This past week the new Instagram Stories feature has hit people’s devices and so far they’re loving it. In this post I’ll discuss the pros and cons of the new Instagram Stories feature, ideas on how to use both Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories plus a way of syncing the two (if you wanted to).

What are Snapchat Stories?

If you don’t know already…you can record videos of up to 10 seconds or capture an image and post them as a story. The story lasts for 24 hours and then disappears. Photos and videos have to be captured in-app as Snapchat is all about the live experience. They do also have a new memories feature which I’ll cover later in this post.

What are Instagram Stories?

The same as Snapchat Stories in its very basic premise. Although, you can utilise images and videos from your camera roll as long as they aren’t older than 24 hours.

The two currently look so similar that I and many others have been confused about what they are posting to!

Instagram Stories – Positives

  1. In Instagram there is no buffering time between hitting record and it actually recording. With Snapchat you often have to rest a beat for about a second before you say anything to ensure it records the start of what you are saying. That extra second in Instagram Stories seems like you’re getting a lot longer video. It is certainly easier to capture everything you are able to say in the 10 seconds.

  2. The drawing capabilities are better in Instagram Stories. The pens feel more sensitive, you have a really nice colour palette to choose from and 3 types of pens. It is very slick and feels easy and intuitive to use.

  3. You have access to the array of photo filters for photos and videos in Instagram Stories which provides some really effective experiences.

  4. IG (Instagram) Story Views are way higher. Like for like I’m getting up to 600% more views on my IG Stories. That’s a big difference for someone unknown like me. Famous Instagrammers are getting instantly larger views as well. I’m pretty confident I have more followers on Instagram as I’ve been using it for much longer than Snapchat. However, it is hard to compare both platforms as Snapchat does not show how many followers you have, only the views for each story.

  5. Whilst people try out the IG Stories feature, videos are funnier and more authentic as people get familiar with how it all works. Particularly people who have never used Snapchat.

  6. IG Stories is more usable than Snapchat for the average user. Everything is easier to interact with, no swiping left/right/up down to get to other parts of the app. Any swiping is directly related to the Stories feature.

  7. It’s easier to find people on IG, they have discovery functionality.

  8. Commenting on IG Stories is easier, the comment goes out as a direct message and doesn’t self-destruct like Snapchat.

  9. In IG Stories, you can upload from your camera roll as long as the video or photo has been saved within 24 hours. On Snapchat this would create a “memory” with a white border and timestamp. Instagram’s offering is more versatile than that (I’ll explain more in point 10).

  10. IG Stories has more brand appeal. As you can upload anything from your camera roll that is less than 24 hours old, I’m sure brands will soon cotton on to the idea that they can make 10 second ads/engagements professionally in the device’s native proportions. Or they could professionally record and edit a longer form video and slice it up in to 10 second chunks. All they’ve got to do is match the iPhone output ratios and save it directly onto the device to utilise it. Yes, this will lead to less authentic stories – but it could be well utilised by brands.

  11. It is easier to direct people to a link on IG Stories – you can just ask people to check the link in your IG bio. There is no bio in Snapchat!

  12. You can post parts of your story to your main Instagram timeline too, very handy!

Instagram Stories – Negatives

  1. You don’t have many filters at your disposal or any silly face-morph filters in IG Stories. Face-morph filters aside, the Geofilters, speed filter, temperature filter and time filter are very useful and effective on Snapchat. I’ve got a feeling Instagram will stick to its basic filters and maybe release time and temperature options. I’d imagine they’d stay away from the face-morphs, after you’ve seen 20 stories in a row with the dog tongue filter – it gets kind of boring!

  2. IG Stories for the people you follow are ordered in some random favouritism algorithm. Which means they are not chronological. This makes it a little tricky to keep up with!

  3. There isn’t a separate list of people to follow for IG Stories. I follow loads of people on Instagram who post fantastic photos from all over the world. Photos are internationally understandable. Stories are not. I now have quite a few native German, Spanish, French (and so on) speakers who are posting their stories – which is cool, but I don’t understand what they are saying. Which means I have to skip past their stories each time.

  4. It’s hard to spot which stories you’ve seen in IG Stories, new ones have an Instagram rainbow border, but I’ve clicked on “new” stories a few times now only to re-watch what I’ve seen earlier that day.

  5. There is no screenshot statistic ability in IG Stories. On Snapchat Stories you can see who has screenshot which is really useful for running crude polls e.g. Shall I dye my hair bright green, screenshot Yes or No on the next parts of the story.

  6. When recording an IG Story, you cannot switch camera modes from front to back. This is something I do quite often in Snapchat.

What Instagram Stories should be looking at for the next release

  1. A chronological order option.

  2. Some kind of way of muting Stories from people you follow on Instagram so you can enjoy the standard photo feed but not be bothered by their stories.

  3. Screenshot statistic ability

Utilising both platforms

This is where it gets interesting, quite a few people I follow are asking their audience what they should do and ultimately trying to choose only one platform.

I do think that some people will end up using one platform only, but they are probably missing a trick if they do that. Especially if they are still trying to build their personal brand and a loyal audience. You should be trying to shape your content for both to hit your target audience for both platforms.

I’m going to be experimenting with some ideas and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here are a few ideas you could try:

  • Show work related on one and personal on the other
  • Use one for “behind the scenes”
  • Swear/Curse on one and not the other (Personal brand dependent obviously)

Synchronising your Stories across both platform

Many people will not want to do this. However, it could be useful for the odd occasion.

If you want to show exactly the same content across both platforms, here is how…

This is how to do it by default app settings. If you want to shortcut steps 4 to 10 go to Snapchat > Swipe Down > Click edit cog in top right > Memories > Save to… > Camera roll only

  1. Open Snapchat and record/capture your video/image.
  2. Go to the Stories section and press the expand icon. IG_01
  3. Now find the snap you just posted and press the download icon, you’ll notice it says “Saving” at the top of the screen. IG_02
  4. Now this used to save it to your camera roll, but now Snapchat has “Memories” it saves into there instead, so press the memories bubble. That pink blur in the photo is my hand… honest! IG_03
  5. Now find the snap you just saved and press it.IG_04
  6. Swipe up on the “Edit & Send” all the way at the bottom. IG_05
  7. Still with me? Yes its a bit of a long winded process… ok press the menu icon and “My Snap” at the top. IG_06
  8. Now press “Export Snap” in the menu drop down. IG_07
  9. Press “Save Video”. IG_08
  10. You’ll then see it saving. IG_09
  11. Then open up Instagram and press the story upload icon. IG_10
  12. You now need to swipe up from the bottom to access your camera roll.
  13. Find your video/image and press it. IG_11
  14. You now have your snap in Instagram. Thanks for sticking with me! IG_12

In Summary

Instagram Stories is big already and it is going to be huge, there is no doubt about that. There are many similarities between IG Stories and Snapchat but also many differences. My advice would be to avoid choosing between Snapchat and Instagram for now. Test the water, experiment, have fun and post great content across both.

Please let me know what you think about Instagram Stories and any ideas you have had for putting content on both platforms.

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