Launched in the fall of 2016, Instagram introduced their brand new feature – Instagram Stories to all users. Since then, the number of users on Stories has been exponentially increasing. There are currently over 250 million people using Stories on a daily basis. Features on Stories have been dubbed similar to Snapchat’s My Story feature. However, as compared to Snapchat, users have expressed better user experience on Instagram’s platform. With a large number of users viewing through Stories daily, it is no doubt businesses are increasingly turning to Stories as a platform to share marketing content.
Functions of Instagram Stories and how to use
Instagram Stories contains many interactive features but in this article, we will discuss 3 of the more useful features when it comes to social media marketing.
#1: Instagram Stories Live
This feature will allow you to go live with your followers and allows them to interact with you through comments. To use it, open your Stories camera and choose the Live option. Once you go live, a Live tag will pop up on your Stories bubble, hence alerting your followers. Instagram Stories Live will also allow you to keep your live video for 24 hours – as with all other Stories post. Viewers who may have missed the live video can still catch it within 24 hours.
Fans of Instagram would remember 3rd October 2017 as the day the company introduced a brand new feature to Stories. The interactive poll sticker in Stories has ever since revolutionized the way people interacted with their followers through Instagram Stories. Users could select the Poll sticker and place it on their photo or video. They have the freedom to customize their stickers and results are viewed by opening the viewers list. You will be able to see how many votes each option received, as well as who voted for which option.
One major downside of Stories is the fact that each post would only last 24 hours. Addressing that, Instagram introduced Stories Highlights to allow users to keep their posts on Stories for more than 24 hours. You could even categories these posts based on your preference. To save your stories as Highlights, head over to your profile and you will find a section below your bio. Tap the “New” circle at the far left and choose the stories you would like to save from your archive.
Some Instagram Story ideas used previously
Many individuals and businesses have utilized Instagram Story features to either market their products or interact with their followers.
Here are some of our favourite use of Instagram Story:
Xiaxue’s use of poll to let followers control her life for a day
In episode 216 of Xiaxue’s vlog series titled “Xiaxue’s Guide To Life”, local influencers Xiaxue, utilized the poll feature on Instagram and allowed her followers to make decisions on her behalf. From the choice of clothes to the choice of her next meal, followers had the freedom to decide.
This, to us, was a brilliant idea in engaging people and it allows a deeper understanding of the audience’s perception. Brands could utilize this function to understand what consumers may be looking for and it provides an alternative to the customary method of collecting consumer’s preferences via paper surveys.
Online fashion retailer The Closet Lover’s Instagram Highlights
Fans of The Closet Lover (TCL) would be ecstatic to discover an array of fashion content on TCL’s Instagram page.
These contents have been neatly organised into various categories and have been made easier for followers or ‘social media passer-by’ to find out more about TCL’s latest activity, their fashion advice and many more. By archiving their stories in highlights, TCL would be able to reach out to future new followers.
This feature could be neatly tied in with a separate feature provided by Stories – the inclusion of a link in a story. In the past, businesses were restricted on Instagram and only one link can be posted, which appears only in their bio. With this two features working hand in hand, potential customers could view these highlights and if it interests them, they could visit the link simply by swiping the story up.
We could guess by now one major limitation many would face when using Instagram Stories – its nature only allows a post to appear for 24 hours. However, businesses who place their operations on social media will still benefit from the highlights feature. We feel that if a business could properly utilize Highlights, they may start to observe an increase in conversion as traffic increases. TCL cleverly maximised the highlights function by archiving their styling tips, hence treating fans and followers to a free e-magazine.
Future of social media marketing
The future of social media marketing is bright and Instagram will continue introducing new features in the years to come. Such features, when used appropriately, could express a company’s creativity in doing business. While we have discussed only 2 examples used by individuals and companies, we have only just scratched the surface. Businesses – both clients and marketing agency – can consider and explore ways to use these features in articulating their messages across even more effectively. We may witness a possible shift towards greater use of Stories to do business in the years to come.