Instagram Stories: What you Need to Know

Watch out Snapchat: Instagram’s coming for you and their guns are a-blazing. There’s no denying that Instagram Stories is a carbon copy of Snapchat Stories, which allows users to cobble together a video and photo montage visible for a period of 24-hours. When the clock closes in on the 24th hour, bam! the content vanishes into social media oblivion. Snapchat users know that the biggest draw to the app is its disappearing content, and in an attempt to keep up with social media’s increasingly fierce competition, Instagram has finally hopped on board. Here, we’ve provided the key takeaways from the app’s newest shift.

More live content

Snapchat’s wild success has come from the app’s laid back method of sharing photos and videos: no need to spend twenty minutes artfully arranging sprigs of baby’s breath around your now-cold cup of coffee only to get a handful of likes. Snapchat doesn’t operate around likes or hearts, so users aren’t motivated by perfection. Snapchat’s audience expects off-the-cuff, random, and transparent content, and Instagram is now jumping in those waters. With Instagram Stories, businesses now have the ability to stagger their painstakingly polished content with more behind-the-scenes, impromptu footage, creating a more intimate space to engage with users.

Increased exposure

Who wants to miss out on exclusive content? The fact that Instagram Stories photo and video content is now encapsulated in a 24-hour window creates a sense of urgency for users to view. I know I’ve been watching more of these videos for that reason. This increases the likelihood of followers actually viewing your Instagram Stories content, while also increasing the time they spend consuming your curated content. That seems like a win/win, if you ask me.

Increased content balance

Let’s face it: no one takes kindly to incessant posts on Instagram. Because Stories lives in a space all its own, the feature allows brands to post as much as they want without over-saturating followers’ feeds. Businesses will likely utilize this separate space by increasing Story content generation: yet another tool in your social media arsenal. The company reports that it is looking forward to seeing how companies will use Instagram Stories to build their brand in new and creative ways.

A chance to try out Snapchat-esque features

If you haven’t jumped on the Snapchat bandwagon yet because you’re intimidated by the app’s setup, you’re in luck. You’ve already been building your Instagram presence, so Instagram Stories is a perfect way to experiment with more lighthearted, impermanent, and fun content without first building an audience on Snapchat. And who knows? With this new feature, Instagram may very well be in the running to take Snapchat over once and for all.

What are your thoughts? Are you using Instagram Stories? How do you think it compares to Snapchat?