Should You Use Snapchat or Instagram Stories?

Welcome to Episode 288, “Hit the Mic with Stacey Harris”. Alright guys, a lot of talk right now about Instagram stories. Yes, I mentioned it on Friday’s episode and the 3 Things You Must Know About Social Media August 2016. Today I want to talk about it but less so about Instagram stories and more so about this conversation that is happening now about, “Do you choose Snapchat or do you choose Instagram stories? “

I think that this same conversation can be had in a lot of places because more and more the networks are directly competing against each other for your time and your attention by utilizing a lot of the same technology and offerings. Meaning, do you do Periscope or do you do Facebook Live? Do you do Instagram stories or do you do Snapchat? That’s what I want to talk about today, is this idea of how do you choose which tool to use when you’re talking about similar features or the same exact feature, in some cases. That’s what we’re going to talk about.

Here’s why this conversation is relevant. If you’ve ever listened to me say anything before you know I’m a big proponent of being in the right places in the right time, not trying to be all of the places all of the time. I really encourage you to find the right space for your audience and we’re going to dig through the three things you need to consider when you’re choosing these. Remember it’s more about where your audience is, where you can connect with people, where you can engage with people, and less about, “Oh, I really want to use,” or, “Oh, this is super cool.”  Make sure that you’re making that differentiation when you are making these decisions because it’s critical.

We’re going to talk about this in the context of Instagram stories and Snapchats today because it’s really, really top of mind.  I know a lot of you who have maybe heard me talk about Snapchat and jumped in over there in the last few months have said, “Okay, I’m going to go all in,” and now you’re going, “Oh well, I can do this on Instagram now, do I need to be doing this on Snapchat?” On the flip side of that was a lot of you who were saying,   “I had no desire to jump in on Snapchat but here’s Instagram stories, can I do that instead of or do I have to do both?” Let’s jump in and find out what you need to do.

Ready? First things first, where’s your audience, where are your people? For me, that’s always, always, always going to be the first thing to consider and here’s why. You’re already trying to sell them on you, you’re already trying to sell them on your message, your value, the change you can make for them. Whether that’s from a business perspective or a personal perspective, a health perspective, through a service or a product or information. However it looks you’re selling them on your brand. You don’t also want to sell them on a new network. “Hey, I really want to provide you this value but you also have to come to this place that you’re not usually spending time to get it.” No, not going to happen, you need to go to where they already are.

If they’re already on Instagram then, yes, Instagram Stories is the way to go. Here’s the thing. For a lot of you, a ton of you who, in the last couple of days have sent me messages asking this question and that’s why this episode is up today, a lot of it is, you already have an audience built on Instagram. You’ve already got 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000, 10,000 followers on Instagram and you’ve got a couple of people following you on Snapchat. On a good day you’re getting 25, 30 people to watch your snaps and it just feels like you’re working against your momentum. I get that, I totally get that. If that’s the case then yes, start using Instagram Stories.

If you’re also one of those people who, like me, has a pretty good Instagram following and has built a pretty good Snapchat following, remember that that audience part alone may not give you an either/or, it might be a, “What content do I share on Snapchat and what content do I share on Instagram Stories, and what do I duplicate?” It may be a both for you, that might be an option. I don’t want you to throw that one out, okay? It’s got to start, the first thing you’ve got to consider … Always, always, always, always, whether you’re applying this to Instagram Stories or Snapchat or whether you’re applying this to Facebook Live versus Periscope or anything else really, it’s go to be about where is your audience already.

Whether you have established that audience and you’ve built that audience and you say, “Okay, well where are my people already hanging out with me?” Or you’re building a brand new audience, “Where are these people already spending time?” That’s where you’re going to find them, that’s where you’re going to connect with them, and that’s where you’re going to be able to express to them the value that you need to be giving them and they need to be getting from you.

Number one, where is your audience? Number two, that’s right, it’s personal preference. Which do you prefer? If you absolutely cannot stand Instagram … You thought I was going to say Snapchat, huh? If you absolutely cannot stand Instagram, it’s just not a network you can get into, then it doesn’t make any sense for you to force yourself into Instagram  Stories, and the same as well. If you cannot get yourself into Snapchat, you have tried and tried and you just cannot get yourself into opening that app and sharing content or even watching content, then Snapchat is not for you, and that’s okay. I think this is one of the things that really differentiates me from a lot of the people who you’re going to hear talk about these networks in the next few months.

You’re going to be getting the people who are like, “Oh, I’m an Instagram Stories expert and that’s the only tool you should be using and everybody’s got to use it no matter what your business is.” You’re going to hear that and I want you to block it out because it’s not true. No one tool is for every business. No one tool is for every audience. There is not one social media network to rule them all, contrary to what Facebook would like you to think. There’s only what’s going to work for you and what’s going to work for your audience. If you hate being on Snapchat then you’re never going to be able to connect with your audience the way you want to because that negativity, that feel, that force is going to come through in the content you’re creating.

