For a long time, Casper was everyone’s favorite ghost. And then Snapchat paraded in and stole his thunder. This ghost, who represents the temporary nature of the app’s posts, is gaining popularity like wild fire. Of course, Snapchat hadn’t been able to capture the market like social media giants – Facebook, Twitter etc…. And now, considering the nationally insensitive light of Snapchat’s comments on the Indian market, the existence and growth of Snapchat in India is anyone’s debate.
If you’re a nationalist and you’re worried about losing out on all the fun because you uninstalled your Snapchat, fear not, for Instagram has swooped in just in time to save the day! Mimicking the spectral aspects of a snap, Instagram Story is a new feature added to heighten user interaction in its app.
Here is a quick look into what Instagram Story is about if you haven’t yet been caught in its whirlwind.
Instagram is an image and video messaging mobile platform. You have followers and in turn, follow people (like Twitter). Unlike a sponsored post on Instagram which seeks for brand reach based on segmentation, the catch for an Instagram Story is that it engages your past customers with a post that expires exactly after 24 hours. So, the app keeps you on your toes, ensuring that you check for activity every now and then so that one doesn’t miss out any action. This tool has nifty features like funky text editors for images and videos and lets you take short snippets in a day to tell a story and advanced camera settings for quick sharing. This move by Instagram has taken Snapchat’s Point-of-Difference and turned it into its Point-of-Parity. Kudos!
Brands are going to flood this space as soon as Instagram pops in the word ‘sponsored’. The potential for Instagram Story to build brand engagement is huge. Instagram Story lets brands get personal and nothing connects more with a target customer than a well-thought-out picture/quick video that is set to impress. The question is how can an average businessman in India leverage the advertising potential of Instagram Story to build brand equity?
It’s story time!
Considering the temporary nature of Instagram Story, this platform could be used for the following –
- Online discount coupons/vouchers
- Live event promotions
- Give clips on behind-the-scenes action
- Teaser campaigns
- Serialised advertising
- Customer service
- Product promotion
Every person comes with 2 avatars: Real side, and Instagram profile
E-commerce – I don’t think I have seen a day go by without Jabong/Myntra/Purplle giving discounts. Online retail industry in India has become very discount driven. And these discounts vary daily. Instagram Story offers the perfect place for an e-commerce player’s temporary discount agenda. By this means, the target customer will constantly be on the lookout for exciting deals, and the promo offers don’t get lost (stacked up) in the myriad of promotional e-mails. This overcomes the disappointment of expired deals from CouponDunia and websites alike.
Individual artists – Be it teaser videos or random funny thoughts, YouTubers are the brands who have successfully utilized Instagram (and story) to their advantage (abroad at least). Authors, sportsmen, bands/musicians, chefs, company workers, or just about anyone is a brand. And artists have the advantage of not sticking just to work, but also showcase snatches of their personality they wish to share with their followers.
App aggregators – MakeMyTrip, Paytm, Uber, Ola, Swiggy, and all such aggregators can come advertise their coupons and discounts using stories. As, soon as Instagram Stories become sponsored, it will be another cost effective way to engage customers instead of mere reach.
Institutions – It sounds like a long shot but the target audience for institutions is on Instagram. And if there is need for enquiries, one can instantly send a message to the institution with their query. This process ropes in an informal, comfortable touch as opposed to the formal system in an institution. Whether it is a peek about notifications for college events, sneak-peek videos on classes, or the tamasha from students, this social media medium can effectively pique interests and brand awareness. Considering the alumni and existing student base a school/college has, it should be easier for institutions to get organic followers.
Restaurants – Instagram Story is a perfect platform for local restaurants and cafes to directly connect with customers and let them know of the day’s special menu. Or it could be a post about every day happenings in the restaurant. It lets the customer experience a personal touch from the restaurant they follow. The neighborhood residents of the restaurant may be more inclined to follow, as they have the benefit of the distance.
Movies – Behind the studios/live clips from actors. In India, not a lot of stars participate in candid short videos to talk about their day, or what work they are currently doing. If movies could use live candid videos from actors (to give insight on behind-the-scenes action or general daily opinions) to promote their movies, they would be an instant hit.
Fashion brands – Considering fashion to be a very image driven industry, popular fashion brands can instantly get followers organically. Product promotions are a great way to entice India’s youth. The brands can go a long way to give a personal touch using Instagram Stories.
Beauty salons – Be it offers, or a clip of their varied services, beauty salons can find Instagram Story an ideal ground to showcase the workmanship of their artists. This is a great deal for both local and national players. Teaser videos, or service promotion ads can help the brand in an innovative way.
Ashwathi (PGPM- Marcom batch 2016-17)