Last week, Instagram launched Instagram Stories, delighting audiences and sending marketers into a dizzy. The most glaring fact about the new storyboard feature is that it’s basically Snapchat. Users can take short videos or pictures and upload them into the slideshow that’s now built into their profile. Each piece of content remains there for 24 hours unless you choose to remove it early. Technically, it’s nothing new, but it is still incredibly exciting…
Real connection: Instagram is presenting a unique opportunity to show a less polished side of life and allows you to connect with your audience in a very real way.
Authenticity: In the same way that audiences like to catch glimpses of movie stars behind the scenes or singers in their down time, they’re still interested in the every-day lives of the brands and ‘Grammers they follow.
Bigger audience: You should also consider that with 500 million monthly users and 300 million daily active users, Instagram is in a position to capitalize on the ‘stories’ feature by publishing to a much larger audience than Snapchat has.
Wider reach: Instagram has significant access to the over-25s market, providing a more varied demographic and they already have the OK from their audience to embrace branded accounts.
Simple interface: Instagram’s Stories interface is much easier to learn and use than Snapchat’s ever was and will probably ever be. This complicated platform was why non-teens were much less likely to embrace the app – something that significantly limits any brands hoping to market on Snapchat.
Increases conversion rates: If a prospective follower thinks the content you put out on your profile is decent but they aren’t sure if they want to follow you yet, Instagram Stories could be a way to convert.
While Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook audiences aren’t phased by multiple posts in one day, nothing sends an Instagram user running faster than several pictures from one account appearing in their timeline. This means that travel brands who often have a huge percentage of their audience following them on Instagram, only have one, maybe two, opportunities each day to connect with their demographic. This is a problem Instagram highlighted during their announcement: “With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about over-posting. Instead, you can share as much as you want throughout the day — with as much creativity as you want. You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools.”
While promoting the launch, Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, explains: “It basically solves a problem for all these people who want to take a ton of photos of an event or something in their lives, but want to manage what their profile looks like and not bomb feed, obviously, as that’s one of the no-nos on Instagram.” Destination marketers have just been handed an amazing opportunity.
So what can destination marketing brands do to get ahead of their competitors? First, you need to dedicate more resources to generating in-the-moment content because timeliness is key with Instagram Stories. Instead of scheduling one stylized picture a day, brands will now have to post to their storyboard a few times a day.
In addition to putting out powerful visuals on Instagram to increase reach and engagement, we have already seen our Convention and Visitors Bureau clients utilizing Instagram Stories as an extension of who they are – showing how to experience a city first hand when they come to visit.
Here are some great ways to start incorporating Stories into your content marketing plan today.
1. User generated content
Get your audience to send you in videos or have influencers take over your account for an afternoon to create content. This has been used on Twitter and Snapchat in the past with great success and Instagram is now in a great position to utilize this.
2. Interactive polls
Ask a question or request feedback through Direct Message with the ‘Send Message” feature on stories, giving your audience a more intimate connection with your brand.
Encourage viewers to enter using the ‘Send Message’ feature.
4. Local events
Concerts or festivals rarely result in the kind of beautiful photography you want to display on your profile page. You are, however, guaranteed some great videos that really highlight the atmosphere and general fun being had, which are perfect for Instagram Stories.
5. How locals live
Videos showing you walking around farmers’ markets, showcasing local vendors or strolling along the beach all show followers a little slice of life you can enjoy at a particular destination.
Use Instagram Stories to show a flyover of the city – something that’s great to watch, but isn’t typically aesthetic enough to do well on a profile.
7. Public transport
Hop on world-famous modes of public transport, like the trams in Lisbon or the trolleys in San Fran and give followers a taste of what it’s like getting from point A and point B.
8. Local food spots
Showcase favorite local spots to eat or hang out at by using Instagram Stories. Followers might not respond to a picture of your dinner or the inside of a bar, but they’ll enjoy getting a behind-the-scenes look through Instagram Stories.
9. Showcase a new or existing hotel in the area
Give guided tours of your bedroom, suite or fancy bathroom or dazzle them with a panoramic video of the view from your balcony. A great form of branded content that will work well in the storyboard.
Recycling older content was hard to do with Instagram’s traditional posting methods as profiles could look repetitive and followers felt cheated. Instagram Stories, on the other hand, is an excellent chance to get more bang for your buck. Now, you can rerun pictures that did really well in the past or chop up old videos or adverts into smaller slices.