For quite a few years now, Instagram was the fastest growing social network. After it was purchased by Facebook as a simple photo-sharing app, media outlets of all sizes watched its rapid rise to stardom. There was nothing that could stop Instagram.
That was the case until Snapchat emerged as a new exciting way to market to young audiences. Currently, the ghost-like app is forecasted to surpass Twitter and Pinterest user bases by the end of this year.
Naturally, Snapchat’s swift market takeover makes Instagram want to get in on the deal as well. Hence, Instagram introduced Stories. Yes, Instagram didn’t bother to change the name of the feature.
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As soon as you update your Instagram app (available now), you’ll start seeing Stories from accounts you’re following. When they add something new to their Stories, you’ll see a pink circle around their profile image. The functionality of the feature is pretty similar to that on Snapchat; you can go back and forth in the Story, as well as, comment by sending a direct message. So, likes and comments won’t be public like with regular posts. The visibility of your Stories will follow that of your profile. If your profile is private, so will the Stories be. You can also set custom privacy setting if you don’t want your followers to see specific Stories.
What’s cool about the new update though is “you don’t have to worry about overposting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day -- with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools.
"The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed,” the official release says.
So, if you are managing a brand page, you don’t have to pace yourself anymore! I know it’s a constant struggle when you’re attending industry events or covering cool happenings and want to share photo after photo after photo.
It used to be that the big selling point for Instagram was a sense of immediacy, like being in the moment with that friend or that company you love. Slowly, though, Instagram became more and more polished; and not because of the direction the app took itself but more so because people want to market everywhere. Celebrities, brands and even regular people started curating photo content they share. It became less of a “here-is-a-random-shot-of-my-starbucks-drink” and more of a “here-is-a-perfectly-directed-flatlay-of-my-pretty-pink-stationery”. Not that we miss the former, but it’s apparent that the latter doesn’t appeal to loyalists as much.
Then, Snapchat came along and their main point was the ephemeral nature of content. And again that fleeting quality was seen as being “in the moment.” Now, Snapchat moved into a little more permanent grounds with features like Stories and Memories, and Instagram, conversely, moved into the direction of temporary content.
The jury is still out whether it’s best to stick with one’s core value and proposition or trying to be one-stop-shop for all social media. After all, Instagram and Snapchat, although have lots of similarities, are used for different purposes. Yes, both networks are visual and immediate, but one is more about inspiration and visual appeal, while the other is for timely less-filtered updates.
Overall it’s an interesting dynamic to see two of the hottest social apps go head to head and enter each other’s playing fields. Only time will show who will win in this battle for user attention and loyalty.