“Change is the only constant thing in the world,” so the famous saying goes.
This is definitely the truth about the state of social media in recent years. With privacy issues, censorship concerns, and commercialization on the table, we’ve witnessed a lot of changes and upgrades on all social media platforms. And with the constant updates in algorithms, your marketing efforts today may not be effective or perform well tomorrow. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye out for what’s up and coming so you can stay ahead of the game and evolve with the times.
For Instagram in particular, simply posting with the right hashtags and at the best time of the day won’t cut it anymore. Doing this will not guarantee that your content will garner the intended reach and engagement. Instead, Instagram’s algorithm focuses on relationships with users, the interest of users, and the frequency and consistency of posting, which goes far beyond well-crafted and creative posts.
This coming year, Instagram Live and Stories should be at the heart of your social media campaigns. To help you better understand, here are six reasons why these two are set to become the platform’s game-changers.
Why Instagram Live and Stories Are Crucial for 2020 Success
1. They’re Discoverable
With the ever-developing algorithm of Instagram, it’s easy for regular posts to get buried in people’s feeds. This is because posts have to compete for spots and appear only to followers that Instagram thinks will be most interested in them. But it’s a different story for Instagram Live and Stories.
Stories put you on top of people’s news feeds where your brand is so much more visible, ensuring that you’re getting seen. Not only that, but those who are not following you can also discover and view your Stories without even clicking onto your profile. On the other hand, when you go Live, the platform directly notifies your followers and reminds them to tune in to your live stream — a huge advantage and something fairly unique to Instagram.
These two are great opportunities for your brand to be seen more, to create new raving fans, and to remain a top of mind name among the audience. One of the biggest killers of organic traffic on social media is getting buried in people’s feeds and never being seen. Instagram Live and Stories are simple and effective ways to fight this.
2. They Grow Your Community and Keep You Relevant
In their effort to depressurize the platform for young people, Instagram has started to experiment with removing the number of likes on regular posts. People will now only be able to see the actual like counts of their own posts. This development challenges advertisers to find new ways to “look popular” on the platform.
With Instagram Stories, brands can add hashtags by either using the # sign (like in regular posts) or the sticker option. When someone is going through hashtags, your stories that used those tags can appear on top of the feed or while they’re browsing the collection. This then drives traffic to your profile and encourages people to check out your posts. Just make sure you don’t overdo your hashtags so your Stories won’t look cluttered.
Another reason why Instagram Stories is big and will continue to grow in the coming year is because of the location tags. Adding that detail of where you are shows people that you’re up and about and constantly on the go. Using this feature also helps brands boost visibility and improve performance. When people search for particular places, your Instagram Stories that used location tags will come up in the compilation.
Another way to use Stories to improve your brand’s audience impact is by tagging or mentioning other users. Doing so will not only increase brand awareness and visibility, but it will also introduce you to new potential followers, strengthen your relationship with the audience, and grow your community.
3. There’s No Best Time To Post on Instagram Live or Stories
Instagram Stories remain visible to your audience for a good 24-hour period. If you want to stay on top of their news feeds, you can post a new story on a regular basis. Start with posting twice a day at about 10-12 hour intervals so you’ll always have something new and fresh in the Stories feed within the whole day.
Instagram Live appears in real-time, so it’s up to you when you want to go online. When it ends, you have the option to share the live video on your Stories so your followers can still replay it within the next 24 hours.
Basically, there’s no need to worry about when you should post Stories or go live, as you’re assured that your audience will get to see your content within the 24-hour timeframe. Feed posts may have a longer lifespan, but Instagram Live and Stories offer a longer period of greater visibility. We call that a win.
4. They Encourage Engagement
People love to share their thoughts and voice their opinions online. That’s why inviting them to join in on conversations and get involved can be impactful for your brand. And Instagram Live and Stories are the perfect avenues to do this with your audience.
Unlike regular posts, Stories allow you to engage with your followers in a more interactive way. You can get instant reactions, set up polls, ask questions, hype up events with countdowns, use sliders, create quizzes, or start a chat. Add in a little more personalized touch and get creative by linking music and shows or adding stickers and GIFs in your Stories. All of these elements will give your audience a reason to stop and look at your content and communicate with your brand.
Going live gives you the opportunity to share in-the-moment and real-time happenings with your followers. Whether it’s announcing an upcoming launch, broadcasting big events, sharing what your office workday is like, or simply telling a good story, Instagram Live allows you to speak directly to the viewers. In return, they can write their comments, ask questions, and give their reactions. Since Instagram notifies your followers when you’re live, they’ll know exactly when to tune in and interact with you.
5. They Offer Authenticity and Inclusion
Posts are often planned, rehearsed, and edited to “look the part.” They’re heavily edited and manipulated. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, we could argue that it’s somewhat crucial. However, it does remove an element of “realness” from your Instagram content.
On the other hand, Instagram Stories and Live focus on authenticity and personal connections. These allow you to show your brand’s honest and vulnerable side. The content might not be flawless, but this could very well work in your favor. It reminds your followers that just like them, you’re human too.
Whether it’s by hosting Q&As, taking the viewers behind-the-scenes, or sharing an important message, these two features make your brand more relatable and relevant to your audience. And by showing the real you, your followers will get to know and understand better your staff, products and services, processes, and the company as a whole.
Real and authentic content often trends and performs better than premeditated posts. You get to establish stronger connections with your audience. By stepping out of the usual aesthetics and feed goals, you’re able to build and sustain better relationships with your community.
Similarly, when you update your followers about what you’re working on, take them behind the scenes of what’s happening, or give them special sneak peeks, you provide a sense of belongingness and involvement. With Instagram Stories and Live, you get to create hype on what’s going on and build a raving fan base for your brand. And we know that people love to support brands that make them feel like they’re a part of something bigger.
6. Instagram Live and Stories Promote User-Generated Content
At some point, people will get tired of posts that focus primarily on promotions and hard-selling. Using Instagram Live and Stories is a perfect opportunity to share user-generated content (UGC) and leverage the free advertising.
People enjoy being featured and will appreciate the recognition, so you can share their posts that tag or mention your brand or give them a shout-out when you go live. Go the extra mile of mentioning them again to give your audience added exposure. Doing these things will let your followers know where you got your content from and show them that you have a loyal fanbase.
Essentially, promoting UGCs with Stories and going live will help you build new relationships, nurture your network, grow your traffic and engagement, and turn your followers into customers. It’s all about building and nurturing genuine relationships with your target audience members.
It’s a fact: Social media is ever-changing and constantly evolving. At times, it can be a challenge to keep up with what’s new, what’s working, and what’s effective. Nonetheless, the important thing to do is to be willing to explore and try out new things for your brand. As a marketer, you must be open to experiment and test out different strategies. This helps you identify which ones will help you achieve your business goals and others that you should possibly leave behind.
Instagram Live and Stories will be tremendous in 2020, a lot bigger than they already are today. And you should make sure that you get to use and maximize these in the coming year.
If you need more help with your social media management needs, eClincher is here to help out. Let us help you streamline your digital marketing process, shave hours off of your tasks each week, and bring you success online.
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