Last week, there was a HUGE, groundbreaking change made to Instagram that has caused a social media frenzy over the last few days. Instagram released a brand new feature: Instagram Stories. And these Instagram Stories happen to be almost identical to Snapchat and it’s entire layout…so the world had very mixed reviews and LOTS to say about the change. But, what does the change mean for creatives and small business owners? Which do we use, what are the benefits, and how can we use it to grow our businesses?
Before I dive into my thoughts and answers…let’s back track for just a moment! For those of you that don’t know, Snapchat is an app that is used to record all of the moments of your day that are combined to create a “story”. This story is available for 24 hours after being shared and can be viewed by all of the users that add you on Snapchat. You can also use Snapchat to send “snaps” directly to friends on your friend list. Instagram stories, as defined by Instagram’s launch post, is “a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.” So…basically identical. However, you cannot send pictures or videos directly to your friends with Instagram stories. So, Snapchat still has a chance of survival because of that feature alone (and their amazing filters).
Okay, now that we’re all up to speed…let’s talk about this change. Here were my thoughts as this launch was unfolding:
“Uhm…okay, wait. This is literally Snapchat.”
“Instagram, you’re rude.”
“I’m never using this solely because I’m so annoyed that it’s such a blatant copy of Snapchat.”
“..wait a second…this is actually kind of a cool thing. But, Instagram, you’re still rude.”
****Downloads the Instagram update and tries out using Instagram stories*****
“Okay, hold on…I actually really like this. But like…it’s still rude.”
Now that I’m finally over it and using Instagram stories…I’ve realized the incredible potential that is has for my business that Snapchat doesn’t offer. Not only am I able to share stories with my largest existing social media platform and I don’t have to work to grow a following, but I can upload full-size, high resolution professional images to my story, too. AND, I can see every person that views my story and click to follow them straight from there. So, here are my top 3 reasons for LOVING Instagram stories:
Built-In Following: My snapchat stories were getting around 900 views (and I was having to WORK to grow my following there), but my Instagram stories are already getting more than quadruple the views, just because my following there already exists (just like most of us!) If you’re anything like me…you’ve been working to build your Instagram following for YEARS, so the fact that the new feature is automatically built in and available to my existing followers is a dream come true!
High Resolution Images: Snapchat just released a feature called “memories” that allows you to upload an image from your camera roll to your snapchat story. BUT, the image is small and surrounded by a thick black border, which takes away from the image impact. With Instagram stories, you can upload a full-size, high resolution image to your story! So, I can add extra sneak peeks from shoots and some of my fave shots from weddings to my story without blowing up everyone’s Instagram feed!
Increased Interaction + Connection with Followers: One of my favorite things about social media and Instagram as a whole is the ability to create connection amongst your followers and clients. With Instagram stories, I have even MORE of an opportunity to connect with my followers on a personal level and get to know them better. It gives them a peek into my life outside of my business and allows for me to market creatively!
If you are new to Instagram stories, you can download my FREE “Instagram Stories Guide” below! It will walk you step-by-step to using Instagram stories, uploading high resolution images and creating beautiful stories for your business!
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