In 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger came up with the idea to share photos via an app for iPhones. The Unique Selling Point was the use of attractive filters to give a simple smartphone photo a bit more style. Furthermore, it was a platform that was very limited, think of the lack of an Android version and only square photos. Yet Instagram quickly became hugely popular with a wide audience. Facebook saw the potential of this competitor and bought the company two years later. More and more functions were added and restrictions removed, making Instagram a fully-fledged social media platform. Instagram Stories is a way to tell a personal story as a person or organization and thus reach a larger audience. We explain how this works in this article.
What is Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories is an option within the social media app Instagram that allows you to publish photos that automatically disappear after 24 hours. The story is not part of the primary timeline, you can archive the stories or add as a highlight so that it remains visible. Read Here How To Do This
Instagram Stories for marketing
With social media services such as Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter you can reach almost the whole world, which is of course ideal for marketing purposes. Because there are so many channels you have to make choices. What makes Instagram and especially the Story option so interesting? In the first place this service has many users, and the big difference with the competition is the activity of this user group. Active use is also made of Instagram, which plays an important role in reaching your target group. Instagram also scores well when it comes to the composition of users, they are mainly adults with a somewhat higher income and more disposable budget. The platform is a lot less politically charged compared to Facebook and Twitter, which can be a relief in this polarized world. There is of course a ‘look at me’ atmosphere, but as an online entrepreneur you can profit from that. But more about this further in this article …
Good to know: Almost three-quarters of companies in America use Instagram.
Instagram or Facebook?
Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, it is less a matter of AND than OR, you can reuse many marketing efforts. Yet they are two different platforms, each with their own character. Facebook is a social network where rich media such as images and video are supportive, while Instagram is basically designed as a visual platform. In addition, the interaction on Facebook is often less (not necessary), and the audience is a bit older. Facebook Stories does not differ much in design with Instagram Stories, but the surrounding platform is indeed different.
And then we have the competitor Snapchat. This service was once the hip alternative to Facebook. Snapchat also started as a limited service, where you could share messages that were immediately deleted after viewing. Later it grew into a more traditional social media service. Snapchat Stories has clearly been the inspiration for the Instagram and Facebook versions, with the difference that Snapchat’s reach is not nearly as wide as that of the competition. The user group is younger, but that also means that they are less loyal to a specific service or brand. for example in the Netherlands it is not the most obvious option.
Good to know: Eighty percent of Instagram users are outside of America.
What do you want to draw attention to?
Before you start telling your stories, you must first determine who or what you want to promote. You can make a distinction between companies, brands and people.
- Companies: For a store with a physical location, Instagram Stories is a very effective means of reaching your target group and encouraging them to take action. We explain further in this article how that is possible. Companies offering visually interesting products and services in particular can considerably expand their reach on this platform.
- Brand: As a company you want to bring products and services to the attention, as a brand you want to put the brand name in the spotlight. To give an example: Royal Swinkels Family Brewers is a company, but you are probably better acquainted with the Bavaria brand. That is a brand from the Lieshout brewer. For example, the company is more likely to show a tour of the brewery, while the Bavaria brand can report on a sporting event they are sponsoring.
- Person: The photo service once started as an app for people who wanted to share their lives with the rest of the world. Unlike the crooked holiday snapshots and grainy photos on Facebook, more attention is usually paid to the quality of the photos. Mobile photography, of course, but with style. Photographers soon discovered the possibilities of the Instagram timeline to promote their work, and many internet celebrities have become known by sharing photos and videos via this platform.
Good to know: Two-thirds of the most popular messages are about products.
Everything (and everyone) is a brand
The three categories above make it a bit easier to determine a focus when setting up a story, but in principle everything falls under branding. A person is just as well a brand. We see this reflected in the rise of “influencer marketing”, in which popular people act as ambassadors for products and services. Much attention is paid to the “influencer” phenomenon and not always positively. Yet it is not much different than George Clooney who drinks a cup of (N) espresso, or Julia Roberts who does not dare to go out on the street without Lancôme perfume.
Good to know: four out of five users follow a company on Instagram.
What makes your brand unique?
To bring a company, brand or person to the attention in the right way you must first determine what makes your brand unique. If you can’t think of anything yourself, you can ask your environment or customers for advice, but actually you already have to know the unique characteristics of your brand. Why else did you ever start your business? There must be a distinguishing factor. You see many big brands hook up on every “meme” or craze, even when this has nothing to do with the character of the organization. Most people poke through this, it can even cause damage to your image. Start from your unique characteristics and illustrate these with an Instagram Story.
Interactive options in your Instagram Story
Viewing a series of photos online is almost as exciting as viewing a slide show with your grandparents on a projection screen. The images form the basis of your story, but they are the interactive elements that will attract the attention of your audience. These are the five main interactive options in Instagram Stories:
- Location: It is very easy to share your location during the presentation of the Story. Because Instagram Stories are actually live presentations, sharing your location can play an important role in the marketing aspect. This way you can visualize the opening of a new store, with the aim of luring followers to this location. With a long journey you can use geographic locations to provide context to your audience. Good to know: With a location determination you score almost eighty percent better in involvement.
