People love stories. This is a fact. It always has been, it always will be. I could explain exactly why this is the case, but our very own content execute Jamie has beaten me to it (and quite frankly done a better job than I would). Stories never die and the art of storytelling is re-invented age after age. Video is now the the main way people love gobbling up content with short, snappy pieces of information being the ruler of the hour, Instagram have combined the two, sprinkled a bit of magic storytelling dust over them and created ‘Instagram Stories’.
The Instagram Surge
Ok, so the switched on readers of this blog might be cursing me and shouting ‘what about Snapchat?’ Well calm down for just one second. Don’t worry, I know Snapchat have been there, done that and got a wardrobe full of the t-shirts. However, what Snapchat have failed to do is harness an actively engaged audience of the size that Instagram have. Earlier this year the amount of Instagram Stories users alone soared pass Snapchat users. Leaving them in their shadow to the tune of 100 million users in June of this year. Instagram have taken the short form, storytelling video format and gone even further than Snapchat has been able to. These figures are a dream for marketers and tapping into this audience may be easier than you first think.
Instagram has been able to leave Snapchat in the dust due to the structure of its platform compared to Snapchat. The fact that Instagram have delved into the short sequential video arena after building a strong social base already, has meant that Stories has been allowed to thrive on top of this platform. With an already vast actively engaged audience, Instagram have not had to build this up. Also from a marketing perspective, Instagram already has built in analytics features as well as the ability to run paid ads. All of these features are successfully running on a daily basis. So by lifting the strengths of Snapchat and embedding the ability to create short sequential video series, quite literally on top of their current platform, means that Instagram as a platform provided a huge potential to give people the stories they crave on a mass scale that can be tailored specifically towards your audience.
Harness The Power Of Stories
Instagram have provided such a powerful tool that can be used to capture people’s imagination, but what’s the best way to harness it? There are 3 top ways of really utilising the strengths of Instagram Stories and these are:
Behind the scenes content
Behind the scenes videos of staff members, sneak previews of products and set up for events allows the viewer to feel like they are having a sneak behind the curtain. This can help add a personable level to your brand, and as a result create a more informal connection between you and the audience.
Bonus/extra layer content
Bonus content or content that offers an extra layer to your main Instagram feed encourages the audience to engage with more of your content. WeBuyGold used this technique fantastically in their Instagram series, which showed bonus elements of their plot exclusively in their Instagram Stories. This gives you the opportunity to offer up even more content and keep the audience watching your brand even longer.
Finally, the main storytelling benefit is the ability to create an Instagram based mini series. This is where you really have the opportunity to get creative and share your brand story. By presenting a short series or a sequence of connecting clips, a story can be developed and the static image of your brand will be brought to life with all the allure that storytelling provides.
Whether it be stories around a campfire, paperbacks under the bed sheets or Hollywood blockbusters down the local cinema, we as people will always crave stories. Now, Instagram Stories are rapidly filling that hole so if you want to be the one sparking imaginations across the world at night, then Instagram is the place to be.