Just figured out Snapchat? Guess what – there’s a new golden child in town. Meet… Instagram Stories.
The disappearing video and images that were made popular by Snapchat – and are now exploding on Instagram Stories – may disappear from your feed in 24 hours, but it looks like the medium warrants a more permanent spot in brands’ marketing mix.
In other words – there’s a good chance your audience is checking out Instagram Stories. And because of that, so should you.
Before we dig into the nitty gritty of Instagram’s growth and user base…let’s start with the basics.
What are Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories allow you to post an image or video for a maximum of 15 seconds long to your “story.” Your story is made up of a linear stream of all of the pictures or videos that you post to it during a 24-hour time period. After a post has been up for 24-hours it disappears from your feed.
This Instagram article provides more insight about what Stories are.
Data, data, data
Before you dedicate time to creating your own Stories, take some time to understand Instagram, its users and your brand’s ability to connect with your audience on the platform.
Instagram in its entirety has been growing rapidly since its launch in 2010. More importantly, Instagram has seen its largest and most significant growth in just the past few years and there are no signs it will slow down. In just the last two years alone Instagram has doubled its daily active users to upwards of 700 million.
While millennials and Generation Z account for the largest number of Instagram users, older users are becoming equally at home on the platform, according to Influence.co.
According to Instagram, half of the brands on Instagram produced a Story in the last month.
Instagram’s user base growth has been outstanding, but a more important factor may be its skyrocketing brand engagement. According to an analysis from SocialBakers, users were four times more likely to engage with brands on Instagram than on Facebook.
Engagement can be increased even more significantly with the use of an influencer in the same field as your business. A study from the research firm L2 found that influencers increased engagement on Instagram posts by 17 percent. (This phenomenon alone warrants its own blog post – coming soon!)
Make Instagram Stories work for you
Alright – with all that data out of the way, let’s refocus our attention to how you can create some smokin’ hot Stories for your brand.
Use Instagram as a way to personalize and humanize your brand. Give people a behind-the-scenes look at your company. Be more human!
Instagram’s platform is sleek and refined. So, while your content should be organic and natural, the images should be touched up and more pleasant to the eye than just an off-the-cuff picture.
Tag your Stories by location and use hashtags in order to increase your reach.
Get creative and experiment with content. Your Stories will only be live for 24 hours, so there’s room to push the limit a bit…
If your business is hosting or partaking in a particular event, use Instagram Stories to keep customers who couldn’t attend in the loop with real-time updates.
Put together an Instagram Story that actually tells a story, leveraging the skills and creativity of your team.
If your account is verified or has at least 10,000 followers, you will be able to insert a link into your posts that can be used to drive traffic back to your website. If your business is promoting a specific product on your story a link can be setup to send the consumer to a landing page that will allow them to purchase the product immediately.
Ready to create some Stories? Start brainstorming and get creative!
Social media is not a fad. It's a significant shift in how consumers want to interact with companies and brands. A company's participation in social media - or lack of participation - sends a clear message to consumers about their willingness to connect.