Sahail Ashraf posted on 26 January 2017
Getting Instagram Stories right for a client can sometimes feel a little like a never ending game of cat and mouse. You have to work very hard to produce a compelling ‘Story’ for your client in the first place, but making it accessible and of sufficiently high quality to be shared is just an extra level of stress. It’s obviously worth it because now Instagram has seen its user base rocket. It now has over 600 million users. And that makes it bigger than Snapchat.
To, perhaps, make Instagram Stories an even more compelling offer for a client, the company has announced it is to allow ads to run during Stories. It began to trial the feature, and used some very large brands to do so. Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Nike were just some of the names the company bandied about. Obviously, these brands will not have an issue with creating high quality ads that run in Stories, but it will be interesting to see the response from audiences.
The opportunity allows brands to insert a five second photo display or a fifteen second video clip between user generated Stories. The ads are entirely skippable too, so these don’t have to be an issue for viewers.
This means that Instagram has developed its offering again. With such a large user base, is it time for you to review your work on the platform for your clients? We thought we would take a look at Stories again, and identify some key aspects that make it a worthwhile experience for brands.
Yes, the 150 million plus user base for Stories is not a bad thing by any means. But for a change it really makes a difference. The platform is huge, and the audience is bigger than most other options. This brings one key aspect to your Stories that means a win. You have a platform that is simply heavily populated. Hit the right notes and you have a Story that is shared and enjoyed by thousands of people.
Put simply, you have a chance of gaining much more reach on Stories that you would on other platforms. If reach matters to you, this is a big deal.
We know that other platforms are experimenting with this in various shapes and forms. But the palette you have on Stories makes it one of those channels that you can actually customise.
For a serious brand that wants to offer a corporate message and not much else, this doesn’t matter. But any brand that has a unique and identifiable level of humour can truly gain an advantage if it is focused on using the various filters and effects.
Use these tools to enhance the look of your posts, and then ensure that you market the posts carefully and effectively.
You can tell funny stories too. Barkbox basically makes stuff for pets, but the way they have used Instagram Stories to make an impact on a funny level is truly something else.
Take a look at their Instagram and see how they can use the possibilities Stories offers for narrative, and make an amazingly funny Story that brings immediate engagement.
Humour has long been seen as a major aspect of good work on social media. But here brands have a chance to develop a funny narrative. This leads to high engagement, as fans start to share the funny stuff.
Up your game, though. The number of videos that are shot behind the scenes at the office is probably now well into the millions. Instead of just walking around and trying to be whacky with a camera on you, try and tell a story. A funny story doesn’t need a plot. It could even just be a series of shots of the same place over a few days for example.
Take a video of your office at the start of the week with Monday Grumps and moaning and whining, and then video as the week progresses. It will be a true story with narrative, and it will also be funny.
What’s more, it won’t look forced. It will simply be a funny little Story that keeps people engaged.
Instagram Stories allows you to post up Stories that focus on industry news. But put these together well and you can even be recognised as an authority on the subject.
Whatever is going on in your industry, and if your audience needs that type of thing, focus on delivering Instagram Stories that truly get the news across. Done in a positive, focused style, people will soon be turning to you for the last word on a subject.
Instagram Stories has that rare ability to allow for real, well… storytelling. You can work on a product launch, for example, and spend time on the story with the lead-up to the launch. If you wanted to take it even further, you can create a story around development, testing and the launch.
All it requires is a little forward thinking, and if it is done well, and in a highly attractive manner (remember that Instagram likes good quality images) then you can weave a little journey for your audience.
And that is perhaps the key feature of Stories for brands. Real storytelling takes place, and this is a clear angle on gaining engagement. If they are engaged enough to watch a detailed story, you can pull together something rather special.
The above are what we feel is behind Instagram’s rapid growth. All these elements combine to produce a compelling platform. With ads comes a monetised platform, true, but the potential to get your stories out there and to pay for a slot in between whatever your audience is watching, means that you have as close to a one-stop shop as is possible in social media.
And if you’re an agency working for a client, now is the time to carve out a little more of that budget to make the Stories.
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