‘Instagram Stories’, when launched last month, was heralded as the second Snapchat. Many commented on the similarities between the two competitors, but the correlative differences seem to have gone unnoticed. 

Why should brands care about the differences? 

  1. Instagram Stories was launched via Instagram, and as a result has the same reputation of visually captivating images. The ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘with whom’ is just as important as the quality of the picture.
  2. The target audience is already there—300m Daily Average Users on Instagram vs. 150m Daily Average Users on Snapchat. In markets such as Central and Eastern Europe and Asia, where Snapchat is not an influence, this metric matters. With the addition of Instagram Stories, an array of uses came to life within one app. It currently gives the public multiple reasons to interact and engage with one platform.
  3. There is not a ‘Like’ button for the Instagram Stories. A direct message is the only interaction a brand receives on the backend of the Instagram Story. This allows a corporation to measure effective engagement in a short period of time. 

Looking at the first-mover brands embracing Instagram Stories, we find a trend in the content used. Adidas used Instagram Stories as an immediate reporting tool, giving exclusive insight into the Adidas event at the Tunnel Club in New York. Reporting live from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Adidas ambassador Rachel Apollonio was able to engage with the public. Sephora created hype by giving taking viewers backstage into the production of a video shoot. General Electric showcased trending technology by filming a drone flying over a Nicaraguan volcano. You can find some more results in Instagram official blog. 

These brands are not resting on the reputation of past campaigns via Snapchat. They’re using the tool to create something new.


So how should brands use Instagram Stories moving forward? 

  1. Instagram Stories are not permanent like the Instagram pictures themselves. The stories draw consumers into the brand and this content should be personable. The content should allow consumers to feel a deep connection to the personality of the brand.
  2. The value of the content is centered on the strategy of when to post. Brands should share the moments consumers want to be a part of. The content should be present, allowing for an exclusive into the day-to-day life of the brand. Instagram stories should compliment the daily agenda of the company.
  3. The nature of Instagram stories is emotional, spontaneous and unfiltered. This creates a more personable feel to the brand for the consumers. The goal of Instagram Stories, with regard to branding, is to make the business come to life in the present. 

Instagram has highlighted users creating content based on unique experiences and interesting happenings. Sneak peaks of major events, such as The Oscars, Fashion Weeks and the Olympic Games, allow the average consumer to engage personally with the brand creating loyalty. Instagram Stories is a new addition to an already booming platform. Brands need to effectively use this new feature to continue their reach and create brand loyalty.  

By Hill+Knowlton Strategies