By now we’re all super familiar with the “story” function that seems to be built into every major social platform at this point. What was once a unique feature on mobile app Snapchat, is now all the rage on Instagram, trying to break through on Facebook and rumoured to be launching as a built-in camera feature on Twitter soon.
Whether you use the feature religiously on or you’ve never bothered to check it out, it’s important to know what value it adds and how it can be used as part of an Instagram strategy to help you reach further and engage better.
Stories Vs. Posts
The first thing we need to determine is what the difference is between the two and how you can strategically decide what type of content to post where on Instagram. Social media has always been about sharing small snapshots and tidbits from our lives over the course of time and Instagram’s newsfeed does a wonderful job or organizing those for us in an aesthetically pleasing manner.
Unfortunately, the news feed is where the algorithms come into play which means sometimes your narrative can get lost or your messages can unintentionally annoy or bombard your audience due to the system making guessing and trying to assume what people want to see and when.
Stories provide a fix for these challenges by literally stringing together the narrative and keeping it moving.
Ease of Use & Accessibility
The major value of stories is undeniably where they’re located on Instagram and how people engage with them. When your content is front and centre at the top of the app at all times, your audience is much more likely to see it and dive in to explore as organic impressions can be all over the place and based on previous engagements.
Compared to Snapchat, Instagram’s integration of the feature is much easier to navigate. Plus, thanks to the popular app, Instagram’s audience was already quite familiar with the functionality so it was easily and quickly adopted.
The Big Benefit
Stories present a unique opportunity to post as much as necessary and not have to worry about being penalized by the algorithm. They’re fantastic for more grassroots, raw content that encourage engagement and input with features like the Question button or the Poll option. Businesses can have fun using GIFs, filters and stickers to jazz up their content and can also tag other users, locations and even include hashtags to be part of a larger collection of stories curated by keywords.
Stories place your content front and centre and instead of forcing your audience to consume it, the feature give them the power back when it comes to what they view and for how long. If people are viewing your content in stories, they’re doing it because they want to and they’ve gone out of their way to check out what you’ve got to say.
It seems like every week there’s a new update to the stories feature! While some directly benefit users, some are also great tools for businesses so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Instagram “New” story at the top of your feed to stay up to date with the newest updates.
What new feature would you like to see incorporated into Instagram stories?
No matter how you pronounce it, the GIF is making a huge comeback! The glitter text and silly pixelated graphics that once graced our personal MySpace pages have returned and they are way cooler than they used to be. Whether it’s a dancing cat, silly character, popular saying or a ridiculous floating food item, there’s something for everyone. As GIFs continue to grow in popularity, more platforms and apps are adding them to our lineup of cool “stickers”.
Earlier this year, Snapchat started releasing moving filters and stickers and had since launched a full GIF library users can slap on their snaps for fun. Even Instagram recently released a GIF database that users can access when they post stories.
As a big lover of emojis and the personality they add to a standard message/response, it’s exciting to see the rise of GIFs since they open up a whole new door when it comes to having fun with content and creative. Almost every Instagram story Blab has posted since the launch of the GIF feature has included at east 1 GIF and I’m not ashamed to admit that! As a funky, eclectic brand, GIFs are a great way to add some personality and movement to every day messages. If you’re noticing the new found popularity GIFs but aren’t sure how to incorporate them, consider these simple tips:
1. Stay True To Your Brand
Regardless of your brand personality, there’s a GIF that’ll work for you. Don’t shy away from them entirely just because you have a more refined or professional reputation. Take the time to look through the databases and search specific words or objects that you could incorporate without the risk of abandoning the brand you’ve worked so hard to build.
2. Know When Enough Is Enough
Unfortunately, there is such a thing as overkill when it comes to GIFs. Does your post really need fireworks, two dancing cats, a winking pizza slice and glitter text? Know when to use GIFs to enhance your message and when to opt out or pair down to keep things simple.
3. Understand Your Audience
The type of content you share depends entirely on the type of people you’re speaking to and GIFs should follow the same principle. Know your audience inside and out and use that knowledge to determine if certain platforms or messages are better suited for GIFs.
Big news from Facebook this week but it seems like we’ve heard it all before. Surprise! Yet another Snapchat clone has entered the social realm and so far, it’s exactly what I expected. While it offers stickers, the ability to doodle and other similar Snapchat features, the prospect of opening the “dark social” door and inviting in the Facebook world is not something I’m ready to do and I think many other people agree. Not only that, but it’s no secret that each platform has its own function/value so adding these Snapchat copycat features comes across as slightly desperate. There’s nothing wrong with trying to attract a valuable digital audience but loosing sight of your brand identity and straying away from your core offerings for the sake of keeping up with competitors is a whole other story.
Have you used Facebook’s Messenger Day yet?
Do you plan on incorporating it into your daily social itinerary?