Snapchat and Instagram Stories: How Can I Use Them For My Business?

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Last year saw a big turning point in social commerce: when Instagram launched their ‘Stories’ feature, and we all knew we’d seen it somewhere before…

Instagram’s ‘Stories’ feature is, in many ways, very similar to the primary function of Snapchat – users are invited to create stories that only last for 24 hours, to show their followers what they’ve been getting up to throughout the day. These are also highly customisable, with drawing tools, filters, and stickers.

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So how do they work?

On Instagram, as well as uploading photos to your feed, you can record or photograph live content and post it to your 24 hour story. This is in fact the entire basis of Snapchat, where you take snaps that last 10 seconds max and send them to your friends, or upload a public story (to your followers) that lasts for 24 hours.

How can businesses get involved?

Instagram and Snapchat Stories are a great way to show your customers whats going on behind the scenes. They can be used to help create a buzz for any campaigns or new products being launched, as well as build a bigger following for your brand. It’s a great way to build a successful marketing campaign without necessarily spending any extra money.

Sharing exclusive content makes it something that users will want to go back to – it’s not the same as a polished, put together, obviously-advertising-something type of post that you’d normally see on Facebook or Twitter. It gives a more human, relatable voice to your brand.

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Forever 21 using Instagram Stories to engage with their followers

On Snapchat, you can also add a branded geofilter to your snaps. People near your location will therefore be able to use your filter in their own snaps, spreading a wider visibility for your brand. On Instagram, creating ‘polished’ stories that are in tune with the visuals of your profile add a stronger brand personality and boost the perceived quality of your business and products. Snapchat stories, however, are more ‘rough and ready’, ‘in the moment’ snapshots that don’t require too much work.

You can also use Snapchat and Instagram Stories to run competitions, or share ‘how to’ videos, or something more funny and entertaining, that encourages users to follow you so they can get more exclusive updates that they wouldn’t be able to access on any other platform.

Both Instagram and Snapchat are in the testing process for providing advertising opportunities in their Stories features, too. Skippable ads appear between your friend’s updates, which means users don’t need to click on your ads – they start playing automatically amongst updates they’ve chosen to watch.

Is one better than the other?

Many marketers are finding that Instagram is a better option for reaching a wider, more interested audience. A lot more people are likely to follow brands on Instagram, as they can get lots of info and visuals about specific products, and it is a lot easier to follow a brand than to add them as a friend on Snapchat. As Snapchat has no permanent record of content, it requires a prior knowledge of the brand before interaction. Nobody’s going to randomly start following a brand on Snapchat that they don’t know – they’ll probably check them out on Instagram or Facebook first.

Over the past year, 22% of shoppers have regularly used Instagram to browse products, compared with 14% of shoppers that have used Snapchat for the same purpose. Snapchat has 100 million daily active users, but Instagram has 300 million – probably as Snapchat is still very much just something that’s popular amongst young people. If your brand is aimed at teens, then Snapchat would definitely be one to go for, but if you’re looking to reach an older generation, Instagram stories is a better bet.

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Source: Digital Information World

With Instagram, everything is one place – you can check out a brand’s photo and video feed, as well as their story for the day, without having to leave the app. There are also certain functions that make them more practical. For instance, you can choose a specific audience with Instagram stories, whereas on Snapchat your story is broadcast to all of your followers. This is especially good for brands selling age restricted products – for example, alcohol brands like Ketel One and Buchanan’s were able to set their Instagram stories to only target users over the age of 21. This is only possible on Snapchat if the brand pays for targeted ads.

How to get started

This being said, the more visibility the better, so why not use both? There is in fact a way of combining the two. Snapchat does offer more filters, lenses, and stickers, whereas Instagram is a little more basic in its customisation. So, if you want, you can edit and post your content on Snapchat, and then copy it over to Instagram. Here’s how:

  • Create your snap! Make sure it’s not too long, and that you’re including content that will engage your followers (such as exclusive previews, competitions, or discount codes).
  • Click on the download/save button in the bottom left hand corner of screen.
  • Hit the ‘X’ in the top left corner to leave the snap.
  • Below the shutter button, there’s a small circle. Tap that to access your Memories folder.
  • Tap on your saved snap.
  • Swipe up on the screen to edit.
  • Hit the hamburger button in the top left hand corner and then Export Snap – Save Image/video.
  • Now open Instagram.
  • Tap the ‘New Story’ button in the top left hand corner, next to all the little bubbles showing everyone’s stories.
  • Swipe below to access all the photos and videos saved in last 24 hours.
  • Select the snap you exported earlier.
  • You can now customise this more if you want by drawing filters, adding text, and then tapping the Save button.
  • Voilà! You’ve added it to your Instagram Story.

Whether you choose to use Instagram, Snapchat, or both, it’s undeniable that these are great ways to interact with your follower base, gain new customers, and boost your brand image – and all for free!

Oh, and it’s just been announced that it looks like Facebook might be joining the game, too. We’re sold!

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Tegan Marlow