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Instagram has really caused a big buzz over the last few years. In under 10 years, it has fast eclipsed some of the more established channels and wracked up over a billion users.
The graphic from Statista below shows you the meteoric rise of the channel.
Instagram now stands as the third most popular social media site, so it’s no surprise that marketers find it as one of the most exciting channels.
Is it worth the hype? Well, actually, it can be. Instagram users tend to engage more and spend a reasonable amount of time on the channel.
Instagram also offers simple and easy to use features that marketers can turn to their advantage. The Instagram Stories feature is the one that we’ll be focusing on in this post.
Why the Instagram Stories Feature?
In 2018, Instagram had 1 billion daily active Stories users worldwide. That should be enough for you to implement a proper strategy.
It offers you the opportunity to post a short video. If you’re filming it beforehand, you have 15 seconds.
Now that isn’t a lot of time, but the channel allows you to post as many of these videos as you like.
So if you film a longer segment, all you need to do is to find an app to break it up into shorter bits.
The alternative is to do a live shoot. If you’re posting live, your video can be up to an hour long.
Live videos are a little scary, but if they’re planned well, there is no reason why you can’t pull them off.
Some types of videos would do better as a live shoot anyway. Let’s say, for example, that you shot a behind-the-scenes video at your office.
This would be fun as a live shoot so people can see exactly what goes on.
How Do I Get Any Message Across in 15 Seconds?
Let’s say you’re not quite ready to shoot a live video yet; there’s nothing wrong with sticking to the 15-second one.
It’s going to require some careful planning to get it right, but there’s a lot you can do to get maximum impact from each video.
Make a Plan
You could just shoot from the hip, but planning will get you a lot further. Decide what the main message you want to get across is.
You can choose one message per video so make it count. Create a script and do a couple of dry runs so that the actual video will work.
You don’t have time to fuss around with intros – get to the message straight away.
Establish Your Brand Identity
Make sure that your logo is prominently displayed in each video. That way, you can skip the “I’m Sam from ABC Company.”
That saves you time but still makes it possible for your audience to see which company they are dealing with.
Choose One Topic
You don’t have time to incorporate clever sub-themes or extra topics.
If you have a lot you want to cover, either consider posting a live video or creating a new video for each topic.
Your Video Should Make Sense with No Sound
Try and think of ways to get the message across to those who don’t listen to the videos with the sound on.
If that’s not possible for you, then make sure that you ask viewers to turn on the sound through using text or a sticker.
Sound and Video Quality Must be Good
If you are incorporating sound, make sure that it is a high-quality recording.
It should be clear of static, background noise, and if there’s music, it shouldn’t drown out any talking.
This is a Great Exercise
Marketing messages these days need to be short and sweet. Filming your 15-second message will help you highlight what the most important topic is.
Think of it as an elevator pitch for social media. You want to impress fast and practicing this will make all the difference.
What Should the Videos Be About?
The marketer in you probably thinks that they should be about your product, how great your company is, or why people should trust your company.
We’re going to let you in on a little secret – most of your audience are not all that interested.
Sure, they’re going to want to see information about your products occasionally. They might find the odd behind-the-scenes video interesting.
For the most part, though, they want something that will inform or entertain them.
Using your Instagram Stories purely as a way of plugging your products is not going to win you many admirers.
It’s best to remember the basic 80/20 rule here – eight pieces of informative content that have nothing to do with selling and two pieces of sales content.
That’s not to say that you cannot use product placement in the non-sales videos, only that those videos must offer something of value to your audience as well.
Want some ideas to get started? The infographic below has some case studies of how big brands have been using Instagram Stories.
Let’s go through a few more simple ideas that you could start with now.
This could be a video that introduces some of the back-office staff that clients never actually see.
It could also be something that shows how you put the finishing touches on a product.
Use your imagination – you don’t want to give away trade secrets, but you do want to produce something interesting.
What about running a short series of interviews with interesting people in the area?
Maybe compile a list of top tips from successful business people or people within a certain industry.
Each person can contribute one tip. This could also be a way to stretch out content.
Ask a series of questions and then cut the footage. It could start with the top 10 tips for growing your nails, sourced from beauticians in the area.
Get the beauticians to talk about other beauty or health tips as well. That way, you have loads of footage to work with and create content from.
You don’t need to publish the interview in its entirety.
Tutorials and DIY videos are always popular. It’s even better if you can use your products while filming them.
But don’t think that this always needs to include your products. Start off with product tutorials, but branch out to other DIYs your audience would be interested in.
That way, you make your channel a useful resource that they visit often. You also increase the chances of them watching those two sales videos.
Anything of Value to Your Audience
What burning questions does your audience have? Who are they? What things do they like?
What do they want to learn more about? How can you help them reach their goals? Think along these lines when deciding what to film next.
And if you’re still not sure, why not ask them what they’d like to see more of?
If you don’t want to go that route, consider cyberstalking them (not in a creepy way) to see what they are watching and interested in at this time.
When using Instagram Stories, think in terms of creating a valuable resource for your audience.
The more interesting the content is, the more likely they are to share it. It’s the best way to build your Instagram account.