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Tuesday 1 August 2017

Snapchat vs. Instagram: Which is best for your business?

Which social media platform is best for your business, Instagram or Snapchat? We’ve got the answer right here on this blog post…

Social media was once classified as a passing fad, a craze that was led by millennials with no benefits bar personal gain. This, however, could not be further from the truth. Now, there are up to 3 billion internet users with over 2 billion of them owning at least one active social media account. Social media has transformed from a niche pastime into a global phenomenon, utilised by every gender and age group. With this statistic in mind, it is not surprising that social giants like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Snapchat and Instagram have become integral tools of digital marketing. These platforms store a wealth of customer data, meaning that companies can therefore make much smarter business decisions by integrating them into their strategies.

Two particular social media apps that have recently been put under spotlight are Snapchat and Instagram, mainly due to their competing ‘story’ formats. During August last year, Instagram launched ‘Instagram Stories’, a new feature that allows people to share a mixture of photos and videos that will disappear after 24 hours. Sound familiar? Well, any social media user will know that this is the sole principle that Snapchat operates on. This advancement has led to publications predicting the death of Snapchat. Here at Drumbeat, we think that these announcements may be a little hasty. The two channels function very differently, both comprising their own pros and cons. In this post, we’re going to have a dig into the background of both platforms and provide you with the information that you need to help you decide which channel is best for your business.

Snapchat: What is it and what does it do?

Snapchat is a mobile messaging app that allows users to send photos and videos of an ephemeral nature. According to its two co-founders, Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, the inspiration behind the platform was to encourage users to take and send not so picture-perfect images to their peers. Whereas most photo apps focus on stylising and fine-tuning, the two Stanford students aimed to provide a fun alternative that championed raw and real-time content.

Back when Snapchat initially launched in 2011, the app’s single feature was the ability to send images that would disappear after just 10 seconds. Since then, the social platform has made a number of advancements to ensure that it remains current, including ‘Memories’ (where you can save and store your Snaps), ‘Stories’ (a continued narrative of your Snaps), ‘Chat’ (that allows you to type text), ‘Geofilters’ (overlays to customise your Snaps) and most recently, ‘Snap Map’ (a map that shows you the location of your Snapchat friends).

Instagram: What is it and what does it do?

Instagram is a mobile photo and video sharing platform where you can quickly and simply transform amateur photography with the use of filters and adjustable settings. Established in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, the app was an instant success and attracted 1 million users within its two first months of service. Due to the platform’s phenomenal growth and reception, Facebook acquired the app for $1 million in 2012. This acquisition lead to the development of a number of Instagram’s most renowned features, including photo tagging (where you can tag yourself and friends in images), direct messaging (where you can talk to other users via text) and most recently, Instagram stories (where you can upload photos and videos which will eventually disappear after 24 hours).

So, which is best for your business?

Undeniably, Instagram and Snapchat have similar purposes: they both share and distribute videos and images. However, the two platforms can impact your business differently. To show you exactly what we mean, let’s have a look at some figures…

Some Snapchat statistics:

- An average of 100 million daily active users

- An average of 400 million snaps sent each day

- Just 14% of users fall outside of the millennial category

One of Snapchat’s benefits is that its users are heavily engaged, which is extremely good news for businesses owners. This means that people who are using the app are more likely to look and respond to your outputs. Snapchat also has a fairly youthful demographic and is therefore ideal for businesses that aim to exclusively target a young audience.

How can I use Snapchat for my business?

- A promotion. If you’re planning to host a flash discount, then Snapchat may be a better option than Instagram. Snapchat’s temporary nature is suitable for creating a sense of urgency, this can act as a powerful motivator when encouraging users to respond to a sales activity.

- Behind-the-scenes footage. Snapchat prompts the production of unfiltered, improvisational content and therefore the app is an ideal source to reveal your brand’s personality on. This could include light-hearted interviews with employees, interesting facts about your company or tours around your office.

- Non-visual services. Due to Snapchat’s impermanent format, the app is more suited to businesses that offer services or products that are not particularly visually appealing, meaning that your images will not appear unsightly and unappealing on a feed (like they could on Instagram).

Some Instagram statistics:

- An average of 400 million daily active users

- An average of 80 million photos posted daily

- 41% of users are aged 16-24, but 35% are 24-35

Although Snapchat’s number of daily active users is by no means minor, Instagram does boast a greater reach. In addition, the app also attracts a more diverse age range, meaning that your services and/or products have the opportunity to be seen by a more assorted selection of users.

How can I use Instagram for my business?

- Visual content. In recent years, Instagram has firmly established its position as the prime photo sharing hub. Due to the nature of the channel, it is essential that you offer your followers not only engaging content, but also posts that are visually stimulating.

- Hashtags. Hashtags are an extremely useful tool that when, used correctly and relevantly, can assist the expansion of your reach without the need of boosting your posts. If you use more general hashtags as well as campaign specific, then you will dramatically increase the discoverability of your content.

- Collaborate and engage. Instagram, unlike Snapchat, enables users to tag other accounts in posts and in the comments section. This connectivity will not only expand your reach, but also highlight who your business collaborates with, whether this is charities, other companies or influencers.

Despite these suggestions, it is vital to note that there are no rigid rules when it comes to social media. In fact, most social strategies will begin with a period of experimentation until you can pinpoint what does and doesn’t work for your company. Whereas Instagram can generate leads, showcase glamorous elements and increase visibility, Snapchat can convey personality, your company’s brand and more raw content. Perhaps your company may benefit from one or the other, but sometimes businesses can profit from utilising a mixture of mediums, including both Instagram and Snapchat.

Remember to follow Drumbeat over on Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.

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