On August 2nd, Instagram unveiled a new “Stories” feature that is very similar to Snapchat’s Stories function. You post a photo or a video for up to 10 seconds and then it lasts for up to 24 hours on the top of the Instagram feed. You can also add in one of Instagram’s filters as well as typed text or drawn art.
The initial reaction to the release was a lot of “Nooooo this is on Snapchat already!” and “What’s the point if we can already do this on Snapchat?” However, I like this. And I think this is going to be more useful for some people and brands than Snapchat is.
5 BENEFITS OF INSTAGRAM STORIES FOR BRANDS
1. Bigger audience size for some brands
Instagram has three times the number of daily users than Snapchat. A large number of brands, especially in the sports space, have a much larger following on Instagram than on Snapchat. This puts their stories in the eyes of more of their followers than if they publish just on Snapchat. I don’t think a brand should completely abandon their Snapchat marketing due to the current capabilities of each, but the potential to reach a bigger audience is here
2. The location is front and center
The moment you load up your Instagram feed, stories pops up front and center and is the first thing a user sees. Snapchat encourages people to create content before consuming as you need to go to a different menu. As a result, before one scrolls through Instagram, they see stories and more inclined to consume them before doing anything.
3. Ease of integrating popular posts into your Instagram feed
When you see that a story you share is performing well and is leading to a high number of messages being sent in, you can then share it on your public profile and make it permanent with the touch of a button. With Snapchat, you need to download it from Snapchat, edit it, and then post it. More steps = less convenient = less likely it will be done.
4. A more in-depth look at who views your story
So when looking at who views your story, you get a direct link to their profile so you can see who they follow and what they post about. This opens the door to potential direct marketing and messaging right on platform that can be easier than just possibly guessing what the viewer wants on Snapchat.
5. The Instagram and Facebook targeted advertising potential
Facebook’s, and therefore Instagram’s, advertising tools have been proven to be very effective and is very, VERY popular. You can get very focused geographically and demographically, which means better results. While nothing like that exists, the potential for stories to be targeted and featured for specific users that fit a specific demographic could go a long way.
Now a lot of the features mentioned above haven’t been instituted yet, such as the advertising feature, but the potential is there and it can be very effective in a short period of time. There are also a fair share of cons compared to something like Snapchat, such as no selfie lenses, geofilters, or direct picture communication through the tool. In time, some of these changes may take effect but who knows.
Brands can start taking advantage of this update and implementing this feature almost immediately in a number of different ways.
5 WAYS BRANDS CAN USE INSTAGRAM STORIES
1. Behind-the-scenes of a post
Are you a restaurant that shares pictures of your dishes? Or are you a sports team posting a photo of a player taking the field for a game or practice? Now you can set the scene! That Instagram post that could potentially get more interactions there than it will on any other social network can be enhanced with your story. Show the chef preparing that dish. Or follow a player as they get ready to take the field, interacting with their teammates or practicing. It can add another layer to your content without taking up space in a follower’s stream and seeming spammy.
2. Instagram takeovers
Many sports teams or brands do this on Snapchat already and will give access to their account to a player or celebrity endorser. This player or endorser will post from that account, interacting with fans and giving them access they may not normally get anywhere else. This practice can be done on Instagram as well. Even though they’re isn’t a way to directly send someone a story, as mentioned earlier, you can get a better idea of those who do interact with you so you can engage better with them. Alternative Press is an example of a brand that lets bands take over their Instagram so Stories helps them deliver their message better.
Get creative. One of the appeals of Instagram is that you can apply very unique filters to photos and videos. You can do the same in Stories. Use the drawing tools and the filters to really enhance your posts like the ones on your profile. Make them stand out in a way that you can only do on Instagram and then post them directly to your public account. People have made livings off being Snapchat artists. Do the same as an Instagram one!
4. Fan contests
Get fans to engage with your brand through stories. Encourage them to send messages in contests where their answers could win them a prize. Make it a regular event so this way, they’re returning on a regular basis and taking interest in your stories.
5. Another avenue to communicate your Snapchat marketing
Businesses have entire marketing strategies based around Snapchat, and there are a lot of similarities between Snapchat and Instagram Stories. After assessing the content pushed on their respective social networks, businesses can use it as another avenue to communicate their Snapchat message. If it aligns with your Instagram marketing campaign, then it has the potential to seamlessly align with your present content strategy. I’m not suggesting abandoning Snapchat at all. Just use this as a similar medium.
Bottom line, this is an exciting new change and I am looking forward to the way Instagram grows this new feature. With a larger audience where stories take front and center in someone’s feed, stories could help brands achieve bigger success than what they’re seeing on Snapchat. Only time will tell but I’m looking forward to it!
Wanna see my stories? Follow me on Instagram!