- Hashtag: Although hashtags are best known on Twitter, you can use these search terms on various social media services. By using the same hashtag on every platform you increase the findability, and that makes specific information searching and tracking a lot easier. Choose clear hashtags and don’t overwhelm your audience with # ‘s. Good to know: seven out of ten hashtags on Instagram are linked to a brand.
- Polls: Including a visually attractive survey in your story is very simple. This can be a simple “yes” or “no” question, or a choice from a list of options. By making smart use of polls you can expand the influence of your target group. Let fans of a restaurant choose which dessert is on the menu, or ask the customers what you can send as an entrepreneur. Because Instagram surveys look attractive, the chance of interaction is higher than with a standard website poll.
It is possible to link URLs to the media in the Instagram Story. This way you can send followers directly to a webshop page, or you can give context to a specific photo. For example, publish a nice photo of a model with a link to a “behind the scenes” movie. The band provides your audience with offering ‘behind the scenes’ material. To make the use of links even more accessible, you can use a “swipe up” movement instead of a “click here” button.
- Direct message
It is possible for followers to send messages to your account. Keep in mind that with a popular story many messages can come your way. You must respond quickly with relevant comments or answers. If you fail to do this, you will quickly lose the attention of the followers, it must be a two-way street. That means a great deal of discipline and time investment during the publication of your story.
For many, an Instagram Story is the front door to new content. This way you can send the audience to your website, webshop or blog. Almost thirty percent of users have purchased a product that they first discovered through Instagram. This is not surprising because visual stimuli work stronger than text alone.
We have mentioned the term “influencer” before. This is someone who influences a group of people, especially through social media. Already in the eighteenth century, famous figures were used to promote products. They can be people like DJ Khaled, who is called the “king” of Snapchat, and on Instagram, Selena Gomez is often seen as the most influential person. It doesn’t even have to be an existing person, Santa was used by Coca Cola in 1923 as a mascot for cola. Anyone with more influence than the average person can be considered an “influencer”.
Good to know: Photos with faces are liked almost 40 percent better.
Why work with influencers on Instagram?
No one has grown from navel gazing, external influencers can play an important role to quickly expand your audience. Instagram in particular is known for the influence of these celebrities. These may be well-known names like chef Jamie Oliver, names like Alexa Chung and Janni Olsson Delér are less known to the general public. It is precisely that division into niche markets that explains the success of influencers. According to research, more than ninety percent of companies are satisfied after working with an influencer. Kim Kardashian West was awarded the title of most influential influencer in 2018. But how do you involve someone with influence in your story?
Good to know: Almost three-quarters of Instagram posts are not seen.
How does an Instagram Takeover work?
With influencer marketing you may be the first to think of a photo or message in which the popular person recommends a product or service. Instagram Stories offers the possibility to organize a Takeover. You can take over someone else’s account for one day, or transfer your account to another user for one day. This is normally announced in advance in order to achieve the maximum impact. Kurgo and Barbox are two examples of influencers who regularly take over accounts. Don’t you know them? Both are accounts of dogs that promote your brand in a cute and shameless way.
Choose your “brand ambassadors” with policy, because the person must of course connect with the brand. There are quite a few influencers who later end up in controversial situations, certainly because many of these people seek the limits of good taste and also the law. Jared Fogle is a notorious example, he was hired by Subway after losing many kilos by eating their sandwiches. He was later convicted of child abuse. That is not the fault of Subway, but it can harm the brand. Pewdiepie is an online example of an influencer who, because of his behavior, lost large companies such as Disney as a customer.
Good to know: Eighty percent of the influencers cite Instagram as their favorite platform.
So you don’t have to be in the spotlight to get attention for your brand. There is a large selection of ambassadors to choose from, the rates are usually directly linked to the number of followers and the specific niche they serve.
Advertising via the Facebook network
It is known that Facebook’s advertising network is very extensive, with a number of effective tools to reach the right audience. Instagram uses the same Facebook advertising platform, you can manage your campaign centrally for both channels. Advertisements within the Story can be seamlessly included in the timeline, so they do not disturb your story. If you want to promote a brand or product through Stories, it is important that you filter well for the right target group. This can be based on location, age or interest. This way you increase the chance that your ads will be ticked, and you will achieve the highest return on your advertising budget.
Good to know: A quarter of the ads are video clips.
Build your network with Instagram Stories
To be successful in expanding your network through Instagram Stories, you must be able to tell a story visually. You can make a script in advance, or at least prepare a plan with a common thread. Do not fix the timeline too much, there must be a spontaneous element to hold the attention. With advertisements or by organizing a Takeover you can test the effect of this marketing method and gain some experience and then tell nice stories yourself. Link to other expressions such as links to your own website, and make connections with both influencers and your customers. Even if you do not immediately generate revenue from it, it can still be a valuable tool in an overall marketing strategy.
By S.van der Tap Pd.Internet.Marketer Founder Of digitalstico
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