If you are alive and have a smartphone (read: everyone) then you probably already know that Instagram rolled out their “Stories” feature in August as a way to compete with their growing competitor, Snapchat. By rolling out this easy to use feature, natively on the already popular Instagram platform, they took an increasingly growing and popular format (short term “must see” disappearing content) and served it up in a seamless way (via Instagram’s app already on most users phones).
Facebook has historically either purchased their growing competitors (i.e. Instagram) or outflanked them and beat them at their own game (Facebook Live > Periscope and now Stories >Snapchat). Many influencers jumped right in, as did some major brands. Over the past couple of weeks smaller brands have dabbled, including us on some of our client accounts. Our approach (as it always is with these things) was to sit, watch and consume both content put out by brands AND the many articles written about the topic in the past three weeks before we jumped in with a recommendation for our clients. Now that we have done that and a new month and a new season is afoot, here it is.
We think Instagram stories are great for offering up context as opposed to content. Whereas we are big believers in using Facebook and Instagram proper for staging attractive looking content that stands out and is appealing visually, with stories we are much more about “documenting rather than creating”. So it should feel raw and semi abstract. Less structured, no edits and just real deal storytelling about what the brand is up to.
For now it is a great way to document the how, why, where and even the who, behind the what. Some ideas:
1) Give followers more context into who you are and what your personalities are about? Are you fun? Do you clown around? Do you like dogs? Do you like memes?
2) Document growth and inertia. Palettes of product going out? Perhaps a shipment headed to a customer, a blogger or model visit to the studio etc.
3) Celebrate your fans, followers and even retail partners. Have some fan photos queued up on a screen and create a story saying “we see you @ABC and @DEF and @RST and we appreciate you!” OR go to some of your retailers and shoot on location!
4) Show off product being eaten in the office? Create a story about the making of the product. Show off your point of sale displays, so perhaps people recognize them when they see them in a store. Give an inside look into your warehouse or studio filled with product, or even your production line etc.
5) Show off ingredients and/or USP’s with quick story clips. What is in it and/or what makes it different? Tell the followers first hand without the need for a fully stylized video shoot!
In the end of the day, be fun and whimsical. Don’t feel the need to stage, light or refine. Experiment and remember, it doesn’t last an eternity. So take some risks and be a bit more carefree and real. Instagram could be your buttoned up self at work, but Instagram stories can be you at home in sweats and a scrunchie. Got it?