Or is this just another method for us to use video in our business?
Regardless of whether you’re a ghost devotee or an Insta-star, there’s no denying that this new social medium means good things for your business.
Simply put, Instagram Stories are very similar to Snapchat Stories in that they let you take photos or videos that stay live for a 24-hour period. Once you’ve taken your photo or video, you can add filters, text or other accoutrement to jazz up your stories. Anyone can use Instagram Stories, although the feature isn’t quite available globally just yet.
The big question on everyone’s minds is what’s the point in moving to Instagram Stories instead of sticking with tried-and-true Snapchat.
Simply put? It’s about where your audience is. If your business connects with its customers on Instagram more than Snapchat, then it makes sense to focus your efforts there.
On top of that, Instagram Stories offer something that every Instagram user and business struggles with: a place to put those photos and videos that don’t quite hit the level of branding that your Instagram photos do.
For example, say you’re a gym owner. There’s currently something hilarious happening at your gym, that your current members would love but might seem out of place for any prospects you have. You can add a video of this to your Instagram Story without it changing that branded view of your gym on your Instagram page.
One of the best parts, though, has to be the non-confusing interface. Where most people went “huh” or googled “How to find Snapchat filters” on Google, Instagram lays out its features in a way that seems intuitive, especially as they relate to its photo features.
So, how can you use Instagram Stories for your business?
A lot of thought goes into each Instagram caption, hashtag set, filter, lighting, etc. We spend so much time perfecting each photo because we want that content to stand the tests of time and act as a constantly available piece of our brand message.
That’s not the case with Instagram Stories.
With a 24-hour shelf life for each photo, there’s no need to worry about the perfect lighting and message to your fans. Instead, Stories help you show off the spontaneous, less-than-perfect (read: human) side of your business. This not only help your customers and followers connect better with your brand personality, but it also allows you to throw caution to the wind with that silly photo or capture moments that no amount of staging could accomplish.
And an added bonus? No overloaded feed for your followers.
Stories allow you to constantly share photos without worrying about how your followers, customers and prospects will see them. Since Instagram Stories is an opt-in feature (you have to explicitly choose to watch them), chances are you also won’t see as many unfollows from people who feel like they’re not seeing what they expected when they followed you.
You get the best of both worlds without the hassle of reposting your content in both places or handing out two passwords. Give your most devoted customer a day’s reign on your Instagram Story without worrying about photo quality, hashtag know-how or hitting your brand’s voice perfectly.
Snapchat’s great for sending silly photos to your friends or your most loyal customers, but it’s difficult to develop a sense of community when there’s no easy way to follow people or interact with brands.
Much like Instagram’s previous features, Instagram Stories facilitate deeper conversations and connections with your customers, prospects, and brand advocates. Your followers can easily send you a direct message from your story, or head to your profile to start commenting on your past photos. While Snapchat acts as a social app, Instagram Stories mirror what Instagram has been all along: a social network.
(Photo courtesy of Instagram.)