Why you should be creating content for Instagram Stories

By Posted in - Instagram & Social Media on October 6th, 2016 0 Comments

Oh jeez, not another platform to create content for. That might have been the first thought that crossed your mind when Instagram announced it’s new feature, Instagram Stories.

As Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, openly admits, Instagram Stories is almost an identical copy of Snapchat. Seeing the blatant similarities between Snapchat and Instagram Stories could tempt you just to repurpose the content you are sharing over on Snapchat. But although it looks similar, it’s a completely different product, and in this blog post I will explain why it’s worth the time and effort.

User behaviour

I recently came across a post on Medium which explained the differences perfectly. Writing for Hackernoon, Jeanette Suh discusses user behaviour on the apps and draws on some interesting points.

Suh describes Snapchat as a platform to create content. The app opens on the camera, giving image and video capture the most dominant position, tempting the user to be a creator. The Stories section is pushed to the side as more of a second thought. Instagram’s first screen prompts the user to consume content, with the option to scroll either through the original feed or Stories.

Left: Snapchat. Right: Instagram.

Left: Snapchat. Right: Instagram.

What I find most interesting about the two platforms is that Snapchat is actually a more personal experience than Instagram Stories. You either choose to send your Snaps directly to your Snapchat friends or you add it to your Story. Although you do choose the privacy for your Snapchat Stories, there isn’t a feature which helps you find people without a Snapcode or their mobile number. Whereas over on Instagram, anyone can search for you and if you have a public account, anyone can add you and see your Stories.

When creating content for Instagram Stories, these behaviours need to be taken into consideration…

-Consumers: Bear in mind that your audience will probably be browsing through content, how can you draw in their attention? Your content might be more contrived and thought out, whereas on Snapchat, it’s more spur of the moment.

-Public profile: This is an opportunity to reach a wider audience, meaning your content needs to be slightly more suitable for a broader range of people which might include alumni and staff, as well as students. Try and make sure your content is balanced, so if you’re aiming something at new students one day, make sure your next Story is something that an alum might like.

Get the Instagram look

First and foremost, Instagram is a platform to share beautiful photos and videos, where users take the time to edit and refine their content. This shouldn’t be lost when you create something for your Instagram Story. Images and videos need to be polished and well executed, in comparison to Snapchat where content is more immediate.


Don’t be lazy

We know from working with our clients and personal in-house experience that there is a serious shortage on time and resource, so we understand that developing even more content is a pain. But your audiences on Instagram could be completely different to those on Snapchat, so you need to tailor content on Instagram Stories to those audiences. Don’t get us wrong, we advise our clients to repurpose content all the time, but if you’re showing the same event on both platforms, is there a way to make that same shot more appropriate for Instagram?

Learning from early adopters

Several universities have already jumped at the challenge and have been sharing some great content on Instagram Stories that the sector can learn from.

This first one is from the University of Surrey. They used Instagram Stories to show off what was happening in the local area. They captured some lovely shots of the local produce that was on offer at the Guilford Farmers’ Market, which led up to a cheeky plug about their 50th Anniversary event.


With Stories being a new feature on an already established platform it means you can tap into your pre-existing following. Newcastle University have been engaging with their 14,000 followers to get recommendations for their new students.


Hoping to reach a wider community than just their own students, UAL College, LCC, took advantage of this huge wall advertisement to highlight their input to the London Design Festival.


It seems to be pretty clear that people love a campus shot on Instagram. Over in the States, Columbia University managed to fit in a lovely sunny shot while showing us what is happening on the campus.


Has your university been doing something innovative on Instagram Stories that we’ve missed? Tweet us and let us know.

If you need help developing the content on your social media channels, please get in touch. We’re here to help.

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