Mark Zuckerberg wanted to get his hands on Snapchat back in 2013, but 23 year old Evan Spiegel wouldn’t bite. In the three years since, Zuckerberg was no doubt driven crazy by Snapchat being the ephemeral messaging king and so in August this year, Facebook-owned Instagram introduced Instagram Stories. Well if you can’t buy them, beat them!
Instagram Stories is pretty much Snapchat. It allows users to share images and videos that disappear after just 24 hours. You can draw over them, add messages and receive private messages from your audience. You can make them available to the public or to a private recipient or just a certain portion of your followers. This way Granny Molly doesn’t need to see her darling granddaughter boozing it up at a Marbella pool party.
But, what does this mean for business? Why should a brand use Instagram Stories to connect with their audience and how should a brand go about using this latest platform?
Well, apart from gaining instant digital kudos, Instagram Stories can be used in the following ways whether you are a small business start-up or one of the big boys:
1] Moving Fashion
This is one for the retail brands. Yes that dress looks gorgeous in that filtered and styled to within an inch of its life Instagram photo, but look, it also looks great on a moving person! Check out Dior’s fall-winter 2016 campaign with Julia Nobis posing in dynamic studio shots, mid-stride. We want to see what fashion looks like when it moves. For all you fashion retail brands out there, Instagram Stories is crying out to be used by you.
2] Shout About Limited Time Promotions
Talk about a limited time promotion or giveaway and point viewers to your bio link straight to your site to make use of the offer. Instagram Stories is perfect for this since the followers viewing your stories are hard core brand fans. They care enough about your brand to follow it and spend time watching your stories. The giveaway need not be super expensive or fancy but whatever it is, you know it is not just going to someone who is unlikely to become an advocate. Instead, you are creating a nice little community and treating loyalty in a way in which it deserves to be treated.
3] Quick product testing
Did you happen to watch Absolutely Fashion whereby Alexander Shulman, Editor of Vogue was using research to test out two potential covers both of Kate Moss? Well, incidentally I used to work in the research department of Vogue where I tested many a cover with a panel of readers. So, how easy and quick would it be to show the covers on Instagram Stories and get instant feedback? In fact, any product test or even menu idea for a pub or restaurant. Which would you prefer, sticky toffee pudding or banoffee pie for this weekend’s menu? Or, for a good friend of mine’s business ‘Wear The Stars’, what fabric star would you like us to design for our next season of sweatshirts? The options are endless. Dawn and Shawn love this.
4] Show the Chef
If you are a pub or restaurant why not upload a video of your chef making one of your popular dishes. Let your followers ask real time questions and your chef can answer them. I am literally just about to go to my friend’s lovely pub now and we are going to do just that! Watch out for the Rose and Crown Farringdon’s next Instagram Stories!
5] Get to know the brand behind the scene
Show the real you. If you have a gorgeous glossy shoot of a model wearing your clothes, then show a video of what went on behind the scenes in order for you to achieve it. Even for the smallest start-up brands, it’s always lovely to get to know you and see what the team are up to in the office or off site.
On any social media platform, your brand must give value. Running through your mind the whole time should be ‘why should people want to follow me? What are they getting out of following me? Well, what better way than to give them tutorials. Teach them things. Social media changes all the time. New elements are launched and new algorithms are made. Perfect for Dawn and Shawn since we are kind and more than happy to talk you through them. If you offer a service and can give advice, then use Instagram Stories. Go on, treat your followers.
7] Cross Promote
Do you have a Facebook Live video session coming up? Using Instagram Stories is a nice way to remind your audience about it. Who doesn’t want to see your lovely face popping up with a nice little message? Cross-promoting content is a great way to build anticipation and drive views on a platform which they might not be following yet.
8] Share Weekly Deals
Whole Foods are cleverly using Instagram Stories to share lifestyle images of their favourite sale items each week. Why not offer an ‘Instagram Story only’ discount which can be used by any follower showing a screenshot of the story at the checkout at the point of purchase?
Our next blog post will be showing you all the tricks and licks that you can use on your Instagram Story. We’ll be sure to flag it up in a Dawn and Shawn Digital Instagram Story!