29 Jun 2017, 09:09 — 7 min read
It started with Snapchat and it spread to Instagram. Soon, Facebook added it to their system and Whatsapp did the same. Everyone seems to be building around the new in thing today: stories! But here’s what has left everyone surprised: The kind of success Instagram has managed to achieve through the introduction of this new feature. All thanks to Snapchat. The business world has gone around aptly describing this landmark as, “If you can’t figure out how to buy it, you kill it.”
Some companies have begun using Instagram stories as a great opportunity to expand their marketing activities in a fiercely competitive world. It has brought about new ways to engage with people and customers in an extremely fun and personal manner. With most of the Facebook pages not very popular (apart from the major exceptions of memes+news via media handles) and with Snapchat trying to catch up their user base, Instagram is the perfect way to uplift engagement with people.
One of the major reasons for this is the already existing fan-base a certain company or an individual has on Instagram as compared to the need to build one on Snapchat. Moreover, it adds a finishing touch to the raw quality of snapchat that has been compensated for in Instagram stories. In our firm, we have been experimenting with this brilliant feature in order to leverage this to the maximum and seeing a lot of success as well.
1. Showcase your USP: Your company culture
Stories act as a great way to personally connect with your customers by showing them the faces behind the company! You can start by introducing them to what goes on in the office (the day to day grind/ fun), and gradually build the communication through the human element of the company. Nothing beats bringing out the light side of your company and giving your customers a taste of some behind-the-scenes action.
2. Push your products appropriately
Be warned! Stories sure are a great way to push your products, but make sure you don’t become too pushy and completely forget to maintain the fun element in it. You don’t want your customers to face the constant nagging of sales, instead of the fun products you could offer them in terms of quirky T-shirts, phone cases, canvas prints, mousepads and posters. Make sure you avoid being too promotion-y.
3. Hold regular contests
The massive surprise that hit us was when we realised that holding contests over Instagram stories proved to be even more successful than holding contests over other social media channels. Regular posts tend to get lost in the Instagram feed, but stories posted by companies remain intact, while being checked regularly and more often by followers.
4. Indulge in a takeover
An Instagram takeover is the process of taking over someone else’s Instagram account temporarily and sharing content with their audience. The reason we personally love this in our firm is because it pushes us to get out of our comfort zone and makes us think about not just ourselves, but also our partner community! Businesses partnering together can benefit from this great marketing strategy. For instance, we could push our Gym t-shirt designs while talking about how it’ll be great to wear them while working out at XYZ gym. At the same time, that particular gym could also go ahead and push our product by talking about how such designs can help you feel awesome while on the journey to get fit! It has also been great for us to have a particular artist takeover our handle for a few hours. It helped them come in direct contact with their fanbase/ followers by initially introducing themselves and their art, while gradually building it up by talking about their experience in the firm. Some of them also added fun facts about themselves not related to their work, thus breaking the monotony of the just talking about work, work, and work.
5. Announce your exclusive sales/discounts
Since the ‘stories’ feature makes sure that the audience is always tuned in to Instagram stories, it becomes a great way to engage with them and push your unique or limited offers! The kind of exclusivity that gets created via stories makes sure that the customers come back and check in again, simply to know the current discounts in an easy and quick manner.
6. Share tips and tricks with the audience
We’ve used Instagram stories innumerous times to share tips and tricks with our artists and to help them maximise their sales. This has often included ways to enhance their performance with promotional tricks, ways to use their social media handles to push their artwork, how to gain a wider audience with greater response, etc.
7. Go Live
The trickiest of all is the new ‘LIVE’ feature. This feature is a boon for the companies because Instagram usually sends out a notification to all the followers about a particular handle going live. This makes many users log in to view the live video. Think about what you would want to convey, prepare a vague script in mind, know the direction of your live video, and you’re well prepared to engage with your users! But remember, it is also important to keep it spontaneous and fun. Don’t forget to respond to the queries of your followers to make it interactive and engaging! PS - Make sure you have an amazing internet connection when you go live. There’s nothing more annoying than a Live video constantly pausing or being blurry.
8. Cover your events
We’ve particularly found these types of stories useful while we are exhibiting in an event like Comic Con, NH7 Weekender, etc, to engage with our audience and talk about our whereabouts/ happenings. Such stories can help showing how your customers feel about your brand, in gaining customer validation, and in showcasing the products on sale/display, etc. The engagement that can be achieved via this is massive and can reap great benefits for the company.
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By Shiv Joshi