Remember when everyone said the cool kids are all on Snapchat? Well the times, they may be a-changin’!

Facebook’s new Instagram Stories has seriously cut into the Snapchat market. Instagram has already added a more robust direct messaging feature to keep up with Snapchat’s person-to-person communication, but Instagram Stories takes aim at the heart of Snapchat itself.

So what’s the difference?

Instagram Stories works similar to Snapchat – timed, accumulating posts and a 24-hrs display time. The main differences are:

  • Filters: Snapchat’s geofilters & its now iconic (or infamous) face-mapping filters shine, giving it the edge over Instagram Stories. This is the main difference that keeps Snapchat users loyal.

  • Audience: In Snapchat, you can choose to send a snap to a particular subset of viewers or to your entire following. Instagram Stories are public to all Instagram users, but your followers are notified when a new story is added. Instagram also allows you to hide a particular story from any set of users.

  • Saving: Instagram Stories has the option to save before & after the story is published, beating out Snapchat which only lets you save content before it goes live

Instagram Stories’ biggest advantage is that the feature is built into their already hugely successful app. This means that Instagram’s 500 million users (compared to Snapchat’s 150 million) have a lot fewer reasons to leave.

What does this mean for nonprofits?

If your nonprofit focuses on Millennials – particularly Millennials of color – you should be on a video messaging app anyway (if not, take this as your official recommendation).

While it would be tempting to say Snapchat is dead based on the numbers, it still reigns supreme among teen users. And as of now only 1/5th of Instagram’s total usership is on Instagram Stories specifically, but 100 million people is nothing to take for granted. So it looks like youth-centered organizations should dedicate time to both in order to maximize their reach, at least for the time being.

How do I use it?

Create a compelling story is the best advice here. When you do that, followers get a peek into what your organization is doing – and when you make each post link to the next, many will feel they can’t miss a single one. Here are some tips to making an irresistible Instagram story:

  1. Speak in Instagram’s authentic, chatty and sort of laid back voice. It’ll resonate much more than an authoritative organizational tone.

  2. Use the features: Between emojis, marker tools, and filters, you have many different tools to get people engaged in your content and create a story that plays out from frame to frame. You don’t have to use everything at once, but at least one tool per story.

  3. At the end of each day’s story, encourage followers to keep following. If you plan a series or campaign that plays out over a few days, tease the next day’s events to keep them coming back.

  4. Tie in other platforms: Save each clip and post the best one of the day to the main Instagram page telling people to follow the challenge in the IG story. Let your Facebook followers know that they should also follow on Instagram so they don’t miss out (everyone hates FOMO).

Take Home Message?

If your organization has the time to devote to both, then go for it. If not, focus your energy on Instagram to reach almost as many people with less effort.