These days, largely due to Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, everyone wants to be connected. All. The. Time. To friends, family, celebrities, brands, everyone, and everything, simultaneously. We follow them on as many social media accounts as we can and check to see the newest updates in their life daily. But at some point, following their accounts became no longer enough. These days, consumers want to know more about the personalities and behind-the-scenes happenings of their favorite brands and celebrities. They want VIP access to content and limited edition knowledge. Consumers asked. Instagram answered.
“… we’ve been impressed with the types of stories brands are sharing—from behind the scenes to new product offers—in all industries from automotive to fashion… It’s fun to see business’ personalities shine through their stories.”
– Global Lead for Instagram Creative Shop, Kay Hsu
Instagram introduced their newest feature, Instagram Stories, in August 2016, and the feedback has been incredible. Similar to Snapchat, Instagram Stories disappear 24 hours after being posted and allow users to give their followers a variety of content, from unshared content to unseen glimpses to brand personality to limited offers and sales.
Consumers, especially those considered brand loyal, want exclusive offers and rewards for their continued support of a brand. Instagram Stories gives followers just that: an uncommon and long-desired “peek behind the velvet curtain.” Being able to promote these previously unseen brand characteristics and quirks makes the viewers feel special; as if they are the only ones seeing this side of that brand. And consumers really like to feel special. The more important they feel they are to a brand, the more they buy and the more they recommend that brand to their friends, which results in more followers and a larger base for the brand to create equally as loyal consumers. And this stands true to all, no matter the size of the brand, whether it’s a corporate brand or a personal one.
But when should brands use Instagram Stories? Unfortunately, there is no one simple formula to answer that question. There are many different and varying answers depending on the industry. However, below are a few examples of when using Instagram Stories are always a smart idea.
Exclusive Access To A Sale or Presale
Giving audiences access to exclusive discounts and private sales reassures them just know how important they are to a brand and serves as a small reward for their continued support. It can also be an opportune occasion to show followers the brand personality in a more casual and intimate manner. A prime example of a brand using Instagram Stories this way is J.Crew, who had a one-day-only sale on their Jane In Pink sunglasses held exclusively on Instagram. The day before the sale, they posted “candid” photos of employees wearing the pink sunglasses posed doing an array of activities such as holding up different shades of pink to holding pink striped candy. These served as notifications to their followers about the rapidly approaching private event. Announcing the sale like this also let J.Crew give the brand’s followers an exclusive insight into the fun and approachable personality of both the product and the employees.
Sneak Peek of Larger Content Posted on Different Platforms
Instagram Stories are an excellent way to promote any additional content a brand posts on other platforms, for example, a blog post or YouTube video. Giving followers a content teaser, such as a few seconds of a video the brand posted, is an excellent way to peek the interest of the audience’s and make them want to see more. Red Bull is phenomenal at this. The energy drink company regularly posts snapshots or Boomerang videos of awesome looking action shots from their latest video, which viewers can see in full by clicking the link in their bio. Other brands choose to upload the full article or video directly onto their Instagram Story. All their followers need to do to access the full content is just slide up to “read more.”
Communicating Directly with Followers
Being a personable brand is huge. Being a brand that personally communicates and interacts with its consumers is even bigger. Simple actions, such as liking the post a follower tag the brand in or replying to a direct message or comment, reminds consumers how necessary they are to a brand. A unique feature to Instagram Stories that helps in this endeavor is the ability to tag an account in a story. Starbucks took full advantage of this. When releasing their notorious “red cups” for the 2016 holiday season, Starbucks asked their followers to tag them in photos they posted on Instagram using the hashtags “#RedCupContest” and “#RedCupArt.” The brand wanted consumers to show where they used their red cups and how they personalized them. And, since the entire campaign consisted entirely of user-generated content and people like their content to be seen by family members and friends, the number of accounts that followed Starbucks’ brand account increased. Throughout the campaign, Starbucks posted their favorite entries on their story and ultimately picked five winners who received as a reward a gift card preloaded with $500 as a reward for taking the time to submit their photos.
Promoting A Particular Product
A platform such as Instagram is ideal for product promotion, especially with the most recent extension. Instagram Stories allows a brand to post about a specific product numerous times without annoying their followers by clogging up the feeds with exclusively promotional content. Utilizing Instagram Stories for product promotion gives consumers an exclusive look at the product’s differentiating and unique characteristics of it, which is why Audi used it to show off their RS 7 line. The German car manufacturer took their followers through a test drive of the car, showing off the impressive engine, its control and stability when making tight S-Curves, and the clean aesthetic which is often associated with the brand. Audi demonstrated first hand not only the performance abilities of the sports car but also its beautiful and sleek design, which are two characteristics this brand is known for.
Showing A Different Side
Instagram Stories also give smaller, personal brands an opportunity to express themselves in a way that both expands and supports their primary focus. Take Dean Blotto Gray, for example. Dean is Burton Snowboards Principal Photographer and is extremely well known within the sports photography world. And with good reason! His Instagram is filled with action shots of today’s greatest snowboarders performing incredibly hard tricks or going down tough terrain and shows all of this with a point of view and look that is much different than his colleagues. But his Instagram Stories show a different side of his artistic abilities. He posts photos of any and everything and adds a new twist: he draws on them. He will add fun and quirky sketches to emphasize or change the photos or videos to make them cooler and more fun. Doing this allows him to express a different side of him while still remaining true to his core love and talent, which is photography.
Times have changed. Consumers these days want to be in constant contact with their favorite brands and be given access to a never before seen side of the brands. Utilizing social media platforms, such as Instagram and Instagram Stories, allows brands to connect with their followers on a more intimate and personable level.
Here at [ 2 one 5 ] Creative, we know how important connecting with your consumers is. Need help connecting with yours? Contact Us!