Instagram recently rolled out a new feature called Instagram Stories. Similar to Snapchat Stories, Instagram’s new feature allows users to post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Many marketers are wondering how Instagram Stories differs from Snapchat’s offering, and how content will differ between the two.
The main thing I like about Instagram Stories is that it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at the brands you love within one platform, effectively creating a story around an image. For example, if one of your followers posts a picture while attending a tech conference, and is also live-streaming the event through Instagram Stories, you are able to engage in two different ways. You can comment on or like the photo and you can watch the story and message the person directly.
You can also reach a larger, more varied audience. Instagram has more than 500 million active users vs. Snapchat’s 150 million, and both older and younger audiences use Instagram while Snapchat has typically attracted a much younger demographic. Through Instagram Stories, you can reach both demographics through a familiar platform that enjoys significant customer loyalty. Side note: If you are a Snapchat user, you can save your stories to your camera roll and upload it as your story to Instagram.
A few months ago I wrote about how to leverage Instagram as a storytelling tool, and the launch of Instagram Stories expands on the unique capabilities of the platform for telling a brand’s story.
Here are a few examples of how you can use Instagram Stories to increase brand loyalty and engage with your audiences:
- Establish personal relationships with customers – Through Instagram Stories, followers can directly message brand representatives about the content they are sharing. This, in turn, allows representatives to engage with followers more intimately. For example, food bloggers may utilize this as a way to engage with their audiences by asking questions like: what is your favorite brunch place in DC? The food blogger will then choose one of those places to eat, upload a picture from the restaurant, and tag the person who recommended the place.
- Engage with your audience in real time – There is a lot of excitement around live streaming right now, as many brands are utilizing the Facebook Live feature to engage with their audiences in real time. While Instagram does not allow you to broadcast for a long duration, it does allow you to share live moments and then post them later on the platform for whoever may have missed it. This is the key differentiator between Instagram Stories and Snapchat: Instagram allows users to engage with event-based content in several different ways and at various levels. For example, Intel kills it with its Instagram account and validates its brand by showcasing Intel’s role in big events like the X Games, Grammys, and hot tech conferences. Currently, Intel is running a great campaign with CounterLogic Gaming, live-streaming videos and posting them to the Instagram feed afterward so the content can live on. Watch it here.
- Humanize your brand – Instagram Stories allows you to further humanize your brand by giving your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your company while interacting with you in real time. For example, you can increase an executive’s visibility by having that person take over the channel to provide an inside look at “a day in the life.” This would make your followers feel closer to your company and its products and show the personalities behind your brands.
- Highlight press pick-up – You can use Instagram Stories to remind followers of a recent media placement or news announcement. This is a great way to drive traffic to brand-related content and can help build credibility.
I think this is just the beginning. I look forward to seeing what other features Instagram adds to its Stories platform. I am not a psychic but I do have a sense that they will be offering fun filters and additional advertising options for businesses. May the odds be in Instagram’s favor.
To view the original post on SpeakerBox Communications’ blog, click here.