One of the newest features of Instagram is Instagram stories and the ability to send messages that disappear to people in the application.
The ideas behind Instagram stories are quite obviously a copy of Snapchat in another attempt by Facebook to take the awareness on Snapchat and move it to Facebook's influence via Instagram stories.
The reason Instagram stories has worked in my opinion is that they have introduced some features and ideas that are not included in Snapchat and Instagram maintains a very large user base at around 600 million users.
This means that by introducing some very well done features they can leverage their already large community, to in theory stop using Snapchat and move to Instagram entirely. Additionally I think they hope to move the younger demographic away from Snapchat.
Now how do Instagram stories work? Basically you post a picture, video or a boomerang to the stories section of your Instagram and it shows to not only your following for 24 hours, but it can also be found by others in the explore feed. The latter is a feature that has always been lacking in Snapchat.
Additionally you can go live from the stories section and utilize the hands free option where the app records without you having to hold onto the button. A pretty neat feature that adds in some versatility and more functionality to the platform.
Not to mention that Instagram places the stories at the top of the app which makes it incredibly easy to get sucked into watching all your friends stories. Plus if you watch some friends stories more than others they will be placed before any other stories. Ensuing that you only see the stories you want to see or that you watch the most often.
Instagram has done an incredible job on its stories feature and has definitely drawn its user base deeper into the app and at the same time garnered some attention from Snapchat users.
The question is and one that people always ask is: will Instagram stories kill Snapchat? My answer is no, it's simply not possible for an application to completely rip another application of its user base with the introduction of a similar product. Especially with a focused user base like Snapchat has.
To understand why you have to look at the user base and ideals of each platform. Instagram is focused on growing its user base and pushing more people into the app to maximize the amount of reach it has globally. While Snapchat is focused on keeping people engaged with the app for longer periods of time and keeping its current audience highly engaged. Thereby hopefully capturing advertising dollars from the TV market.
It's essentially a story of focused numbers vs garnering and keeping a niche. Additionally I've heard Instagram stories being called: "the Snapchat for old people" by the youth I coach, which is interesting in that youth are highly resistant to getting on a platform their parents might be on.
What's the ideal strategy to take advantage of the attention on Instagram stories? I would say you need to focus on getting 5-7 good story posts each day and in these posts tag any locations you are at and any people in the post. This way they are notified when you showcase them!
The best stories are organic. By this I mean you should grab some moments throughout the day that are interesting, funny or inspiring and sometimes that means just opening the app and talking about what's on your mind. It doesn't have to be perfect and that's what makes these store so unique. It's literally the real world brought to you by you!
Along with those 5-7 good posts per day I would focus on going live 1-3 times per week and just engaging with your audience. Ask and answer questions and simply hang out with them. Sometimes we get on and just do karaoke and take requests, because its fun and engaging for the audience.
Finally you can create content and calls to action specifically for the story after a few days of good content, where the link is in the story (If you have that feature) or alternatively in your bio. If you want to create a post to upload specifically to Instagram stories and don't have a graphic designer I've found that using the Pinterest option in Canva makes a picture that's a perfect fit for stories.
Instagram stories is an incredible addition to the Instagram app and has the most attention from the consumer right now in my opinion. I would highly recommend setting yourself up and being consistent on the platform if it fits your demographics.
Just remember: don't abandon your other platforms like Snapchat. You never know where the market is going to swing or what new feature might pull the user base to one side!