Is your business making the most of Instagram Stories and Snapchat?

It’s time to start implementing 24-hour social media tools such as Instagram Stories and/or Snapchat into your social media strategy if you haven’t already. They have become essential tools in today’s climate with Snapchat boasting more than 170 million daily users.

Instagram hits 500 million daily users, with 300 million of those using its Snapchat-like Stories feature that was added to the app in 2016.

But why should marketers be using a tool that has no direct clickthrough or ways for small businesses to sell directly through it?

While Snapchat and Instagram Stories are limited in what they can offer a business with no clickthrough options or the fact that a campaign could vanish after 24 hours, it is the perfect medium to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at your company, generate interest and engage with customers on a completely different level.

Sidonie Warren, the founder of London and Bristol-based designer stationery merchant Papersmiths, which boasts more than 32,000 followers on its paper_smiths Instagram platform, told us: “Our product is so visual and tactile and Instagram affords us a space to tell our story visually. We have much stronger engagement than on Twitter and Facebook. The Stories feature provides a tool that we can use in a way that’s less pristine than our feed. It’s a little more conversational, a little more playful and we have some fun.”

Businesses can create a buzz through promotions, behind-the-scenes footage and entertaining pictures and video of products. Using Stories and Snapchat features with a purpose and plan will drive customers back to the brand and build trust with the company.

Mark Zuckerberg CEO of Facebook, which owns Instagram, even said that video can help foster a bigger sense of community on social media. He added that interaction with friends can be time well spent, compared to just passively watching a video.

Many marketing campaigns focus on the concept of drawing in new customers and expanding reach by casting their net further afield. However, effective brands create a strong identity that consumers can relate to, which keep the same people making repeat purchases time and time again.

Companies with hardcore loyal customers find that they don’t have to spend as much money on marketing the product, which will permit the company to either retain more earnings or to invest resources elsewhere.

With both apps constantly updating and adding new features – there’s a plethora of opportunities to market your brand, company, product and your staff’s blood, sweat, tears and all the giggles. And it works.

Papersmiths’ Sidonie explains: “It’s had a direct impact on our online sales – Instagram is our most effective social channel. Our presence on the platform has led to customers visiting the UK from abroad and seeking Papersmiths out. It’s allowed the media to find us and reach out to us about features and it’s also led to some exciting collaborations. Instagram as a whole has been pretty impactful.”

Here are some of the ways you can use the 24-hour social media feature to win over your customer’s trust, build brand loyalty and boost sales.

Build awareness using advertisements

One-third of the most viewed Instagram Stories come from businesses, and one in five stories gets a direct message from its viewers. It has the ability to target ads by reach, video views, traffic, conversions, app installs and brand awareness.

Snapchat also has the capability for businesses to build their own 10-second advertisement that appears between stories. Both apps offer customers a choice to read more elaborate content that can be viewed by swiping up on the screen.

Offers and promo codes

The expiration of an image automatically means the expiration of an offer.

Some can be created for the full 24-hour period, or on Snapchat, a 10-second coupon of high-discount percentage that self-destructs is another smart way to make your consumer experience exclusive.

Make a connection

Followers want to see real-time activities of an event, ‘celebrity’ lifestyle, influencers and what goes on behind the scenes of a business. What intensifies this interest is the fact that a viewer feels connected to the host and experiences exclusivity. This connection encourages viewership, engagement and anticipation, which often further leads to action from the consumer’s end.

Sidonie adds: “We aim to tell the story behind our products. Where they’re from, why they were invented and what they do. We seek out curiosity and wonder inducing gems for our customers and try our best to portray them in a playful yet beautiful style. I guess that sense of discovery and wonder if what brings people to our account.”

Instagram Stories’ new feature is the ultimate weapon for marketers

The new “regram” feature it is testing allows users to repost content for the first time by adding public feed posts from other users to their Instagram Stories.

It could make sourcing and reposting UGC (user-generated content) from stories a walk in the park. It could also become part of a company’s growth and discovery strategy because by mentioning brands and other user’s profiles within their own story, those accounts would have the option of easily reposting content to their stories, and exposure to a wider audience.

Because of the 24-hour time limit, brands would still need to ensure that they’re paying close attention to their mentions, so that they’re able to curate and re-share the best story content from customers, influencers and partners, and other users who mention them before the story disappears.

Both Instagram Stories and Snapchat should not be an afterthought for marketers hoping to build a community around their brand. When done right, these mediums can be your connection to your customers and the path to boosting the bottom line. To learn more about where to start, get in touch.