What I learned in the 1st week of using Instagram Stories

SURPRISE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How was THAT for a social media bombshell?!?! Way to go Instagram AKA: Mr. Zuckerberg! I hope you don’t get sued.  Seriously though… could this not have been at a better time? Thank you Instagram (I think…).

For those of you who do not know what I’m talking about… Instagram just launched their own version (basically identical version) of Snapchat. Snapchat is the app that everyone under the age of 35 is using to make those silly faces you’ve been seeing on your Facebook news feed. They go something like this…

snapchat samp banner

Snapchat has been on the rise for the last several years…

But honestly… it’s not the easiest social media app to engage with. Despite its difficulty, people (especially the younger audience) love it. I’ll admit that I love the personal interaction that it provides, but gaining any sort of traction with Snapchat is difficult; ESPECIALLY for a small business owner.

The app itself is easy (and fun!), but the process of finding the person you want to follow is more difficult than other social outlets. For example, on Instagram I can just search through my favorite hashtag and then raid someone’s historical feed to determine if they are the type of person I want to follow. On Snapchat, I have to discover the person on some other platform (such as Facebook or Instagram) and then find their Snapchat handle. After a year of actively using Snapchat, I ended up with 25 of my closest friends and a few bloggers that I admire.  I’ve got about 30 active followers, which is………………… crap!

Snapchat found a niche market within the world of social media.

Their focus is definitely on the Millennials. I mean.. Why shouldn’t it be though, right? Millennials are projected to spend over $200 trillion dollars in 2017. Holla! You were smart Snapchat! Now Zuckerberg either wants to own you or beat you. Game on!

[Tweet “I’ve decided that Facebook is the modern day Wal-mart. They’re taking over!”]

Now…If you didn’t catch that last paragraph, then let me say it one more time…. Millennials are projected to spend OVER TWO HUNDRED TRILLION DOLLARS this year. You should be actively marketing your business to them. Okay? That means using one of the two (Snapchat or Instagram Stories) for your business. Now the question is… which one??????

I used Instagram Stories all of last week. Here is what I determined:

  1. Instagram Stories is a great way to expose your business (especially behind the scenes). Many businesses are already using stories to show behind the scenes footage of their offices, upcoming projects, and hard working team members. That is a HUGE added bonus to your favorite customers. Not to mention, it creates one more level of connection with your audience. I think people are loving it! I know I am. 🙂
  1. It’s the new hype so use it while it lasts! One thing we know for sure is that the hype only lasts until the next new thing comes out. Take this opportunity to engage with your audience. This is yet another tool for you to use. Even if you don’t love it – use it because it’s the new hot thing that Instagram will push really hard until either it succeeds or dies off. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll even get to say HELLO to sweet biased algorithms for feed results in the next few weeks…? If this new venture succeeds, then expect that you’ll eventually pay to be at the top of Instagram Stories. Take advantage of this opportunity for your business fo’ free! The more exposure you have, the more top of mind you are. That’s branding my friend! Who doesn’t want more FREE branding for their business???
  1. Speaking of branding… You actively focus on building a certain image on instagram, but what does that mean for your stories? Should they look the same? YES. This is a friendly reminder that you’ve been using your instagram to create a brand… to represent who you are. Your stories should reflect that same brand. It may be a little difficult without all those fancy filters, but you can utilize the few tools that Instagram has provided for you so far. Whatever you do… determine your brand and stick with it – even on your stories! I’ve already seen a few stories for businesses and they looked NOTHING like their brand. OUCH! I bet their audience is questioning their realism and professionalism. Don’t let that be you!
  1. Post, but don’t get suckered into watching all the other posted stories. It is a black hole. I know you want to see all your friend’s stories, but honestly… you don’t have time. It is easy to get stuck in the stories for 20+ minutes and come out feeling less informed and unproductive. My suggestion is to scroll through the list of people who have stories posted (the new round icons at the top of your feed) and only watch the people you feel matter the most. Your best friend. Your employee. Your competitor. Maybe your most active follower.
  1. It’s one less social media outlet for you to check (assuming you stop using Snapchat) but it’s one more thing for you to do. I know I said free branding, but it does cost you something. It costs you time. Time is money. So… You need to factor that in. Your stories need to match your brand which means you’ve got to think them through before posting. UGH. I know. The worst part: you need to post them often because each story only lasts 24-hours. #pressure

Which should you use for your business?

If you are like me trying to balance Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and now Stories…. It can get overwhelming. The good news is this: You probably have more of an audience on Instagram than you do Snapchat. If they are virtually the same thing, then why would you use both? I have no way of knowing which of the two (Snapchat or Instagram Stories) will prevail, but I’m already seeing a decline in my active followers on Snapchat. My active views have dropped by 50% in the last 7-days. Of course, that decrease may be temporary due to the hype of Instagram right now. I project that people will either use Snapchat or Instagram Stories… not both. If you are not currently using snapchat, then skip over it and go straight to Instagram Stories. You’re way behind, friend. ;P 

Which do you like better: Instagram Stories or Snapchat? Comment below.

 

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