Snaps for Storytelling! | Part 3

Part 3: Focus on Instagram

In continuation of the Insta Snaps for Storytelling series Part 1 and Part 2, Instagram’s beauty isn’t just pretty photos. It’s an excellent storytelling tool masquerading as a mere, photo-heavy creative domain.


“When it comes to making an impression, the story behind the photo matters as much as the image,” according to Anita Ferrer, editorial associate @AMStrategy. “Organizations that aren’t inherently visual can capitalize on Instagram by focusing on the story they are uniquely able to tell.”


Instagram’s Press Page reported that the platform reached a whopping 500 million users in June 2016. With 80 million images and videos uploaded per day as of May 2016, Instagram is a powerful place to tell your tale where real images of real people get the double tap. It’s social media, after all!


But what’s most exciting is Instagram’s newest feature: Stories, launched August 2. With Stories, we can share multiple images and video snippets from our day—not just the ones we want to keep on our profile. The result? A story: in eye-popping slideshow format.


Image via Engadget

Smart brands are telling their story through Instagram. Those best at it share commonalities, and are excellent sources of inspiration when it comes to writing your own company’s tale.


Analyzing the success of others shows us exactly how visual storytelling helps companies engage with an audience: from sneak peeks of an upcoming project, to daily life at work, Instagram is a great way to highlight the human side of your company. In fact, your followers become a part of the story: they feel connected to it, to your brand’s values, its people, etc.


But how do you leverage the platform’s strategic, story-oriented aspects? Here’s a breakdown of how to use Instagram as a digital storytelling tool:

1. Share Your Company’s History

Your supporters love you in the present, so why not share about your past—where you came from, and how you got to where you are today? Be proud of your legacy. People love success stories. In telling your personal story, you’ll inspire, as well as delight, your fans.


Ben & Jerry’s, for example, used Instagram to tell how it has grown from a single, gas station creamery to thousands of frozen sweets shops around the world.

2. Piece Together a Narrative

Alas, Instagram Stories arrives in the form of a Snapchat-esque, user-friendly interface. Instead of posting multiple images, Stories enables us to piece together a narrative using snapshots and short videos. Video is a powerful way to add life to online content: it doesn’t just set your story in motion; it allows you to speak directly to your audience and show what a day is like in your office—from start to finish.


Instagram acknowledges that “everyone has a story.” Curious what your story may look like? Check the link below.

3. Showcase Leadership

Become industry thought leaders who spark innovation and motivate positive change through storytelling: show what your company and its leaders do. Are you at the forefront of a movement for working women? Spearhead your mission, and motivate others on Instagram.


U.S. President Obama frequently inspires followers by posting uplifting words of hope for future generations.

4. Reward Your Audience

Provide a means for your followers to get involved. Why not leverage user-generated content from the people who are using and benefitting from your products or services? Encourage people to share their experiences with your brand, and then re-post their photos. Show life through their eyes, and create stories together. You can also host a contest, and share follower-created posts from the winners.


Celebrate your biggest fans—people who identify with you—by rewarding advocates for your message, as Airbnb did.

5. Spark Change

Use Instagram to show how you and the team are lending a hand—better yet, inspire others to join the cause. Naturally, this approach works wonderfully for NGOs. For for-profit brands, it shows people there are human faces behind your company who care about more things than making money.—which provides clean water and safe sanitation solutions to women and children—beautifully illustrates how they’re giving dreams, education, and hope for a better future to communities around the globe.

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6. Go Behind Closed Doors (The behind-the-scenes stuff people REALLY want to see!)

Make your followers feel special by posting exclusive content. Take people behind closed doors to spaces only employees or the VIP see. Don’t shy away from showing the “secret” life inside your company.


Guerlain invited followers behind the scenes of its latest photo shoot, capturing one step in the visionary process, to meet their Creative Director.

Now that you have the lowdown on star-worthy storytelling on Instagram, what are you waiting for? Share your stories, and join us on @smgagency.



SMG Team

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