To the casual (or even power) user, Instagram is fun. But for marketers building a brand, it is a powerful tool: versatile, easy to use and full of unique opportunities for increased social media engagement.
Instagram Stories, a feature that allows you to post content that disappears after 24 hours, launched in 2016. In this FOMO world, the ephemeral nature of Stories has contributed to users visiting Instagram more often and staying longer: users under 25 spend more than 32 minutes per day on Instagram; those 25 and over average more than 24 minutes a day.
With numbers like that, it’s no wonder that Stories offers social marketers a great opportunity to reach more consumers at increasingly higher rates.
The beauty of Stories is their unpolished nature. These snackable pieces of content offer a window into what makes a brand unique, enhancing authenticity and making the brand more relatable. Is your company hosting a brand event? Snap a picture tagging your location. Is your company at a conference? Take a video with some added commentary. Something fun happening around the office? Show off your unique work culture.
And the best part? Stories are a fast and effective way to churn out organic content that is of low cost and low commitment.
Here are some examples of successful and strategic uses of Instagram Stories by brands I love.
Last May, Vogue Magazine treated their fashion attentive followers to exclusive behind-the-scenes moments from their annual Met Gala. Vogue’s Stories had video interviews with high-profile designers, celebrities, and fashion experts. They highlighted some of the night’s most popular gowns, and provided links that directed followers to Vogue’s website.
It’s always important to keep the interests of your audiences in mind when posting content. These Stories allowed followers to feel as if they had a backstage pass to the biggest, most exclusive night in fashion. Leveraging stories in this way was a smart and effective way to build brand authenticity.
ABC recently used their Stories to raise awareness for the premiere of America’s favorite reality series, The Bachelorette. A week before the May 28th premiere, the @BacheloretteABC account published a Story set of pictures each new contestant vying for the Bachelorette’s heart. Each picture was accompanied with their name, emojis, and profession. At the top of each caption, viewers were prompted to rate each contestant on a “love” poll, to rate how hot (or not) they found each person to be.
These Stories not only served as a clever way of creating awareness of the show’s premiere but were a clear invitation to engage with the brand. Incorporating polls into Instagram Stories is an immediate and effective way of creating engagement with audiences and measuring your social media strategy’s effectiveness,
NASA has used their Stories as a fun way to teach audiences about complex scientific concepts. Last August, in preparation for the solar eclipse, NASA rolled out an Instagram Stories set about what the solar eclipse was, what tools scientists used to study it, and its aftereffects. The stories featured fun micro-videos and engaging colorful infographics.
Featuring educational content in stories can make the seemingly intimidating become fun and approachable.
Above all, the greatest advantage Stories presents to marketers is the constant relevancy it provides in audience feeds. Stories have become a staple of the app; every marketer would be wise to use them generously and strategically.
The competitive nature of social marketing makes the pressure to create content, in whatever capacity, stifling. But, it’s important to remember why social media was created — to engage and connect. And that is exactly what Instagram Stories can help you do.