An ultimate guide to using Instagram Stories

From merely a selfie-sharing app, Instagram has come a long way and now has over 300 million monthly active users sharing 70 million photos per day that garner over 2.5 billion likes daily. Instagram recently launched a new feature named stories, which has a striking resemblance to Snapchat’s feature of the same name. They are essentially photos and videos that last just a day and just like Snapchat; they can be enhanced with drawings or special filters.

Stories are not part of the main feeds and are in a separate space where you can post as frequently as you want without worrying about spamming your friend’s feeds. Wondering how to use this and how you can leverage this feature in your marketing strategy? Worry not! We have the answers.

How to use it

  1. Tap the plus sign in the upper left corner of your screen to get started.

inst stories

  1. Take a picture by clicking on the round icon. If you are looking to make videos, press the round button continuously for 10 seconds.

If you don’t want to take pictures and want to upload from your existing gallery, just swipe down to choose your photos or videos.

step 2

  1. Once you are done with taking pictures, you can use one of the three pen options to doodle on your images.

Additionally, stories also let’s add filters. All you need to do is swipe right.

step 3

  1. Now that your masterpiece is done, just tap the checkmark icon to share.

Your story will now appear on top of your friend’s feeds. It is also visible on your profile page.  You can also save this story for later use. All you need to do is open your story and click on the three dots on the bottom right, then selecting “Save Photo.”

  1. Get to know the analytics

You can see who saw your pictures and videos by swiping up when seeing the photo or video. If you do not want someone seeing it, all you need to do is hit the “X” next to their name to block them from seeing anything you add to your Story.

You can also change your privacy settings to make sure certain people on your feeds don’t get to see your stories. Go to the setting icon in your profile and choose to hide your story from certain users or restrict who can respond to it.

How can brands leverage Instagram stories?

After Facebook took over Instagram, Instagram opened up to advertising on their platform, and more brands have started using Instagram for business. Instagram also has an inbuilt analytics tool, which helps you track the most viewed and liked posts, post engagement rate, website clicks and impressions.

If your brand already has a fairly decent base, Instagram Stories is something you must quickly jump to create a buzz. Wondering how to leverage stories? Here are a few ideas.

  • Behind the scenes

One of the best and easiest ways to use this cool, new feature is during an event. Give your audience a sneak peak of what is going on behind the scenes. Be it a photo shoot or just a short video to show how things are working at your office, it is an excellent way to connect with your audience.    Here is an example of a brand that leveraged this feature,  Mercedes-Benz (@mercedesbenz) shared a compilation of videos and photos of a photo shoot highlighting its Mercedes-AMG model.

  • Endorsing a sale

For any retail brand or e-commerce brand, Instagram stories are an excellent way to announce a sale. With a combination of images and videos, you can send out promotional messages about your upcoming sale. In fact, J-Crew, an American multi-brand retailer did just that. Before their one-day sale of “Jane in Pink”” sunglasses, they took to Instagram Stories to highlight their sale.

endorsing a sale

Source:  Simply measured

  • Teaser videos

If you are having an event in your office or if you are just looking to make a big announcement about your brand, take to Stories to tease your audience about it. If you are making your big announcement through Facebook Live videos, you can use stories to notify people about a Facebook Live broadcast to get more viewers for your live video. This is a great way to promote both your platforms at once.

  • Showcase your product

If you are looking to promote your product, Instagram stories are a great way to do that. You can not only show how your product works but also show them unique ways to use your product well.  This will not only increase visibility but also gives them reasons to buy the product and driving conversions. Be it makeup tutorials with a specific product or styling ideas with a scarf, there is no better way to educate your audience about your product than these stories. Even Starbucks highlighted its chilled cold brew and iced Americano with cream using Stories.

starbucks

Source: Instagram

  • Celebrating milestones

Has your company just turned one or five or did you just win a big award? Well, congratulations! It is important to announce these to your target audience, and this is where Instagram stories come in. Using series of interview video and images, you can create engaging content to highlight your milestone.

