Social media companies are on a continuous path to innovate and evolve so they can retain users and attract advertisers. These platforms are constantly testing and launching new features to provide the best and most engaging user experience – but what happens when they all start to look the same?
The “Stories” war
Last summer, Instagram launched Instagram Stories, a feature that allows users and brands to creatively share photos and videos, which disappear after 24 hours. The addition for Instagram enabled its users to share more off-the-cuff, everyday content compared with the carefully perfected and curated content most users share. Oddly enough, Instagram Stories very closely resembled Snapchat Stories, which Snapchat has been offering for over three years.
Fast-forward several months, Facebook has now launched (surprise, surprise) Facebook Stories. Yes, the feature works very much like Stories on other apps. In addition, Facebook has added Facebook Camera Effects and Facebook Direct, which closely resemble Snapchat features. Oh, snap.
This is not the first time Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, has blatantly copied Snapchat to gain a competitive advantage. But in fairness, Snapchat has also subtly replicated competitors’ features to give users the ability to share content with others. So what does this all mean?
What your brand can learn
These companies will continue to battle with each other to be everything to everyone. But the fact remains, they understand social media users – what they want from the apps they use and the content they consume. So here’s what your brand can learn:
1. Tell a story
As these offerings from Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook show, social media users love stories. So when thinking about how you can best leverage these channels, it’s important for your content to tell a story. Stringing multiple photos and videos together is a great way to achieve this.
2. Don’t be perfect
As algorithms change and cutting through the clutter becomes more challenging, there is a growing interest in ephemeral content. With Stories disappearing after 24 hours, remember your content does not have to be perfect to tell a good story. Users appreciate informal and authentic content that feels real and true to your brand.
3. Get creative
With filters, drawing tools, augmented reality lenses and text overlay, these apps offer a variety of ways for your brand to get creative with its content. Be original, and experiment with different ways you can enhance your story with these tools.