7 Days ago Instagram released ‘Instagram Stories’, a Snapchat clone. It’s taken me a week but I think I like it.
I’ve always been fond of Instagram. When I first started using it, shortly after it’s release I just wanted the funky filters, then I found the amazing content. Last year I reluctantly experimented with using it for business for a co-project I was working on. I was pleasantly surprised, Instagram was a place where I could find and chat to my customers.
2 weeks ago I launched the Spiderworking Instagram account and I was enjoying it. Yes the algorithm means I’m not seeing everything I expected but I still find it an interactive place full of great content.
Someone must have told Instagram I was back because they released Instagram Stories. A Snapchat like interface that you can post to in addition of your regular feed.
It took me a while to understand what it was for? Was it just a snapchat rip off or did it have the potential to be something different?
Exactly one week on I’ve grown to like them and see room for them in my marketing.
Watch my initial thoughts about Instagram Stories below
Yes it’s like Snapchat
There is no doubt that Facebook deliberately stole the idea from snapchat. The ability to upload a series of photos and videos to tell the story of your day, the 24 hour deadline before they disappear, the direct messaging from the story interface, the filters, the drawing. It’s all exactly the same.
However Instagram users are different to snapchat users. The content we’re used to sharing is better quality, it’s less frivolous and more serious. A lot of Instagram users won’t have used Snapchat so they have the opportunity to invent the language of stories themselves.
Instagram is different
It’s not the tool that’s different, it’s the network. Yes I know there are a lot of Instagrammers out there that do ‘hustle’ and ‘grind’, I just don’t follow them. Instagram is less about opinion and more about moments. I see this being the crux of Instagram Stories. Most of the stories I watch are exactly this, people going about their everyday lives with filters and none of those annoying dog faced lenses.
Back to basics
I fell in love with Instagram one day 4 years ago. Ireland was in recession, the Olympics were on in London and we all had our hopes pinned on boxer Katie Taylor.
The whole country stopped and watched her fight for her gold medal. It was only a few minutes but her win lifted our spirits. It was a glow of happiness in a depressed country. When I looked at Instagram I saw photo after photo of people in offices, at home, in pubs across Ireland watching the fight. I suddenly felt connected, part of a community.
When Instagram introduced their algorithm earlier this year it was this moment I thought of, there could be no more moments like this if my feed wasn’t in chronological order.
I’ve been advising businesses ever since to focus on quality of content. Even if you take a bundle of great photos in the day you should choose only the best to share. These great photos should get more engagement meaning more of your images will get shown to followers in future.
With stories we can return to sharing lots of moments, in real time throughout the day. If Katie makes it to the finals this year I’ll once again be able to watch the reactions but this time in Instagram moments.
Who to follow
Snapchat’s biggest failure has been discovery. It’s hard, really hard to find people to follow. I think it was this that held me back from investing time in it for so long.
Instagram makes finding people to follow easy. What’s even better is you can get the measure of who you are following from their home pages. I can see straight away if someone loves cats, is a travel blogger, is an amazing photographer. This means I’ll be able to follow the right people and will want to hang around to see their stories.
Will Instagram stories kill snapchat? I don’t think so but it may stop Facebook and Instagram haemorrhaging users to the platform.
Are you using Instagram stories? Will you abandon snapchat for them? I’d love to hear what you think.