Instagram has quickly risen to the top and will forever be immortalized is a giant of social media.
With over one billion users every month and a monstrous 450+ million daily active users, Instagram is hands down the best platform to use if you are building a brand in 2019.
These 3 features are a great place to start if you want to stay in the cutting edge of social media and digital marketing.
1. IG Stories
When Instagram first launched the Stories feature in 2016, people instantly wrote it off as a Snapchat clone.
Surprisingly, despite lacking many of the features that it has in current form, IG Stories has become one of the most reliable content distribution and advertising channels for businesses wanting to expand their reach.
Like SC, IG Stories is a perfect way to give your followers a raw, behind the scenes look as you go about your day-to-day. It doesn’t matter if your account is for a personal brand or a corporate business, letting your followers take a peek behind the curtain creates an authentic connection that cannot be formed through quote pics or random photos on your feed.
When you hit the 10,000 follower milestone on Instagram, you’re gifted the ability to add swipe up links to your story posts. Since Instagram limits you to only having one link in your profile bio, Story swipe up links are definitely something you want to take advantage of.
Use this feature to direct your followers to a landing page where you can capture their email, give them the ability to purchase a product, book an appointment, check out your new blog post, and more. If you’ve already built some loyalty with your content on social media, it’s typically not that difficult to convert them using these swipe up links.
A major reason IG Stories has managed to eat up a major chunk of Snapchat’s userbase is the fact that hey continue to roll out more and more features. Most notably including Questions, Polls, and Music.
The first two are incredibly useful methods of collecting data from your followers. By asking questions or having them vote on a poll, you’ll receive direct answers from real customers.
Adding Music is the perfect way to add some flavor your story posts – as well as to get some attention from the specific artist who’s music you add. (don’t forget, in social media COLLABORATION is KEY!)
When it comes to using IG Stories, just have fun with it. You can just wing it by recording your own stories, adding text, GIFs, music or any of the features found when adding a story. Or you can create video and graphic content specifically for IG Stories.
Both work great, one works fine – all that matters is you’re putting out content.
2. IG Live
It was only a matter of time that the phenomenon of LIVE entertainment would hit social media and you better believe Instagram was right there to capitalize on the moment.
According to recent studies, over 80 percent of users prefer to watch live videos over reading a blog or social media post.
This comes as no surprise.
Think about when you’re driving on a freeway when the traffic suddenly becomes backed up..
For the next couple of miles, you’re moving at a quarter of the speed limit. By the time you creep up to the end of the jam, you see some police lights and two damaged cars on the side of the road.
It doesn’t matter that the police officer and drivers involved in the accident were more than capable of pulling over to the side of the road to avoid traffic..
It doesn’t matter that they’re COMPLETELY out of anyone’s way and the other cars could/should be proceeding at the normal speed limit..
Those cars on the side of the road become an instant point of interest. The reason why traffic is going so slow? Pay attention to the drivers and passengers in the nearby vehicles..
They’re now putting more of their focus into figuring out what the hell happened in the accident or what is going on than they are keeping their OWN cars on the road.
Hell, you’re just as bad because you’re paying attention to the drivers around you!
People LOVE being in other people’s business, so damn much that they watch other people play video games, cook, workout and more. Rubbernecking has gone from knowing that the Smith’s down the road got a new car or that little Tommy is going to Harvard next year to watching someone wreck a squad of elementary school kids in Fortnite.
To some people, live video is awkward and a bit too much to take in – from both the consumer and streamer perspective. Some are weird about video in general, so the entire concept of people watching you in real time can definitely be overwhelming. That’s okay – maybe live video (and video in general) isn’t for you!
If you do have the willingness or ability to go on IG Live, you’ll quickly find it is a useful tool for sharing big announcements, giving behind the scenes access to events, or even as a platform to conduct interviews (by inviting people into your IG Live).
Instagram also combined IG Live with the Questions feature from their stories, allowing you to host a LIVE Question & Answer session with your followers.
I am super, super high on using Live video as a way to build authentic community and maximize engagement. I can guarantee that Live streaming will continue to grow and take over as one of the most necessary forms of content distribution.
Instagram’s next shot at becoming the world’s all-in-one social media was the release of IGTV.
At first launch, it was a little awkward how they made you download a separate app to access most of the features, but you can still access the videos through the native Instagram app.
While the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio has dominated since it’s inception, IGTV was the first real move towards making vertical video a norm. Yes, I know Snapchat had pretty much done this before, but it’s the way IGTV refined it that makes it so interesting.
Since you’re limited to one minute when posting videos on your feed and (up until recently) you were stuck at 15 seconds for Instagram story videos, IGTV has stepped in as the perfect spot to house your long-form video content.
While a lot of people are groaning that it’s just another social media platform to keep up with, I see it as another distribution channel where they can post their re-purposed preexisting content.
As soon as you’re doing with your IG Live where you had one of the best, most engaging Q&A sessions with your loyal fans throw it up on IGTV so people can still find that value even after the 24 hour replay expires.
If you’re a speaker or do media appearances, it’s a great place to post your longer talks and speeches all in one place.
Maybe you create tutorials or other long-form content such as podcasts or fireside talks..IGTV is another platform for you to get your listener count up by tapping into the following you’ve ALREADY been building.
The reason IGTV is such a gamechanger is that you no longer have to send people out to your YouTube channel or where ever you keep all of your long form video.
These are just three of the amazing features that Instagram has to offer you and I never even mentioned the best part – they’re all completely FREE!
With these free tools in your arsenal, there’s no reason to not start creating and distributing content that adds value to your industry and builds an audience for your brand.
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