Instagram Stories: For Your Non-Instagram Worthy Moments
Instagram has recently had to deal with a decrease in user engagement on YOY basis. There have been theories thrown around about why this is the case (could it be that engagement is decreasing because the company now belongs to Facebook, a company that has rapidly been dying for millennials or are users switching over to Snapchat?) Many agree that it simply comes down to the ultimate social pressure that sharing a photo on Instagram comes with. Think about it, how many times have you deliberated over posting an Instagram photo because you wanted it to be the perfect picture, the perfect capture of your “perfect” life.
The amount of professional and beautiful looking images on the platform has inadvertently converted Instagram into a platform where users are highlighting the very best of their lives but how often are you doing something Instagram “worthy?” The ability and encouragement of a platform like Snapchat to embrace the everyday silliness of a user’s random life is one of the reasons the platform has been a hit with a younger audience. The ability to delete content after 24 hours has encouraged Snapchat users to upload random and editable content and it is no surprise that engagement is through the roof.
This is precisely why Instagram recently launched its “Instagram Stories” feature which will include a feature on the mobile version that includes real time updates from accounts that the user follows. Similar to Snapchat, the updates will last 24 hours and will be prioritized based on who the user most frequently engages with. Also similar to Snapchat, users will be able to personalize their content with text and drawing tools. Users will also be able to engage with the stories through direct messages via Instagram Direct.
Instagram is betting on the fact that content is deleted every 24 hours, this will increase the frequency in which users share content, whether they are polished or not. It has yet to be seen whether it will work or not but one thing is certain, Instagram Stories will likely prove to be a big competitor to Snapchat for brand dollars simply because of Instagram’s broader reach. Instagram Stories creates an opportunity for brands to leverage the platform in a new way. Below are a few ways in which marketers can take advantage of the new feature.
Live, Content Rules – as previously mentioned, this will facilitate marketers to publish live, rough content. Snapchat has shown that unpolished content is also engagement worthy and expect to see even more behind the scenes videos of your favorite brands and celebrities on Instagram.
FOMO – since content will disappear in 24 hours, users may now develop a stronger sense of urgency to view and avoid missing exclusive content. In addition, Stories will provide brands with great real estate on the app.
More time spent on Instagram – the new feature will give users another excuse to stay on Instagram and engage with content meaning that brands will have more eyeballs for longer periods of time on their various forms of content.
Less polished, but not less exciting – simply because the content will be less polished and live doesn’t mean it should be less engaging. Brands should still remember that users have the option to unfollow the brand if the content becomes too overbearing or not exciting enough.
The introduction of Stories will prove to be an interesting experiment for Instagram and its brand partners and will elicit many learnings. For now, some pieces of advice for brands eager to begin using the new features would be to provide a balance between raw and polished content, evaluate the differences in Snapchat and Instagram Stories for your brand, and as always measure your engagement.