Web Trends

Instagram vs. Snapchat Stories: How Content Marketers Should Deal with Stuff that Disappears

Written by Ensmble Guest on Tuesday 18, July 2017
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RJ Mojica of Grilled Cheese Affairs gives marketing insight on content that disappears!

Snapchat recently released some new features like being able to share links on snaps and adding backdrops, supposedly as a reaction to combat Instagram Stories. But is it really a battle? We take a closer look at what these two, essentially identical concepts, work from a content marketer’s perspective.


As I write this I take a look at myself and roll my eyes. This must sound like the most trivial Millennial thing around right now to everyone reading this that isn’t in the digital marketing industry. I’m writing about Snapchat and Instagram Stories. For real.

But there’s an elegance to these tools. It’s only been recently that this concept has taken root into standardization from a social aspect. Snapchat is the big daddy of it all, of course. The Snap Story changed the world for people. I’m already noticing less selfies, less #foodporn snaps, and less permanent content posted about what most people deem “trivial” these days.

So what changed? Stories happened. And they became the platform to post freely and without too much thought for the average savvy social sharer. It was a hit! This is where all of those moved to, and with lenses, the selfie game was taken to a whole other level:


Thank YOU Snapchat. Source: Reddit/Imgur


But initially this was a content marketer’s nightmare. They’re already trembling at the fact that Instagram really just doesn’t work well with standard dashboard tools, so their timing has to be on-point instead of scheduling posts like most content marketers (should already) do. Now we have to do these stories too? AND we don’t have time to pre-create them?

Fortunately, most people at the start told us this may not add too much value for brands at the start, it was gimmicky (at least seemingly at first). But look how times have changed, Instagram adding stories was an indicator that stories are here to stay. With Facebook doing stories too, who knows where we’ll end up next:

“When your =SUM misses a bracket and Excel is all like ‘lemme correct that for you’ [checkbox emoji]”


That all changed when we found out that people actually love this. Today I’m going to focus on what the point of disappearing content is, where it fits in a content marketer’s life and how we can actually merge both Snapchat and Instagram and make everybody all sorts of happy.


Disappearing Content for a Content Marketer?

Yes this content is impermanent. Yes, if you don’t view it before it expires you’re gonna miss it. Getting that #FOMO (Fear of Missing Out!) feeling already? Welp, that’s a perk of disappearing content. The main thing content marketers leverage from pushing out this type of content is primarily to offer that inside look, so catch it before it disappears. Don’t you want to know what that Kardashian did the other day before she broke the internet… with that whole Pepsi fiasco? You were thinking the other Kardashian weren’t you?

This gave brands that real bottom-of-the-funnel stuff for their die-hard fans and those curious about what happens behind the scenes. And it keeps them coming back. I mean, they disappear after all. Gotta check back often for that fresh content.

If you’re in marketing, familiarize yourself with this. Source: Grilled Cheese Affairs


Snapchat and Instagram: How to Actually Use Them

Snapchat and Instagram can both fulfill that loyalty and advocacy side of the sales funnel. But what Instagram did, and it’s unbelievably clever, was that it made a couple of critical differences that separate it enough from Snapchat that we can create different content marketing strategies between the two.

Instagram Stories Are Different How?

Let’s do a play by play on the core differences by picking out some key features that make Instagram stories different from Snapchat:

  • Instagram Stories feature a story bar that contains people you don’t follow. This means that bands that I don’t know about or follow can appear up there based on my Instagram activity.
  • You can use location tags and hashtags. This is a great feature because if there is a public story collection based on location, your story will appear there regardless of who’s following you. Great for incidental exposure and reach. Hashtags for the same purpose.
  • Videos and pictures can be curated. What an awesome thing for content marketers, eh? I can have a collection of short videos and pictures pre-made and blast them throughout the day!
  • If you’ve registered your Instagram account as a business, you get stories saved with their insights built in. The answer to every content marketer’s dreams! Makes our life a lot easier knowing I can refer back to my stats instead of resorting to third-party tools.

These three strategies help to separate Instagram enough in that there can be content strategies, if the features are used in the right way, to access the awareness side of the funnel. This is something that Snapchat stayed away from, so let’s take a look at that below.


But then Does this Mean RIP Snapchat?

Snapchat has always been about the unfiltered (not in the lenses and geofilter sense, obviously) and the now. In contrast to the Instagram filters above, Snapchat can’t actually have you see these incidental stories in the same way. The Discover Tab can hint at some event-based ones, but for smaller companies, it’s hard to leverage these tools (except for custom geofilters). But that’s a post for another day.

Here are some of the new features you should be paying attention to when considering how to successfully create content for Snapchat:

  • You can create Custom Stories. Snapchat has a cool feature that allows users and brands alike separate a collection of stories with a custom label, and you can invite your friends to participate in it.
  • You can see where your friends are on a map. Apart from being a ruiner of relationships, Snapmap is great from a content marketer’s perspective especially if there are events that you want your audience to attend.
  • You can now put up links to external sites with Paperclip. This is a game-changer for Snapchat from a content marketer’s perspective because now we can lead contacts to another aspect of our sales funnel (landing pages, product pages, etc.).

There are other cool features like creating backdrops and voice filters, but the above three are the key features for a content marketer to leverage. Legitimately.

In essence, Snapchat will remain the true bottom-of-the-funnel social platform for those really wanting that true, live, inside look.


So What is the Real Takeaway Here?

It’s important to think about how these features can change the kind of stories you post on Instagram, in contrast to Snapchat. So, before we write-off Snapchat completely because everyone thinks Instagram is dominating right now, let’s see how these new Snapchat features will change the way people use these platforms.

The main thing I want everyone to take away from this is that as a social content strategy, these two can work with a happy medium provided the resources are there. But if you have to choose one to commit to, think carefully about which features are more important to your brand and where your followers/audience actually are on social.

It’s also important to think about the average demographics of these platforms. Remember to check who is actually on Snapchat vs. Instagram. Happy Marketing!