When the “Instagram Stories” feature was launched, a new door was opened for marketers everywhere. And, it seems the idea has caught on since more and more brands are using it with great results.
With this article, I will pinpoint why publishing on Instagram stories is a good choice, why they’re different from other strategies and I will also present some examples of success stories.
Let’s move on to our topic now, one step at a time:
Traditional marketing versus Instagram
We know for a fact that traditional marketing is quite expensive. In the past, you had to create content, edit pages, print your brochures and flyers and pay for their distribution. The same cost is incurred with television and radio spots, magazine inserts and other types of marketing materials. You needed huge marketing budgets only to deliver adverts that were intrusive and as a consequence, the impact on your targeted audience was limited.
The internet and social media changed the rules of the game. The Internet opened the door to a free content delivery system and thus, marketing entered a new era. Content marketing strategies proved to be more effective and came at lower costs for marketers.
Sure, there are many ways to conduct traditional marketing on the Internet. But there are also free content delivery systems and they help the marketer a lot. Then social media came, with all its new opportunities for multimedia content creation and delivery. Due to the fact that people are mostly visual creatures, social media proved to be one of the best content delivery platforms available to today’s marketers.
What makes Instagram different however is that it’s proven to be effective even for traditional, paid advertising. Why? Well, the answer is easy. Instagram ads are not intrusive. They look the same as regular posts. Instagram makes it very easy to disguise a paid advertising banner as long as the post is either informative or entertaining for the audience. Hence, the great results Instagram delivers when it comes to ads and marketing.
Traditional marketing versus Instagram stories
Now that we’ve acknowledged the difference between traditional marketing and Instagram, we should understand what Instagram stories are and how they changed how marketers communicate information to the audience.
Until Instagram Story was launched, what marketers published was definitive. Once you publish content on the web, you can’t delete it. It’s there to stay and this is why you have to be very careful what you write and what pictures you choose for your social media accounts. When SnapChat was released, people embraced this new concept. Posts or messages that erased by themselves after a short period of time. Who would have thought that such an idea will catch on? Well, it did. Moreover, people found it to be entertaining and it kept them engaged and curious at the same time.
The same thing happened when Facebook copied the SnapChat idea, developed it further and adapted to the Instagram feed. There are more than 200 million active users using Stories on Instagram and this is only the beginning.
How is this good or at least different in a marketer’s perspective?
Well, as I have already said, up until recently, everything a marketer used to post online was definitive. With Instagram Stories, however, you have the liberty to post content that will disappear automatically after 24 hours. This short lifespan, however improbable, engages people and makes them curious. At the same time, it allows the marketer to share information in a more authentic way, that for the long term, can become addictive to the audience.
You have to watch the story in order to receive the message. Otherwise, it will not be available. This fact only makes us want to see and follow what specific brands post on Instagram and therefore, makes the strategy relevant and successful.
How to design and launch ads on Instagram Stories?
There are many professional tools able to help you design your best ads and images for Instagram. Take for example Photoshop or the entire Adobe Suite. If you are not a designer, however, I would recommend you something free and easy to use, an online professional tool such as Bannersnack. I’ve used it on numerous occasions with great success.
You will find all the tools and templates you require for a great Instagram story. All you need is some inspiration and of course, something great to advertise or market to your audience.
Examples of how Instagram stories can be used as a marketing tool
Instagram stories can prove to be a great tool if you want to promote your podcasts, blog posts, videos, specific products, sales, promotions, contests or brands on Instagram. Let’s see some great examples coming from different brands that were able to create a successful campaign by using this Instagram feature:
Moen – traditional products advertisement
My first example comes from Moen, one of the lead faucet brands in America. Nobody would have expected from them a creative social media campaign, neither a successful Instagram
Story campaign. However, they did manage to rise above expectations and they came up with this:
According to Instagram’s blog, “this resulted in 45% more impressions and a fresh, new way for the brand to create engaging content more quickly and efficiently”.
Pacific Northwest Wonderland – limited time promotion
They used the Story feature in order to convince their audience to click on their bio link for a limited time promotion. This kind of strategy may also prove to be successful as people like promotions and through Instagram Stories, you can ensure that they follow your brand’s story in order to get to them.
E! News – best headlines from a magazine
Let’s take a look at another example. This time, we are looking at a content marketing strategy. There are no products to advertise here, nor promotions to attract. What E! News tries t market through Instagram Stories is a series of headlines taken from their magazine.
J Crew – exclusive offer of a new product
Do you have a new product and want it to be presented to your audience? Why not do it through Instagram Stories? Take the example of J Crew and their exclusive offer of their new sunglasses through Instagram.
Pay attention to all these images as this is a great example of a creative campaign which I am sure will inspire many other marketers who are preparing similar campaigns.
Maybelline New York – new products through influencers
For this campaign, Maybelline used for their Story two of the most reputable makeup artists on Instagram, Shaya Mitchell, and Manny Gutierez. This is also a great strategy since the face of an influencer sells always better than a simple image of a product. The products they marketed there were a new line of Mascaras.
Maybelline products are also marketed on YouTube through a video clip that as of September 2017 has been viewed by more than 8 million people.
What can we learn from these examples?
Instagram is probably the best marketing social media platform. But at the same time, we have learned that it can be more than a simple image directory. Through Instagram stories, marketers are able now to experiment with a new type of content and this can only be viewed as a good thing since every new content delivery system ads new possibilities to the brands and the users as well. Before concluding this article, let’s list some of the most important things we can learn from the above examples and from Instagram advertising as well:
- Trying a new marketing strategy is always a good choice especially when you already know that people are digging it.
- One or more influencers featured in your story may help you build trust with your customers and make your products more visible. (see Maybelline)
- It doesn’t matter what you sell as long as you are able to put together a creative campaign and a shareable story. (see Moen)
- Instagram stories may help your market your own stories. (see E! News)
- As long as your audience knows that your stories will be available for a short period of time, they will be more inclined to view them, share them and engage with your brand.
- Instagram Stories, is a great way to market special offers or limited time offers since the photos are being deleted after 24 hours. (see J Crew and Pacific Northwest Wonderland)
- Effortless creation. Normal Instagram posts require time to be created, designed, conceptualized. Nobody expects you to spend long hours creating content that disappears after a short period of time. All you need is an interesting idea and some creativity.
As a marketer, you should always pay attention to everything that happens in social media. At least to try all the new channels of content distribution that are made available online. Instagram stories is not a new feature, there are already millions of people using it. However, when it comes to marketing, it is the latest trend and by presenting five of the best success stories of the last few months I hope I managed to make a good point and maybe even convince you to try this feature.
What do you think about Instagram stories as a marketer? Did you try using it as a marketing tool? Do you know other success stories you could share with us?