If you're an Instagram user, you won't have failed to notice the recent update. The platform has introduced "Instagram Stories", a feature which allows users to post short videos which disappear after 24 hours. Essentially, Instagram are taking on the social media force that is Snapchat, and they're probably going to come out victorious.
Snapchat is an app which allows users to send temporary images and videos to one another, after a certain amount of time they disappear (theoretically, at least). It's a hugely popular app, especially with teenagers and millennials, and since its inception companies have been looking at ways of harnessing the platform for marketing.
The problem with Snapchat is that despite its vast popularity, it's never been much of a "social" network. Sure you can chat, and you can send pictures and videos out to all your followers, but there's no real network in the same way you have with Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. There's no "public" way to reply, which means that all conversations are strictly between two parties.
It seems as though Instagram is taking up the slack.
Instagram, which developed as simply a photograph sharing app, has been taking on the might of the other major social networks recently. Stories is the latest in a series of developments aimed at moving it away from its "photo sharing" origins. Not only is this new feature building on the ephemeral content which is very popular right now, but it allows companies to interact with their users in a brand new way. The exclusiveness and secrecy of disappearing content means you can create a much more personal connection with your customer base.
Essentially, it takes all the positives of Snapchat and promotes them in a way which is still public.
There are a huge range of uses for the new feature too: The exclusivity of a time-limited video means that competitions or offers are a great thing to share, as are behind the scenes clips of your business. Additionally, it's a great way to test out new marketing ideas, if people don't react well then you can cut your losses, if your video's particularly popular you can continue producing more of the same.
Plus, it could be a way of beating any algorithmic changes to the Instagram newsfeed. Attempting to get your posts seen on Facebook is an uphill struggle, their algorithm favours content from real people rather than companies. If Instagram attempted something similar, Stories (which feature at the top of the feed) are a good way to counter this.
The platform also allows you to post your Stories as regular posts, preserving them for your users if they were particularly successful.
With all this in mind, it seems likely that Instagram is going to continue to grow in strength and popularity, so companies need to move quickly to harness the platform.
Speak to BeeLiked about our social media campaigns, and hop on the bandwagon before it flies past.
What do we do? Well, BeeLiked creates gamified, interactive content for consumer brands, helping them build engagement with their social following, grow their opt in marketing data and ultimately boost sales.
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