The ongoing feud between Snapchat and Instagram is not subsiding and the features are getting more and more confusing for small business owners. So, how do you determine which platform is right for your business?
First things first: What is SnapChat and Instagram?
Snapchat was created in 2011 as a source to send pictures to friends that disappear in 24 hours. Throughout its innovation, Snapchat has become a platform to use to influence, tell stories, share public and private content and chat with followers. When using the platform, you simply hold down the middle button on your screen and either take a photo or hold longer to take a video. You’re then prompted to send to specific friends privately, or add to your “story” allowing the content to be seen publicly.
Instagram was created in 2010 and sold to Facebook in 2012. Initially, Instagram was described as “Facebook statuses, but in picture form” which only made the sale natural. You have the opportunity to have a private or public account and for businesses; the majority is public. “Hashtags” on Instagram allow you to be discovered by potential consumers and content readers. By utilizing hashtags (the # and a word or phrase following the sign), similar content is joined together, allowing consumers to then search those hashtags to discover new accounts. In August 2016, the “stories” feature was released, making Instagram a direct competitor of Snapchat.
- Snapchat is the truly organic platform of social media. Since the search feature in Snapchat isn’t quite as intuitive as other platforms, you have full control of how you distribute your Snapcode and who has access to it. Your Snapcode is a unique code that can be found in the settings on your account.
- Instagram should be curated to your brand. This is one of the first places your future clients will look for you. You want things to be crisp, clean and make sense to your brand. The best part about this, is that you already have your business branding down pat, so it shouldn’t be too hard to apply to the stories feature. The time comparison, though, is another story.
- The dreaded link feature. Unless your have over 10,000 followers on Instagram, you can’t link your content in Instagram stories. Snapchat, however, allows for creators of all sizes to link within their stories. This means you can add a link to your content or pieces you want to share on Snapchat, while needing to go around a few loops on Instagram unless you’re at that 10K mark.
- Live video is the next big thing and Instagram allows you to do it. Inspired by the feature on Facebook, Instagram introduced it in early 2017. In most updated versions, you can actually save your live video as part of your stories. No live features are available for Snapchat right now; although their recent version allows for longer-than-10-second snaps.
- The format is significantly different between the platforms, while each one offers you the most recent stories first. On Instagram, the stories are across the top of your screen laterally, while Snapchat requires a vertical scroll to get to stories you want to see. Instagram also shares your story with followers throughout their feed, allowing for a better chance of content consumption.
So, which one is right for your business?
If you’re not already on Snapchat, move forward with Instagram stories or push for an engagement campaign to grow your audience. An engagement campaign can be very beneficial for your business because of the exclusivity felt by SnapChat followers. You can maintain a personal relationship with a smaller, more engaged audience. Take advantage of the resources you already have (email list, Facebook group, Instagram) and promise exclusive content for your SnapChat followers. Cross promotion can be extremely beneficial for your entire social media strategy.
Grow your Instagram follower base by using the stories feature to enhance the algorithm. Facebook and Instagram continuously change the way they allow your content to be delivered to potential followers called its “algorithm”. It’s the company’s way of controlling the delivery of content and protecting the consumer and is entirely out of your control. Right now, Instagram is more likely to deliver your content if you use its stories feature, which is a win/win. You can promote the same content on stories and your Instagram feed on different occasions and increase impressions without looking like spam.
Consistency is key on both platforms and while opt outs are higher on Instagram, engagement can be slower to grow on Snapchat. If you have the sources to be on both platforms, the more places your audience can find you, the better. In that case, challenge yourself to try to use one platform to connect and engage with your audience and then turn that content into something valuable for them on another platform.
Terressa Dotson (@TerressaNicole) is a modern marketer that specializes in email, social and content marketing. When she’s not working her #ladyboss hustle, Terressa can be found lifting weights, doing yoga or watching the Bachelor.