Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat for Small Business Owners

Unless you've been living under a rock, you probably noticed that the internet basically went nuts yesterday after Instagram announced they were turning into Snapchat releasing a new feature called Instagram Stories.

And to think.. they did this right after I got new business cards printed to include my Snapchat username. HOW DARE THEY. Beyond that, my first thought was "WOW, Snapchat is PISSED right now". I think as creatives and small business owners, we're automatically wired to have sympathy for a person or business who has been ripped off in such an obvious way. On the flip side, we're also wired to be curious and social media savvy.

I saw so many of my favorite Instagrammers and Snapchatters expressing both interest and confusion over the update, with the main question being.. which platform do I go with? Some have already made a clear choice one way or the other, and some have even jumped on the Instagram Story bandwagon without a prior knowledge of Snapchat. As with all of the different choices we have in social media, I think it's important to look at the big picture and decide for yourself which platforms are best for YOUR lifestyle and business.



1. FACE FILTERS. Does this have anything at all to do with my business' bottom line? Probably not. However, personally, I quite enjoy turning myself into a dog, wearing a flower crown, and pretending my skin is really as clear as it looks with the #prettyfilter. And I'm not ashamed of that. Not even a little. Nope nope nope.

2. Snapchat makes it easy to follow when you're not in the app. In addition to Snapcodes, which I think are pretty darn cool, there is a Snapchat generated link that will let someone auto-follow you. There are some third-party embed codes that will let you do this for Instagram by way of their API, but let's be honest, that takes a lot more work. Seriously, check out how easy it is.

3. You get to choose whose stories you see. The people who have chosen to follow you on Snapchat are part of a unique, loyal tribe. The only place I really promote my Snapchat is on other social media platforms, so as a business owner, I shouldn't overlook the fact that these are the people who have taken the extra time to say "yes, I want to see even more of you".


1. There's no search method to find people to follow. You have to actually know the username of the person you want to follow (or have their Snapcode or link). If you're looking for an artist, a brand, or a celebrity, and their username is not EXACTLY what it is on another social media platform, good luck finding them.

2. No tags or hashtags. This even further limits your ability to be found on Snapchat. To be fair, Instagram Stories don't have tags or hashtags either (yet), but at least someone can find your Instagram posts via targeted hashtags, navigate to your profile, see the colored ring around your photo, and move seamlessly into watching your Instagram story.

3. Ads gettin all up in my business when I'm trying to watch stories. I'm sure Instagram will probably implement this sooner or later, but for now, at least I don't have to see them over there between EVERY FOURTH STORY I WATCH. Grr.

Instagram Stories


1. You can use one app for your filtered + unfiltered moments. I can't be the only one who is constantly trying to unclutter my life, and this would definitely be a step in the right direction by eliminating an app from my phone.

2. You probably have a bigger following on Instagram anyway. I typically try to push my Instagram followers over to Snapchat when I know I'll be snapping a lot of interesting things (vacations, behind the scenes work stuff, etc.) but despite that, my Snapchat following is still a good bit lower than my Instagram following. As a business owner, we all know that the more eyes on our work, the better, so if your Snapchat following is also smaller than your Instagram following, this will immediately give you a ton more visibility.

3. It has the potential to increase engagement. If someone follows you on Instagram, but not Snapchat, they're now able to get that unfiltered glimpse into your life that they wouldn't normally see. The better your followers "know" you, the more likely they are to engage with you. All of the sudden, you're a human being, not just a bunch of pretty little squares.


1. You can't save your entire story at once. I love this feature of Snapchat because it allows me to keep a day's worth of snippets all in one place instead of saving each one individually. You could technically save each piece of your Instagram Story and string them together yourself, but ain't nobody got time for that.

2. Replies go into your direct messages inbox. I'm calling this a con because I like the way Snapchat does it better. When you receive a direct message on Instagram, you don't get a notification unless it's someone you follow or have allowed to send you messages in the past. I don't always remember to check my inbox, so it's definitely not a reliable way to get in touch with me.

3. It's even more of a time suck, which could be problematic for business owners who need to get shiz done. I probably spent a solid hour watching Instagram Stories last night (and then I had to catch up on Snapchat, of course). I follow a lot more people on Instagram than I do Snapchat, so it takes a lot longer to get through. Yes, I'm fully aware that I don't have to watch them all, but where's the fun in that?

So, what do y'all think?

Is there about to be a great divide between the Snapchat obsessed and the Instagram loyal? Think about this for a minute.. You may not have an interest in someone's Instagram feed, but you enjoy their Snapchat stories. If that person abandons Snapchat, you'll either have to follow that person on Instagram to make their bubble show up at the top of your screen, or make a conscious effort to check in and see if they've posted an Instagram Story. Will we see repeat content as people try to utilize both platforms? Will we increase our screen time (and decrease productivity) by trying to keep up with both apps?

And most importantly, which one do you think is best for YOU?

xo, Christen :)

P.S. Here I am on Instagram. Here I am on Snapchat.