I know, I know.

Just when you were getting the hang of Snapchat, Instagram has thrown you for a loop.

The main draw of Snapchat has been its stories feature – allowing you to add photos and 10-second video clips to your “story” for all your followers to see. And as we’ve discussed, this can be a powerful feature for your business.

But now, with the release of its stories feature, Instagram has changed the game. Its feature is similar to Snapchat’s in many ways (with a few differences).

Here at ARCH Digital Agency, we make it a point to stay up on all the newest social media trends and features – and so, we want to make sure you stay up to date (and don’t fall behind!).

So today, we’ll tell you what you need to know to start using and succeeding with Instagram stories today.

Here are 6 Things You Need to Know About Instagram Stories…

  1. How to Create Your First Story
    Haven’t created a story yet? Well, it’s quite simple to get started.

All you have to do is tap the “plus sign” in the upper left corner of the screen. From there, the functionality is similar to that of Snapchat Stories.

To take a picture, you can tap the round button. To take a video (for up to 10 seconds) you can press down on the round button.

Then, you can hit the pen icon on the top right corner of the picture or video, and use it to doodle with a myriad of colors (just hold down one of the color options that comes up on the bottom of your screen to get a full color scale) as well as three different types of pens (there are some cool options here).

You can also swipe left or right on the photo/video to add an Instagram filter to it.

Then when you’re all done, you can tap the checkmark to upload it to your Instagram Story.

From there, you can simply tap on your story, scroll up, and you’ll see both the view count and all the people who viewed each part of your story.

  1. Instagram Stories Won’t Kill Snapchat
    This has been one of the biggest talking points around Instagram Stories. Will the feature kill Snapchat?

Gary Vaynerchuk recently said, “Anybody who thinks Instagram is going to kill Snapchat is out of their mind.”

His reasoning? Because Snapchat acts like a media company, it has scale.

And frankly, we agree…

While there will certainly be some people switching from Snapchat to Instagram, it won’t be enough to damage the Snapchat platform.

Aside from acting like a media company, Snapchat also has unique features, like Snapchat Memories, filters, video chatting, screenshot notifications, and more.

This is good news for you, because it means you can use both Snapchat and Instagram to reach new audiences and create great content.

  1. The Story Elements Still Hold True
    Both with Snapchat and Instagram, you must tell a good story. For both of these platforms, that means doing things like:
    Setting a theme or subject
    Behind-the-scenes footage
    Q&A with your audience
    And strong calls to action
    (In an upcoming post, we’ll go in-depth on the 7 elements of a powerful Snapchat story – and you can use all of the elements for Instagram Stories as well. So stay tuned for that!)

Sidenote: Instagram Stories make it easy for you to give a strong call to action. You can simply point users to click the link in your bio (as opposed to asking them to screenshot a Snap and type out the URL like they have to do in Snapchat).

If you can tell a good story, people will watch your Instagram Stories all the way through instead of clicking away to the next person’s story. This is key for keeping your audience engaged and interested.

  1. Who to Follow
    We recently gave you a list of 20 entrepreneurs and brands to follow on Snapchat.

By following successful brands and entrepreneurs, you’ll get a sneak peek into what it takes to create great stories – both on Instagram and Snapchat.

And guess what? Most of the entrepreneurs and brands from that previous list are already crushing it with Instagram Stories! So, be sure to give them a follow. Here are some of their Instagram accounts:

Tai Lopez (@TaiLopez)
Gary Vaynerchuk (@GaryVee)
Justin Wu (@hackapreneur)
John Lee Dumas (@JohnLeeDumas)
Dan Norris (@TheDanNorris)

  1. The Stories Are Easy to Navigate
    With Snapchat stories, viewers must replay the entire Snap story if they miss something.

However with Instagram, you can simply tap the left side of the video or picture, and it will take you to the previous part of the Instagram Story. You can scroll back through all the parts of an Instagram Story in this way.

This makes things a bit simpler for you and your audience to consume content.

  1. You Can Add Your Snapchat Stories to Instagram
    Don’t feel like creating stories for both Instagram AND Snapchat all the time? Well, occasionally, you can also add your Snapchat Story to your Instagram Story.

However, you should do this with caution. Remember:
one of the oldest social media rules is to give your audience a reason to follow you on different networks (i.e. posting different content on different platforms).

That being said, here are some areas where this can be useful:
Snap Stories where you’re asking a question to your audience
Cross-promoting your Snapchat account with your Instagram account
So how do you get your Snapchat content on Instagram?

Once you get to the screen to record your Instagram Story, all you have to do is scroll down. From there, your camera roll will pop up. You can scroll through your videos and pictures from the past 24 hours, and add them to your Instagram Story.

So, be sure to save your Snapchat Stories to your camera roll, and then use this feature to upload them to your Instagram story.

Instagram Stories are an important addition to the social media landscape. But don’t let the feature overwhelm you. Use what you learned here to start dominating with Instagram stories and reach a new audience.

What’s your opinion on Instagram Stories? How do you feel they compare to Snapchat? Let us know in the comments below!