Social Media Strategist


Social Media marketing, strategy and professional development blog for Jon-Stephen Stansel, a social media strategist living in Austin, Texas.

Instagram Stories Deserve Their Own Content.


-by Jon-Stephen Stansel

When Instagram released their “Stories” feature there was quite an uproar of thievery followed by a sigh of praise. Yes, Instagram totally ripped off Snapchat, but they also made it their own and made it better.

For social media marketers, it can be frustrating when a new feature like this is released. It’s another thing you have to create content for in order to stay competitive. You can hardly blame social media marketers when they simply choose to import their Snapchat story over to Instagram and have two identical stories in two different social networks. After all, a lot of your Instagram audience doesn’t follow you on Snapchat. Right?

Yes, but they aren’t on Snapchat for a reason or they are there for a differentreason. They are a different audience with different expectations. People go to Instagram to see gorgeous photos in a well curated feed, not the off-the-cuff rawness of Snapchat. When your Instagram story doesn’t fit the voice of your normal Instagram posts, you create a disconnect about what your brand is. You are telling two different stories about yourself in the same place. Who are you really?

If you are going to use the Instagram Stories feature, it is vital that you create content specifically for that format.

While Instagram Stories does steal from Snapchat’s playbook, the goal is to fix a problem Instagram has been dealing with for a long time, the over-sharer. You know who I’m talking about, your friend that just posted five photos in a row of the wedding they went to last weekend or the new parent who just posted ten near identical photos of their baby. (I’ll be guilty of this one soon, I apologize in a advance.) Stories, gives these people a way to share multiple photos of an event without cluttering your feed.

We can use this tool as Social Media Marketers to better tell stories. One great thing Instagram stories has over Snapchat is the ability to easily import from your camera roll. While you can do this on Snapchat, you are stuck with an ugly white border and time stamp that pulls focus from your image. With Instagram Stories, you can import your best photos and graphics and craft a stunning series of images and videos that you just can’t get on Snapchat. Why would you limit yourself by simply importing your Snapchat story?

One of the golden rules of social media management is not to automate content from one medium to another. We cringe when we see a Tweet that was imported from Facebook or Instagram. Each social network needs its own content and strategy. Why do we think it is okay to do this with Snapchat and Instagram?

Social Media Marketers who are doing this are missing a huge opportunity for engagement. I expect we’ll see some changes to Instagram Stories in the near future (More filters, better editing tools, stickers) that will make this even more true.