South West Airline is a classic example of this. When they retired their 737-500 planes, they took to stories to make this announcement.

showcasing milestones

Source: Social Media Examiner

Showcasing these milestones is an excellent way to humanise your brand and keep your audience and potential customers interested in what you do and how you do it.

Are you going to be using Instagram stories? Share your thought in the comment section below.

This article was originally published in Techstory

All you need to know about Snapchat’s new Spectacles

Here is a happy news for all you Snapchat lovers! Snap.Inc has introduced this cool and fun pair of spectacles to help you shoot videos on the go.

With Instagram now having the story feature, which is one of the major USP of Snapchat, snap decided to introduce a new hardware to stay ahead of the game. Although, the first time you hear it, it may sound like a replica of Google glass; the truth is, no it is not! The spectacles cost just one-third of the price of the Google Glass, and they look more like shades and are only used to shoot videos or photos. Experts say that you can compare them to a GoPro rather than google glass.

Interested to know further about Spectacles? We have all the info you need! About Spectacles

This device is a pair of wayfarers, which has an inbuilt camera of 115degree lens. Two yellow circles can be found at each end of the glasses: one is the camera, and the other hides a ring of LEDs that light up when the device is recording.

These glasses are paired with your Snapchat and the video recorded on this will automatically get stored in the Snapchat memories. They are available in three colours –  black, teal and coral and are priced at $130 each.

Every spectacle comes with a recharging case, USB cable for the case and a glass cleaning cloth.

snap-spectacles

 

Here are few easy steps on how to use these glasses

Step 1: Pair it

Spectacles are compatible with both Android and IOS devices. To pair, wear the glasses and open the Snapchat app on your phone, click on the ghost icon and press the button on the top left corner of the specs.

 

snap-spectacles -Pairing

 

Step 2: Recording the video

Now the device is paired, and all set to record. Press the button on the top left a corner of the specs. A small LED light will switch on to indicate that video is being recorded. The spectacles will record a 10-second video if you want additional recording time then press the button again to add extra 10 seconds. The longest video one can record is 30 seconds. The videos are recorded in a circular format.

 

snap-spectacles-recording

 

Step 3: Saving your snaps

The snaps are saved to your Snapchat memories automatically. In case, you do not have your phone with you then; the spectacles will store the snaps and later it can be transferred to your phone either via wifi or via Bluetooth for IOS devices.

 

snap-spectacles-save-it

 

 

Step 4: Charging the device

To charge your spectacles just place it in the case, which comes with the device or you can also directly charge it using the USB cable. However, experts in the tech space recommended using the case to charge. Usually, the charge stays for a whole day or two.

 

snap-spectacles-charging-the-specs

 

How can you buy them?

These are currently available only in the US. If you are visiting the US or asking your friend to buy it for you here is where you can find it. Snap inc. is selling them through a bright yellow vending machine, don’t mistake it for a minion although it looks like one! These are called Snapbots that will travel around the country. You will be lucky if you spot one around your neighbourhood.  Snap is making them in a very limited quantity.

The Snapbots will be available at each location for a day. You can also track the bots current location using the map on the spectacles website.

Snap also gives you the facility to try on the glasses before deciding to buy them. All you need to do is use the QR code provided on the website and scan it to add a filter to Snapchat, which is for a limited time to try them on virtually.

 

snapbot

 

Spectacles for Business

Just like Snapchat, the spectacles can also be leveraged for your business. Here is how….

Live hands-free demo

Although Snapchat shares the same feature, the plus point about shooting on spectacles is that you can shoot the video while working on anything. Whether it is unboxing a product or a demo of a product, use this device and give your fans a complete walkthrough of it. (literally).

 

Promote a show and take them behind the scenes

Esquire Network a TV network used spectacles to promote their show by shooting a 90-second video. Another great way to leverage this is by shooting behind the scenes videos, which can give your followers a feel of getting a unique or an exclusive pass to the event.

