Earlier this month Instagram launched a major new feature: Instagram Stories.

 

instastories

 

Rather than putting that perfectly angled, filtered and cropped glamour shot up on your wall, Instagram Stories encourages you to post up a bunch of quick photos that are strung together to form a gallery. And after 24 hours they’ll disappear forever.

Sound familiar? It should.

 

This is EXACTLY how Snapchat’s Stories feature works (they didn’t even change the name!) So what’s the difference? The platform. Should brands be excited by this? Oh yes. Yes they should.

The debate has long raged over whether or not Snapchat is a viable marketing platform. The functionality lends itself well to visual storytelling but actually getting your audience to look at it is considered almost impossible for brands that aren’t already household names. Discoverability is simply not there.

 

Instagram, however, has found a way to take all the good bits of Snapchat’s feature and marry it with their current platform. One that people actually follow brands on – not just their friends.

 

Considering 50% of Instagrammers follow brands1, (which is a greater percentage than any other social network), 70% of the most used hashtags2 are about brands and Instagram’s per-follower engagement rate for top brands is 58 times higher than on Facebook and 120 times higher3 than on Twitter – it’s pretty obvious that Instagram is a brand-friendly environment.

So start taking advantage of it.

 

24hrs

 

Here’s how to create one:

  1. Tap on the plus button on the top left-hand side of your screen.tumblr_inline_obae6aJ6lz1svf3j7_540

2. Tap the button at the bottom of the screen to take a photo or hold to record a video.

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  1. Add emojis, text or draw something over the photo/video.tumblr_inline_obae6lQotg1svf3j7_540
  1. Hit ‘Done’ in the top right to save it.

 

  1. And it’ll give you a little preview of what your pic/vid will look like – tap the tick to share it to your Story.

 

And done! Yeah – it’s pretty easy.

What’s really cool is something Instagram Stories can do that Snapchat can’t: See who and how many watched it. That’s right – you can start to calculate some ROI with this thing.

stories

 

What could you use it for?

This is new feature opens up so much opportunity for you to engage your Instagram audience.

Here’s some ideas:

  • Behind-the-scenes
    • Make a ‘day in the life’ story of one of your staff (or the whole team). It humanises your brand and your customers will love this peak behind the curtain.
  • Hold a flash sale
    • Add some exclusivity and urgency – advertise a coupon code that ONLY appears in your Story. (And remember to run the numbers afterwards – how many watched divided by how many used the code and you’ll get a conversion rate going. Start to test out different approaches and see what affect it has on this rate).
  • Hosting an event?
    • Create a story for the day. Photos of the set up, talks with attendees, video of the speakers. Whoever is watching will be dying to get the next one.
  • New products coming in?
    • Show your followers a sneak preview and give them info on when it will be available – doesn’t hurt to offer a day one discount either.

 

Those are a few ideas but we’ll see plenty of companies experimenting with different tactics over the coming months.

So keep your eye on this one and try it out for yourself – it might just be the next big thing.

 

 

Sources:

50% of Instagrammers Follow Brands
70% of the most used hashtags are brand-related
58 times higher engagement than Facebook, 120 times higher than Twitter