Using Instagram Stories Ads, Location and Hashtag Stories, and Snap Map to Engage Your Audience
Social Media is constantly evolving and shaping itself, which means social media marketing tactics are also changing all the time. This year, Instagram and Snapchat rolled out some new features that give businesses and organizations a few more assets in their toolbox to engage their audiences and promote their brands.
Instagram Stories Ads
It doesn’t surprise us that Instagram is becoming a player in the social media marketing game. Ever since Facebook bought it for $1 billion in 2012, it immediately began growing Instagram as a useful mobile utility. Especially since you create the ads using Facebook ad manager, which includes its targeting capabilities.
As of June 2017, some 250 million of Instagram’s 400+ million active daily users view Instagram Stories. One-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses, and 80% of Instagram users follow a business. This is important when you consider that one in five Instagram Stories gets a direct message from a viewer.
These numbers prove the value of Instagram Stories as an engaging content vehicle that audiences are latching onto. The first rule of marketing online is to put your content where your audience is looking, so Instagram Stories Ads are a no-brainer. They’re a great way to drive brand and product awareness with engaging messages that are quickly devoured by the viewer.
The drawback for running these ads is that Instagram Stories are only available for 24 hours and aren’t posted to a user’s timeline. Thus, the ads are truly gone after they’ve been viewed. They’re also strictly for mobile placement and won’t show up on a user’s desktop.
Instagram integrates ads seamlessly into the user’s experience. They appear between the stories from two different profiles a user follows. So, you don’t have much time to engage your audience. As such, be sure to:
- Make your point with clear, large branding that stands out from the imagery and/or video
- Use a simple message with an idea that’s easy to follow, like announcing a sale
- Instagram Stories fill the screen of a user’s phone, so take advantage of the space with full-length vertical images. Or, save some room for brand into and a call-to-action
- Did we mention call-to-action? Make it clear what the user needs to do, or where he/she needs to go to take advantage of your message
Instagram Hashtag and Location Stories
While we’re on the subject of Instagram Stories, the platform introduced new advertising features for Stories earlier this year. Instagram users can search for a location or hashtag to view Stories that are comprised of Story posts by other users that use the same location or hashtag.
So for a Hashtag Story, users searching for #bestyoungstownsushi will see Instagram stories with that hashtag. Location Stories are a little different; using the Explore tab lets you view Stories from nearby places.
If you use Instagram to promote your business, start using hashtags and tagging your location. Again, it’s all about getting your content in front of your audience’s eyes. So if they’re searching hashtags and locations, utilizing those features just makes good sense.
Location is simple enough; just include yours in every post. For Hashtags, you can always review sites like Top Hashtags to see what hashtags are the most popular at the time.
Snap Map Lets Users Browse Location-based Stories
Snap Map is a relatively new feature that allows users to share their location with their friends, a few select friends, or just disappear completely with Ghost Mode. The idea is to enhance connections between you and your closest friends. For business, this creates an opportunity to better drive content to your followers.
Some quick Snapchat facts:
- Boasts more than 150 million users
- Users watch 10 billion videos daily
- Reaches 41% of all 18- to 34-year-olds in the U.S.; definitely one of the social apps of choice for younger audiences
Businesses find ways to capitalize on increased usage. Branded filters (or lenses) are one of the most popular trends, with companies like Starbucks and Taco Bell getting into the game. Taco Bell actually set a record on Cinco De Mayo in 2016 with a lens that let customers turn their heads into giant taco shells. The sponsored, branded lens resulted in 224 million views in one day.
The cost of sponsored content is Snapchat’s biggest drawback. We experimented a bit with Snapchat Ads last week, but stopped when we realized it was going to cost $100 per day to run.
The most cost-effective type of Snapchat ad is the Geofilter, which can run for as little as $5 per day. Of course, that cost increases as you add more territory to the ad’s reach. Community Geofilters, on the other hand, are free.
Snap Map gives businesses an opportunity to make original content easily accessible to their audience without racking up the costs of sponsored content.
From retailers getting information about sales out to their followers via story content, to restaurants creating stories with featured dishes to entice hungry diners around dinner time, Snap Map lets users get location-specific info out to their audiences. Even cities can promote special events, like sports or concerts using the feature.
Overall, Snap Map can be a great way to draw customers to your location, so it’s ideal for business that exist where there is a lot of foot traffic.