Instagram vs. Snapchat Stories: Pros & Cons for Businesses

08/05/2016 04:21 pm ET

Another day, another social media update. On Tuesday, Instagram rolled out their new “stories” feature. This means Instagram users can capture moments in real-time and post the photos/videos to an ongoing story, which disappears after 24-hours. Basically, it functions the exact same way as the Snapchat stories feature. 


Marketers around the world are scratching their heads. Snapchat was the new kid on the block and a lot of businesses decided to jump on the bandwagon, including myself. I use the Snapchat story feature to give my audience a behind the scenes look at my business and life. I continued to post on my Instagram but utilized that platform for more formal photos. This new feature is causing quite a buzz and people are left wondering; should I execute both Instragram and Snapchat stories for my business? 

I interviewed Aaron Wester, a menswear and lifestyle blogger, to get his thoughts on the recent Instagram update, “Right now there’s a lot of back and forth in the influencer community. Bloggers are still feeling out what their audiences are looking for in the new Instagram feature. Most of us are saying ‘what do you want to see’? The advantage is most of us have a larger following on Instagram than Snapchat, so the number of views is higher. It should foster higher engagement on your Instagram feed as well. It was extremely difficult to drive readers from Instagram to Snapchat. Why would you have to now? It’s one-stop-shopping.” 


I completely agree with Aaron. Businesses should definitely capitalize their efforts on platforms that have the most reach and engagement. However, the “stories” concept could be convoluted if you follow too many people. “I think it’s an issue if you follow too many people on Instagram. It’s more stories to weed through if you’re truly not interested. But on a whole, people are curious about what others are doing and it gives you a peak into people’s lives,” Aaron (@themodernotter) explained. I decided to list the pros and cons for each platform to help businesses see the difference between Instagram and Snapchat stories. 


INSTAGRAM STORIES

Pros:

  • Established Audience: The more followers you have, the more views your story will receive. I spoke with Alyssa Amoroso, a social media influencer & blogger of Publyssity, “Instagram stories allow for me to reach all of my 15,600 followers vs. the 150 people that follow me on Snapchat. I’ve already seen a HUGE surge in views.”
  • Text & Design Options: Instagram stories gives users the option to write text/messages on their photos in various colors and fonts. 
  • Sticking to One Platform: You can now create casual content on Instagram with the stories feature and store/save the photos you like the most to your newsfeed. 
  • Easier to Find Friends: Instagram’s search tools make it easy to discover friends, brands and businesses. 

Cons:

  • Previously Recorded Content: You can’t upload previously recorded content. This means you can’t record a video while on vacation and post it to your stories feature a week later.
  • No Lenses: This is the feature that put Snapchat on the map. You won’t find your favorite pair of dog ears on this update. 
  • No Geo Tag/Filters: Instagram is still lacking the geo filters, which shows your audience your location right on the photo/video.
  • Preteens and Teens: We are still unsure if preteens and teens will make the switch to Instagram after committing to Snapchat for so many years. Snapchat is still scarce among parents so they may stick to a platform that provides the most privacy.
  • Front Facing Camera: The front facing camera does not have a flash option if you are recording a video. 

SNAPCHAT STORIES

Pros:

  • Established Audience of Teens and Preteens: If you already have a great following of teens and preteens on Snapchat, you should continue to upload stories to this platform. 
  • Privacy: Snapchat stories have a more personal feel. Almost as if you were stepping into someone’s living room. 
  • Audience Acceptance: Snapchat stories took off and users really embraced this update. I’m still not sure if Instagram users will enjoy the more casual content. Time will tell.
  • Innovative Updates: Snapchat changes daily. The developers are constantly updating the app with amazing new features so I’m excited to see what Snapchat will come up with next.  

Cons:

  • Finding Brands/Businesses: It’s very difficult to find a business or brand on Snapchat without first looking at their other platforms. Usually, I have to look at a brand’s Instagram page to find their Snapchat username. Snapchat needs to develop better search tools for discovery purposes. 
  • No Option to Store Content Publicly: Snapchat rolled out their “Memories” feature a while back, which allows you to save “snaps” to an internal camera roll. This is great because you can upload videos that were previously recorded. However, Snapchat does not have the traditional storage capabilities like Instagram. All public content will disappear after 24 hours. 

After weighing the pros and cons, I think businesses should pursue both platforms for now, especially if you already have an audience on Snapchat. What do you think of the new Instagram stories feature? Leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. 

About the Author:

Jenny Miranda is the Founder & CEO of Jenny Miranda Public Relations, LLC (NYC) and the Editor-in-Chief of The Manhattanite News. www.JennyMirandaPR.com

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