This inspiring talk took us through the importance of using Instagram stories and how video is taking over social media and indeed the newsfeed!
Originally inspired by snapchat, (that favorite social media platform and longtime obsession of millennials and now Generation Z) Instagram stories have taken off in a big way.
Never before has there been such a dramatic shift in the way we use Instagram, moving away from the perfect (and often unrealistic) images from our newsfeeds / Instagram walls to a more honest and instant form of video and interactive content, that grabs peoples attention and is more than just a selfie.
Like snapchat these images & one-minute vids disappear after 24 hours with the opportunity to save your favorite stories in Instagram Highlights and save longer videos in IGTV.
So, why should we all get involved with Instagram stories? What makes it different from a newsfeed and why is it so important to get involved right now?
Well, studies have found that the next generation, known as Generation Z (basically anyone born between 1995-2010) are using stories over newsfeeds, and are the very audience you will be wanting to attract in the very near future.
Why are Generation Z so important to the change?
For starters 98% of them have a phone of which 40% are addicted to their phones and 80% claim to be distressed without it.
Anyone who is a parent to a Generation Z kid knows that they love watching videos on their phones and this may or may not shock you to know that they are connected for 10 hours a day and can stream over 23 hours of video a week!
Still unsure video stories are the way to go?
According to Social Life, there are now over 400 million Instagram story users (that’s 80% of all users) compared to 191 million stories users on snapchat, with Facebook stories catching up with 150 million stories users. Interestingly only 10% of Facebook users are using stories, possibly linked to Facebook’s older demographic – come on whose Mum and Nan, isn’t on Facebook these days?.
The main thing that has made video Stories so popular and a separate entity from YouTube is that stories are filmed using a phone vertically (not horizontally) Gen Z are not interested in having to turn their phones sideways to view a video, they want instant results and, like snapchat, Instagram stories and IGTV have adapted to being used in this, more practical and natural, way.
How can Instagram stories help build your business?
You may be interested to hear that 1 in 5 stories gets a direct message and 1/3 of all stories viewed on Instagram come from business accounts. This is good news and a big reason why you should be using Instagram stories now!
The amount of video stories being used in sponsored ads has also been rising over the past few years too, even more reason to save your stories and reuse them to attract new followers and most importantly new customers!
What is so great about content that is so short-lived?
These quick glimpses into what is happening with your business, as it happens, recreates the feeling of a natural conversation, like catching a fleeting moment in your day; this intrigues people and draws them to your brand.
A video seems truer and more honest than a staged and perfected newsfeed post. Stories don’t have to be perfect, which puts less pressure on users too, moving away from the fakeness and need for perfection, that has clouded Instagram for too long.
The filters are still there for those of you who think that having an angelic rabbit face may endure users to your brand but it less about the filters now and more about using your own imagination to create content!
It may interest you to know that Gen Z users are on Instagram to have fun, not to make friends, they are not trying to impress anybody, they just want to be entertained and meet like-minded users. The whole ‘how many followers do you have?’ obsession could finally become a thing of the past. Which can only be a positive thing!
Gen Z are not direct messaging each other to ask about their day, they use DM to share video links and content. Most people use their phones to fill up spare time, browsing through newsfeeds, but Gen Z are there for the entertaining, and often funny, content.
They have grown up with social media and fully understand branding marketing, it doesn’t bother them, but it needs to be fun, interactive and rewarding to get them interested.
So, how can we make our stories more interactive and fun?
Social Life recommend AMA (Ask Me Anything) live stories that features a team member or indeed a character (for those feeling creative) who are available to answer questions live in a group video chat, that any user can join. Once set up this is easy to run as the audience leads the conversation and everyone actively engages in the Q&A with like-minded people, who can leave the conversation whenever they wish.
For the more creative among us who have the resources and talent to take things further you can use the different options within stories to create polls and games for your stories with fun graphics and films.
We recommend experimenting with the different tools to get you started. See what works for your brand and have a look at what other users are doing in their stories and get inspired! The ideas for games and interactive content are limitless!
Another great and easy interactive tip from Social Life is to create fun wallpapers that users can save to their phone, just add them to your stories and your users can screen shot your amazing designs (that might also have your logo on it somewhere….).
It looks like Instagram stories are here to stay, you can make your stories unique to your brand, whilst attracting new followers, all you need is a little imagination and a penchant for fun!
Check out Social Life’s recommended Instagram Stories for some inspo and make stories work for you!
The New York Public Library @nypl
Pablo Rochat @pablo.rochat
National Geographic @natgeo
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