Instagram Stories are cool but effective?
Oh yea, they can be very effective, very useful. But they can also be colossal wastes of time and energy.
Like so many tools of digital marketing the effectiveness tends to boil down to execution, preparation even.
Instagram Stories just celebrated the milestone of acquiring 250 million daily users – and in so doing kinda made Snapchat, which originated the concept, look kinda lame. So, no doubt Stories on Instagram are wildly popular. So much so that Mommy Facebook is also trying to get users to post Stories singularly on the FB, which ain’t working out so well.
Instagram is, of course, right there at the top of the list of effective and useful – and engaging – social platforms. We shouldn’t wonder why so many people have come to really like the Instagram Stories feature in its first year.
For Instagram itself – and Daddy Facebook – the Stories feature has been a huge success.
“Stories has also helped increase the amount of time people spend on Instagram,” brags the platform. “Those under the age of 25 spend more than 32 minutes a day on Instagram, on average, while those age 25 and older spend more than 24 minutes a day.
“From stickers to Boomerang, we have rolled out more than 20 new features within Instagram Stories over the past year, making it even easier to add creativity to any photo or video and instantly share it.”
Instagram also brags that businesses (those with Instagram business accounts) are catching on, too, and claims 50 percent of its business users posted a new piece to Instagram Stories in July alone.
It also claims “one in five” Instagram Stories posted by businesses have gotten “a direct message” from a viewer, presumably a fan or customer.
Instagram Stories can be very useful and effective for business because they can show, among many ideas, a different side of a company or brand; a more human side. They can also allow viewers (fans and customers) to engage with the company, talk back, converse.
Business users can add links to Instagram Stories, unlike the regular Instagram platform in which links are not live until posted to other social platforms. Weird, right?
With creativity, planning and flawless execution an Instagram Stories post can for a business how its product in action, show “a day in the life” of a company, can tease an up coming social media event (like a Facebook Live post).
But Instagram Stories can also be boring, uninformative and because of poor planing and execution, fail in so many way to link to a business’ primary online storefront (website) which is the prime reason for using the social media. Right?
They also have their drawbacks, the most obvious of which is they disappear. We kinda like our content to stick around for a while. It’s a basic rule of digital marketing: evergreen content. There are ways to save Instagram Stories (and Snapchat Stories and the lame Facebook Stories) if you know how (hint: it’s not that difficult).
Make Instagram more useful for digital marketeers
Instagram offered a glimmer of hope for a deeper overall marketing experience in November when it announced it would start allowing live links in some Instagram posts – again, for a select few. The links are only for verified accounts and what viewers see is a bar across the bottom of a post which reads, “see more.” User click on the bar to be taken to a landing page.
One of the few drawbacks to the otherwise very useful and engaging platform is the inability to post a live link to a website landing page within the image sharing app itself. You can post links and they become live links when shared simultaneously to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Swarm (Foursquare), Flickr – even VKontakte, Ambeba & OK.ru. But they remain useless as live links on the Instagram app itself. Such a wasted opportunity.
Also in November, Instagram added the ability to mention others in Instagram Stories, incorporate it’s fun little GIF app, Boomerang into Stories and, in an even bigger advancement which hasn’t gotten much buzz (for some unknown reason), introduced direct shopping through Instagram.
Oh sure, web links can be added to Instagram posts (along with your million hashtags) but they aren’t live within the app. They do become live links when one shares the same Instagram post to the other networks. But they remain simply a dead bunch of shortlink jumbled characters within the Instagram app itself.
The network took a huge leap forward in 2015 when it added to its app the ability to switch back and forth between accounts within the app.
A few more simple tweaks would be useful, too.
And how about resharing, reposting friends’ photos within the app? Would that be so hard? You can, of course, repost your friends’ photos but you need a separate app for that. Seems silly not to have resharing within the Instagram app itself.
Okay, and while you’re at it, what would be so wrong with making your web client a little more useful? Would it be so bad, as an example, if users could upload photos of videos (even YouTube videos) to the web client? Seriously, in the grand scheme of things, would this shift the polar dynamics of the earth?