Is Instagram the new Snapchat? After adding a few new features to the photo sharing app this month, the Instagram update has once again mimicked Snapchat’s success. The new features, which includes face filters and searchable stories, will help Facebook and Instagram put a cap on Snapchat’s success.
This isn’t the first time that Instagram has mimicked Snapchat—last August, the photo sharing app debuted Stories, exactly like the ones that Snapchat had become known for. Less than a year later, the total number of users for Instagram’s Stories is higher than Snapchat’s entire user base.
Both Instagram and Snapchat are rolling out stories that can be filtered based on locations and hashtags, which will allow users to create stories specific to an event or even a story focused on a keyword like “kittens.”
We asked Content Marketing Specialist and social media expert Payton Travis what the updates mean for brands.
“Brands can use this to their advantage by paying very close attention to what hashtags and locations their audience is using on the platform,” Travis said. “This can be done by searching hashtags and seeing what populates, then skimming through the content to find out what your competitors are doing.”
Although Instagram has become more popular than Snapchat and is only expected to grow more, Travis warns against counting out Snapchat in your marketing efforts.
“The ad suite products and customizable filters on Snapchat are still operating at a level above its competitors, like Facebook and Instagram,” she said. “To figure out which app works best, do some research on comparable brands and see how they’ve found success. Each app has different features.”
The two platforms may have similar features, but you should still customize your approach to each platform. Instagram is more brand-friendly—making it much easier for fans to follow a brand—while Snapchat provides a platform for users to share with their friends. Instagram also allows users to engage more with a brand by expressing their love for the brand via comments or likes.
If you’re trying to decide which platform to focus on for your brand, Travis advises taking a serious look at Instagram.
“We recommend starting with Instagram because Instagram is more brand-friendly for several reasons, one of them being that it’s easier to follow a brand on Instagram vs. Snapchat. To find a brand on Snapchat, you need an exact name. You also can’t express your love for a brand on Snapchat, which is a huge point of engagement for brands and businesses on Instagram.”
For brands interested in exploring Instagram’s new features, take advantage of Instagram’s location-based stories to get familiar with the location of your core audience. Finding out where they are posting from is crucial to share your brand with those specific audiences.
On Snapchat, creating geofilters or using platform-specific discount codes is a great way to gain attention from your fans. Utilize other platforms—such as Instagram or Facebook—to let users know that you will be doing something special on Snapchat. Encourage your audience to add your brand on Snapchat to see what you’re up to.
If you can’t decide which platform is the best for your brand, Travis recommends pumping out some content and testing it on both Instagram and Snapchat to see which performs better. Each app is different, so testing is a great way to find out which platform is a better fit for your business or brand.