The Social Media Hunger Games: Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat

17 Aug The Social Media Hunger Games: Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat

As you may know, Instagram recently rolled out its new feature called Instagram Stories. Similar to Snapchat Stories, Instagram’s new feature allows users to post photos and videos that disappear after 24-hours. A lot of marketers are wondering how Instagram Stories differs from Snapchat’s offering, and how content will differ between the two.

The main thing that I really like about Instagram Stories is that it gives you a behind the scenes look at the brands that you love all within one platform, effectively creating a story around an image. For example, if one of your followers is attending a tech conference and they post a picture, but are also live streaming the event through Instagram Stories, you are able to engage with their brand in two different ways. You can comment on or like their photo, and watch their story and message them directly.

You can also reach a larger audience and a more varied demographic on Instagram. Instagram has more than 500 million active users vs. Snapchat’s 150 million. Additionally, both older and younger audiences use Instagram, whereas Snapchat has typically attracted a much younger demographic. Through Instagram Stories, you can reach both demographics through a familiar platform that enjoys significant customer loyalty. Side note: If you are a Snapchat user, you can save your stories to your camera roll and upload it as your story to Instagram.

A few months ago I wrote a post about how to leverage Instagram as a storytelling tool, and the launch of Instagram Stories expands on the storytelling capabilities of the platform. The service allows organizations to further utilize Instagram to tell their brand’s story in unique ways.

Below are a few examples of how you can use Instagram Stories to increase brand loyalty and engage with your audiences:

  • Establish personal relationships with customers– Through Instagram Stories, followers can directly message brand representatives about the content they are sharing. This, in turn, allows representatives to engage with followers more intimately. For example, food bloggers may utilize this as a way to engage with their audiences by asking questions like: what is your favorite brunch place in DC? The food blogger will then choose one of those places to eat, upload a picture from the restaurant, and tag the person who recommended the place.


  • Engage with your audience in real time – There is a lot of excitement around live streaming right now, as many brands are utilizing the Facebook Live feature to engage with their audiences in real-time. While Instagram does not allow you to broadcast for a long duration, it does allow you to share live moments and then post them later on the platform for whoever may have missed it. This is the key differentiator between Instagram Stories and Snapchat; Instagram allows users to engage with event-based content in several different ways and at various levels. For example, Intel kills it with their Instagram account and validates its brand by showcasing their role in big events like the X Games, Grammy’s, and hot tech conferences. Currently, they are running a great campaign with CounterLogic Gaming, live streaming videos and posting them to their Instagram feed after, so the content lives on. Watch it here.


  • Humanize your brand – Instagram Stories allows you to further humanize your brand by giving your audience a behind the scenes look at your company while interacting with you in real-time. For example, this is a great opportunity to increase visibility of an executive by having them take over the channel to provide an inside look into the day of their life. As a result, this will make your followers feel closer to your company and its product offerings and shows the personalities behind your brands.


  • Highlight press pick-up – Finally, you can use Instagram Stories to remind followers of a recent media placement or news announcement. This is a great way to drive traffic to brand-related content and can help build credibility.


These are just a few ways companies can utilize Instagram Stories to build brand awareness, tell stories, and increase customer loyalty. But this is just the beginning; I am looking forward to seeing what other features Instagram adds to its Stories platform. I am not a psychic, but I do have a sense that they will be offering some fun filters and additional advertising options for businesses at some point soon. May the odds be in Instagram’s favor.

Feel free to drop us a line and tell us about your own experience with Instagram Stories! Leave a comment below or follow us on Instagram

Jennifer R. Sherman
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