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Using Instagram and Snapchat

In Using YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Wistia, I shared some tips about uploading produced videos to a variety of video platforms. In this post, I want to touch on two social and mobile platforms: Instagram and Snapchat. I have a lot more experience with Instagram than Snapchat, so I will be relying more upon what I have read and providing links to Snapchat’s support site.

Instagram

When Instagram started, it was focused primarily on photography, but over the years it has added the ability to shoot video, change the look of the image with filters, and upload it for your followers. The video used to be a square format, but you can now upload any aspect ratio, provided you choose whether you want square or original aspect ratio.

Because Instagram is a mobile platform, there is currently no way to upload to your account from the web. You can view your profile and your images, but the experience is meant for the phone, capturing moments. If you would like to upload video that has been professionally shot and edit, I have found that editing with Instagram in mind and then sending the file to your phone is an option.

Videos autoplay with sound initially muted, so be sure to keep in mind how your brand is represented in all senses. Also, keep in mind the size of the screen most people are looking at. Avoid small text and images that communicate more information the larger they are.

A new addition to Instagram is the Stories feature. This allows you to take images and video, add artwork to them, and share them for 24 hours. After 24 hours, it disappears. Many people I seen talk about this feature says that it is to compete with Snapchat. Read more about Stories on Instagram’s help site.

One benefit of Instagram is that it is connected to Facebook’s advertising ecosystem, so as a brand you can target your ads for both Facebook and Instagram.

Snapchat

I have spent some time on Snapchat and either I’m beyond the target market (too old) or I just don’t get it. From what I have seen, videos and photo content can be heavily edited with stickers, lenses, and effects. Content can be unique based upon geofilters, but for brands that feature costs money.

The main concept of Snapchat is that you share with whomever follows you. They see it and it goes away. It is meant to be in the moment and temporary, which is great for events or fundraising drives.

Time will tell how brands will either flock to Snapchat or runaway. Give it a whirl and if you would like to know more about the features Snapchat, check out their support site.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you use Instagram or Snapchat long term, try them out. See how you can represent yourself or your business in creative ways. However, don’t take what you have learned from other social networks (Facebook, Twitter) and try to apply the same principles here. The audiences have different expectations.