Make sure you are not spending time on networks that you simply cannot stand. Now yes, there are going to be times where you have to take the medicine when it comes to social media. I know, I get that. Maybe none of this is what you want to be doing and that’s when you should look at outsourcing. Especially when it comes to this, if you love Instagram already then jump in on Instagram Stories. That is what’s so cook about these networks, really competing for our time, competing for our attention, competing for how we use them, and doing it in a way that’s giving us duplicate functionality across multiple networks is … We now have the option to go, “You know what? I have that network, it’s a pain in the butt but, oh my God, I love this network over here. I can do this there so I’m just going to do it there.”

Again, number one, where’s your audience? Number two, which do you love, which are you more comfortable in? I know for a lot of people, and I’ve heard this from a couple of you in the last couple of days, the thing that’s getting them all in on Instagram stories is the fact that they’re already comfortable on Instagram. I taught a Snapchat class a couple of weeks ago at a [inaudible 00:08:35] space here in Phoenix and one of the things that I expressed to them is that if you don’t understand where things are in Snapchat, that’s cool, you’re not dumb, most people who open Snapchat for the first time don’t. That’s why I do things like the Snapchat training that’s inside of Take the Mic backstage, that’s why I do these speaking events where I go and I teach Snapchat.

A lot of times the functionality you’re looking for is just buried some place you don’t know yet. If you’re already comfortable on Instagram, you’re already comfortable in that environment, then yeah, absolutely start using that space to express that live, behind the scenes throughout the day content. Okay? First things first, where’s your audience? Second thing, where are you comfortable, where do you enjoy spending time? That’s critical. The third thing you need to consider when you’re talking about this either/or is, what kind of content are you sharing? At the end of the day nothing matters more than the content. It really doesn’t. Not you, not even your audience. If the content is not there and the content’s not quality there’s not going to be an audience to care about. That’s got to be priority number one.

They say content is kind for a reason, I’m a big proponent that consistency is queen, but content and consistency have to happen side by side. What kind of content are you sharing there? Is it the kind of content that your audience wants to get there? I think Instagram is doing a really good job of making it competitive in the space against Snapchat by bringing in stories because Instagram as it was before Instagram Stories was really built for the highlight reel, if you will. Gary Vaynerchuk wrote a post about Snapchat stories and a link to it in the show notes where he talked about Instagram stories not being a Snapchat killer. 

What I love is he refers to Instagram, as in regular Instagram, not Stories, before Stories came out, as sort of a museum. This really is for that beautifully crafted, filtered, ready to go image. Now, with Instagram Stories it’s adding in a little bit of what we have happening on Snapchat, the live, the unfiltered, the disappearing in 24 hours, this is the sort of moment-to-moment whereas, again, Instagram where our photos sit normally is almost a highlight reel or, as Gary said, a museum of our moments.  Factor that in when we think about the fact that Instagram and the people who follow us there are used to seeing something a little more crafted and a lot of those users might not be Snapchat users.  You might need to ease them into this more raw and real and moment-to-moment feel of Instagram Stories.

Whereas with Snapchat that’s what those users are expecting, is that moment-to-moment, throughout the day, “What did I do today? What am I doing right now? What am I doing later?” Conversation starter, messaging system. That really is a difference and so factor in how you want to share and to deciding which network are you going to choose. Think about how they’re used to receiving content. The kind of things they care about, because that’s going to be really, really valuable when it comes to deciding which one you want to you. Again, I want to first recap, number one, where is your audience spending time? Number two, where are you most comfortable, where do you enjoy being? Number three, where does your content fit best with the user experience that the end user is going to get consuming your content?

As a last closing note, I want you to think about something I mentioned briefly earlier. This doesn’t have to be an either/or situation. For some of you, maybe not all of you but definitely a good portion of you, it may be that Snapchat and Instagram work side-by-side. That’s what I’m doing right now, is I’m looking at ways to speak more to my Instagram audience through stories for sure, but I’m still keeping that fairly curated, fairly carefully put together whereas Snapchat gets a little more unfiltered. It gets a little bit of a different feeling, it’s going to get slightly different content. I think really we’re seeing this idea of expiring content, more real content, less of those museum highlight reel kind of content, that’s the desire on social right now, that’s all people are wanting to see.

That’s why we’re seeing things like Instagram stories and Snapchat be such a big deal. That’s why we’re seeing things like Periscope and Facebook Live and this idea of live video instead of well crafted, well produced video being a really big deal. People are wanting that honesty and that realness and that connection and so it may be that both of these tools work together. It doesn’t always have to be either/or, it doesn’t always have to be both. It certainly shouldn’t be all of the things all of the time, but look at how you can use these tools to support each other and less about how they work against each other.


Gary Vaynerchuk – Instagram Stories vs Snapchat

Connect with Me

Email me at

Tweet with me and include #HittheMic

Be sure to leave your review on iTunes or Stitcher for a shoutout on a future show

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top