Spending more time on Instagram

Before Instagram Stories became a reality I don’t think I spent more than 10 to 15 minutes a day on Instagram. It’s now become almost a routine to check in on my Instagram feed as much as I open up the Twitter app.

Taken from Enhance

I understand Twitter isn’t as important to brands when it comes to marketing and advertising. The Facebook platform offers more than a billion users and an easier UI for marketers. Instagram is under Facebook’s umbrella and people gravitate more towards photos and videos than written content and links. Either way, I know I have a biased opinion when it comes to the light blue bird. It’s been a great platform to interact with digital marketers and writers in NYC and across the world. Facebook groups is an option but lately I haven't seen a need to visit Facebook besides birthdays, On This Day, Messenger and the occasional meme or news which I’ve already seen on Twitter.

Taken from GIPHY

Last month I made my way to Chicago and Toronto, mostly to visit new baseball stadiums and a need to escape New York City. Toronto is a close enough city but feels like a distance away because it’s in another county. Chicago is a quick hour and change Amtrak ride away from Milwaukee so it made sense to venture up to city of cheese curds. Well besides the baseball games and new experience I used it as an opportunity to meet people I connected with on Twitter. It didn’t feel as I was meeting a stranger because we interacted with each other through Twitter chats and our experiences in the digital marketing field. It was a cool way to connect in person with someone I’ve spoken with on numerous occasions. Similar to what meeting a pen pal felt like when I was in elementary school.

JMatt who I met while I was in Milwaukee started a 30 day challenge on Instagram in regards to breaking the stigma within mental health. Which is perfect timing since last month was National Suicide Awareness Month and this week is Mental Illness Awareness Week. During this challenge individuals who I just met as well as JMatt and Cory from my dealbreakers podcast episode are participating in the conversation.

If you want to join in and learn more about the #BreakTheStigma Challenge you can learn more about it here.

I would love to talk more about my experience with this challenge but that would have to be saved until next month that way I have an overall picture of how it went.

What I’ve taken away from this experience and IG stories as a whole is how the feature has only been around for 2 years and it has completely changed the way I use social media as a whole. I mostly share other posts or memes I find on Facebook, only used their Stories once, stopped using Snapchat even though I barely opened the app. Twitter is still my number one but I’m curious for how much longer?

Facebook is a collection of friends, people I’ve met, family and people I went to high school and college with. Twitter is a mix of brands, personalities and people I met through various Twitter chats. Instagram is a mix of some bots and the people I connected with on Facebook and Twitter.

The evolution of Instagram Stories has made it a more interactive platform to spend time on. There isn’t a need to create posts for the main feed on a daily basis when you have Stories that always pop up on the top of the feed. The various features Stories has included allows for more creativity.

Taken from GIPHY

Besides posting photos in your Stories users can go LIVE (video), record 15 second stories, and type out a story (similar to a Facebook status). I would go through the other types of ways to post content on Instagram but this isn’t an intro or how to kind of piece.

The fact that you can post a photo or video and include words, emoji, gifs, location and hashtags adds to the creativity a brand and individuals can include to their Stories. The ask a question and polls have been a highly entertaining inclusion. I like asking people their perspectives about dating and relationships, hence why I started a podcast.

Not saying that Facebook and Twitter don’t offer a way to start polls and questions, if just feels like a stale place to be in. What Instagram has in its advantage is not being able to include links to every post on the main feed. Even though Twitter and Facebook isn’t just links, as a consumer I’m more likely to scroll through those. The inclusion of Moments and searching through what’s relevant works in Twitter’s favor. I haven’t utilized Facebook groups as much as I should even though I know it has some value.

Back to links on Instagram. What I loved about Twitter before 2018 was the 140 character limit, it forced Social Media Managers to be creative with what we wrote, to be as concise as possible with our thought process. Instagram is similar when it comes to links. The platform would just become Facebook and Twitter if links were allowed to appear on every post. Either way, I’’m pretty sure people scroll through IG for photos and possibly captions and not for reading articles.

That’s where stories and one link allowed in the bio allows brands and individuals to be creative on how to ask people to leave the platform they’re already in. Unless you’re a verified account or a business page with more than 10,000 followers you won’t be able to tell your followers to swipe up and visit a link. That means pages have to be creative on how to convince their followers to click on the link in the bio. Asking questions such as “is this the best link to use” and “how do we ask people to do something without directly saying it?”. Also brands don’t just add links on all their Stories because that can get tiring quick. For the marketer and consumer.

Taken from GIPHY

Everyone needs to be creative with how they communicate with their community. They have to focus on telling a story, use the question and poll features to learn from their audience. Tinker with the other features and learn what your audience prefers to watch. It’s not all about the likes.

I was iffy about Stories because I had no idea how to utilize them and why they were necessary. I always thought of them as the less glossier content that won’t go on the main feed. For me it’s become a venue to explore creativity through the content I create and being able to interact with followers as I continue to grow my podcast. There’s always new skills to gain from this feature. Starting this month, I’m trying to break my shell of being in front of a camera and talking about mental health.