Instagram just rolled out a new feature that is practically a copycat of Snapchat’s existing “Stories.” The term “copycat” is used because the feature isn’t similar; it’s practically identical in just about every aspect. It even has a near identical name: Instagram Stories.

How does it work?

If you know how Snapchat’s Stories work, then you need no introduction to Instagram Stories because it functions the same way. Essentially, the feature appears as circular icons containing images of your friends. Click on the icon to see the story they compiled about themselves, which may include photos in a slideshow format and/or videos up to 10 seconds – just like Snapchat. Unlike regular posts, viewers won’t be able to like or post comments.

The story also self-destructs within 24 hours of being uploaded and will be gone forever – also taken straight from Snapchat’s playbook in identical fashion.

Creating a story on Instagram Stories is simple. The site will now show a + icon on the upper left hand of your home screen. Click it to create a story from anew. It will be available privately or publicly depending on your privacy setting. You’ll also be able to make your story only available to select individuals.

Instagram vs Snapchat

With Instagram Stories, Snapchat now loses an element that made it unique. It remains to be seen how – if at all – this would affect Snapchat in terms of daily active users. Instagram does currently take the lead with roughly 300 million registered users, double to Snapchat’s 150 million.

The two sites also share roughly the same user demographic: young millennials 18 to 25 years of age, which comprise of a little over half of the user base. Many of those users are active on both sites and dart back and forth between the two.

It’s also worth noting that Instagram has a bit of edge over Snapchat. The former is owned by Facebook, and Facebook has a few features of its own, such as live stream and MSQRD.

Of course, none of this is to suggest that Snapchat is doomed; only time will tell whether that plays out. However, it’s clear Facebook is making aggressive attempts to weed out the competition.

The implications for Event Managers

So what does this mean for event managers? Is it just another tool in the toolbox, or does it represent a major game changer? More importantly, how exactly can Instagram Stories be used? For eventprofs that already make use of Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories can be implemented pretty much the same way.

Here area few ways to use Instagram Stories for event promotion. These methods are already currently in use by many event managers using Snapchat for marketing.

Related: 6 Tips to Rock Your Event Marketing with Snapchat

  1. Provide a sneak peak

Does your event include a product launch? If so, then using Instagram Stories is a great way to hype up the product. Create a slideshow consisting of photos of the product taken from different angles.

This will definitely get followers talking as they begin hypothesising and theorising about the product. The fact that the story can only be viewed once also means viewers will have to rely on memory, which adds to the challenge and fun.

  1. Film “behind-the-scenes” content

Surly, there are some interesting stuff that goes on during the planning process that attendees don’t see, so  show them what goes on. Photos you submit here can include pics of the venue (both the interior and exterior), board meetings, equipment setup, and so on. You can even incorporate a bit of humour and show a pic of a coworker sleeping on the job, or film a quick 10-second blooper.

  1. Encourage Attendees to Use Instagram Stories

Of course, you’ll be using Instagram Stories extensively before and during the event. However, you really should encourage your attendees to follow suit. As the event is in progress, convince guests to take pictures and film footage to incorporate into the story features for their own Instagram accounts.

When guests do this, they will indirectly promote your event as it will be viewed by their own followers. Aside from attendees, you should also encourage staff members, sponsors, and speakers to do the same.

Related: How to get event attendees more engaged with social media

  1. Respond to individual enquiries

When social media first became mainstream about a decade ago, there was a lot of excitement at the possibility of users being able to befriend and converse with their favourite celebrities.

Instagram Stories provide one way to respond directly to guests. Now, obviously, you’re no celebrity, but you’ll earn brownie points with your guests if you address their questions directly. With a 10-second video, quickly address a guest by name, state the question that was asked, and provide an answer.

If you do this often, then people may be more inclined to view your story to see if their question was picked.

  1. Tease your guests

Don’t reveal everything to your guests at once. Slowly leak it to them. If you have a high-profile industry speaker, for example, then instead of just outright revealing the speaker’s identity, why not make them guest? Your Instagram Stories’ photos can reveal hints, such as the speaker’s initials, or a blurred picture that your followers have to guess.

Whether Instagram is guilty of copycatting or not is beside the point. What’s relevant is that event profs now have an additional social media promotion tool. Even if it’s identical to another existing feature, the bottom line is that you can reach out to a greater demographic.

What ways do you think you’ll be using Instagram Stories? Let us know in the comments!

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