On August 1, 2016, Instagram released an update to the social media platform: Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories are basically exactly like Snapchat stories, just without all the fun face filters!
Instagram Stories allow you to share “all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile.” This way you can share more content on the platform without overwhelming your audience with too many posts in a single day. Also the content can be less curated and polished than what you add to your profile because it will disappear after 24 hours.
As you share video and pictures to your Instagram Story, they appear together in a slideshow format. As a user, all Instagram Stories of content creators you follow will line up at the top of your feed. You can scroll through the Stories to select a certain person or business whose Story you would like to watch or you can begin with the first story and Instagram will automatically continue cycling through all Stories from those you follow on the platform.
To the left you can see a screenshot of the update description from Instagram. The update is for Version 9.0 and was released on August 1, 2016. It reads:
“Introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.
- Share multiple photos and videos (as many as you want!) to your story. Bring them to life with text and drawing tools. They disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in your feed.
- Watch stories from people you follow in a bar at the top of your feed, from your best friends to your favorite popular accounts.
- View stories at your own pace: tap to go back and forward or swipe to jump to another person’s story.
- Comment on someone’s story by sending them a private message on Instagram Direct. Unlike regular posts, there are no likes or public comments.
- Your story follows the privacy settings of your account. Swipe up to check out who’s seen each photo and video in your story. Hide your entire story from anyone you don’t want to see it, even if they follow you.
- Feature a particular photo or video in your story by posting it on your profile.
Instagram stories will be rolling out globally over the next few weeks.”
We found the overwhelming immediate feedback to be dislike that Instagram copied Snapchat’s model. Anyone currently interested in the Snapchat model has already created a profile and feed on that social media platform. However, what will the consensus be in a few weeks or months? It would definitely be easier to only create content on Instagram and reach the same amount of traffic as you would if you posted on both Instagram and Snapchat.
When most people were asking Instagram for a return of the chronological timeline instead Instagram delivered a new feature that absolutely no one asked for. Is Instagram not listening to consumers? Or does the platform have a bigger picture goal?
Once Instagram added a video feature, Vine fell off the social media radar. When Facebook added a live video feature, users no longer felts the need to continue with Periscope. Will Instagram stories do the same to Snapchat?
Facebook owns Instagram and, in case you don’t remember, Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for $3 billion. Snapchat is now valued at around $20 billion. Since Facebook could not purchase the company they found a way to evolve an existing business model they own to incorporate the same features as the Snapchat model.
What does all this mean for you and your business? Should you now begin making two stories every day? One thing you should NOT do is create identical stories on both Instagram and Snapchat. This will generate unfollows from those that already follow you on each platform. They don’t need to follow both when they could just pick one. However, if you create different content for each story you can continue to grow your audiences on both Snapchat and Instagram.
We do not believe this change will cause either company to lose traction. User who enjoy the curated content will continue using Instagram and users who enjoy a more real life look into a person or business will continue using Snapchat.
For you and your business, try out Instagram stories. Ask your followers for feedback on the content you are sharing. If you receive a positive response continue to share and curate your Instagram Story while continuing creating content for Snapchat. If you receive negative feedback work on optimizing your content for Instagram Stories before just giving up. It might take a while to find the best way to show your business through an Instagram Story but with time and understanding you can create content your Instagram followers will enjoy.