What do Instagram Stories mean for Snapchat

Over the past few months, you have probably noticed something a little different about your Instagram feed. On August 2nd Instagram launched Instagram Stories, a Snapchat-esque video feature that allows users to create short 10-second videos that last for 24 hours (sounds kind of familiar, right?). Let’s take a look and compare these two video sharing platforms and what the release of Instagram Stories could potentially mean for the future of Snapchat.

Interface and usability: A common complaint amongst new Snapchat users has always been Snapchat’s interface and usability. Users of Instagram Stories have reported that the video sharing platform is user-friendlier than Snapchat, particularly if you are unfamiliar with video sharing apps. It is also significantly easier to add contacts, discover users and browse content on Instagram, and no one can deny that it is quite convenient to have your photo and video sharing on the same platform.

Creativity: Snapchat is the clear winner in this category. Instagram Stories does not have the variety and creativity of filters that Snapchat offers, nor does it offer face mapping, customizable geo filters, motion filters or weather or speed gauges. Snapchat also allows users to layer several filters, thereby creating richer and more engaging content. Currently, Instagram Stories is quite limited in this department, with far fewer filters and features than Snapchat.

Exposure: This is the category that perhaps poses the biggest threat to Snapchat. Instagram has over 500 million users while Snapchat has 150 million users. Therefore just based on this fact alone, if you want to expose your video to a larger audience, then Instagram Stories is probably the route to go. Not only will your video get wider exposure, but even people who are not within your social network will be able to find and view your video.

Demographics: If you are debating whether to utilize Instagram Stories instead of Snapchat, your decision may ultimately come down to who your target demographic is. Snapchat is now the number one app amongst teens in the US and reaches 41% of all 18-34-year-olds. So if teenagers or college students are your target market, then Snapchat is probably your best bet. However, if you’re looking to appeal to a slightly older audience, then Instagram Stories may be your ticket. Instagram is generally viewed as a more mature platform than Snapchat, and an older demographic usually has more dispensable cash and purchasing power.

Instagram Stories will undoubtedly have some effect on Snapchat usage. However, it is still uncertain what the extent of this will be. While both platforms are offering the same product, they each have their unique strengths and appeal to slightly different demographics. According to Business Insider, there has currently been no effect on Snapchat usage since Instagram Stories was launched. Only time will tell if users will remain faithful to Snapchat, or eventually migrate towards Instagram Stories. Ideally, competition between Instagram Stories and Snapchat will breed innovation on both platforms as they continue to evolve and differentiate.

Posted on November 28, 2016 and filed under Video Platform, Technology, Social Media.

5 Ways to maximize videos on Twitter

Digital video marketing is quickly becoming one of the most effective ways to connect with viewers and create a lasting impact. Not only are videos attention grabbing, but they also quickly convey to viewers what you and your brand are all about. Recent research has found that 82% of Twitter users consume videos on the platform, and this number is on the rise. Here are my top 5 ways to maximize videos on Twitter:

  1. Human touch: Research has found that Twitter videos that feature humans are two times more likely to engage viewers. Featuring people in your video helps humanize yourself and your brand, thereby creating trust and driving consumer engagement. Viewers can relate to the human element and are more likely to remember the video, especially if it elicits a strong emotional response.
  2. Mobile friendly: Today, the majority of viewers engage with social media on their mobile devices. It has been estimated that 90% of viewers who consume videos on Twitter do so from their smartphone. Therefore it is extremely important to ensure that your Twitter video is smartphone friendly, and meets the dimensions and requirements of mobile devices.
  3. Short & sweet: In today’s fast-paced world, viewers often don’t have the time to watch a lengthy video. Therefore you should try to communicate within the first 15 seconds what your video is about and keep viewers interested and engaged. Researchers have found that when videos are shorter, viewers tend to be more engaged and watch the entire video – allowing you to get your message across.
  4. Tell a story: It has been found that Twitter videos that have a structured story arc, with a clear beginning, middle and ending, can grow a viewers purchase intent by 9%. Twitter videos that tell a story and take the viewer on a narrative journey will create a lasting impression, and make the viewer more likely to remember you and your brand.
  5. Know when to post: As you have probably guessed, it doesn’t just matter what kind of Twitter video you post but also when you post it.  There are specific times when viewers are most active on Twitter, and therefore most likely to view your video. To get the most engagements for your video make sure to post it on a weekday between the hours of 12-6 PM. Twitter posts get the highest retweets around 5 PM, likely because Twitter users are 118% more likely to be on Twitter while on their commute home.

