What entrepreneurs can learn from Instagram “copying” Snapchat – Part 2

Here’s what you can learn from Instagram: Ultimately for any company, the best defensible barrier to competition copying you, is to constantly be innovating. Everyday, you must be working on getting better. Every. Single. Day.

Last week, we looked at how Instagram has trumped Snapchat. And today we investigate what the move means to you and what you can learn from Instagram when working out your most effective marketing channels.

One of Snapchat’s strengths is that it’s the party your parents haven’t arrived to yet. It’s where the cool kids hang out. The not-so-intuitive interface means that when you join Snapchat you need a friend to walk you through how it works. Again, this acts as a deterrent to the less tech-savvy among us and helps Snapchat maintain its mystique and exclusiveness.

Instagram’s strength lies in its one billion-strong user base. Integrating Stories into their interface means more people can see your content. Snapchat’s exclusivity isn’t as cool anymore, when you can reach double the audience on Instagram.

In taking the story format to a larger audience, they have also made it easier to use, something Snapchat have seemingly deliberately avoided. Rather than swiping up during someone’s story in order to send them a message, Instagram has a “Send Message” button. Plus, there’s no limit to worded captions, which has forever frustrated many Snapchat users.

Part of Snapchat’s mystique has been to deliberately not have a search function; in contrast, this is something that is inherent in Instagram, making it easier to navigate and find new connections. For brands and influencers, this enables them to more effectively build audiences.

From an advertising perspective, the ambiguity around Snapchat analytics and the limited paid advertising options has also meant that it traditionally has never been a favourite among businesses.

Advertising is still relatively new to Instagram, and yet, to be incorporated into the Instagram Stories feature, the advertising and analytics functionality on Instagram as a platform makes it more appealing to traditional advertisers who need to be able to show quantifiable data and a direct ROI in any 90-day window.

The lesson for you…

Ultimately for any company, the best defensible barrier to competition copying you, is to constantly be innovating. Everyday, you must be working on getting better. Every. Single. Day.

Since I started The Entourage a little over six years ago, great organisations have popped up from students, graduates and partners of ours with similar models and similar value propositions.

I have always encouraged this and helped wherever I could. Firstly, because we did not invent education for entrepreneurs, we hold no claim on it.

Secondly, because our vision is to push civilization forward by enabling more people to live on purpose – the more companies that aim to achieve a similar tipping point only serves to enable that vision.

Has it affected our business? Not by one basis point. Nada. Nill. Zip. Because we keep innovating and we are forever evolving. If you copied who we were a year ago, our organisations are already unrecognisable.

Innovation and competition doesn’t threaten anybody who has the tenacity to stay ahead of it.

Facebook (who own Instagram), as a tech-giant now do what large companies have always done. They wait for new upstarts to prove a concept and then, they acquire them before they become too disruptive to their patch.

Since their $3 billion offer for Snapchat was refused, they have replicated it in Instagram for their audience. I do wonder whether this presents a new trend in the tech landscape. Does this move demonstrate that there is less of a need for large tech companies to pay big dollars for a high-growth agitator, when they can simply duplicate the format and integrate it into their existing platform where our attention already is?

Time will tell.

In the meantime, where do I think you’ll end up posting most of your stories? Where you get the most views. And right now, your Snapchat following isn’t nearly as big as your audience on Instagram.

Jack Delosa, Founder and CEO, The Entourage

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