Who Tells the Better Story, Instagram or Snapchat?
In the latest battle between two social media platforms, Instagram recently incorporated a new stories feature that is almost a mirror image of the stories that Snapchat users are so fond of.
A story is a slideshow collection of photos and/or videos that are up to ten seconds long and can be viewed for up to 24 hours. Instagram’s announcement of the new feature brought up a number of questions: How can Instagram legally employ a feature into the app that is strikingly similar to Snapchat’s? How are Instagram Stories different from Snapchat stories? What end goal could Instagram be looking forward to by making this decision? We’ve got all the answers for you, plus a few tips on what types of content you can incorporate into your stories on either platform.
An article published on Fast Company clears up the legality of Instagram’s bold move. Copyright law does not protect ideas, meaning that although Snapchat was the first to introduce stories into the social media world, Instagram can adopt the same idea as long as it presents a new take on it. In this case, the interface that Instagram uses for its stories is inherently different from the interface that Snapchat uses. Furthermore, Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, pulled no punches in crediting Snapchat with pioneering the format that stories are based on. Systrom’s focus is on changing that format. As relayed to Josh Constine of Tech Crunch, Systrom asks, “What do you do with that idea? Do you build on it? Do you add new things? Are you trying to bring it in a new direction?”
There are more similarities between Instagram and Snapchat stories than differences including employing the same name; stories disappearing 24 hours after being posted; filters and custom text or drawings; and the ability to see who has viewed your story. The differences between the two platforms are that Instagram allows users to rewind stories and post parts of their story on their Newsfeed while Snapchat does not. Snapchat’s leverage over Instagram is that it allows users to see if anyone has taken a screenshot of a story, and it also has the popular geofilters and face filters that Instagram doesn’t have – at least not yet.
So what is Instagram’s strategy in implementing stories into the app? Instagram could be taking a page out of the same book that its parent company, Facebook, used when Facebook launched a “Subscribe” feature that allowed its users to follow and get updates from public figures in a way that was similar to Twitter. Tech Crunch labels this as the “good enough” strategy, where the introduction of new features don’t have to be better than the features that competitors already have. The new features simply need to be good enough to slow the potential growth of the competitor. For example, when Facebook launched “Subscribe”, it boasted 800 million users to Twitter’s 100 million users. In the five years following that move, Facebook’s user base grew to 1.71 billion while Twitter’s user base only grew to 313 million. The question that we’ll be waiting to find out the answer to is how will Instagram’s bold move affect the growth of its competitor, Snapchat? Only time will tell, but while we’re waiting we have a few quick tips for interesting content that can be used on either platform.
- Behind the Scenes/A Day in the Life – Who doesn’t love an exclusive look at what happens behind the scenes of a company? Stories give you the opportunity to show your followers the hard work that goes into running a company, putting on an event, getting ready for a product launch, meetings with a client, etc.
- Quick tutorials – Stories give you the chance to teach your followers something new in a fun and engaging way. The possibilities for tutorials are endless. Show potential customers the correct way to use a product, or the variety of ways they can use a product. Are you in the fashion industry? What are the different ways that you can rock a pair of jeans? Do you teach health and fitness? How about showing how to do a certain exercise properly, or uploading a quick tutorial on how to make a healthy smoothie. Think about how you can use your expertise to benefit your clients.
- Chat about what’s current – With so many different things going on in the world it’s a good idea to show that you’ve got your finger on the pulse of what’s happening. What’s trending right now in your specific industry? How will it affect you and your following? Posting a quick chat to your story can help establish yourself/your company as an informed and authoritative voice on what’s important.
The important takeaway from Instagram’s decision to introduce stories to its users is that stories are a feature that people love to use. Stories are quick, easy, spontaneous and fun, and it’s a good opportunity to deliver content to your followers that keeps your relevant and keeps them engaged. No matter what your platform of choice may be, just remember to tell a great story.
Share what types of stories you’ll tell in the comments below, and don’t forget to let us know what your preference is: Snapchat or Instagram?