Last month, Instagram rolled out a new feature that should be particularly interesting (and useful) for marketers: a story feature that’s similar to the one offered on Snapchat.
Just in case you aren’t already familiar with the concept, here’s what you need to know: the “story” mode on either platform allows you to upload a series of photos, or even a short video clip, and post them online for a short period of time. That way, you can clue buyers in to an event that’s happening live, or give them a behind-the-scenes look at something special, all without making permanent adjustments to your profile or timeline. And, of course, you can add normal effects and filters to offer an extra artistic flair or highlight something that’s particularly interesting.
As with any new social media elevation, it will probably take a while before marketers figure out the best ways to utilize Instagram stories to communicate with fans and buyers. However, we can already think of some uses for this fun and surprisingly handy tool. Here are a few you should consider…
With Instagram Stories, You Can Convey a Sense of Time and Emotion
One of the reasons social media is overtaking search and email as a primary means of communication is that it allows for a more emotional connection, instant reactions, and the ability to share a thought or inspiration with thousands of people at once. Now that you can create ongoing narratives from your phone or tablet, and upload them in real time, it’s going to be easier to elicit a response from your contacts.
In other words, you can get more personal with everything you post, and allow more context to make its way into the scene you are creating, both literally and figuratively.
You Could Increase Participation in an Online or Real-Life Event
Nobody wants to miss out on a good time. If you can show buyers that attendees to your event or function are having a blast (or will be, if you show scenes from pre-event preparations), you might be able to bring in last-minute registrations, participants, and audience members.
A series of photos and short videos is ideal for creating excitement and drawing people in. So, if you have an online or offline event that will be happening soon, this feature might be just what you need to attract interest.
Instagram Stories Could Be Used to Build Anticipation
In the same way, you could use stories to create a sense of anticipation for a new product launch, a major holiday sale, a webinar, or any other happening you want buyers to know about. That’s because they experience your brand as a series of impressions. Those can be reinforced through images and video in a way that is impossible to accomplish with text or static pictures.
Anytime you add together social sharing and an image-based platform, you’re going to have lots of exciting results and possibilities. You could create something that inspires your fans and followers to tune in, take action, or get their friends and colleagues involved. None of that can happen unless you take advantage of the tools that are available to you, though, so start experimenting with Instagram Stories today!