Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media tools, with over 1 billion accounts and 500 million active users every day, it is the ‘Big Thing’ in social media. Since 2017, the image-sharing platform has jumped to #2 as most commonly used social media platform, ousting Twitter and trailing just barely behind Facebook. Instagram has grown in in popularity for several reasons. Between its simple and chic design, phone-only access, and popularity with the younger generations, it ticks all the boxes of trendy social apps, and marketers are recognizing this, with 48% of them having already increased organic Instagram activities in the past 12 months and 66% planning on increasing organic Instagram activities in the next 12 months.
So, how and why should you use Instagram? Marketers use certain social media platforms to target specific demographics. They do this by creating personas, or individuals that represent their ideal client and then interacting with their customer base via that persona. Using this tool allows your customer to feel connected to your brand in a sincere way. With over ⅔ of Instagram users under the age of 34, this medium is particularly popular with those trying to reach Millennials and Generation Z. One of the most popular growing Instagram features is the Story. It allows users to post photos or videos that vanish after 24 hours, but also allows for interactivity as the poster can add links, polls, filters, stickers, hashtags, and locations to their stories. According to Instagram, Stories provide “full, immersive experiences for your audience.” Brands use the ephemeral and lighthearted nature of the feature to show exclusive footage to loyal followers, test ideas, and tease new products or events. Stories are also “discoverable,” meaning someone doesn’t have to be a follower of your page to be able to view your story.
The Story is a more laid back medium than the official posts on your Instagram page. Because of its fleeting presence, don’t feel the need to use the perfect picture or video shot; Stories are supposed to be relaxed, fun, and real. They are used to give an exclusive feel to your followers and help authenticate your persona. Feature a few moments from your day that show the preparation before an event or the behind-the-scenes of a commercial shoot. Giving followers a sneak peek of what’s to come will help them feel connected to your brand while keeping them on the lookout for what’s to come from your product line.
To get people watching your story and keep them engaged, post to your Story a question, poll, or survey. This gives you an opportunity to gather information from your followers but also help them feel connected to you. It can be anything from a fun quip on whether French Fries or Tater Tots are the ultimate potato medium to asking an opinion about a new idea or product.
Studies show that the longer you use Social Media in your marketing, the more useful it becomes to your brand, so whether you are just starting out, have been using it for 1 year, or 5 years, it gets better with time and you will grow more comfortable with it. Instagram reports that over ⅓ of the time spent on its app is spent watching stories, and 33% of the most viewed stories come from businesses. Your consumer is ready and willing to interact with you via your Instagram Story, so start posting today!