 

A perfect way to portray and promote any location

Spectacles can be used to promote any location or space. Feature a ride, coffee shop, your apartment, office space, etc. using this device and make your audience feel like they are a part of the scene. If you are planning to sell a property or an apartment, this is an innovative way to advertise. Your target audience can get a complete view of the property.

Get customers to give live feedback about your product

Now, you can ask your clients, to give a live feedback about your product or a service. You can also create a story on your Snapchat account and ask people to add their reviews on there. This can be an excellent way to promote your brand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Beat turns 4

Four years of sugar, spice and everything nice has made Social Beat what it is today and as we step into our 5th year, we would like to thank each and every team member for their significant contribution to our growth and success.

Its been a phenomenal year – right from turning Google Premier Partners to being invited for the Facebook India SME Council, from visiting San Francisco for the Global Google Partner Summit to running digital marketing workshops across the country, from organising our first Digital Leadership Summit to opening our Bangalore & Mumbai offices, from winning awards to releasing our Industry Digital Marketing Report.

Of course, all of this wouldn’t have been possible without our team and our existing and new clients. So thank you once again. Together, we learn, we grow, and we make it beat 🙂

Continue reading about us on the Social Beat internal blog.

Content Marketing in 2017 – Digital Chai Pe Charcha, Bengaluru

The second edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha in Bengaluru was held on 9th Dec, 2016. We had an audience of 25 including entrepreneurs, professionals, digital marketers and social media influencers taking active part in the discussion. The topic of discussion was achieving content marketing success in 2017 and beyond.

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We had done a similar discussion on content marketing in Chennai in early 2016.

You may find it interesting to read our other blogs on Content Marketing.

 

Demystifying the basics of Search Engine Optimisation

Optimising your website Google search results is probably one of the most important things a brand can do. This is usually called SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and is one of the least understood concepts in the marketing world. While SEO has changed over the last 10 years, its fundamentals remain the same and I have highlighted what are the key things to keep in mind when getting started.

Understanding what your customer or users are searching for

The first step is to understand what kind of content your customers or users want. You could use the free Google Keyword research tool or a paid tool like Moz Explorer to get a sense of it. We also use interesting tools like Answer the Public, which groups search terms together to give you a better understanding. It might be also useful to use Buzzsumo to understand what kind of content consumers are viewing and sharing via social media channels.

It’s important to understand that content here doesn’t mean only written content – it could be in the form of infographics, videos, interactive graphs, tools/calculators etc. So do the research to understand what consumers are searching for or intuitively would want.

Creating content that caters to the user’s need

Virtually everyone in the digital marketing space has finally boarded the content marketing bandwagon. We know now that creating good content for a brand is the best way to get a good ranking in Google search results. So just writing ‘Good and Unique Content’ should do the trick right? Not any more.

Content marketing and blogging has risen by leaps and bounds in the last five to six years. The rules have changed and writing ‘Good and Unique Content’ is just not enough. Writing content that covers only the basic of any topic is very easy. A user may probably visit your blog and feel that they now know something about this topic and choose not spend more than a few minutes on it. Chances of such blogs, making into the top ten positions of the Google search results are very slim. The modern SEO’s demand are much higher and you need to have the best content in your category to make it into the top results organically. Take your regular content, make it 10X bigger and better. In fact, user experience also plays a big role in the ranking algorithm making it even more important for the need to move from ‘Good And Unique Content’ to a ‘10X Content’. Only then can you hope to try and rank for those keywords

Here is a detailed guide on 10 ways to ensure that your content is 10X times better than anyone else. You could also exploring creating content in multiple languages if you feel your users would engage with such content.

Amplify the content to ensure it reaches the audience and it gets backlinks

The content is only as good as the number of people its able to reach. If you create 10X content you are likely to start showing up in search results in a few weeks (8-10 weeks for sites that have been around). Till then its key to amplify the content via social media, paid advertising, social bookmarking as well as link building requests.

