Instagram Stories: Why are businesses drawn to the Snapchat copy cat?
Since the Instagram App was launched in 2010, it has seen rapid user growth, with more than a third of mobile users predicted to be using it this year. Instagram has stayed ahead of the game, adding more and more features. In addition to the famous Instagram filters, users now enjoy features such as the ability to post videos as well as photos. And with the launch of the app Boomerang, they can create GIF like clips to be shared on Instagram too.
Instagram’s latest feature is of course Instagram Stories. Instagram have quite openly copied the feature that Snapchat had first launched of “the story”. Instagram stories differ from the original Instagram video function in a number of ways. The story appears on your profile for 24 hours, and you even have the option to doodle and decorate over the post, just like Snapchat. You will now be alerted when profiles you follow have uploaded a story. Alerts appear as a bright halo in the Instagram brand colours around their icon at the top of your screen, as can be seen here.
Instagram has been quite open about having mimicked Snapchat. However, brands are flocking to use Instagram to create content for their profiles on Instagram Stories, even more so than Snapchat. This is unusual, as users generally prefer to use the platform on which a feature was originally created. So how has Instagram grabbed this market share?
Instagram has a larger reach than Snapchat, with a reported 500 million users compared to Snapchat’s 150 million users. This is due to a number of different reasons. Firstly, Instagram was founded before Snapchat and therefore has had time to build up users organically over time. Secondly, there are also more features in Instagram than on Snapchat for users to play with. For example the ability to browse and explore other Instagram accounts as well as edit and post images, videos, boomerangs and now stories. This means Instagram appeals to a much wider audience than Snapchat.
Brands are more searchable
It is much easier for brands to be found on Instagram. On Snapchat if you wish to follow a brand you must actively search for their username either through their website on social media, whereas on Instagram you are able just to search the brand name on the Instagram app. This immediately increases followership.
A cost effective way to directly reach customers
As it is much easier for your potential customers to find you on Instagram than Snapchat, you have direct access to an audience with an active interest in your brand, which is marketing gold dust. Snapchat allows companies the option to pay for sponsored filters, but this is not an accessible marketing tool for small businesses. This highlights why Instagram is a great tool for small businesses wanting to run cost effective digital marketing campaigns.
How to create the right Instagram Story for your business
Sometimes getting your creative juices flowing isn’t always as simple as downloading the latest app or reading about the latest digital marketing trend. Don’t forget in order to really use tools, such as Instagram Stories, it’s all about getting creative and engaging your audience. There are numbers of ways you can do this than can be applied to any business sector:
1. Behind the scenes footage
Everyone loves to see what’s going on behind closed doors in your business! This lends itself particularly well to the hospitality, events, retail, culture and tourism sectors. Why not show behind the scenes footage of an event set up? A great example of this could be a wedding. It’s the perfect way to capture the excitement and atmosphere that an image alone cannot.
2. Employee of the month
The Employee of the month concept has been around since the dawn of time, but it really is a great way to motivate staff. This could work in any sector at all, but particularly in a retail and sales environment. You could set a competition amongst the sales team to see who can sell the most of a particular product. Not only does this give your team motivation, but also promotes a particular product of your choice, and will make great footage when an individual wins!
3. Market research
Finding out what customers want from your service or think of how it is currently running can sometimes be tricky, time consuming and even costly. The Instagram Story allows followers to message you directly back (meaning no one else will see). Why not ask your followers what they’re thinking in a quick and easy way?
4. Give your brand personality
Some brands have developed Twitter accounts separate to their main company Twitter page, to give a particular member of staff a voice, and emphasis personality . This is often common amongst restaurants or hotels whose head chef will have their own professional Twitter page on which they post images of new dishes created, which can be then retweeted by the brand Twitter. Why not take this idea to a whole other level and get the ideal spokesperson from your company to have their own Instagram story at a set time each week?
Since the launch of Instagram Stories there have been a number of creative ways that brands have been getting involved. We can’t wait to see what more is in store for this great new feature!
- Are you Team Instagram or Team Snapchat?
- Which company do you think is using Instagram Stories the most innovatively?
- What other creative digital marketing tools do you use for your business?
We’re really interested in your comments and insights on this! Please share in the comments box below.
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