You may be wondering how the disappearing nature of Instagram stories is helpful to our inbound marketing strategy. But along with this sense of impermanence comes increased communication, humanisation and engagement, all of which is great for inbound.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years, you’re probably aware that Instagram introduced a ‘story’ feature to their platform back in late 2016. Now an integral part of the app, it allows users to share photos and videos with their followers for a limited lifespan of 24 hours. Sound familiar? That's probably because temporary multi-media is nothing new, in fact Snapchat initially pioneered the model in 2011. However, statistics show that Instagram stories consistently outperform Snapchat stories, with IG boasting 300 million daily users in comparison to Snapchat's 191 million. And as for Facebook stories? Well, let's not talk about Facebook stories.
Still want to know more? Here are three reasons we use Instagram stories in our inbound marketing strategy...
#1 It humanises our brand
First and foremost, Instagram stories help to humanise the Six & Flow brand. A fundamental aim of our inbound marketing strategy is to make the business more approachable and engaging, thus attracting leads.
We do this through our daily ‘#insidesix’ videos, in which myself and Rose take it in turns to chat with a different member of the S&F team. As i’m sure you're aware, when you're working in an agency, no two days are the same. So it follows that no two #insidesix’s are the same either. We like to switch it up, some days taking a more formal approach by asking about current projects or opinions on recent tech news, and other days having a giggle about something funny that's happened in the office.
I’ll be honest, not much planning goes into these little videos, and we try to get them filmed in one take using our iPhones with no extra lighting or sound equipment. Despite this impromptu methodology though, the #insidesix video series works really well for us. In the age of social media, it's easy to fall victim to the immense pressure to be ‘perfect’. Our #insidesix videos therefore give followers a break from the permanent content you will find on our regular feed, which is much more curated and meticulous. They also convey our messages in a more casual manner, which allows us to show our authenticity and personality.
And it's not just us loving the #insidesix videos! During our recruitment process we ask candidates why they want to work with us, and they often mention our company culture, (as viewed through our Instagram stories).
#2 It encourages communication
Instagram stories encourage communication with both potential and current prospects. In the context of an inbound marketing strategy, this means that content can help with attracting and delighting customers.
The limited lifespan of the stories creates a sense of immediacy, and viewers are aware that content is only short. As a result, they often pay more attention than they would usually give to your timeline.
Naturally, if someone is paying more attention to what you're saying, they are more likely to engage and ask questions. But unlike other platforms, users cannot like or comment on a story. Instead, users can send a private message to the account owner. In fact, statistics show that around 1 in 5 Instagram stories leads to a direct message. This speaks for itself really.
Someone sliding into your DMs is a brilliant opportunity to get chatting with them, find out what they are looking for and explain how you can help. All in a more natural way than pushy, in-your-face traditional marketing. This goes to explain why within the next few years Instagram stories are set to take over and be the main feature of the app, instead of the square posts we all know and love.
#3 It goes hand in hand with engagement
Last but not least, Instagram stories go hand in hand with engagement. As a platform, Instagram lacks the politics of Facebook and the cynicism of Twitter, which encourages people to have fun with it.
The story feature allows you to really customise your media by adding filters, emojis, text, gifs, stickers and loads more, which goes to show that stories aren't meant to be taken too seriously. For this reason, viewers are more likely to get involved and engage with your stories, because they know they're only lighthearted and don't require a lot of brain power.
Furthermore, Instagram are constantly updating stories and adding new features to it. In recent months they have created story polls and questions, both interactive features which encourage user engagement. Combined with the impermanent nature of stories, the fun also helps to create a sense of exclusivity. Because the content doesn't stay on your feed forever, audiences are eager to avoid the fear of missing out, which again encourages them to get involved.
Finally, Instagram also allows you to see who has viewed your story which, in combination with the platform's normal insights, can provide valuable information about your audience. This can be used to see what your audience enjoy, allowing you to create better stories for them in the future!
If you're in need of an inbound marketing strategy that utilises Instagram and other social media platforms to your benefit, we're the best people for the job. Get in touch to find out help we can help!