Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, you’ve already heard that Instagram released their version of live video called “Stories”, and it is eerily similar to Snapchat. It’s so similar, in fact, that a lot of loyal Snapchatters (Snappers, Snappies, Snap-happies…) were pretty irate.
Regardless of your feelings about the new feature of Instagram, it only adds fuel to the ever-growing trend that video is where it’s at, particularly live video. So which one is for you? Instagram Stories or Snapchat? I’m not one to ruffle feathers, so let’s weigh the pros and cons of both and let you decide for yourself.
Instagram was born in 2010 as a free mobile photo-sharing app, and in just two short years, had grown to over 100 million active users. Facebook caught wind of this growth and decided to buy this uber-popular app in April 2012 for a measly $1 billion in cash & stock. Chump change. (source)
Facebook has made a lot of changes to the app since purchasing it over four years ago, and some loyalists of the platform have been none-too-happy with some of these changes. (We’re looking at you, algorithm change.)
However, the newest feature addition, Instagram Stories, is a game changer. But we’ll get back to Instagram in a minute.
Snapchat is still the new kid on the block, launching in 2011 under the name “Picaboo”. Mix a couple of Silicon Valley college kids with pictures sent to a girl that they wish they could take back, and you’ve got an ingenious idea for a new app. Two months after it’s launch, the name was changed to Snapchat, and the creators and source code writer started to think about moving off their dad’s couch. (Not even kidding.) (source)
Snapchat users were initially middle school kids through young adults sharing stupid pictures of themselves with their friends, knowing those photos would disappear after their friends viewed them. (I have a 14-year old and have seen some of these stupid pictures. Seriously? Sometimes I fear for the future of our society.)
With all kinds of crazy filters, you can appear to vomit rainbows, turn into a puppy or a monster, or have a perma-frown. Snapchat allows you to share photos or short videos, add geo-filters marking your current location, and choose to send these directly to your contacts, or add to your Snapchat story.
As the platform has grown, new features continue to be added. Most recently, Snapchat added Memories, allowing your Snapchat photos & videos to live forever, rather than only long enough to be viewed once.
With all these features, however, it’s still difficult to find people, and you can’t share a link to a blog post or website. For bloggers, this can be a problem.
ABOUT INSTAGRAM STORIES
Oh, Instagram! Always keeping us on our toes…because, you know, Facebook owns them, and Facebook likes to mess stuff up. I swear, their motto must be, “If it ain’t broke, let’s break it!” Then all the rich Facebook execs go drink cocktails and laugh at everyone freaking out while they line their pockets with more money.
Rant over. Sorry. I tried to keep this unbiased for as long as I could but I can only hold out so long.
So, Instagram created Stories, which are pretty much the exact same thing as Snapchat Stories. They’re even both called “Stories”. And a lot of folks are angry.
Instagram now allows users to record short live videos, or take a photo “in the moment”, and add it to their story. Everything disappears after 24 hours, so if you want to save it, you have to view your own story and save each entry one by one to your phone’s camera roll.
In addition to your feed, you can now see these little circles at the top of your feed that show you who has a new entry to their Instagram Story. You click on it, view it, and can even reply to it with a direct message. No fancy filters or anything, though, and you can’t choose who sees it. All of your followers can view it if they want.
SNAPCHAT OR INSTAGRAM STORIES FOR BLOGGERS?
As bloggers, we feel like we should have a presence on all social media platforms. (Ask me why I disagree.) A lot of bloggers have really learned to love Snapchat, while others of us (ahem – me) forget it’s even on our phones, and when we do remember, we feel guilty for letting all 8 of our followers down by never posting. #sorrynotsorry
There are advantages & disadvantages to both platforms, however, and it’s up to you to decide which one is right for your bloggy biz. Here’s how they stack up:
|400 million active users||200 million active users|
|share instant photos & videos||share instant photos & video|
|all followers can view entire story||can select which followers see which parts of story|
|save to camera roll or share to feed||save to camera roll or save as memory|
|52% of users are teens||47% of users are teens|
|photos & video disappear after 24 hours||photos & video disappear after 24 hours|
|easy to share the link to your profile||there is no link to your profile|
Do you want my personal opinion? (I’m giving it to you anyway.) I like Instagram Stories better for two big reasons:
#1 – I’m already on Instagram, and so are my followers, so it’s one less platform I have to remember to use.
#2 – There was a big learning curve to Snapchat that I haven’t had with Instagram Stories, which makes this 30-something super happy.
So which one is best for you? That’s up to you to decide.
HOW TO USE STORIES FOR YOUR BRAND
Whichever platform you decide to use for your blog, you can creatively add content that readers & brands will love.
A DAY IN THE LIFE
Readers love behind-the-scenes peeks into your life, and Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories allow you to share that with them very easily.
Working with a brand for a sponsored post? Take your reader shopping for the product you need, then do a simple tutorial or explanation of the product. The beautifully staged images will end up in a blog post, but these real life glimpses give the brand added exposure, and lets readers see the product up close & personal.
Use Stories to offer exclusive discounts or host giveaways only to the people who view them. The contest can run for 24 hours, since images & video disappear after that time, so you encourage people to participate by giving them that sense of urgency.
Similar to the “day in the life” idea, give viewers a taste of what’s to come. Share ingredients and tell them to read the blog tomorrow to get the recipe. Show an unfinished project and tell them the big reveal will be coming up soon.
If you’re launching a product, sneak peeks are a great way to build anticipation for the launch and show how much effort you’re putting into the product, too.
HELP ME DECIDE
People love giving their opinions, am I right? Use Stories to ask viewers for their feedback to help you make a decision, whether it’s about a paint color, an outfit, or what to cook for dinner!
If you do your due diligence and save these Stories to your camera roll, you can then incorporate them into your blog post, in a Facebook post or video, or a YouTube video. This is even more added exposure for your Story, and if you’re working with a brand, this gives you more opportunities to creatively share their content.
And if all this talk of Stories has your head spinning, buckle up. Twitter is getting in on the action with an upcoming feature that will soon be rolled out to all Twitter users called “Moments”. Somebody make it stop!
Do you use Instagram Stories or Snapchat? Tell me your preference in the comments below.
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