Instagram recently announced a new feature that’s a lot like Snapchat, yadda yadda yadda… You already know this. The new Instagram Stories feature has a lot of people talking. I’ve seen a lot of posts and conversations about why you should use these platforms and how to decide which one(s) are best for you. That stuff is totally worth considering, but it’s been said. So if you’ve already decided that you’d like to get all of those cool benefits from using either Snapchat or Instagram stories (or both!) then this post is for you.
Through months of professional lurking (disclaimer, I’ve never actually posted on either of these platforms, but I follow lots of people and love seeing all of the amazing ways that people share their stories), I’ve come up with what I think are some of the best ways you can use Snapchat and/or Instagram stories to grow and promote your brand. Also, now that I’ve done the research, I think I am going to start using Snapchat (then maybe Instagram Stories one day, but we’ll see). So you can follow me on Snapchat at anniehpee and Insta at anniehp if you want to see what I come up with!
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Give them a behind the scenes view
So if you’re a blogger and you always give people those cool, curated views at your life or your content, Snapchat is your opportunity to take a break from all that. Since it doesn’t save your posts, you don’t have to worry about making everything look perfect. So you can share the actual behind the scenes views of what you’re working on, so people can see that in contrast with the finished product.
I follow a lot of Snapchatters that use the platform for this purpose. But I think a good example is Brittni of the blog Paper & Stitch (brittnimehlhoff on Snapchat). The DIY’s she shares on her blog and Instagram are so pretty and well put together. And on her Snapchat you get to see sort of how she gets there, messy studio and all.
Offer some tips
No matter how different the format is, Snapchat is still, above all, another way to share content. That means that you can use it to share something of value for your audience. And one great way to do that is by offering tips.
One account that’s great for Snapchat tips is Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society (hilaryrushford on Snapchat). She shares a bunch of different content on her Snapchat (including amazing travel snaps). But she often comes up with some really useful tips about using Snapchat and social media in general. And (this is important!!!! ->) she delivers them in a really natural, conversational way (often with some silly filters mixed in because why not, right?) Because honestly, the last thing anyone wants to do on Snapchat is to listen to a rehearsed speech. Save that stuff for YouTube or something.
Share your daily updates
Snapchat can also be just a really easy way to show people what you’re doing, which can help you build connections and start conversations with people. You can just show people where you’re shopping, a behind the scenes shot of your workout, a new TV show you’re into, or yes – even your lunch.
A snapper (<- is that the term? IDK but I’m going to use it) who does this well is Cait of Pretty & Fun (caitweingartner on Snapchat). She shares content about her workouts, food, travel, and most importantly her cute dog. It’s a lot of the same content/style that she also blogs about, but it’s just more of it. And sometimes you just can’t give people an idea of your personality without actually talking to them. So in that way, Snapchat is so great for building connections online.
Since it’s such a great platform for two-way communication, it’s also a natural place for you to host Q&A sessions with your audience. You can post a story asking for questions from people who follow you or just gather some questions from other sources and then post snaps with the answers.
If you follow Elsie of A Beautiful Mess (elsielarson on Snapchat), then you’ve probably seen her host several of these Q&A sessions. She sometimes asks for specific types of questions, like those about home decor or blogging, or sometimes she just opens it up to whatever people want to ask. Then she answers each question pretty quickly and succinctly (<-also really important!!!!)
Take a poll
You can also be the one to ask questions on Snapchat. It’s a great platform for finding out more about your audience, especially if you have questions that can be answered pretty quickly or issues that you can have people sort of vote on.
Kelly of Studio DIY (studiodiy on Snapchat) does this fairly regularly. She’ll sometimes let followers vote on which photos or other freebies will appear in her weekly newsletter, which is cool because it promotes the newsletter and also gives people a way to really affect what they get out of it. But she’ll also sometimes ask more fun questions like if people like their Pop-Tarts toasted or untoasted or who everyone’s favorite Disney Princess is.
Show people how to do something
Snapchat and Instagram Stories are also really natural platforms for sharing tutorials or DIY projects, as long as they’re quick and pretty easy to explain. You can film the actual process and then maybe even create a quick list of steps/supplies that people can screenshot to save for later.
One of the first Instagram Stories I watched that I thought was really useful was from A Pair and a Spare (apairandaspare on Insta). On one of the first days Instagram Stories was available, she showed how to make a really cute off the shoulder top with just a few steps. It was really cute and easy to follow. And now, even though I am totally overwhelmed by Instagram Stories because I follow too many people on Instagram to keep up with them all, I would totally watch more of her stories if I see them because of how cool that one was.
Make people laugh
Everyone loves a jokester! And sometimes people just want a break from their day and don’t necessarily need to learn something specific from watching stuff on the internet. So if you’re a funny person and messing around in photos/videos comes easy to you, I personally think that’s a totally legitimate way to use Snapchat and Instagram Stories.
Brittany of The House That Lars Built (houselarsbuilt on Snapchat and Insta) does this really well. She’ll just lipsync random songs using silly looking filters or dance around or do other things that are pretty ridiculous. But it’s a nice break and it’s totally entertaining. People love that.
So those are my main tips for Snapping and Storying your heart out! If you have other tips to share, I’d love to hear them! Please feel free to leave a comment or reach out on Snapchat!