This week, social media site Instagram launched a new “stories” features that allows users to post 10 second updates that live for 24 hours, similar to the “snaps” users post on Snapchat. After the release of the stories feature, many argued how it’s simply a Snapchat knock off, however, smart brands like L’Oreal, Essie, Mashable, Nike and many others have already jumped on the stories train. While you can’t add a flower crown filter to your stories (yet), there are many benefits brands can reap from Instagram’s newest feature.
Easy Access to Established Audiences
With brands like Michael Kors, who have 8.3 million followers on Instagram, the stories feature will allow brands to further engage the audiences they have already built without automatically moving to another platform. Most businesses and brands that use Instagram have already spent countless hours working to build a relationship with their audiences and while Snapchat has proved value, it is not as user-friendly as Instagram. Snapchat also does not have the same discovery capabilities as Instagram, which may lead many users to abandon Snapchat. A win for brands. A win for Instagram.
More Bang for Your Buck
When working with a major brand or business, marketing and social media teams won’t have to necessarily make the decision to split their budget between Snapchat and Instagram. Using Instagram stories gives brands a cost effective way to create content without dishing out more cash on an additional platform. Another money-saving advantage Instagram has over Snapchat is ads. Instagram allows brands to create ads that link directly to their accounts while Snapchat makes brands pay to allow users to place products or characters over their photos using branded filters or short commercials between stories on your timeline. With those promotional tools, there is no indication if those filters or commercials ultimately lead to brand engagement or sales. Another point for Instagram here.
Strengthening Influencer Relationships
Brands who aren’t on Snapchat but work with influencers such as bloggers and YouTube vloggers will now add even more value to those relationships. Brands have the opportunity to see the results of their collaborations in real time on Instagram, instead of wondering how their collaborative content is performing on Snapchat. Also, using Instagram will allow brands to receive immediate feedback since many users will go and comment on other pictures and videos related to the stories’ content.
Ability to Increase Authenticity
With a 24 hour story life, brands now have the opportunity to produce more creative and authentic content for their audience. Instagram allows brands to curate and control the content they post even better than before. As popular as flat-lay photos and minute long videos are, audiences now desire authenticity in brand’s messaging. The days of being the game strictly sold to are long gone. We want to be told! Instagram stories will allow brands to take a further step in creating cool authentic content for users.
Instagram is a great platform that everyone already uses and understands and with one update, users will be able to have multiple experiences with brands, all on one platform. The stories feature is still in its infancy, but we’re excited to see what creative ways brands will implement the stories feature into their strategy.
Guest Contributor: Ashleigh Dandridge
Ashleigh Dandridge is a public relations professional specializing in media relations and social media management. With a passion for research she values building partnerships with the media and her clients to help authentically tell their stories. Ashleigh has planned and managed public relations campaigns that resulted in a variety of media placements for her clients including The Source Magazine, FOX 2 Detroit, CBS, Xconomy, The Detroit News and more.