Just went you thought you pretty much mastered a social media channel, they go and change something. It might sound like a bad thing, or that I am complaining, but it’s not, and I’m not.
In fact, it’s a good sign, and what every business should do – continuously evolve, and create new experiences, and products, for their customers.
Instagram Stories seems to be a direct competitor to Snapchat, which I actually just started using about a month ago. I played around with it last night and immediately had questions and thoughts about how brands and businesses could use it, as well as some likes and dislikes.
First, the positives.
- I think the strongest argument for Instagram Stories, and the attribute I like the most is that you already have a dedicated group of followers who are interested in seeing your work. Now, you are just enhancing their relationship with you. You don’t have to ask them to download a new app or follow you in yet another place. You’re bringing additional content and ways to connect at an already familiar location without the end user having to do extra work.
- The way Instagram Stories are distributed in a dedicated area separate from the “regular” Instagram feed is genius for several reasons. First, they didn’t mess around with the original product that people love. You’re not forced into using the new feature. However, it gives you the flexibility that if you do want to use it, it’s accessible and easily sharable with the original product.
- Piggybacking on the previous point, it allows for a completely different experience without clogging your regular Instagram feed. This is perfect for special events. For example, in June I covered the Adirondack Food and Wine Festival for my blog, The Adirondack Chick. I knew it would be a great opportunity for video, and that my Instagram followers would enjoy it, but I was worried about posting too much. This is where Snapchat had the advantage, because it’s expected to post a bunch of short stories that make one larger one, but Instagram was where my community was. Had Instagram Stories been around, I could have done one regular Instagram post telling my followers my coverage plan for the day and then just sent the majorities of videos clips to Instagram Stories.
- You cannot flip the camera between facing you and front-facing while videoing. Or, at least I couldn’t last night and this morning when I was testing out the functionality. That capability is a big advantage on Snapchat, and I think if Instagram was smart they would add that function.
- If you want to keep a story private you have to post the story, then go into settings on the story and decide who you want to hide the story from, and who you want to allow messaging from. This should be a feature offered before you post it. It should also be slightly simpler.
- You can’t search stories like you can search regular Instagram images using hashtags. It’s a pet peeve I have about Snapchat, too, because personally, yes, I like following my friends, brands I like, but I also like discovering new content. Using the Adirondack Food and Wine Festival as an example, other than that initial post, there would have been no way for others to find my Instagram Stories content, or other people’s, in it’s current capabilities. Except, as I mentioned before, that initial post, but that’s not a good enough strategy.
Overall, Instagram Stories was a smart feature for Instagram to add.
Michelle Maskaly is a content creator and business consultant who specializes in helping businesses of all sizes capitalize on their marketing and content potential. She has worked with large media organizations such as Fox News and Bloomberg, magazines and brands, as well as chambers of commerce and small businesses. Work with Michelle by contacting her now.