The CEO of Twitter recently declared that Twitter has become “a video-centric platform” and videos are now their number one ad format in terms of revenue. Videos are becoming an integral and invaluable aspect of any social media campaign, and these easy tips can help you maximize your Twitter video engagement. Twitter videos are the perfect tool to add to your marketing kit to enhance your social media engagement and business potential.

Posted on August 27, 2016 .

Tips and Guidelines for Running Promotions on Twitter


Twitter is a great platform for brands to use when trying to make an impact on social media. After all, there are over 302 million active monthly users on Twitter sending 500 million tweets per day on the service as of March 2015. It’s worth remembering that 80% of users access Twitter via their mobile devices, so for brands looking to engage with the mobile audience, it’s one of the best platforms. Many brands use Twitter for running promotions, some more effectively than others. First off it’s good to know that Twitter has official guidelines for promotions and that some contests do run afoul of these guidelines.

For example, Twitter highly discourages “whoever RTs this the most wins” contests that have users retweeting (RT stands for Re Tweet) the same content over and over again. Having users retweet something once for contest entry is fine, but if single users repeatedly post the same thing over and over again, you risk having their tweets excluded from Twitter searches.

Twitter also encourages brands doing twitter promotions to tell their followers to mention them (use the brand’s handle) in contest tweets to make sure that brands see all the entries to the contest. Using software like Hootsuite or TweetDeck can also help keep track of entries.

Don’t use Twitter as simply a broadcast medium. Connect and engage with your followers at least a few times a week. Retweet them and respond to them and they will become loyalists.

Another easy way to keep track of entries is to use a unique hashtag. Using a common hashtag like #contest is good but there are hundreds, if not thousands of other brands using the same hashtag.  By creating and using a unique hashtag, you can easily search (and find) entries into the contest. A word of advice: don’t make the hashtag too long or too hard to remember or users won’t bother entering.

Make sure your rules and regulations prohibit the creation of extra accounts for the purposes of ‘gaming’ the contest. Some contest forms allow a Twitter verification to ensure the entrant is following a specific handle before they can enter, but as of right now, there’s no way to double check how many Twitter handles belong to a single email address.

Twitter works best when there is someone on the other end of the handle helping to answer questions, or just promoting the contest. After all, the platform is about engagement, not just another way to passively advertise. 

Posted on July 4, 2015 .

How Snapchat Can Help Your Brand

I know what you’re thinking. Snapchat - isn’t that the app all the teenagers use to send messages about their parents where the messages self- destruct after a few seconds? Why on earth would I want to use that to help market my brand? Well there are a few good reasons that brands need to consider snapchat as part of their marketing platform.

1)     Target  the Millennial Demographic Effectively

The 13-30 year old demographic is increasingly hard to market to, yet they have disposable income and are looking for brands that “get them”. Use a platform where this demographic is already comfortable and you’re more likely to get traction. Given that the 13-25 year old demographic makes up 50% of the users on Snapchat, it’s a great way to engage with younger consumers in an organic and edgy way.

2)     It’s a Good Way to Build Your Brand

Snapchat is great for some aspects of direct marketing such as coupons (more on that later) but the biggest advantage is that it allows you to build your brand through quick and quirky snaps. As a one-to-many platform, Snapchat allows brands to get their message out, but without it feeling like a commercial. 

3)     It Allows Brands to Give “Sneak Peeks” to their followers.

One of the great benefits of Snapchat is that the photos and videos are designed to only last a maximum of 24 hours (using Snapchat Stories), so you can give a sneak peek of a product without committing to it staying up for a long time.  This can help generate excitement about a product launch or a new service. Many professional sports teams use Snapchat to allow their fans to connect with the team on a personal level.  When you make customers feel like insiders, they reward you with loyalty.

4)     It Allows Brands to Reward their Followers with Coupons

One of the ways that brands have engendered loyalty with their followers is by sending snaps that can be redeemed as coupons for their products and services. One of the first brands to use Snapchat successfully was a frozen yogurt parlour in the US who offered their fans a coupon if they snapped a shot of themselves with the product. It was a great way to generate return business. Another study showed that 58% of college students would buy a product if they were sent a coupon via Snapchat.

With all of these reasons, and a relatively low cost of entry (you really just need a phone with Snapchat on it), there is no reason a brand shouldn’t at least check out Snapchat and decide if it’s a good fit.

Posted on May 11, 2015 .