If you’ve got a solid Facebook strategy and want to dip your toe into other social media, consider it. Try using Snapchat or Instagram Stories on a personal account first before rolling it out for your business. Bottom line: social media isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. It takes a bit of experimenting to figure out what will work best for your business.
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