Not too long ago we found ourselves looking out into the growing space on Social Media and the main question presented to us was Facebook vs. Twitter, which is better for your business. From the indie blogger to the major corporation, we were all weighing the pros and cons of short vs. long form content. Facebook’s content had staying power and robust ability to share info. Twitter captured the moments in real time that mattered to the people. Twitter developed subcultures like #BlackTwitter that turned this character limited medium into a language of its own with social reach and influence that mainstream business could not ignore.
Yet, just as we were adjusting to that, we were given Instagram. It was already known that text with images yielded higher engagement so now we had a new platform based on that principal. The focus shifted to the ability of imagery to represent a message better than with a statement.
The social media world entered a whirling period of change that saw picture and video emerge as the new way to communicate better than, or on par with the written word. Today, video has become a staple on the biggest platforms and that may prove to be a little stressful for many. What differs between Snapchat stories, Instagram Stories and Facebook Live? All three are video based features yet each exists in its own world. There are many ways to interpret these functions so I’ve laid out a few strategic overviews that you can use to better integrate this video into your current content syndication.`
Still surging as the baby face upstart in the social media arena, Snapchat, now simply Snap, Inc., has quickly captured the attention and favor of the youth in much the way Twitter did. The short-lived, quickly discarded video content is ideal for those looking to push a steady, energetic flow of content. This material is less focused on flawless visuals and is more about the quick snapshot into one’s lives – good, bad or ugly.
Stories are a series of videos that sometimes capture one steady event or may jump from experience to experience over the course of an active day. With a shelf life of 24 hours, Snapchat material is best used with an ongoing reality show mindset. It’s goal is to show character and personality sprinkled with humor. What many feel is best about Snapchat is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s whole format is opposite to the other platforms. i.e. swipe to the sides vs. swiping up and down. You throw in wacky filters activated by facial recognition and it’s as much a playful toy as it is a marketing tool. The key is to find that balance.
Launched within one of Instagram’s recent updates, Instagram Stories is a close mimic of Snapchat’s main feature. You record video with limited filter options and they also live for 24 hrs. The value of Instagram Stories is not so much in its functionality but in the placement of the feature.
Snapchat has a unique following system. People don’t just follow for a follow in one quick click. That small detail made transitioning established Instagram followers to Snapchat a bit of a headache. This move saved many Instagram influencers that tedious task and just gave their established Instagram account a content upgrade.
Creators should view Instagram Stories as the cinematic trailer to Snapchat’s gritty behind-the- scenes peek. It pays to take that extra time to keep your image quality high on Instagram. For example, if you were on a trip, you may want to capture that sunrise on Instagram. Make the moments count while coupling them with powerful still images.
Facebook Live originally launched with a celebrity backing. As the home of long form content, Facebook Live is geared as a means to give video a home with the same long standing status of Facebook’s regular content. Facebook Live is closer to a mobile-powered YouTube then anything Instagram or Snapchat is presenting.
Facebook Live is ideal for announcements with the ability to field commentary with your audience. After ending the feed you can share the video on Facebook or across social media indefinitely, just like any other status. The real art to utilizing Facebook Live is knowing when to do it. If you are active across other platforms then you don’t need Facebook Live everyday. Make it an event. Let a Facebook Live session give content and needed explanation to the material you are already sharing. Use it to announce a new campaign you have been teasing.
Consider Facebook Live your mobile press conference or breaking news. Just keep in mind that unless you delete it, this content has no shelf life, so do take some time to keep your on-camera presentation consistent with your brand.
Video is steadily increasing its share of digital real estate. We all have the ablitiy to ride the wave so dive in and enjoy. Take the time to prepare yourself but also have fun with this medium. Don’t let the new technology scare you. It’s really all material you’ve dealt with before just being packaged a little different.
Jason Francis is a Writer, Speaker and Social Media Manager. He specializes in connecting the rapidly growing world of digital media and entrepreneurship via social media. His site, The Social Media Samurai, speaks on a number of social, technical and professional issues that affect the lives of young business people. In addition to this, he manages the social media for the Nomadness Travel Tribe, an international collective with 14,000 members worldwide.