“Trust in companies has never been this low.” Chairman Dorit Roest opened her presentation with this statement at the Emerce Update Event. We are in the middle of the ‘war for attention’. On average, we see around five thousand advertisements in a day. With thousands of messages being fired at us, it’s hard to tell what we should and should not believe. Fortunately, Instagram is a platform where you have the possibility to tell an interesting story to the right target group.
The Emerce Update Event on Instagram took place on Tuesday 12 November 2019. Various marketers, including Hema and Bol.com, shared their ‘best cases’ about Instagram. Out of these presentations, I listed seven tips that all have one thing in common: they contribute to telling a story.
This article appeared in Dutch on Marketingfacts.
1. Make it with the right target group in mind
Launching a story that lands nowhere is a waste of attention and your precious time. Most companies have no idea why their customers are their customers, and the same goes for followers on Instagram. Before you can start creating content, it is important that you identify your ideal target group.
Tom Hensen, social and content marketer at Bol.com, said that in 2019 the entire Instagram strategy was changed. On Instagram, the company now fully focuses on Gen Z – 16 to 24 years old. With this target group in mind, Bol.com shares short pieces of content that instantly call up a story. Bol.com tip: dare to choose a niche.
“Dare to choose a niche”
2. Make it identifiable
Influencer Rianne Meijer has started posting less ‘perfect’ photos, in addition to her ‘normal’ photos. The reason that the double chin photos are so well received is because they are much more recognizable than all picture-perfect Instagram images. Honest content makes followers connect with her faster, because they more easily identify with someone who is not always perfect.
Dit bericht bekijken op Instagram
Not only influencers, but also companies can start with identifiable content on Instagram. This is also one of the ways in which Bol.com receives a lot of attention and response. Inspiration comes from popular memes, among other things. Memes are appreciated by the target group because they recognize themselves in them. According to Tom Hensen, the ideal reaction that Bol.com strives for is: ‘I always do this’. Being able to identify with something or someone is one of the ingredients for a good story.
3. Make it together
Instagram is a platform where you can easily create content together with your followers. The various options that the platform offers, such as the poll functions in stories, make it easy to find out the wishes and needs of your target group. In addition, followers often find it an honor when their photo is reposted. So certainly try to do this. You get valuable and real content for free, they feel honored and get more followers.
Hema is already well on its way to optimally use interaction. Jessica Berghout, content strategist for Hema, says that at Hema there is a distribution of 50 percent user generated content and 50 percent of Hema’s own content. Hema gets much less interaction with advertisements than with organic content and therefore uses campaign images as little as possible. This way, followers contribute to the story that Hema writes.
4. Make it valuable
“Stop yelling, start inspiring”, is what Bram van Houtum, social media specialist, said during his presentation. It is crucial that you offer value on Instagram to distinguish yourself from others. During the ‘war for attention’ you can scream really loudly. However, it is much more effective to have a good story that people will want to listen to voluntarily.
“Stop yelling, start inspiring”
You can add value in different ways; for example, by solving problems, by adding an extra layer or by sharing inspiring stories. Followers want to be able to identify with the values of a company, and there is no better way to convey these values than through storytelling. Rijksmuseum shares with its 450,000 followers on Instagram, among other things, facts about the paintings from the collection. This reaches art lovers all over the world and every fact adds a little value to their day.
5. Make it worth repeating
For a good story to be heard, it is essential that it is told several times, preferably in different ways. By dividing content into manageable pieces, you tell a corresponding story with every little message. There are different ways to share a story on Instagram: photos, short videos, stories and IGTV. For example, Rijksmuseum shares the aforementioned photos with facts about the collection, short videos that go deeper into the meaning of paintings, stories that give a look behind the scenes and they make their own series on IGTV such as ‘Operation Night Watch’.
Bram van Houtum gave the tip to create long form content that you can then spread across various platforms as short form content. An example of long-form content is an extensive article that fully covers a subject. Short form content is a short fact or tip that could come from such a long form article. For example, I could view this article as long form content, but when I share each tip separately on my social media, it becomes short form content.
6. Make the connection
How do you talk to customers in a time when everyone is lying to you? According to Tom Hensen, it is a missed opportunity if you do not respond to comments of followers. “It is as if you are telling someone a story and as soon as they ask about it, you turn around and walk away”. So make sure you plan enough time to respond to questions so that your story does not stop abruptly after the first interaction.
“How do you talk to customers during a time everyone is lying to you?”
It is important for Bol.com to stand out from the competition, especially now that Amazon is coming. The social media team had to be more personal than the competition to stand out. Fortunately there is Gerda, a fictional Bol.com character who answers all questions on Instagram. Gerda’s reactions, always with a raw edge, are terribly popular among young people. They ask Gerda a question hoping to receive a bold answer. Sarcasm plays a major role in this of course.
Translation: Kasper.bat: ‘Gerda what do you think of Amazon’. Bol_com: ‘too bad so much burned down’
7. Use influencers on Instagram
The last way to translate your story to other channels is by the use of influencer marketing. Dorit Roest from The Influencers Movement said in her presentation that, although influencers are often no longer credible, influencer marketing continues to grow enormously. Based on the Gartner Hype Cycle, Dorit Roest analyzed the stage at which influencer marketing is in progress. According to her, it is the ‘slope of enlightment’, which means that it will continue to grow, but is becoming more and more normalized.
Influencers once started on Instagram by sharing their passion. When companies first realized the relevance of collaborations, the approach of influencers changed to ‘becoming famous and making a lot of money’. Influencers were subsequently put in a bad light. According to Roest, this will soon be normalized and only those influencers who operate from their passion will survive.
“Although influencers are often no longer credible, influencer marketing continues to grow”
Returning to what was mentioned during the first presentation of the event: “Confidence in companies has never been this low”, I now believe that there is a way to regain confidence in Instagram: through valuable and recognizable content for the right target group and by starting a conversation with each other. That way we can keep telling inspiring and credible stories.
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Do you use Storytelling on Instagram?