Part 1: Introduction
YES, Instagram and Snapchat DO tell stories!
Move over, Facebook!
“Snapchat? That’s just for teenagers who want to send each other inappropriate photos.” Entrepreneur John Rampton is right in writing: “[You] have been wrong.”
Social Media Today named Instagram and Snapchat the “new darlings of the social block.” OK, so you’re not a preteen forwarding filtered snapshots of your lunch bedazzled in emojis to friends. That’s great. We have news for you: Snapchat Inc. and Instagram engagement levels are better than ever for business storytelling. While you were busy trying to tell stories and connect with people using traditional media, Snapchat and Instagram have been booming…and brands—big and small—have noticed.
Snapchat—a “there and gone” application—and its friendly ghost continue to charm the digital sphere, boasting more active daily users than Twitter and a whopping 10 billion user-created Stories a day. Instagram itself toasted to a community of more than 400 million app users (and counting!) last September. And these “digital darlings” aren’t restricted to the under-25 crowd: They’re propelling companies into the future through visually engaging storytelling.
Now, two-way conversations are available with the big boys, such as Nike, NPR, and The New York Times—i.e., @mynytimes on Instagram; @nytimes on Snapchat.
OK, great. Instagram and Snapchat have turned traditional media upside down. But how do you start leveraging them to reach real people?
1. Use emotion to visually highlight your personality
Striking imagery is key! Images are worth 1,000 words—and then some. Not to mention, humans digest visual content more quickly—plus, it’s more powerful. Incorporate video or moving images, and the story evolves. In fact, the emotional impact of visual storytelling on the human brain is 60x faster than plain text.
The infographic below is an excellent breakdown of just what makes Snapchat and Instagram so enticing.
Image via One Spot
As you can see, the emotional aspect of visual storytelling is extremely important. People want to feel something when they see an image. If you tell a story, and touch someone’s heart, they remember.
We’re human, and humans are driven by emotions, thoughts, feelings—things we connect with and relate to. Think of it this way: It’s easier to visualize a fairy tale than the last PR pitch you read. So what went wrong? They didn’t capture emotion or interest.
Using engaging storytelling to convey a message in the 21st century is essential. While difficult to generate, emotions are of utmost importance. You need to incorporate storytelling into your social media strategy.
To sum it up, people want to see stories—not an ad. Using powerful, relevant images to tell story is crucial for reaching people on a genuine, personal level. Snapchat and Instagram enable you to take people inside your office, give them a glimpse into your daily life, and connect in new ways.
Moving images and witty text, to striking stills—engage in conversation, spark emotion, garner traction through hashtags and topics, craft Snapchat Stories series, share live coverage of an event, but most importantly, tell a tale.
2. Speed & novelty of the “here and now”
Some would argue that Snapchat and Instagram make no sense for businesses, because the content disappears and is just online. False! That is exactly why you should use it! Humans crave the here, now, and the exclusive—plus the share-ability of digital media. Snapchat and Instagram’s instant, live platforms enable creativity to shine like never before. Lenses, geo-filters, tags, and effects make the content more fun and engaging. Moreover, keeping messages consistent creates a following. It’s simply social. Plus, Snapchat Stories equips brands with a wider communication options, like combining multiple snaps for a re-playable tale.
3. Visual, organic, individual, and engaging
Instagram and Snapchat welcomes you to create content and engage users unlike traditional platforms—even other social sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Comment on followers who use your hashtags. Re-gram their photos! Reply to their snaps! Better yet, leverage conversation around a visual story by asking followers to engage and create content of their own!
Image via Refinery29
There’s massive opportunity awaiting out there!
Up next: See why and how in Part 2 and Part 3—coming soon!