Instagram made major waves this week with the announcement of a new way to share photos and video. The latest feature, controversially dubbed “Instagram Stories” gives users the ability to share timely updates over the course of the day.As you add photos to your “story” Instagram will stitch them together into a quickly digestible (and shareable) slideshow. Just be sure to catch them quick, Instagram Story posts expire after 24-hours.
Sound familiar? That’s because the same features that Instagram announced this week have been available in Snapchat since late 2013. It’s no secret that Instagram parent company, Facebook, had offered to buy Snapchat and failed. By creating its own version of Snapchat Stories inside of Instagram, it opens that platform to new kinds of engagement. Instagram now has the potential to be a part of the event experience and not just an afterthought. Here are just a few reasons Instagram Stories finally make the social network more viable for meetings and events.
A New Way to Reach an Existing Community
In the past, we’ve shared a few ways to use Snapchat to engage with attendees at meetings and events. The challenge is that Snapchat started as a network for private messaging. Although brands are leveraging the network today, it’s still not easy to discover or search for the content that most relevant to you. Snapchat holds an important place on our smartphone home screens, but it can take time before your Snapchat following is large enough to make it worth your while. That’s why meeting and event professionals have traditionally shied away from the app.
Instagram, on the other hand, has been around for much longer. It’s likely that you already have an audience on Instagram, one that’s been engaging with you for years. At the end of the day, #eventprofs are going to focus on the social platforms where they’re the most comfortable – and more importantly where they have the most reach. Instagram stories bring the timeliness of ephemeral content to your existing community.
A Serious Case of FOMO
What makes Instagram Stories fundamentally different from what we’re used to on IG, is that they’re ephemeral. Every photo and video added to an Instagram story will disappear in just 24 hours. It means that your content will be consumed much closer to the time that it’s published.
Event professionals often turn to social media as a promotional channel leading up to events, or as a platform to share photos and recaps following the event itself. The problem is that planners are missing the opportunity to share the event experience as it’s happening. When your followers see timely content like this, it creates a fear of missing out (FOMO). Instagram Stories can create more opportunity for potential attendees to think about your next event, as they’re experiencing the current event.
This Message Will Self Destruct
Another fascinating thing happens when you put an expiration date on content. Audiences will look for new stories more frequently to make sure they’ve caught everything (sounds like more FOMO if you ask me). Part of Instagram’s strategy with stories is to encourage more daily usage and more engagement as a result. On Instagram today, the average user sees only about 30% of the photos that are actually in their feed. Compare that to Snapchat, where 45% of Snapchat stories are actively opened.
As a result, users will start opening Instagram more often, which boosts the likelihood that they’ll come across your content. After all, a rising tide lifts all boats. Naturally, ephemeral content creates urgency. The walls between social networks today are paper thin. A Snapchat will make its way to Facebook, a Facebook posts spark conversations on Twitter, and Tweets get republished on the web. Think about how you can leverage existing social channels to drive traffic towards ephemeral content like Instagram Stories.
Don’t Let Perfect Be the Enemy of Instant
Traditionally, Instagram has been about taking great photos and putting extra time into choosing the filters and settings to make your photography truly beautiful. Instagram Stories however, shift the focus from the photos and videos themselves to the experience that’s being shared within them. And that’s great news when the content is coming from live events. For event coordinators, it means that you can publish photos and video faster. You and your team are busy enough at the event as it is. You don’t always have time stop and edit photos. Instagram stories make it faster to just hit record, and share.
It makes a difference for attendees too. Many of the photos we see on IG today come along with the #latergram hashtag, which means that users don’t always think to use the app as the name would suggest… instantly. When attendees aren’t worried about making every detail about their photos perfect, they’re more likely to share a part of their experience right away.
So How Exactly Can #Eventprofs Use Instagram Stories?
One way to start is by looking at the ways brands already approach Snapchat. Consider how you might give your followers a behind-the-scenes sneak peek into your event. Or promote the fact that your next event will have a corresponding Instagram Story.
Stay tuned to the Social Tables blog in the coming weeks. We’ll dive deeper into new ways #Eventprofs can leverage the feature, and share reactions from across the industry.
David Budimir is the Content Marketing Manager at Social Tables. He’s probably enjoying a messy burrito at this very moment.