Social media for business: Instagram and Snapchat Stories switch-up

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The two-leading visual social networks are at the oneupmanship game again, with a host of script-flips set to revolutionise how we use both platforms.

Last year competition between Instagram and Snapchat really seemed to heat up, as owner of the former, Facebook, looked to steal some of the latter’s loyal support amongst a demographic that it can’t quite seem to crack. Namely the under-25s.
Anyone who uses social media for business knows only too-well how important this ongoing fight is. The younger end of the youth audience, which took to Snapchat like ducklings to water from the word go, is a lucrative but rather evasive market the likes of which many brands want to tap into.
One of the key battlegrounds comes in the form of Stories— serialised chronological posts that build a narrative over a single day. Snapchat started the trend, Instagram followed suit with real success, and Facebook has tried the same thing albeit with much less of a fanfare from the public.
Now both Instagram and Snapchat have announced major changes to this format, switching the idea up in a bid to increase visibility and keep it fresh, because, let’s face it, staying still simply isn’t an option in social media land.
Here’s everything you need to know about what’s going down.

Instagram Stories: Highlights, text posts, repostings, GIFs and screenshot alerts

In December, Instagram rolled out Stories Highlights— permanent collections of tales that live within your profile and can be viewed no matter how old they are. At the same time, Stories Archive was also introduced, automatically saving this content to the cloud to free-up the most important thing on your phone; memory.
Skip back to today and a new set of updates are being touted for arrival very soon, although at the time of writing none have been officially confirmed from Insta-HQ. Regardless, they can be broken down as follows:
*Text-only ‘Type’ posts; appearing next to existing Stories options such as Boomerang, Hands Free, and Live, select Type, choose a font style, and you can create a striking statement post free of distractions such as imagery. Given this whole network is built on pictures the impact could be significant, as these will stand out in and amongst the photos. This is what it should look like…
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*Re-posting; an obvious and pretty simple concept, you may soon be able to repost Stories from other accounts for up to 24 hours after they go live, providing they have mentioned your profile name. The potential for brands here is huge when it comes to collating user-generated-content involving products, services or events. At the moment the only way to do this is through third party apps or screen grabs, which are obviously useless if the content is a video.
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*Screenshot alerts; another massive bonus for brands, there are widespread reports online of new message boxes popping up notifying users that…
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This will be invaluable for businesses looking to monitor and gauge engagement, which every business wants to do, as it gives a true picture of how many people saving the content, and what kind of content is working best.
*GIFs; Instagram is, apparently, toying with a new Giphy library similar to those on networks like Twitter. More window dressing than anything particularly strategic, nevertheless it will increase your options as to what can be included in a post, which is always a good thing when variety is the spice of digital life.
 

Snapchat: Stories for all

They say great things come in small packages, and Snapchat’s latest update is a case in point because we can summarise in just a few words. From today, users are able to send a link to their Stories off-network, as they are created.
This means being able to share the content with friends, family, and others via text message, email, or another social platform. When someone clicks they will be directed to a new media player on Snapchat so they can view what’s there. This means your work is no longer restricted to those already signed up to Snapchat, which is massive news.