Ketchup or mustard? Coke or Pepsi? Life is full of decisions. For brands, these include whether to market on Snapchat or Instagram.
Both social-media platforms have their perks. Snapchat is known for its ability to engage users aged 18–24, who spend upwards of 25 minutes with the app every day. And according to the Pew Research Center, Instagram is now used by about 60 percent of consumers 18–29, and by 32 percent of U.S. adults overall.
These networks may cater to a similar audience, but the way in which marketers use them is often quite different. Here’s a look at how five leading brands employ both Snapchat and Instagram, and the marketing decisions that guide the creation of their social content.
National Geographic (@NatGeo)
It stands to reason that a brand known for first-rate photography would embrace two image-based social platforms. As reported by Digiday last year, NatGeo’s eight-person Snapchat team posts 10–12 pieces of digital content per day. Videos, which range from 20 to 45 seconds in length, help the brand reach and engage a young audience of consumers.
NatGeo’s Snapchat posts are designed to tell stories, addressing everything from freaky weather patterns to a “honey hunter” in the Himalayas. Some of these are pulled from National Geographic magazine. In the case of the honey hunter, NatGeo’s Snapchat story consisted of video, photographs, music, and long-form written content complete with additional visuals like an infographic of honeybees that appeared in the July 2017 issue of the magazine.
On Instagram, NatGeo mainly posts photographs, though you’ll find the occasional video, too. Most every piece of social content is accompanied by educational information or a few words that set the tone for the visual story being told. It’s the photography, however, that takes center stage.
This is a brand that appreciates what each platform has to offer, making the most of Snapchat’s multimedia capabilities and Instagram’s knack for showcasing artistic imagery. You’ll find some content overlap between the two feeds, but they still offer a unique experience that allows followers to witness the brand’s remarkable perspective of our world.
Photo @ladzinski / Fiery sunset, lighting up the sky over a sapphire colored iceberg in #PleneauIsland on the #AntarcticaPenninsula. This iceberg here had recently rolled, the linear lines in the ice are caused by air bubbles and current pushing across it, turning it into an artistic sculpture as it slowly dissolves away. Photographed #onassignment for @natgeo / @sea_legacy
Warby Parker (@warbyparker)
As you might expect from a company that makes high-end glasses, the vast majority of Warby Parker’s posts place its products front and center. Regardless of the subject matter, though, its content is always on-brand.
Warby Parker’s Snapchat and Instagram feeds are consistent with the brand’s trendy image, capturing the fresh, young aesthetic for which it’s known. On Snapchat, it exhibits its products, interviews its staff, and celebrates seasonal events, like the arrival of summer, with images and videos taken on the streets of its home base, New York City.
Its Instagram feed is a similar light and lively compilation of people, places, and the brand’s trademark #warbyblue color. Team members typically share photos taken at the company office, in and around New York, and at Warby Parker’s showrooms. Favorite coffee shops and restaurants also make the cut.
What stands out about this brand’s social strategy is a commitment to conveying its distinctive style — a must when promoting a luxury consumer product. The primary difference between its feeds are that Instagram posts are slightly more refined, while Snapchat content is more likely to be playful and incorporate illustrations and fun graphics.
Marriott Hotels (@marriotthotels)
To look at Marriott Hotels’ Snapchat and Instagram feeds, you would hardly know the two were born of the same brand. Snapchat is where you’ll find travel tips, day-of-the-week hashtags like #WellnessWednesday, and emojis. There’s no question that Marriott knows how to speak young Snapchat users’ language.
Meanwhile, the brand uses Instagram to share photos that would give even the most committed homebody the travel bug. Posts often reference Marriott hotels, the global cities in which they’re based, and the various events that take place there. Consumers can use these images to familiarize themselves with Marriott locations and services, while business travelers get a sneak peek at what’s in store if they choose this hotel brand for their next conference or work trip.
Many posts also feature Marriott’s custom hashtag #TravelBrilliantly, a nod to the brand’s long-time marketing tag line and philosophy. Its dual approach of showcasing Marriott hotels, cities, and cultures while also engaging users with helpful travel tips ensures that guests of all ages find value in its social content.
Taco Bell (@TacoBell)
Spend some time on Taco Bell’s social-media feeds and it’s clear the brand takes its tagline “Live Más” (“live more”) to heart. Its Snapchat content is all about color and bold graphics, but the star of the show is Taco Bell’s products. The brand leans on Snapchat’s drawing tool to enhance photographs of its food items and stores, and you’ll find plenty of millennial and Gen Z-friendly emojis.
This is one brand that keeps its presence on both social platforms very consistent in terms of style and content. Nearly every Taco Bell post on Instagram highlights the brand’s tacos, burritos, steakhouse nachos, or drink products with bright and colorful imagery, illustrations, and photographs.
Many brands share images of their staff over social media, but tech company Cisco created a dedicated username, @WeAreCisco, through which it posts only content related to its employees.
According to Cisco, a select group of them from countries like the U.S., Canada, Israel, and Ireland act as brand ambassadors and take turns managing the Snapchat account. In a recent Snapchat Story, Cisco employees in the U.K. invited followers to watch them do yoga with coworkers in Amsterdam using Cisco’s telepresence technology.
On Snapchat as well as on Instagram, Cisco shares photos of its teams around the world traveling for work, attending conferences, participating in charity events, celebrating their work anniversaries, spending time with their families, and just having fun. Workers are encouraged to share their own photos, which Cisco often posts as themed #InstagramStories and tags with #LoveWhereYouWork. Similar to National Geographic, Cisco’s Snapchat posts maximize multimedia, and also tend to be more spontaneous than its content on Instagram. Here too each platform provides a unique experience, giving followers a reason to spend time with both.
With #BringYourKidsToWorkDay AND #GirlsInICT this week — we’re excited for our future Cisconians already! 😍 How are you introducing your children to #technology and inspiring the next generation? Tell us in the comments below then check out our #InstagramStories today for more Cisco Kids at Work! 🙌🎉 #WeAreCisco #LoveWhereYouWork #📷 @imayo10
In many ways, Snapchat and Instagram are rival social platforms competing to engage young consumers with branded imagery. Still, with a strategy that plays to each network’s strengths and gives followers a little something different, marketers are finding the ketchup and mustard of social media complement each other beautifully.
Top image by happydancing