The launch of Instagram Stories directly off of the back of the new Instagram Business profiles has opened up a new way for social influencers to make money – and possibly take some of the short video market share from Snapchat and Twitter. Instagram Stories enables an Instagram user with the ability to combine separate pieces of multimedia into a short timeline, complete with your own custom captions, stickers and Microsoft Paint-like doodles, for unparalleled Instagram promotion. In short, Instagram Stories adds another business benefit for using Instagram.
If you are familiar with social media, then you may recognize Instagram Stories from Snapchat – the Stories feature basically copies the Snapchat Stories feature! Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram, was surprisingly upfront about stealing the format for this idea from Snapchat, saying to TechCrunch that he is quite aware that his company is copying Snapchat, but the value add for Instagram is the unique spin that it puts on the format.
If you go deeper into Instagram Stories, you will see that there are plenty of unique features that make it different from Snapchat and quite useful to a marketer. Let’s take a look at some of the potential that the Stories feature unlocks for an Instagram user who already knows how to make a great Instagram photo.
The Difference Between Instagram and Snapchat
First of all, and most importantly, the Snapchat and Instagram audiences will never completely overlap. Snapchat has a firm lock over the Millennial generation, with the overwhelming majority of its usership well under the age of 24. Instagram users, although skewing young, is less of a teen haven and more of a young adult platform. The Stories feature on Instagram will never pull an audience away from Snapchat; however, it may cause some people never to join Snapchat. This alone may be enough for a social influencer who is using social media strictly for business to value Instagram over Snapchat because of Instagram’s larger overall audience.
Authenticity is the Name of the Game with Instagram Stories
Instagram has traditionally been all about photos, either edited or unedited, that stay up on a profile for viewing long after they are originally taken. These photos are meant to have a longer term appeal, as they are meant to draw comments and likes.
Because the Instagram Stories feature causes the photo/video stream to disappear after a 24 hour period, the point of putting together the performance is a little different. Instagram gave the Stories feature this time limit in an effort to encourage people to create even more authentic posts on Instagram without fear that those posts will be scrutinized by general society over time.
Instagram Stories has also implemented some of the more humorous filters and doodle techniques of Snapchat. Previously, Instagram custom filters were all based on relatively serious techniques from photographers, while Snapchat filters are almost made to be purposefully silly. By implementing more humor into the process, Instagram is hoping to create even more of a judgment-free zone to entice more real life truth from its user base.
Changing From a Traditional Instagram User into a Storyteller
Authenticity makes money on social media, and Instagram seems to knows this. The new Stories platform seems to be built for people to bring an audience even closer for a more authentic, behind the scenes experience into the life of the social influencer than ever before. The Stories feature also builds on the growing need of image consumers for more in depth content – the reason that YouTube has been around for so long is that people enjoy stories.
Placing the keyword “Storytime” into your YouTube rant is actually a great way to ensure yourself some viewers these days. Consolidating the storytelling process into images for a shorter read seems like a great way to engage the short attention span of the modern online audience even more!
Repurposing Old Content
Many social influencers are actually finding a new way to make money off of old content with Instagram Stories. Although the pathway from Instagram to Snapchat may be overkill, the path from Snapchat to the larger and more expansive Instagram platform has been a great move for some first responders. Top Snapchatters are repurposing their old content to Instagram to an entirely new audience, engaging them without having to come up with new stuff for the time being.
It remains to be seen if Instagram will incorporate some of its Instagram ad features into the Stories platform, but for the time being, social influencers are finding that including stories now bring people into the fold for their older content as well. Once an audience gets to know an influencer, the people in that audience are much more likely to stick around for a few more downward scrolls into the life of the professional Instagrammer. This spells more likes and comments for old content, a great look when it comes to convincing sponsors to come onboard. Mind you, if this can work for social influencers, it can equally work for brands that are in tune with their Instagram community.
The New Way to Tell Stories
The full impact of Instagram Stories remains to be seen. However, if Instagram’s previous decisions for business profiles and analytics are any indication, you can expect this new feature to provide even more of a connection between social influencers – and influential brands on Instagram – and their audiences.
What’s your take on Instagram Stories?