On August 2nd, Instagram made an announcement which turned the Internet upside down:
“Today, we’re introducing Instagram Stories, a new feature that lets you share all the moments of your day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile. As you share multiple photos and videos, they appear together in a slideshow format: your story.”
The famous words of Pablo Picasso “Good artists copy; great artists steal” ring true today as a lot of people fume over the obvious rip-off from Snapchat. I must give Instagram some credit though; they have stolen what many adults find confusing on Snapchat and have made it simple with hints on what to do at every turn of the process.
The good news for core Snapchatters who are upset about Instagram turning Instagram into Snapchat is that not every Snapchat feature made it over to Instagram Stories. Geofilters and the facial recognition lenses (two things that really make Snapchat stand out) have been omitted.
Steering away from arguments on whether it was right for Instagram to steal from Snapchat or why Instagram wants to turn Instagram into Snapchat, I want us to examine the advantages Instagram Stories brings to our businesses and brands.
Let’s examine the following benefits of Instagram Stories:
1. Build relationships
Instagram Stories are an opportunity to build relationships with your audience. You can see the number of people who viewed your content (story) by tapping on the eyeball icon under the story. Leverage this feature by clicking on their user names and find out more about them. You can send a message like “hey thanks for watching my video, if you need more assistance in this area…” to a prospective customer to generate a lead. Tap on the number of any of your clips or photos and see who viewed it, and connect with them.
2. Get a message across without clouding your audiences feed
According to Instagram, “you don’t have to worry about over-posting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want.” One of the biggest advantages of using Instagram Stories is that it allows users to post as much content as they want without over-clouding their audiences feed. Instagram Stories group content together in a slideshow form, it allows creators to sculpt a cohesive story that followers can view from beginning to end. If you are hosting an event and would love to share your photos in a consistent stream for instance, make a story out of it so that you audience gets a cohesive view of the happenings within your event. Features like drawing, filters etc exist to enhance pictures; video and audio; creators can thus lend more perspective to their creations.
3. Get more visibility
The Stories of people you follow are housed in a single section at the top of the interface on the Home tab. They do not take up space in the normal timeline and catch your attention immediately you open your home screen. Instagram Stories is a great way to get the attention of your audience by being in the ‘headlines’.
4. Instant feedback and interactivity
Your audience may not be able to like and comment on your Instagram Stories but they may be able to send you messages. View this as an opportunity for feedback and interaction with your audience. You can incorporate visuals that will draw out responses from your audience to ‘keep the conversation going’.
5. Permission marketing
Your audience clicks on your Instagram Stories on purpose. Unlike your posts popping up in news-feeds, the viewer clicking on your story is making a conscious effort to be your audience; s/he is likely to pay more attention. Make sure that you leave a mark on your audience through valuable content and call-to-action.
6. Create and proliferate visuals
You may not see the reason to work hard on a ‘story’ only for it to disappear within 24 hours. The good news is, you can download and use the visuals you make on your other social media channels. You can also use Instagram Stories as a go-to source for quick visual designs. You can create stories, overlay them with all the filters and creative options and download the images or videos for use elsewhere without putting them up as a story.
7. First mover advantage
Like all new products, a lot of people may get the hang of it later. There is less competition in the Instagram Stories space now. Take advantage of this be being an early innovator in this sphere. Remember to plan your stories well. You can use the first, next, then, last idea or telling a story in sequence if need be. Once you get your audience hooked on your stories, they will keep coming back for more.
Make sure you are giving value – you will start losing your audience if you are making random valueless videos.
Take advantage of this new feature and grow your brand. I would love to know your views and experiences with Instagram Stories. Kindly share them on any to the under listed platforms! Wishing you a productive week!
This blog post was first published on August 7, 2016 at 11:50 pm. It has been updated with more examples and points!