Instagram Stories: How Are Our Platforms Merging?

Photo courtesy of creativecommons.org.
Photo courtesy of creativecommons.org.

Snapchat stories are a great way for businesses and celebrities to give a candid look at what their products and personal lives are really like. After 24 hours, the story disappears. Recently, Instagram added a new feature where users can also post stories, which will disappear after 24 hours as well, and populate the top of users’ newsfeeds. Sounds a little too similar, right? You’re not the only one thinking that.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom admits that Snapchat deserves “all the credit” for Instagram’s latest feature. In an interview with TechCrunch he explained, “This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it.”

One goal of the new feature is to attract adults who are curious about Snapchat, play with similar features and interact with an audience they already built.

One concern with the new feature, and the new fad of live broadcasting day-to-day events is that people will become less and less present during these special moments. Systrom says he doesn’t think this feature takes you out of the moment, though. In fact, he argues that has the opposite effect.

“Do you meditate at all?,” he said. “One of the parts of meditation is actually being aware of your surroundings … Sometimes taking a photo, looking down at it, editing it, adding a caption, whatever, actually makes you appreciate the moment that you’re in. It makes you stop and say, ‘That sunset is beautiful.’”

Instagram may be one of the most underutilized tools in a marketing strategy, but these tips can help your business use the new feature to your advantage.

  1. Post consistently — fans are more likely to check in with a brand when they know that their content is updated often.
  2. Don’t post direct ads — Instagram is all about creativity. Fans are less likely to interact with a direct ad on that platform.
  3. Make it fun! Keep content short and focus on visuals.

This is just the beginning of the Instagram story, and though it looks very similar to Snapchat now, it will be interesting to see how users will put their own spin on it and how the feature will evolve.

Cayli Allen is a public relations major at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she serves as the Chapter secretary of PRSSA and is a member of PRSSA National’s Industry News Committee. She also works in the marketing department of RFD-TV and plans to go into the entertainment field. You can chat with her on Twitter: @Cayli_Allen.

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