Instagram Stories – How Brand Influencers are Rocking This Medium
Instagram has always been a place for wonderful photos. And it has been a place where a lot of brands have witnessed amazing growth. Just ask Nathan Chan, founder of Foundr Magazine, an online publication for startup entrepreneurs. He began a campaign to spread his brand, with combinations of amazing photos and inspirational quotes. Within three months, he had 10K followers, and his business has grown exponentially. He has become a major influencer in entrepreneurship.
In August 2016, Instagram launched “Instagram Stories” in an effort to compete with the growing popularity of Snapchat. Instagram Stories allows account holders to post photos and videos that, like with Snapchat, disappear in 24 hours. They can be funny, a bit weird, and un-staged. This is all great fun, but the cool thing is that influencer marketers can use Stories to supplement their regular accounts and further engage their current followers. And when these followers respond with text-type messages, and stories are shared, the brand spreads to a wider audience.
While Instagram may be primarily “staged” visuals, Stories is the opposite. This is the place where brands can “let their hair down,” post photos with captions and marker drawings, and establish a more personal and informal relationship with their audience.
Some Examples of Brands/Influencers Who Are Rocking it
One of the big draws of Instagram Stories is that it continues to add new features which brands and influencers find attractive. Live video and the ability to offer external links to fans are just two of them, not to mention the conversation features.
And it’s obviously working. The audience for Instagram Stories is now 500 million. And because storytelling has always been a key marketing tool, the ability to tell these stories through visual means is particularly appealing. Brand marketers and influencers have taken notice of Instagram Stories and are flocking to it as an engaging marketing tool.
Here are some great examples of influencers and brands that are using Instagram Stories to connect with and add to their followers.
1. Alex Crockford – Getting More Personal
Alex is a UK fitness guru and model with 147,000+ followers on Instagram. He has built that following quite quickly, and his regular Instagram account houses primarily professional photos. He has used his popularity to market a brand of online training, called Crockfit. He states that he also moved to Instagram Stories, because it is more casual, and less informal photos can be more personal in building relationships with followers.
Brands and influencers who have reputations as providers and/or supporters of products or services often show their “formal” face on their websites and in their blogs. But they understand the importance of establishing relationships with customers and followers. Most already do this through other social media outlets, but Instagram Stories allows little snippets of personal stories that are short-lived, in the moment “snapshot views.”
2. Huffington Post – A Theme
Some brands choose to use Insta Stories to develop a theme through a series of impromptu & casual photos. This can be quite effective, by adding text and drawings, it enhances the effect. Here are some Huffington Post stories from a few years ago.
Take a look at what you have. Are there “back-story” photos that tell a story? Photos that, if you add a catchy caption or marker, could provide interest, intrigue, or humor?
3. ModCloth – User-Generated Content is “Gold”
Many brands solicit user content, and not in the form of testimonials. They often ask for photos and/or videos of customers using their products. These are great, informal, unstaged visuals and provide a “stories” for Instagram. Or, brands can use their own staff/team members in the same capacity.
4. TechCrunch – Using Stories for News and Events
If you have an event or a news item that would be of interest to followers, Instagram stories is a way to publicize it. TechCrunch makes use of this often:
And using humor can add to your reach, if it is used often, and followers return to see what you have added – everyone likes a laugh. Here’s a bit of a pun on Bitcoin.
When you have events or something news-related to your niche, consider publishing an Instagram story about it. Yes, it’s only there for 24 hours, but there is still a reach to your followers who may wish to share that news with others.
5. Huda Kattan – Swipeable Links to a Blog
Huda Kattan began her career as a beauty blogger and developed a huge following – so much so that she ultimately founded her own makeup business – Huda Beauty. She uses Instagram Stories (she has almost 24 million Instagram followers) to engage followers with short beauty tips, informal shots of herself in her daily life, and adds links to her blog posts on the same topic.
While Instagram stories are only 24 hours in length (although they are now archivable), if you can generate enough interest and provide a Swipeable link (or link in your bio), you can drive viewers to your website or bog and then engage them in conversations/discussions.
6. Logan Paul – Steady Video Streams
Logan Paul is a vlogger known for lots of outrageous content (he once faked his own death) and has become a huge presence on Vine and YouTube. He has gone to Instagram Stories to give his fans a continual array of videos – original music, comedy/humor, and promotion of upcoming acting projects.
7. Chris Burkard – Going Behind the Scenes
Burkard is an amazing photographer with a substantial following on Instagram (about 2 million). He posts on Instagram stories to share his personal travels and adventures with his fans.
You and your team may not have outdoor adventures, but you can use Stories to show what goes on “behind the scenes” during a day at work. These are human interest tales that help establish personal relationships with followers. And the more interesting, humorous, or inspiring they can be, the more they will be shared.
8. Lele Pons – Collaboration with Other Influencers/Brands
Lele Pons is a Venezuelan-American comedian who creates hilarious skits, and, like many other comedians, began her career on Vine. She has moved to Instagram Stories with original skits that she creates with other comedy influencers – Hannah Stocking, Juanpa Zurita, and others. This expands her reach because followers of these collaborators want to see their favorites too.
Pons currently has about 21 million followers. She is also the owner of the 2017 award for the most-watched Instagram stories.
If you can team up with other related brands and collaborate to create Stories, you have the opportunity to increase your following.
9. Going Global
No, this is not an influencer, but it is an important tip for brands and influencers who want to expand their following beyond the U.S. borders or who want to appeal to the variety of foreign language-speaking audiences.
Because Instagram relies on photos and videos and very little text, it is an easy move to post Instagram Stories in several languages. And there is any number of professional translation services online that will provide both professional translation and proofreading service. Going beyond that, once you have grown a large foreign following, you can use website localization service that online translation services also provide. Using Instagram Stories with their simplicity is a great place to begin to build a global audience.
In terms of social media platforms, Instagram Stories is definitely a “new kid on the block.” But it has made quite a splash with over 150 million daily viewers, surpassing Snapchat by 28%. Influencers are clearly flocking to it to expand their reaches. Content marketers would do well to follow suit.
We hope you enjoyed the promoted post as much as we did!