Sometime ago, Instagram rolled out a new feature called Instagram Stories, which looks like a copied idea from Snapchat.

However, the new feature has only added to the delight of many hardcore Instagram users. The best thing about Stories is that they help people share posts at a greater frequency. Stories give a new dimension to photo sharing on the app, which is otherwise more of composed shots, filters, and effects.

Instagram looks at the new feature as a healthy alternative to over-posting. Unlike your regular photo updates, you can enjoy a separate space to post more frequently to people’s inbox and hence not worry about over-posting on your timeline.

If you are looking to get started with Instagram Stories, then here are some tips that will throw some light on the multiple uses of the new feature.

How to Use Instagram Stories

1. To get started, tap on the plus sign on the top left corner of your screen.

2. To take a photo, click on the round bottom and to record a video, what you need to do is long-press the button for 10 seconds.

The thunderbolt icon will enable flash, while the arrows will let you swap your cameras.

If you wish to post a photo or video from your digital camera, then swipe downwards to pick what you want to upload.

3. Choose from any of three pen type options to add sketches or an emoji on your photo, or swipe right to choose a different color filter.

Don’t be dejected on seeing the few color choices at the bottom of your screen. Just long-press any of the colors on your screen to get more advanced color options so you can make an image that your audience would fall in love with.

4. To share your image, all you need to do is click on the checkmark icon.

That’s it. Your story is ready to be seen by your followers. Once it’s published, you can save it in three simple steps:

  • Open your posted image
  • Tap the three dots that you see on the bottom right of your screen
  • Choose the “Save Photo” option

But, if you have a tight marketing budget and limited time to focus on attracting new followers, then choosing to buy Instagram followers might be the easy way out to get the engagement up on your account.

5. Get to know who saw your Story

To find out who was interested in your Story, all you need to do is swipe up when viewing your story.
On the other hand, if you want to block someone from responding to your story, just tap on the “X” button next that appears next to their name.

A third option is, you can switch to private mode by simply adjusting your privacy settings. Hit the “Settings” icon in the upper right corner of your screen, and then choose “hide story” from any user of your choice.

Now, you might wonder aren’t all these features the same as Snapchat?

It’s no secret that Instagram stories were born out of Snapchat stories. Even the names of the features are similar. Some similarities between the two include photo and video sharing, a 24 hour only shelf life of posts, the doodle tool, and of course filters.

But having said that there are some high-points that Snapchat has over Instagram though it has been copied. For example, there is something called the “memories” feature that Snapchat has and Instagram stories don’t. Plus, the later doesn’t come with screenshot notifications. And no stickers, either!

Apart from these, there is the most attractive facial recognition feature of Snapchat that is missing in Instagram Stories.

But, on the other hand, Instagram Stories do come with certain advantages over its competitor, and the most important thing is its user base. Instagram has over 350 million daily active users, and it’s more of an integrated platform with Facebook, which has over 1.5 billion users worldwide. In comparison, Snapchat has only about 150 million active daily users, which gives marketers a reason to prefer the other network i.e. Instagram to share their stories.

What Marketers Need to Know About Instagram Stories

For marketers, it’s worth knowing that anyone who has a loyal following on Instagram can easily leverage Instagram Stories to a good effect than those who don’t. You have the golden opportunity to create personalized photos and videos and get a better response for your promotions directly from your target audience.

Apart from your existing followers, you also have the advantage of getting new visitors to see your stories, that is if you are promoting your content with Instagram Stories. But, in the case of Snapchat, you could come up with nice stories, but the chances of them getting noticed by people are much lesser, until and unless you keep promoting on your other marketing platforms restlessly. The other features like hashtags and geotags can up your chances of getting noticed on Instagram.

So, taking the reach and content discoverability into account, it makes sense to note that Instagram Stories are a far better choice to Snapchat stories.

Okay, but will it stick?

As we all know, social media marketing is all about engagement. And when it comes to engagement, each platform has a different rating, and it’s no secret that Instagram tops the list. It’s considered the best platform to generate visual engagement in 2016 and beyond by posting photos, videos, and stories. On the other hand, Snapchat lags far behind with its interactive features. Sometimes, it looks silly and unpolished.

So, instead of editing the shadow and colors on every picture, Instagram now allows its users to take advantage of interactive content creation using Stories. Plain as day, Instagram Stories are an additional tool designed to take the burden off marketers and get better results.

All the factors mentioned above bring us to one prediction that seems realistically possible: Snapchat users will abandon the platform and migrate to Instagram!
Or, will they not?

Stories are becoming increasingly popular on social media. Although Snapchat deserves the credit for popularizing the idea, it’s obvious that Instagram has already made inroads to shift the momentum in their favor. But, we see Instagram having the cake and eating it too only when it finds answers to the minor elements that Snapchat has and Instagram doesn’t. Also, only until Snapchat comes up with some innovative features to give its users more reasons to persist with the platform. It takes more than that Puppy filter to keep people on the platform!