This week, two of my favorite social media channels essentially became one: we now have Instagram’s New Stories feature as their answer to Snapchat, and it’s genius.  What better way to tackle Instagram’s biggest threat than by leveling the playing field by offering the almost identical functions that people have come to know and love on Snapchat?

One way Instagram is competing with Snapchat is with the introduction of “Instagram Stories’–essentially video snippets that you can take throughout the day to update your friends and followers as to what you have going on, without having the pictures or videos posted on your Instagram feed.  Now you can give people behind the scenes looks, or just more casual interactions, without having to worry about the aesthetics of a perfectly curated feed.  This is one of the reasons people love Snapchat so much, so Instagram decided to jump on board, and I think it’s a great idea.

I believe Instagram’s New Stories Feature is going to make Instagram way more sticky, especially since I’ve noticed I could easily spend close to 30 minutes at a given time, watching people’s stories on Snapchat.  The majority of the stories I watch aren’t particularly riveting, just my friends snapping videos as they go along in their day, interspersed with the occasional celebrity or influencer jet setting to fantastic locales, getting dolled up in hair and make up, and attending fantastic soirees or events.

Instagram published a blog post detailing this new feature and went over the highlights, if you’ve been using Snapchat you’ll find a lot of the functionality is the same: you can pick which stories you want to look at, you can swipe right to move onto the next person’s stories, you can also doodle on your picture or video, there are a few filters (not quite as good as Snapchat’s) to choose from, and it seems like the maximum time for each video is ten to twelve seconds.

Instagram has also added some additional features that Snapchat does not yet have, such as being able to fast forward or rewind within the same story, the ability to go back to the previous person’s story, and more.  To get a list of the features and hacks, click here.

Could this be the demise of Snapchat? Maybe.  I think Gen Z will stick to Snapchat, while millennials, Gen Y and Gen X-ers will likely appreciate the functionality of essentially having two social media apps in one.  Certainly, plenty of people have voiced the uncertainty of how they feel about this new feature on Instagram, such as Kate Hudson’s “This doesn’t feel right, I feel like I’m cheating” videos.  Time will tell how all of this will play out, but for now as a business owner and marketer I feel that right now is the best opportunity to capitalize on this new feature.

A few things to consider as you explore Instagram’s New Stories Feature:

  • Don’t overshare! Sure, it’s a great way to show your followers behind the scenes things that you’re doing and neat occurrences throughout your day, but no one is going to be interested in your story of you filling up your car with gas, unless it’s your mom. I think those of us who use Snapchat are excited because we’ll immediately get more views on our videos than we likely did on Snapchat, but people can get annoyed very easily and may not want to view your story at all.  Think about it–we went from potentially following 50-100 users on Snapchat to however many people you follow on Instagram–that can make for story overload so make sure your stories add value or are interesting or inspiring.
  • Use it as a way to introduce yourself to your followers, especially if you have a niche account (like my food account) where people don’t really see your face on a regular basis
  • Continue to post aesthetically pleasing photos to your Insta feed, and don’t forget to continue to interact with other people’s accounts! This goes for both the stories (where you can interact with the account whose story you’re watching) and the regular ol’ Instagram posts as well.  I will be interested to see if accounts’ engagement levels go down because people are more focused on watching stories than liking and commenting on people’s pictures.
  • At this time you cannot pick who specifically can view you story, but you can block who you don’t want to view the stories.  My guess is that Instagram will roll out an update in the next few weeks that allows you to send the stories directly to a few accounts, kind of how they allow you to send Insta posts to people via direct message.
  • Interestingly, new stories in the home feed are prioritized by who you interact with the most, and not by the time the story’s been updated (like Snapchat), which means your stories are also part of Instagram’s algorithm.

That’s all I have for now, it’ll be interesting to see how Instagram’s New Stories Feature will evolve over time! For now, to get my Instasnap or Snapagram (however you want to call it!) hacks click here, and be sure to follow along on Instagram for more tips and updates!

 

 

Use Insta Stories like a Pro

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