If you've been tuning into our blog for a bit, you know we LOVEEE Instagram over here at Bold & Pop! It's been such an important platform in building our brand and we love to offer tips on making it a powerful platform for your business as well -- as evidenced by this, this and this!
As you know, Instagram has been making quite a bit of changes over the last few years. Remember when Facebook purchased the app, or when they added ads? And who can forget all of the hoopla over the new algorithm?! Well, they weren't done making headlines yet and this time, it's with a new feature. Meet Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories allow you to share photos and videos of your experiences with your followers in a more spontaneous manner. And don't worry, they won't interrupt your perfectly curated Instagram grid. They only appear in the top bar of the newsfeed and will only stick around for 24 hours.
Now wait a second.. do these features sound familiar? Well, that's because the features are veryyyy similar to another well-loved platform -- Snapchat, and for good reason. Even the CEO of Instagram admitted they deserved credit for the idea. So onto what you really care about.. what does all of this mean? Is Snapchat dead? Is Instagram morphing into Snapchat? Do you need to plan even MORE content? That's why we're here, so let's get down to the nitty-gritty of some of the key things you'll want to consider when it comes to Instagram Stories.
Is Snapchat Dead?
Every time a big change rolls around, there's always a lot of buzz about it killing off another platform. And, while it may affect user behavior initially, there are currently over 150 million daily users on Snapchat that aren't going to disappear into thin air. This change is all about Instagram trying to expand its reach and tap into Snapchat's ever-growing audience. While Instagram has over 300 million daily users, double that of Snapchat, Snapchat is crushing it in the tween and teenager category and Instagram wants a piece of the puzzle. Not only that, but Snapchat has been KILLING it in platform growth. The 4-year old app has already surpassed other social media giant, Twitter's daily users and isn't slowing down.
So while Instagram may be working on its services to appeal to a wider audience, by no means is Snapchat dead. Even with similar features, Snapchat has capitalized on its filters, live stories, and simple interface and we definitely don't see it disappearing anytime soon. Here's a great comparison... Remember when Google+ launched and people thought it might kill Facebook? Well, it turned out that while a lot of people tested it out as it launched its features didn't captivate a long-term mainstream audience. In the same way, Instagram may have a new feature that may be a success.. or fizzle out but Snapchat is here to stay.
Social Media Trend of Real-Time (or close to it) Updates
If there can be one thing said from Instagram's new launch, it's that social media platforms have all tapped into the trend of sharing real-time (or close to real-time updates). Periscope may have been one of the first apps to take live-streaming mainstream but with the rise of Snapchat and Facebook Live, one thing is certain -- social media platforms are pushing the socially connected generation. While planning is certainly involved in many cases, there is a push for content to be created in real-time or on the fly, which is a little bit of a shift than where it has been in recent years.
Instead of being afraid of the changes.. embrace them! Have a larger audience on Instagram than Snapchat? Then this update is perfect for you! Take advantage of the feature to reach your fans in a new way! Don't feel like you have to pick Instagram or Snapchat though because both have their own strengths. At the end of the day, creating quality content will always be important when it comes to your strategy. It's just about making adjustments along the way and how that content is created.
Integrating Instagram Stories into your Social Media Strategy
So now that we've acknowledged we don't think Snapchat is going anywhere and creating content on the fly is the new trend, let's actually chat creating content. We know how hard you already work at creating content for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and others, so is it time to also start focusing on Instagram Stories content? We get it.. it's a lot! Here's our two cents.. Stick to your current strategy and find creative and different ways to share bits of content across all your platforms. Kind of similar in that you may share different content on your other platforms depending on your audience.. same with this! Maybe use Instagram Stories to expand upon the content you're already sharing and on Snapchat you might share a series of your daily adventures. As with all pieces of your social strategy it's all about testing the waters and catering to your audience for each platform.
So let's chat about some of the types of content you might want to share on Instagram Stories. Of course this will vary based upon the type of business/blog/services you provide but here's a few suggestions to get started!
- Behind-the-scenes at your business: Instagram is often the platform where we show the best views of our lives and businesses. The land of pretty photos and nailing perfect flatlays and you know what that's okay! But Instagram Stories allows us to show different parts of our businesses including (if you dare and we do!) the less perfect sides! Share the behind the scenes of creating your products or your design process.. or what it realllyyyy took to get that perfect flatlay. How about sharing a sneak peek at your office or getting to know some of your team members? Instagram Stories is perfect for going a little off the grid and sharing aspects of your business that might not show up on your account otherwise.
- Share your latest blog post: Whether you are a style blogger or blogging for your business, Instagram Stories is a great spot to connect with your audience and let them know about a new post. Share a sneak peek at your outfit in the post or a prelude to what your post is about. Get creative!
- Sneak Peeks and announcements: Launching a new product or service soon? Why not give your followers a little peek through Instagram Stories? Whether it's showing some behind-the-scenes of making that new product happen or actually showcasing prototypes this could be a fun way to unveil. Another option is sharing an announcement or a big sale where you could then direct people to your website or blog to find out more info. Sneak peeks were madeee for creating short content for Instagram Stories.
- Get follower feedback: Looking for some feedback from your audience? Ask on Instagram Stories! Whether it's picking out an outfit or color of a product, posting a photo or video asking for your audience's feedback encourages engagement.
There are SO many options for the new feature and we're really excited to use it ourselves and see what others do. What do you think of the new feature? Will you try it out or are you not sure if it's for you? Share with us in the comments.