You know what I like more than just about anything in the whole wide world? Seeing profitable social media. It’s right up there with running in the rain, drinking a cold beer after yard work, and sleeping in on a Sunday. Profitable social media is the stuff of life. It smells like freshly mowed grass and tastes like fine champagne.
Through organic social media efforts, brands can’t make a profit unless they are building the trust and respect of their audiences. I love seeing profitable social because that means both the brand and the customers win. Who doesn’t love a win-win?
Recently, many brands have been knocking it out of the park on social, namely with Instagram Stories. Instagram Stories create an interesting dynamic for brands because, from the outside, no one can numerically judge the success of their efforts—there is no view count or like count. That said, there is no denying that the following six brands are winning in their Instagram Stories.
Have you noticed how hard Converse works to be “alternative,” especially lately? Unabashed effort goes into missing the mark on “cool” and falling into whiskey tango foxtrot—thus, they are earning the respect of many youths, as is customary for Converse.
Creative aside, marketers should take notice of their Instagram Story strategy. In announcing the roll out of a new shoe collaboration, Converse seamlessly connects their Instagram post content with their Instagram Story content.
Their Instagram feed and Instagram Story work in perfect harmony.
I’m all for obvious, somewhat repetitive social—wash, rinse, and repeat. If brands want their audience to know something, they should wrap exciting, memorable content around that something and repeat, repeat, repeat, just as Converse has done—so nicely “it will make you puke.”
Twitter, you dog, you! Twitter shamelessly shares highlights from the channel on Instagram Stories. Swipe up, and users will land on Twitter. If they haven’t downloaded the app or created an account, they will be prompted to do so.
Twitter knows what Tweeters love to Tweet about. Their Instagram Stories are full of social causes, news, sports and celebrities. Each video prompts users to swipe up to learn more, i.e., swipe up to go to Twitter, where the “real” conversations are happening. When they post content of such engaging quality, who can fault Twitter for stealing a little Instagram love for themselves?
3. Nordstrom Rack
The managers of the Nordstrom Rack account went behind-the-scenes on their holiday shoot. While the models joyfully bounced around, teenage shoppers ran to their parents, begging for an advance on their monthly allowances.
Everyone knows Nordstrom stands for quality, but seeing the clothes in action takes them beyond #goals to #mustbemine. By the time the professional photos from this BTS shoot hit stores/catalogs (and the clothes hit the racks), shoppers will feel a kinship to the models, excitement for the new season and, most importantly, trust in the brand.
4. Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones fans love their merch, and the managers of the Game of Thrones Instagram account plan to take that fact straight to the bank.
The Game of Thrones audience, ruled by forever-nerds, will leap at any piece of merchandise that may raise them above the hoards of wine-drinkers-who-know-things. By sharing links to merchandise clearly made by small-fry super-fans, the brand shows a ton of heart. This Instagram Story is another great example of a brand profiting from knowing and serving their audience. They even have the clever hashtag #reptherealm.
Crossfit is attempting to serve an international audience from one account, and that’s no easy feat. Yes, a lot of brands do it, but Crossfit isn’t promoting a product; they are promoting a lifestyle. Going international, covering all those lifestyles (which include a variety of cultures and traditions) is tough.
I won’t congratulate Crossfit on the quality of their photography/videography because, frankly, I think they can do better. However, I do commend the brand on staying so true to brand and utilizing their resources.
The brand made use of Instagram Live (later shared to their Instagram Story), user-generated content, and influencer marketing, all in one story, which is pretty incredible. Their Instagram content also covers their brand pillars of food, fitness, community, and jockish humor.
6. Taco Bell
Say you are dating a nice boy and want him to remember you even when he is chillin’ on the porcelain throne. What do you do? Take a super cute selfie, and make it his phone’s background photo without his permission. Duh. Unforgettable.
That’s all Taco Bell is asking: to be unforgettable, by way of phone backgrounds everywhere.
This sort of engagement is pretty common. Many brands prompt users to capture the perfectly proportioned Instagram Story images to later use as extraordinary phone display images (and Snapchat Stories). With a phone background like this, friends of the Taco Bell fan will likely see a tenfold increase in instances of, “Want to go to Taco Bell?”
Thanks to Instagram Stories’ many features, from live video to links, there is more than one way to skin a cat. As a marketer, you must experiment to learn how to best skin your particular cat (ew). In other words, when brands really kill it on Instagram Stories, it’s a result of understanding and serving the needs and wants of their audiences, as with any other social platform. Often brands simply optimize their already finely-tuned Instagram content to fit the new medium. Other times, they use the on-the-go temporary publisher to give the audience a look behind-the-scenes, into the soul of the brand.
In short, if you are confident your team produces content that captivates, engages, and serves your audience, begin testing out that content on Instagram Stories. You’ll be happy you did.
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