I am a writer. I don’t disguise this fact. At LuckyTamm Digital Marketing, I’m a “wordsmith wizard.” My website says “Kat Cox, Writer” as the headline. My Instagram description is: “I’m a writer, not a photographer.” It’s basically emblazoned on my forehead. I communicate through words, not pictures.
But in a world where written content without an image is considered the height of poor form, and where video is known to be the best way to get page views, being “just a writer” is not enough to be a good communicator.
So how is a word-minded fast-typistwho thrives on long-form content supposed to retrain her brain to get in touch with the right audience?
Enter Instagram Stories.
This not-so-new feature to Instagram allows users to include short videos or photos in a 24-hour “story” that disappears after the day is over. It’s based on the eponymous Snapchat feature, but is much easier to use and easier to see within the Instagram app. Also, unlike with Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories are stored in your personal archive, which is visible only to you, but means you don’t have to save the content to your phone if you want to keep it.
Individuals can use Instagram Stories to get into the minutiae of their day, from what they decided to wear in the morning to their dinner selection. Luckily the boring and mundane can be escaped by simply tapping the image to make it disappear.
The real glory of Instagram Stories is using it to communicate a brand story. It’s an ideal way to keep in touch with customers, offer them discounts or specials, and, of course, tell your story. Creative brands are using it to showcase press coverage, tease upcoming releases, or just spread news stories.
As a writer, I can use Instagram Stories to share special rates, tease the release of new fiction, or showcase finished works I’m particularly proud of. But I can also talk about the trials and tribulations of freelancing, give tips on staying motivated, or just include humor to brighten up people’s days.
A few tips for being a better communicator through Instagram Stories:
- Keep it regular. People respond to regular, well-timed posts. If you can’t commit to a daily story, commit to a weekly one so that people know when to look for it.
- Tell an actual story. Don’t post a video of you walking down the street just because you’re walking down the street. Post a video of you walking down the street because you ran into an alien.
- Be succinct. No one is going to look at more than a few videos or photos, especially if they’re banal.
- Don’t hesitate. You can rest assured the content will only be up for 24 hours, so as long as you’re not posting something divisive or slanderous, don’t worry about the perfection of the content.
- Experiment. This goes along with the above point — Instagram Stories is a great place to try out something new because the posts only last a day. Use new filters, try out new video techniques, and learn what works for you and your brand. For free.
Now that I’ve told you what I think Instagram Stories can provide a brand, I’ve got to go try it out for myself. Follow me on Instagram @pqhaattte and let me know how I’m doing!