As far as marketing and brand awareness go, Instagram, with a higher engagement rate than either Facebook or Twitter, is a no-brainer. With 500 million active daily users and 80 per cent of them following a business on Instagram, the opportunities for brand storytelling are limitless. There is a reason why all kinds of organisations, ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 giants, are increasingly leveraging it as a tool of engagement.
One of Instagram’s standout features is undoubtedly Stories, its counterpunch to Snapchat. Why? It enables extended storytelling, unconstrained by the limits of a static post. Whether it’s behind-the-scenes videos, audience quizzes, filter overlays or simply images, Stories has opened the floodgates of creativity, allowing brands to be experimental with their content in a way that might not be possible on other social networks.
Whilst images of your best friend trying out the latest Peruvian brunch, or an influencer unboxing the hottest new smartphone might come to mind when you think of Stories, the potential for businesses is promising and here’s why:
- Instagram Stories always appear at the top of your feed, as opposed to posts which can get buried by a deluge of other posts over time. In fact, a huge proportion of posts on Instagram never even get seen. Stories give your content much greater visibility, compared to generic, static photos.
- Instagram’s algorithm has long ceased to prioritise static posts on a chronological basis. Considering the transient nature of Stories and the fact that they always appear at the top of a user’s feed, time-sensitive content can be pushed through them, rather than relying on posts.
- The sequential nature of Instagram Stories allows for a comprehensive narrative to be told, through a succession of images or short videos. This gives brands the opportunity to get creative and drive meaningful engagement.
- Features embedded within Instagram Stories, such as user polls and quizzes, are interactive and can be instrumental in driving traction with a target audience.
- Highlighted Instagram stories can be pegged to the top of a company’s home page for quick access and easy viewing – a more ideal option, considering that users would need to spend a considerable amount of time scrolling down the page to see their favourite photographs.
Instagram has reported that Stories has led to an uptick in the amount of time users spend on the platform. One-third of the most popular Stories on the platform come from businesses. More than 200 million users visit a business profile at least once daily and over 120 million Instagram users have visited a website, sent a direct message or emailed a business through the app. Those foregoing the use of Instagram Stories are missing out on a major opportunity to market their product or service. Incorporated within a comprehensive social media marketing strategy, the payoff can be rewarding.
Written by Adnan Bashir, senior manager for corporate communications at telecommunications company Sigma Systems
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