What’s Your Story? Snapchat and Instagram Stories for Better Business

- ByThe Social Agency


Photo via Fast Company

What does VIP access to NYC Fashion Week, butterfly crowns and the Super Bowl have in common? They all tell a story – on Snapchat!

Whether you’re a startup or a well-established business, if you’re looking to grab your audience’s attention in a fresh, new way then micro storytelling is the way forward. With participation from world-renowned fashion brands like Gucci, classic brands like General Electric and iconic events such as the Olympics, it’s undeniable that Snapchat, and now Instagram Stories, have heavy influence in the social media realm.

However, as a business, one simply doesn’t just hit record without a strategy in place. Understanding the unique differences and capabilities of stories on Snapchat and Instagram can help you determine where to invest your marketing time.

Both platforms offer the opportunity to surprise and delight your audience and grow awareness for your brand, while exercising your creative side. Snapchat just got there first.

To start, you’ll have to loosen the glossy, perfected approach of traditional marketing and embrace this less manicured, raw and playful style! The idea is to carefully expose the soft underbelly of your brand in a calculated, but highly personal and engaging way, keeping your viewers hungry for more!

Not sure where to start? Think: inclusive exclusivity.

Provide Private Content – You can utilize these micro posts to deliver special content to your audience that they might not receive on your other digital platforms. Offer something unique to surprise your community of followers, like a contest, product perk or promotion.

For example, you could offer promo codes or discounts to fans that watch your entire Snapchat & Instagram story (last photo/video of the sequential series has the promotional offer).

Fashion brands like Rebecca Minkoff and Michael Kors have successfully used Snapchat to debut their collections to followers before they hit the runway.

Break Down the Fourth Wall – With micro stories, you can provide behind-the-scenes content to your audience, which helps create and engage a strong community of followers. Introduce new episodic story segments, like 10-second words of wisdom from charismatic company spokespeople, answer interesting customer questions and highlight tours of, typically unseen, offices or manufacturing warehouses.

You can also show off the fun side of your company culture; capture birthday partiesFriday afternoon BBQs or company off-sites. The sky’s the limit on how your brand differentiates itself.

New York Times writer, editors and team have been showing their playful side while they learn Snapchat in front of their audience.

VIP Access to Live Events – These ephemeral stories are ideal for real-time social media marketing because it can give the audience direct access to live events while creating a sense of urgency. You can use it for product launches,trade shows or one-of-a-kind events like celebrity cameos or the 1,000th customer in your store. These platforms get your audience excited because you’re providing a different, more authentic narrative of what’s going on at the event, in a personal, visual way.

At a Valentino show for Fashion Week in Paris, actors Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson took it a step further and reprised their Zoolander roles as Derek Zoolander and Hansel for a runway walk-off. They even had a “Blue Steel” geofilter at the fashion show.

While the NBA adopted micro story telling to deliver their draft picks.

Partner with Influencers – Just like other social channels, social media influencers on Snapchat and Instagram Stories can help spread brand awareness and reach to a demographic that’s hard to reach through traditional media.

Influencers who are skilled with these micro story platforms can create eye-catching video content that can further enhance your brand’s voice and personality.

Check out Logan Paul’s partnership with Sour Patch Kids, for example.
Now, you might be wondering what the difference is between Snapchat and Instagram Stories. Not a lot, really. But the differences are important – especially to veteran Snapchat users.

Both Platforms:

  • are called “Stories”
  • allow clips up to 10 seconds in length
  • make stories ephemeral, as uploads disappear after 24 hours
  • allow users to select and watch stories sequentially
  • allow users to reply to stories with direct messages (users can ask questions or offer feedback—brilliant for customer service and brand development)
  • allow you to add custom text atop your images and video
  • include filters
  • let you draw with a built-in marker
  • include the option to save the media directly to your camera roll (new to Snapchat)
  • display who views your story (a key component for strategy and relationship building)


  • Instagram allows you to “rewind” stories to play back things you may have missed
  • Instagram has more marker options when it comes to doodling
  • Instagram lets you post sections of your story as an Instagram post
  • Snapchat shows you who took screenshots of your story
  • Snapchat offers geofilters and facial-mapping (this is a deal breaker for some)

If your brand has already established a following on Instagram then we’d suggest you start with newly launched Instagram Stories. A huge benefit is that you don’t have to rebuild your audience on yet another platform.

However, if you’re an old hand at Snapchat, there’s no denying that the geofilters and the ever-changing face-mapping lenses offer a world of creativity. You can have a lot of fun with the platform’s native tools and features by adding filters, geofilters, text, unique emojis, music and more, all from within the platform.

That said, the most versatile option is to leverage both platforms. Have a play with Snapchat’s filters and lens, save them to your camera roll and then upload them for your Instagram audience – a win-win really.

The most successful company-driven social media efforts are the ones that feel the most organic. Your brand needs to be where your customers natural go – and most people are flocking to Stories. We hope to see you behind the velvet curtain!