As a bold move to instigate and encourage users to create content and share them on social media platforms, Instagram has announced a brand new feature – Instagram Stories.
This unique feature allows users to post videos and photos which disappear after 24 hours. Yes! This feature is similar to the Snapchat Stories which were introduced in early 2013 and played a significant role in the growth of the brand.
Just like Snapchat, the videos and photos shared on the Instagram Stories feature are ephemeral. This means that they remain for a short period of time and once the 24 hours have elapsed, the story can’t be viewed. Also, the content shared along with the story won’t be shown on the main Instagram feed or profile grid.
Let’s check out how marketers can benefit from this interesting, new feature of Instagram.
How Does This Feature Work?
Over the last few weeks, Instagram Stories have become available on Android and iOS platforms. You can access the Instagram Stories as a bar present at the top of your feed.
From your favorite popular Instagram accounts to your best friends, everyone can share stories, and when there is any new story to see, a colorful ring will appear on the profile photo. To view the story, you must click on the profile snap.
Benefits For Instagram
• An Increase In The Number Of Shares
In 2010 when Instagram jumped on the scene, its prominent feature was to turn average Smartphone pictures into professional ones. And this was possible due to the presence of innumerable editing and filter tools.
However, from 2013-2015, there was a steep decline in the number of Instagram posts of users. All because of Snapchat, which hit about 10 billion daily video views each day.
With Instagram Stories, individuals and brands can post without worrying about people’s feeds. As per the company, you can share and post as much as you like in a day and infuse a lot of creativity.
• Focus On Messaging
Since there is a considerable increase in the number of messaging platforms in recent years and the number of users using them (approximately 1 billion users), Instagram was falling out of the race.
With the Stories update, Instagram has moved into the messaging space. It has the potential to become an avenue where one can not only share interesting moments but also discuss them.
How can Instagram Stories Be Used By Brands?
1) Brief View Of Behind The Scenes Content
As Instagram feed has become an avenue for pre-produced and polished videos and photos, Stories can be the best means to add authenticity to the content appearing in your feed.
Using Instagram Stories, brands can take their followers on a journey and depict the story behind their posts. This method can be used by brands of various industries and sizes.
2) Best Way To Beat Algorithms
Recently, Instagram added a Facebook-like algorithm. This was done to filter its feed and display to the users the posts that they are interested in. Now there is no guarantee if Instagram will display all the stories in chronological order or follow the algorithm.
However, stories are the best means for the brand to stay top-of–mind, irrespective of whether the content is at the top of the feed or not.
Takeovers have become a huge hit for brands using Snapchat. If you aren’t aware of how it works, it is simple. Here one brand will take over another brand’s Snapchat account for a period of time and start sharing content. Now with Instagram stories, brands can easily collaborate with other influencers and brands.
4) Increase In One-To-One Communication
Initially, when social media hit the mainstream, a lot of buzz and hype revolved around interacting directly with brands and celebrities. With Instagram stories, brands get the chance to go back to the roots of social media where it can engage with followers on a one-to-one basis.
5) Live Content
Currently, there is an enormous amount of excitement around live videos. Instagram Stories can provide brands a method to create live video content. No doubt, live videos are quite engaging.
Instagram Stories cannot provide uninterrupted and long broadcasts similar to Periscope and Facebook Live. However, it can allow brands to make their Instagram accounts more interactive.
This is indeed a huge move from Instagram and something which could lift the platform. Snapchat already proved that there is a huge market for sharing the everyday moments of one’s life. If Instagram can make its Stories feature work alongside with its other offerings, then this could be one of Instagram's biggest updates yet!
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Susan Smith is a writer at (@IdigicNet) who mostly handles content related to social media marketing and using the social media platform to leverage brand awareness.