We’re all aware of the impact and influence that Instagram has, particularly for the fashion industry, which is one of its key verticals. A relatively new Instagram feature is “Stories”, a short video posted for a 24-hour period that is extremely similar in nature to Snapchat. However, Instagram boasts a reported 400 million daily active users and 150 million Instagram Stories daily users, which means its reach goes far beyond that of Snapchat's reported 100 million daily users.
This is great news for brands who have already built up a sizeable following on Instagram, as you have an audience ready to share your content with. Another pro to Instagram Stories is that the moment you open the app, there is a bar at the top of the feed with ‘Live’ and uploaded Stories. This means that if your brand is an active user of Instagram Stories, your story and profile picture may be one of the first things your followers see upon opening the app. The 24-hour cycle of the feature means that you can upload content every day (static photos, Boomerangs or 10-second videos) and have something fresh for your audience without the pressure of it having to look ‘perfect’, as it won’t be on your gallery forever. So how should you go about using Stories to the advantage of your business? Here are our top tips:
Forget about shooting tripod-esque, highly edited shots of artfully placed objects. Part of the fun of having spontaneous and fleeting content is that it allows you to give a real life look into the running of your brand. Think of the things that differentiate your brand and create a story around these. Maybe a step-by-step on how you lovingly package all your items, a little office tour showing off your great team or cool lounge, or even a quick Q&A with the founder of your company. Ask your followers to comment with their questions and do a quick-fire round of answers. Have fun with your content, play around with the stickers, quirky colored pens and geotags available to you.
Showcase Your Company Culture
Take it from Miss Instagram herself, Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram, Eva Chen. She takes her followers behind-the-scenes at Instagram’s New York office, as well as her pit stops in the celeb-filled LA office, and even showcases her adorable baby girl, Ren. Every business owner and company will have different personal boundaries, but taking your followers into a less filtered version of your everyday life allows people to connect with the people and humanity behind the brand. These days, the names behind the company are often equally if not more beloved than the company itself!
Instagram is definitely more business-friendly than Snapchat at the moment, as even small brands can pay for sponsored posts, whereas Snapchat ads tend to be dominated by household names. In terms of organic ways you can grow your audience and consumer base, the “See more” option on Stories allows viewers to swipe up to a link, whether that be directly to your e-commerce site, a recent blog post about your, or your ShopVenture page to read reviews. Currently, this is only available for verified accounts (ones with the blue tick on their profile) but don’t despair if you're a small business without that coveted blue tick, as there’s talk of a future rollout to all business accounts, and in the interim you can utilize their tagging function to get your username front and center.
Consider collaborating with an influencer who aligns with your brand and getting them to either take over your Stories for a day (while promoting it on their account) or utilizing your products in a creative manner, such as an unboxing clip or a try-on session. Make sure they tag your username in their stories, which allows viewers to click on your brand handle and follow through to your account to take a peek. Once they’ve had a scroll through and hopefully clicked follow, they can return back to the Instagram Story and continue to watch the feature.
Special Giveaways or Promotions
Play with the 24-hour time stamp of your Stories and utilize it to promote special giveaways and promotions. For example, a discount code that is only available to those who watch the story and expires once the story does. Or how about a contest that involves your community creating their own Story and tagging your brand in it in order to have a chance to win? Anything with a ticking clock adds an extra level of excitement, which leads to higher conversion rates.
To Sum It Up
Instagram Stories provide a fun and creative way to engage with your audience. With much less pressure than getting that perfectly edited flatlay, Stories allows you take your followers on a behind-the-scenes brand tour with mini-interviews, influencer takeovers and a handful of playful stickers and emojis thrown in.