How Instagram and Snapchat Stories Can Help You Build Relationships In Ways Blogging and Vlogging Cannot

Are you too busy to blog? Even if you had the time, you have to write in an engaging way, and you need to write regularly. You need to buy appropriate pictures for the post, or take your own photos. You need a place to host your blog. It needs SEO. You need to promote your posts on all the social networks multiple times in hopes that someone reads your post. What if people stop reading your blog post halfway because it’s too long? You’d have spent hours of effort and may not even get one minute of attention in return.

What if you could shortcut all that?

Are you too busy to make YouTube videos?  Even if you had the time, you need a great camera, a decent microphone, a tripod, a backdrop, space for all this equipment,  time to record the video, edit it, and make sure it looks great before uploading.  What if people stop watching it halfway because it’s too long? You’d have spent hours of effort and may not even get one minute of attention in return.

What if you could shortcut all that?

Welcome to 2017.

Originally, Twitter and Tumblr were referred to as “micro-blogging”.  In 2016, we now have “micro-video” – Instagram and Snapchat both call them “Stories”. It’s 10 seconds of whatever you want. You. Your message. Your ideas. Your world. Whatever you want to show and get across from your world. No writing required. No website or blog needed. No SEO. No video editing or post-processing needed. It’s up for 24 hours, then it’s gone.

Why would that be interesting? To give some background, how we consume media has changed substantially over time. Years ago, we all watched television. We watched our favorite shows when the networks broadcast them. After a while, we were able to record shows and watch them on our own schedule, but we had to fast-forward commercials. Then sitcoms became less popular and reality TV became more popular.  To get a reality show, you had to be crazy or willing to be dramatic for the camera. That isn’t exactly reality, but that’s what was required to get a large enough audience for a network to risk putting a show on the air.  Did you ever think “I want my own reality show”?

Welcome to 2017. Using Instagram Stories or Snapchat Stories, you can have the reality TV show you want. You don’t need a producer telling you how to act or what to do. You are the producer. You don’t need to hire a camera man to follow you around. You are the camera man. You don’t need a network to pick up your show, Snapchat and Instagram will do it for you. For free.

How do you do it? Open Snapchat or Instagram and slide to the left. Push the circle button at the bottom to take a picture, or hold it down to record. You can use the front facing camera or the rear facing camera.

Now, instead of watching TV or YouTube, people can watch your Story. They can sit back, watch your story, and tap to skip ahead if they don’t like what they see, or message you if they like what you’re doing.

So what “works” as a show? What do people like to see? I’ve been on Snapchat for a few months now, and based on the reactions of people who watch my show, a lot of the same principles that apply to television apply to Snapchat and Instagram stories – just on a smaller scale.


  1. Make It Valuable. Time is precious. Everything you put out there should have value to some of your audience. There are a few different ways you could do that – you could teach, you could be inspiring, you could be entertaining, you could explain and demonstrate your message, or any other goal you have. But the important thing is to make sure it’s valuable.
  2. Be Real. People watch reality TV for a reason – they want to see what goes on “behind the scenes”. Show your struggle, show the effort you put in to your daily activities. Show your process. Show when things don’t go well and how you deal with it. Talk about your fears, your failures, and your flaws. Be human.
  3. Be energetic and motivational. When people watch your story, they may be in bed, on the couch, on public transportation, driving, or somewhere else exhausting. If you can be enthusiastic about what you’re doing, that can motivate them to change their actions or their outlook. That’s a powerful way to connect with people.
  4. Be funny. Adults only laugh an average of 5 times per day. Can you provide one of those 5? Can you help get a person to laugh #6? Do something silly or ridiculous. People will remember you if you make them laugh.
  5. Don’t make long videos. There’s a reason that 10 second clips are so engaging. It’s enough time to do something meaningful, and yet can be easily skipped. It’s ok to have a couple of 10 second clips throughout your day, but no one wants to watch 10 clips of your talking head, one after another, in the same place.


6. Respond to other people’s stories. Message people directly after you watch their videos. Show them you appreciate their hard work and what they’re trying to accomplish.  Nothing helps you grow your sphere of influence like helping others.

So how do you build relationships there?  Ask yourself what kind of story you want to see, and then start making your own version of it. Be yourself, be engaging, be energetic, and encourage others to do the same.