A single image can weave a tale that would otherwise require page after page of text to comprehend. We record our past experiences as a series of images. Not only do images trigger past memories, they also evoke the emotions that we associate with those memories.
Today’s most successful companies connect with their customers on an emotional level. This is far from an easy feat to accomplish considering that a typical consumer faces hundreds, if not thousands, of messages, advertisements, and alerts on a daily basis. To stand out from others within this sea of content, these companies must find new and innovative ways to connect with these prospective customers. Newer image-centric social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat provide just the solution that these companies are seeking.
While Instagram and Snapchat are similar in that they are both extremely popular visually-based social media platforms, they still differ from one another in a few distinct ways. For companies seeking to optimize their promotional efforts, it is important to understand these differences so they can select the platform that best aligns with their promotional strategy.
Difference in Demographics
When comparing these platforms, one should first take a close look at user demographics. Instagram reaches a slightly older audience than does Snapchat. About a quarter of Instagram users are between the ages of 30 and 49, while nearly three-quarters of Snapchat users are under the age of 25. In terms of gender, nearly 70% of Snapchat users are female, while Instagram has a far more even split between male and female users.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term
These platforms also differ in the amount of time they may be viewed. Posts on Instagram are far more permanent – typical posts do not have a limited viewing time and Instagram stories remain viewable for 24 hours. In comparison, the typical Snapchat “snap” only lasts for a matter of seconds, while Snapchat “stories” last for 24 hours.
With their limited viewing times, Snapchat posts can create a sense of urgency that can prompt potential customers to closely watch for new posts and to take action on those posts. For example, a company could post a limited-time discount or coupon to Snapchat to generate greater user interest.
With their greater permanence, Instagram posts are a more effective means of visual storytelling. Companies can fill their pages with images that tell an ongoing story. These companies can also foster greater user engagement by encouraging followers to post their own images that illustrate how they interact with a particular company’s products or services.
Making the Most of Each Post
While they are both visually-focused, Snapchat and Instagram clearly have their own unique benefits. Snapchat posts work quite well to share a limited-time offer or to provide a behind-the-scenes peek at an upcoming product or service. In comparison, Instagram posts work well for those who wish to tell an ongoing story and to create an interactive relationship with their followers.
The platform that will work best for a given company hinges heavily on the customer demographic that the company wishes to target, and the desired duration of the post. The key in making optimal use of these platforms lies in a company’s ability to truly know and understand their customers.