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What Instagram's Latest Move Teaches Us And Why Stories Are Good For Business

By Uldouz Van Eenoo | | Strategy

What Instagram's Latest Move Teaches Us

The biggest tech story of the last couple of weeks is undoubtedly the launch of Instagram Stories – a Snapchat (ahem) inspired function that allows you to upload photos and 10 second videos that then disappear after 24 hours.

It’s an exciting addition for those who are curious about integrating this type of ‘behind the scenes’ storytelling into their marketing but find Snapchat awkward and hard to navigate.

If you’ve been a bit late to the party and are still stuck wondering how this form of audience interaction can benefit your business and what we can all learn from Instagram’s brazen replication, then read on…

What do businesses have to gain by utilising Snapchat and Instagram Stories?

A lot of TLC can go into curating the perfect Instagram feed. As a photo and video sharing tool, the appeal of Instagram has always been about creating a visual feast. Apps like Planloy, Plann and Later all feed into this as users can organise and curate their Insty feed to make sure that their brand stays visually on point.

With Stories however, not so much.

Knowing that an uploaded image or video is going to disappear after 24 hours, businesses can be more open in how they choose to communicate with their audience.

The temporary nature of Stories allows for the shift from ‘pretty’ to ‘real life’. There is much more space to share vulnerabilities as well as the not so glamorous back end stuff in an attempt to develop a stronger connection with your target market.

And in a time when the marketplace is so crowded, she who has the best audience connection wins.

Regardless of whether you are a Snapchat loyalist or dipping your toe in the Instagram Stories pool, both platforms are a brilliant way to show the ‘behind the scenes’ workings of a brand in a more authentic way. Fans love it because it offers a little sneak peak into businesses that they love and businesses love it because it gives them a chance to tell their story more openly and form deeper connections with their ideal clients.

So, where should you be hanging out?

Although it pays to be an early adopter and build an audience on a new platform before it becomes too crowded and contorted by tricky algorithms, you ultimately want to be hanging out wherever your audience is.

Snapchat has always been most popular with Millienials and it will be interesting to see whether Instagram Stories will be enough to lure them away now that they can just use Insty as a one stop shop.

What can we learn from Instagram Stories?

If there’s any lesson to be learned here it’s that you can never get too comfortable in business.

If you are on to a good thing, there will always be someone looking to do it better, easier or faster. 10 years ago, MySpace lost out to Facebook who took their concept of social networking but improved on its delivery - and this is just one of thousands of examples.

With Snapchat losing the competitive edge in favour of Instagram’s more user friendly interface, Snapchat will need to find new ways to differentiate and appeal to an audience hungry for new and interesting social connections.

So regardless of whether you play the role of Snapchat or Instagram within your industry, to stay on top, you must always be innovating and giving your audience what they need – sometimes before they even know that they need it.

Be Brave, Live Fierce


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