Follow the function of stories launched by Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook also introduced stories function on the platforms. Among the three platforms, it is believed that Instagram story performs the best with multiple functions available. According to January 2019 data, there were about 500 million active Instagram story users. Many users are super familiar with the function, yet they may not consider using this function to be their marketing tool to boost sales and brand awareness. What is the strength of Instagram story function?
Users can add different effect on their stories, including filters, words in various fonts and GIF stickers. These effects can increase the attractiveness of the stories and make the stories more intriguing instead of being a photo or video only.
Apart from adding some basic design to the stories, Instagram stories have the same function of adding geotag as publishing posts. When the users click a particular location, they can read both the posts and stories with the geotag. This increases the discoverability of the stories. Even though the users are not the followers of a brand, the stories of that brand may still have a chance to reach those users check out the geotag, which become another way to gain exposure and raise brand awareness.
There is also countdown function on Instagram stories, users can subscribe to the countdown hosted by a business account. This countdown function is not only suitable for counting down the start date of a campaign or the release date of a new product, but also counting down the end of a sales. In psychology, it is proven that sales have psychological effect on consumers that a sales creates a sense of scarcity. The consumers may think if they do not buy the product now, they will lose the chance to buy later. The urgency of purchasing increases. The sales is then boosted.
There are also some interactive functions: poll and Q&A. Through poll function, brands can hold some games in the format of a quiz or collect customers’ opinion and preferences via the poll. In other words, it is one of the ways to conduct a simple and low-costed marketing research. The Q&A function can also help respond to the customers on the stories which can be read by all users, it can also collect some frequently asked questions and comments for better improvement. With more interaction, brands can establish a two-way relationship with the customers and make the customers feel that they are valued and have favourable impressions on the brands.
Users can swipe up those Instagram stories that contain a URL then we will be redirected to a website. Many business accounts insert a URL in their Instagram stories and drive traffic of their official website. This can also attract the users to make purchase on the website after reading the stories.
After publishing the stories, they will disappear after 24 hours. However, users can choose to add the stories into the Stories Highlight and the stories will not expire. Some brands make use of this Stories Highlight function and turn it into an online product catalogue. Some marketers rack their brains to categorize the stories which assist their customers to find out content that they are interested in more easily. Besides products and services, brands can also post some stories that are related to company’s activities, production process of the products or even the environment of their workplace on Instagram to make the accounts more down-to-earth.