How can your brand make the most of disappearing social posts?

With the recent introduction of Instagram’s “Stories” feature, which mirrors the function of beloved social app Snapchat, brands have the opportunity to capitalize on a new outlet for instant, original marketing tactics. How can your brand best use these features to promote stories that users will actually view — and just as importantly, to motivate consumers to return to your channel for more?

It’s important to understand the ins and outs of available mediums to ensure that your content reflects positively on your brand, effectively engages each platform’s distinct audience, and continues to grow your consumer base.

What’s the Difference Between Snapchat and Instagram Stories?

Before you can master either platform, it’s important to understand the subtle differences between Snapchat and Instagram Stories.

Instagram has long been considered the place for visually stunning, carefully produced, and highly curated content. With the introduction of Stories, the platform has created a new space for less polished, more personal content that disappears after 24 hours. The feature allows users to upload still images, short videos, and combinations of the two — often embellished with colorful text and emojis — that capture the moments that take place in between those gorgeous, more permanent Instagram posts.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Instagram Stories “differ from the more professionally produced Snapchat Discover, which allows a limited list of approved media partners to post scheduled, pre-produced collections of content that often features unique Snapchat-esque animation.” Snapchat’s coveted Discover page aside, the platform’s basic functionality for brands is comparable to that of Instagram Stories — but here are some noteworthy differences between the two:

  • Instagram Stories cannot be shared, whereas Snapchat Discover content can be shared within Snapchat.
  • Instagram Stories appear in a row at the top of users’ main feeds and are sorted by who the user interacts with most, while Snapchat stories appear in reverse chronological order.
  • You do not have to follow someone on Instagram to view their story, as long as their profile is public. To view someone’s Snapchat story, you must be ‘friends.’
  • Users can swipe through the different items in an Instagram story, hold the screen to pause on an image, and go back a slide by tapping to the left. Snapchat users cannot pause or re-watch.

Creative Storytelling

The opportunities for creativity on both Snapchat and Instagram Stories are endless. Don’t be afraid to experiment with diverse stories formatted in unexpected ways; that could mean releasing an orchestrated series of chronological posts from one particular event, or showcasing contributed video from different team members stationed around the world. Consider the many resources you already have on hand — interesting staffers, a diverse customer base with varied backgrounds and interests, the geography of your brand’s home city — and share what you love with your followers.

While the content can and should feel conversational, elevate the experience by showcasing what makes your brand special. Whether that’s a tour of your gorgeously designed, beach-front office, a new product how-to, or a behind-the-scenes look at a special event, invite your followers into your brand’s everyday operation and highlight what makes it unique.

In short, do what feels fun, engaging and natural to you in a way that your audience can quickly understand, regardless of whether they’re loyal followers or first-time viewers. Monitor engagement and find a groove. And if all else fails, try again in 24 hours.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer social media management services to build a vibrant audience for your brand across all media channels. Learn more about social media and PR here.

Author Remy Bernstein

As L&T’s COO, Remy directs all internal and client operations for L&T. Since joining the team in the the summer of 2014, Remy has overseen the precipitous growth of the company’s full-time staff and client base. He works directly with every member of the L&T team to implement and operationalize new processes, manage client accounts, and produce exemplary content every day. A graduate of Kenyon College, Remy previously worked in the editorial departments at Publishers Weekly and Standard & Poor’s. He specializes in content quality management and scalable business strategies, and relies on his extensive journalism background to supervise dozens of branded digital publications.

More posts by Remy Bernstein

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