Instagram is one of the newer social media presences on the block – founded in 2010; it allows users to upload photos to their own personal account as ‘memories’ of their lives. Until now, Instagram was not big enough to compete with the other social media sites when it came to offering a reliable business platform, which does give it a slight disadvantage when it comes to competition. Recent reports have shown that Instagram is more than making up for the time it has lost to other social media sites.
One advantage which Instagram has over Facebook is that it is a relatively new phenomenon. For all that an Instagram link now graces the vast majority of blogs across the internet (usually directly below a Facebook link), the site itself has only been in existence for five years. While this may lead some people to believe that using it as an advertising platform is a risky venture, it is this very newness that makes Instagram so valuable.
The newness of Instagram is what makes it so very valuable for businesses today, because it allows them a way to reach out to customers that have not yet reached the point of viewer fatigue; people still find Instagram and all its variations a novelty.
The newest innovation that Instagram has rolled out is Instagram Stories. This is a process whereby, instead of uploading single photos and short, stand-alone videos, a site user can upload a whole series of photos, creating a slideshow of whatever they want, be it the process of making their favourite sandwich, or the full-day graduation ceremony they just attended.
Instagram created its Stories section with the idea that it would allow users to create something which they felt explained them as people. The Stories are normally found in a user’s profile, and so could be said to fulfil the same function as the cover photo on an equivalent Facebook or Twitter account. This could be said to be its primary value to a business which is expanding or setting up – the Stories (which are accessed via tapping the profile picture) could be set up to be something which defines their company in a manner which nothing else does.
Of course, when a business is thinking about utilising the Stories element on Instagram, one could legitimately question why they chose Instagram and not Snapchat, especially when the setup behind both Stories are essentially the same. Both social media sites are young enough to have avoided user fatigue so far (Instagram was formed in 2010, Snapchat in 2011), while Snapchat even has the advantage over Instagram in having streamlined editing and publishing processes.
The answer to this is that Instagram is more trustworthy, with its network more established, and its backers known. In addition to these facts, Instagram is backed by Facebook, and so the widgets and buttons on the site are more immediately recognisable. Using Instagram over Snapchat will give a business two separate advantages: it will be cutting out a learning curve in learning to use the site, presuming it also uses Facebook, and it will have effectively doubled its user base.
As mentioned above, Instagram Stories are accessed via a user’s profile and are evidently to be a compressed introduction to that person and their reason for being on Instagram. A business could make use of this in several ways: they could use Stories to give a tour of their premises if they are a customer-facing business, or they could use it to make a video documenting the process behind making something iconic\interesting\that their company is famous for. If the business is a freelancing business – perhaps doing landscaping work or some other form of outdoors work – the Stories could take the form of small interviews, tours of previous jobs, investigations into the tools used…
The possibilities are endless! Any business using Instagram could find Stories a useful addition to their social media presence, simply because of its versatility. As well as being useful for any kind of video that a business may want to put on its site, the Stories will function as an introduction to the business itself, allowing people to familiarise themselves with its functions in a short time.