Social media and SEO are two interlinked strategies as both are organic driven and is dependent on fresh content appealing to the viewers. There is no direct mention by Google that increase in social media followers will directly improve the rankings for a specific set of reason. However, Google always insists on quality links and content rather than the quantity of shares and links. Read this blog on why social media matters to SEO to get a better idea of how to leverage channels like Facebook and Twitter to amplify your content.

Social Bookmarking is another way to ensure you not only get backlinks but improve the chance of being found. Quora is also an interesting platform to do that.

Lastly, its important to build backlinks as this is one of the corner stones on which rankings improve. Backlink is essentially any link pointing from an external site to yours. Though the number of backlinks is important but poor quality or spammy backlinks should be avoided. It can result in a negative penalty for your website by Google. Influencer marketing can also be an effective tool to get relevant backlinks.

Ensure website is fast and mobile responsive

One common mistake we see brands and websites doing is ignoring the speed of the website, which accordingly to google is one of the most critical aspects in ranking. They even have new features like AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to help websites overcome this issue.

Having a website which is mobile and tablet responsive is again a given today. Users consume content across devices and the websites need to be user friendly across devices too. Brands need to leverage every mobile micro moment of consumers and for that you need an amazing mobile website.

Technical SEO elements

This involves some help from your digital team as it requires SEO knowledge as well as technology/development expertise to execute. This includes elements like headings, tags (to allow Google to understand what content/images that you have on your site), structured data (to tell Google what kind of content it is – e.g. whether it’s a receipe or a product review or just a blog article), implementing speed elements including AMP and redirecting old urls to new urls.

Track Results & be patient

It’s important to track your return on investment for such SEO activities and we usually do that by tracking not only the rank of your keyword (which is less important these days) but by tracking the growth of traffic from Google over a period of time. It takes about 4-6 months to see any substantive results. Regular creation of 10X content is key to growth in traffic from Google and that should be the focus area on an ongoing basis.

The article was originally published at Business Line on Campus, where I write a column called Going Digital.

Social Beat partners with Orange Flower Awards in Bangalore

We are glad to Partner with the Orange Flower Awards, organised by Women’s Web. The Orange Flower Awards are India’s first awards for women for digital excellence. The initiative aims at recognising women who are digital creative superstars. This encompasses women who are writers, cartoonists, social media mavens, photographers.

The Women’s Web is an online platform that enables women around the country to talk about their real stories and experiences. The organisation is the largest online community of women in India with 8 million readers since 2010. An inspiration to 800+ women entrepreneurs, the platform hosts 1500+ writers and bloggers. There is a wide diversity in the kind of topics that are featured on the platform. One can find women’s views on social issues, parenting advice, relationships, entrepreneurship, travel, lifestyle and even Tech and Finance! Started in 2010, Women’s Web has been growing with the love and readership of women in India and has been applauded by The Hindu, Deccan Chronical, PepperTV and won many awards such as the Women Icon and Biz Divas award.

The premise behind hosting the Orange Flower Awards is that women in India are continually innovating and reinventing to change the digital world we live in. Any woman above the age of 18 years can nominate themselves or someone else for the Awards. Although the awards are meant to recognise the work that women have done in this field, nominations from men are also welcome in specific categories where their work has empowered women in some form.

The Jury panel comprises of renowned journalists and authors like Gita Aravamudan, Kiran Manral, Ashok Banker, Mita Kapur, Samhita Arni and Sowmya Rajendran. Other panellists include Archana Doshi, Natasha Bhadwar and Aparna V Singh, who is the Founder and CEO of Women’s Web. The structure planned is going through digital and also has on ground events in 5 cities – Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata and Hyderabad. The gala awards night is scheduled to take place on the 8th of January, 2017 in Bengaluru.

You can catch all the action and the recent happenings of the event on their page. You can also choose to attend the event in any of the cities.

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