Instagram landed a real coup with the story function copied from Snapchat a few years ago, and since then, the feature has gained widespread adoption within business and users.
More than 500 million people use this feature. However, it is used comparatively little by most companies in Nigeria and Africa at large, They are wasting much potential, and I’m going to talk about those potentials in this article.
Four years ago, Instagram introduced the story function and declared war on Snapchat. The format is now at least as popular with users as images, and over 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day. It does not seem to have caught the attention of companies in Nigeria as I expected after four years because compared to the posts, stories are so far only used by a few. Time to take a closer look at the many possibilities.
1. More visibility on Instagram
Even if Instagram does not officially give the story function more relevance than the feed, it can at least be proven that the story also creates organic reach. Simply because the stories are displayed at the top of the app, and the latest videos appear at the front, they are always very present. Accounts that regularly post content still seem far ahead and are therefore in the constant field of vision of their users, which accordingly ensures organic reach.
2. More reach through hashtags and location tags
In addition to a higher organic reach than with normal posts through existing followers, stories, just like posts, can also be used to reach users who have not yet been followers.
One possibility is the use of hashtags. These can be easily integrated into the stories without appearing similarly intrusive. Up to ten hashtags are allowed in a story without being disruptive. The easiest way to do this is to pull them very small or to position them on a background of the same colour. So they are hardly noticeable. The reach arises from the fact that your own stories are displayed to users who are looking for specific hashtags. It’s similar to video or picture posts.
Another function for the new range is the location tags, i.e. the marking of the location. By assigning the stories to an area, they appear in a superordinate story that shows all contributions by users to this location in the last 24 hours. The most important thing here is that the content attracts attention and inspires.
3. Greater opportunities for interaction with users
The stories are about entertaining with creative and authentic content. And this can be made more individual, attractive and animated by a multitude of features than with the regular contributions with pictures or videos. Functions such as surveys, stickers, etc. also offer another way of getting in touch with users, unlike the posts in the feed, which only allow a reaction or a comment.
Some of the functions can now even be personalized. Very simple gifs or stickers can be created and uploaded individually and suitable for the respective company. Interactions are essential for companies because they allow users to deal more intensively with the content and thus better remember brands and their messages.
4. Storytelling – 24 hours a day
Good storytelling also ensures that users deal longer and more intensively with the content and also attracts attention. Stories have their charm. For 15 seconds and only visible for 24 hours, the format is only partially comparable with other content. The short videos that build on each other resemble a brand’s video diary and show small stories and snapshots. Even if the videos are very short-lived, a completely different dramaturgy can be built up. Precisely at the speed at which the smartphone generation consumes content.
5. Generate traffic quickly and easily
Until now two years ago, anyone who wanted to supply their website with traffic via social media accounts could only achieve this via ads. Link posts did not exist, and the links in the post texts were not clickable. With the “wipe up” function in the stories, this has changed. Stories can be linked to business accounts, and the user can simply “swipe up” to access the stored website.
This function is also exciting for influencers, as they had next to no opportunity to refer to the product pages of their cooperation partners. With a simple “swipe up”, which is now also available as a so-called sticker, the time-consuming search for the desired product is no longer necessary but can be done within two seconds.
6. Place Instagram Story Ads
Placing ads in the stories can also be attractive for companies. Story ads have a lower click rate than link ads in the news feed and are also very attention-grabbing due to the low level of competition in the stories. The story ads in the accounts can either be shown as video or images and can also be displayed to users who do not follow you. They hardly differ from ordinary stories. The targeting options are identical to those of the typical forms of advertising on Instagram.
7. Integration of influencers
To enhance their own stories with familiar faces, many companies organize so-called Instagram takeovers as part of their collaborations. An influencer takes over the company’s Instagram account and publishes stories from their perspective, and this allows the followers of a brand to enjoy very authentic and unique content. Influencer marketing has taken a gigantic step forward in the last few years in Nigeria, with Mega and Micro influencers becoming a full-time ‘hustle’.
The probability of standing out from the crowd and getting a lot of attention for your brand is correspondingly high when using stories. With the introduction of Instagram reels, it provides another fantastic opportunity for brands to latch on. Still, I trust that would also take like two or three years before Instagram reels get adopted among brands in Nigeria. The additional effort that occurs through the stories in addition to the publication of posts is in an excellent relationship to the many advantages, Instagram stories offer companies.