The VPM Blog

Instagram Stories vs Snapchat: Stop The Hate

Posted by Don Crow on Aug 18, 2016 9:00:00 AM

We are a few weeks into the app update that brought us Instagram Stories. Immediately, the first few stories I watched were people asking for Snapchat followers (FD: I did this too), cries of unfair play, or just crying in general. Just like the integration of the Newsfeed into Facebook, the change is being met with criticism from casual to hardcore users.

I don't count myself an expert in either Instagram or Snapchat for personal use, but I'd like to think I've given some really solid advice to clients about how to use each platform for their business. And that's exactly why I'm here today, to help casual and business users alike understand Instagram Stories vs Snapchat.


I'll take it a step further and ask the crying to stop. Respect the difference between the two and go back to the drawing board and figure out how to make each platform work for you. If you're a brand marketer in any capacity you know without a doubt your job is to produce (and earn) brand equity where it matters.

In other words when it comes to Instagram Stories vs Snapchat: Stop the hate.

The main point of all this criticism seems to boil down into two basic categories:

1. Those who prefer Snapchat for their personal storytelling, and

2. Those who prefer Snapchat for their personal storytelling and don't like change.

If there's a third category, it would be those who don't want to have to learn how to adapt their storytelling to yet another popular platform. In other words, marketers who think they have Instagram figured out for what works for them, versus what works for them on Snapchat.

For those of us in any of these categories, you may even ask, 'What is Instagram Stories?' It is a way to share mulitple images or short video the same as you normally would on Instagram, with the addition of text and drawings and then pieced together to form a, "story." What it isn't, is a playground of facial filters and the enormously annoying face swap. That's reason enough to stop the hate and embrace the upgrade to the app that made smartphone photography "Don Crow proof."

Even the most casual of Instagram users should recognize the built-in discovery feature which Snapchat has lacked up until a July update which allows users to share a follower by sending that follower's info to other Snapchat users in their address book. To me, it's a poor substitute and a limiting factor for Snapchat for business - it's too hard to share compelling content with other like-minded users. NOTE: as of August 16th, Snapchat has acquired Vurb which could potentially help with the discovery feature.

One of the immediate things I've noticed about Instagram Stories are the insights into who has viewed my story. Yes, Snapchat offers the very same thing, but with Instagram, I'm seeing people who are watching my story who have otherwise never liked nor commented on an Instagram share! If you're building brand equity, you've now got a way to leverage a much more active and probably larger Instagram following by sharing a series of shorter vignettes.

The next thing I've noticed is how clean Instagram Stories are compared to Snapchat. It's a more organized storytelling platform by virtue of NOT having so many distracting things to add. I'll even say it feels a lot like Facebook was in the early days compared to the MySpace of songs, glitter and Comic Sans font everywhere on profiles.

What Instagram stories is lacking, and in my opinion one of the strengths of Snapchat for business use is custom geofilters. You can still tag a location in Instagram the same as always, but it's confined to your story and your followers and the discovery feature native to Instagram.

In short, if you're resistent to change or feel overwhelmed by tailoring your storytelling to yet another platform, just ruck up and admit it! There's no reason to hate on a platform that's earned a place in social media history like Instagram has (and likely will continue to do so).

Besides, the strongest point we give our clients as to why they should be testing and learning on Instagram stories is the growing value in live and otherwise shared videos. It's a great way to guide prospects, leads and customers further into your marketing and sales funnel. It's an even better way to delight your customers and give them that exclusive access that most consumers today expect anyway.

If you're one of our Higher Ed readers, you'll LOVE our free eBook below on using video content in your Higher Ed marketing and communication strategy.

If you're not a Higher Ed reader, go ahead and download the FREE eBook and then contact us for an assessment of your business to discover if a potent mix of social media and Inbound Marketing is right for you.

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photo credit: Anam amb el trenet de Can Picafort #tingting #carrilets via photopin (license)

Topics: Video Content

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