How Instagram Stories are Revolutionizing Marketing
Instagram Stories are a great way to share a moment and give people the chance to be a part of the story. Instagram Stories are pics and videos stick around for 24 hours, and then … goodbye. You had to be there. In the moment. That is, unless they’re added to the highlight reel, but who remembers to do that?
“So … so ... it’s like Snapchat?” Yeah, sure, it’s like Snapchat. Sorta. Your content only lasts a limited period of time. BUT before you yawn and go back to crunching your pita chips and watching Stranger Things again, hear me out. Instagram Stories are changing what it means to market in the 21st century.
This is all part of a larger movement known as ephemeral marketing.
“Ephemeral” just means “lasting a short time.” Sounds like the opposite of what we want from marketing, right? We think the longer content is in front of a potential customer, the better. However, there is another side to the story. If something is always available … it’s not exactly special. But if the window of experience is limited … you have my attention. If McDonald’s Shamrock Shake was always available, do you think it would be a bestseller? Nah. But for a few weeks it’s all that.
It’s the moment. The limited opportunity. You have to be there. And that is a powerful influence. If you missed it, you missed out.
Ephemeral marketing plays on FOMO - fear of missing out. It’s a pervasive human experience, but social media makes it go nuclear. More than ever before we have the ability to know what we are missing, and we don’t like it. FOMO has been called the single most important driver of Millennials’ consumption decisions.
Marketers have known about the fear of missing out for ages. A jewelry store not far from my hometown ran a “going out of business sale” … for four years. And when the sale finally ended, they stayed in business. I guess some good ol’ FOMO worked well enough for the business to rebound!
The fear of missing out has a positive side - it cultivates urgency and exclusivity. This is especially true when it comes to experiences. And for the first time in a long time, we are marketing to a generation that values experiences more than stuff.
Instagram Stories are a perfect, perennial platform for tapping into the attraction of the exclusive experience. They feel much more like the real life “you had to be there” moment.
Over-polished and over-produced is simply overdone. Remember that kid who tried way too hard to be cool? (Okay, that was me …) Nobody thought he was cool. Not even his mom.
Instagram Stories feel a lot more real and natural and genuine. Not trying too hard. More relatable. More authentic. The undersell. Not slick marketing, but a shared moment. The experience you didn’t expect, but won’t forget. It’s kind of like unexpectedly bumping into your favorite actor, and finding out he is actually a super decent, normal guy, and loving him more for it. (Dwayne Johnson, I’ve got my fingers crossed, bro ...)
You want people to have that kind of experience with your brand. You want them to meet your brand in the real world and find out it is the real deal. These days, that is probably not going to happen using slick and over-produced marketing efforts. People see through that. It feels fake. Contrived. You see, it’s that real life, in the moment, you had to be there, the-Rock-came-through-the-McDonalds-drive-thru-and-he-was-super-cool encounter where the true magic takes place.
That’s the potential of Instagram Stories. Instagram has something in the neighborhood of a billion users. Yeah. A billion. And 400 million of them are using Instagram Stories daily. This ain’t small ball.
Instagram is influence. And influence means sales. Over 30% of respondents reported purchasing a product or service after seeing it in a social media influencer’s post. And nearly 80% of influencers consider Instagram their favorite social media outlet. It’s celebrity product endorsement for the modern age.
You need to learn how to get the most out of Instagram Stories, because your competitors are. You don’t want to miss out, do you? See, there’s FOMO at work again! You can start to beat back Insta-FOMO by checking out this pretty splendid tutorial.
Instagram Stories has a lot of opportunity for creativity built in. Yes, you can turn yourself into an adorable dog. But that is probably the least interesting in a vast array of features. Stickers and stop-motion, looped video, drawing, text, and a lot more.
By far the most intriguing element of Instagram Stories are the ways people can directly interact with your post. You can add polls, take surveys, and ask questions. It gives fans of your brand the chance to be a part of the story you are telling. And we love being part of a story.
The opposite of the fear of missing out is the joy of sharing the moment. The JOSM. Hmm. Not sure that acronym will catch on, but all the same, it’s true. With Instagram Stories, people can do more than witness the moment … they can take part in it.
Instagram Stories are revolutionizing marketing. It’s already happening. And I am excited to see where it goes. Why not get started today and check out some guides for using Instagram Stories for your business? There are a lot of good tutorials out there, like this one.
Go create an ephemeral, have-to-be-there moment that people can share. Show people that your brand isn’t just another slick attempt to make a buck. Show them you are real. Let them see your heart. Let them take part in your story. And use Instagram Stories to make that possible.