Top 4 Things You Need To Know About Instagram Stories

Calm down people, I'll say it again calm down.  

I'll admit it.  When I first saw the update from Instagram, I got a little freaked out too.  Is Instagram trying to knock Snapchat out of the game?  Will people stop using Snapchat and completely switch their stories to Instagram?  Did I waste my time building an audience on Snapchat?  Trust me I understand.  Understand that social media is always changing, and building an audience on any platform is not a waste of time.  Here are the top 4 things you need to understand about the new Instagram update. 

1. Don't abandon your Snapchat account

It is waaaaaaaaaaay too early to make the decision that Snapchat is now dead.  Snapchat currently has over 150 million people using their platform on a daily basis.  These are not small numbers.  If you have spent time developing a following and individuals have grown accustomed to consuming your content, you are in the right place.  The majority of you reading this have more than one social media channel.  Just because you use Facebook doesn't mean that it's a waste of time for you to use Instagram.  Different platforms have a way of reaching different audiences.  Therefore, the more platforms you are on, the increased potential you have to reach a new consumer base.  But let's be real people, it's been less than 24 hours since Instagram made this change.  Would you leave your spouse just because another attractive individual walks by?

2. Instagram Stories and Snapchat Are Two Different Platforms

I know, the resemblance is uncanny.  It looks like Instagram is trying to be Snapchat.  You didn't fool us Instagram!  However, take a closer look.  They are not the same.  Chances are you have been on Instagram longer than you have been on Snapchat.  This also means you probably have a larger following on Instagram (if you have been using it properly).  But as I looked closer, I recognized that these are two completely different platforms.  First thing you see is that Instagram doesn't have the rainbow effect, the alien face or filters with voice changing.  It is my belief, that Instagram is working on something even better that they will roll out within the next few months.  If you want all of those cool effects, you still need to go to Snapchat.  What I like is that the stories show up as soon as you open the Instagram app.  With Snapchat, it takes a few more swipes to get to the stories.  Instagram puts it front and center.  This will encourage more individuals to view stories.  

One of the best comparisons I can make is when Facebook decided to get into live streaming.  Prior to that, Meerkat and Periscope dominated the space of live video feeds.  When Facebook launched live, I heard very few people making comparisons to Periscope.  I know many people still refuse to Facebook live and have stuck with Periscope.  Their audience enjoys that platform more (well, at least for now).  At this point, I say use both. 

3. Stop Crying And Get To Work

In social media you must play where the ball is going, not where it currently is.  As stories and live feeds continue to increase in popularity, I'm positive that Instagram and Snapchat are not the last companies we will see doing this.  Social media is changing every day.  So get use to it.  Stop complaining that you just jumped on the train and now it is about to derail.  You are creating a brand, you are expanding your business.  Why are you complaining that you have too many outlets to brand yourself?  Do you realize how lucky we are to live in a time like this?  Think of the popular show Mad Men.  How excited do you think they would have been to create there brands on this many platforms, FOR FREE?!?!  Business owners tell me all the time that they do not have the large dollars to invest in commercials or billboards.  Good!  Most of those old school platforms you will never see the ROI without big boy bucks.  But you have the ability to put your content in multiple locations in front of people who are eager to watch.  The issue isn't that Instagram offers this new update, the problem is that most are two lazy to spend 10 seconds on each platform creating video content.  

4. Take A Moment & Learn

There is a valuable lesson here.  If you don't change you will be forgotten.  Let's say Instagram's Stories go belly up and never take off (which I don't believe for a second).  Was it a waste of time for you to invest less than five minutes a day in creating content?  What if Snapchat continues to excel and you never took the time to make a place on this platform?  Will you blame Instagram for that?  It's a gift.  You have options.  You have a choice.  Just understand, that next year there will be another new hot social media app.  You can choose to say "this will never take off" or you can invest a little of your time, learn, and create an audience.  Because I can tell you one thing.  If your content is engaging and exciting, your audience will follow you just about anywhere.