When it comes to social media platforms, while Facebook continues to dominate with more than 2.2bn monthly active users, its younger sibling Instagram has also enjoyed huge growth and now sees upwards of 1bn users logging on each month. Of those, there are more than 500 million daily active Instagram Stories users globally, which certainly equates to a captive audience worth engaging with. We look beyond the grid and investigate how finance brands can benefit from Instagram Stories.
What are Instagram Stories?
Launched in 2016, Instagram Stories show at the top of your Instagram feed and allow accounts to post photos and videos that only last for 24 hours. According to Instagram, one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses and 50% of businesses on Instagram worldwide have created at least one story during a typical month. To add to this, 62% of people surveyed by Facebook Inc. said they became more interested in a brand or product after seeing it on Instagram Stories.
“ 62% of people surveyed became more interested in a brand or product after seeing it on Instagram Stories.”
The 24-hour lifespan of Instagram Stories may initially seem like a marketing barrier, but what it does is open up an opportunity for finance brands to actively engage with their audience in real-time; without cluttering up their main profile. Stories are typically less polished, often using lower-quality photos or video while the profile is a more curated portfolio for your brand. Along with static images and live recorded videos, Stories also offer a number of extras that businesses can add to their stories to help boost engagement such as emoji stickers, real-time stickers to show the weather, time or location, hashtags, polls, music and more.
How should finance brands be using Instagram Stories?
What sets Instagram Stories apart as a marketing opportunity for finance brands is that they are designed to be authentic and show a ‘real’ side to a brand, making them easy to produce. This can be a huge book in an industry that is traditionally more formal.
When planning and producing Instagram stories, consider these simple tips for this very unique platform:
- Don’t aim for perfection
Don’t get bogged down with templates and getting the perfect look. Stick to a simple format, be candid and don’t overthink the aesthetic. Save that perfect look for your grid.
- Focus on engagement
Instagram Stories are all about engagement, so think about how you can use widgets like polls and quizzes to actively interact with your audience and even create a sense of locality – don’t be afraid of an emoji or a sticker!
- Have fun
Instagram Stories aren’t the platform to communicate formal messages or brand updates. Experiment with the platform, break away from prescribed brand messages and don’t be afraid to relax your usual branding rules.
- Use motion
Get moving and use video in your Stories rather than just static images. You can also use in-built video tools like Boomerang, Time-Lapse or SuperZoom.
- Take advantage of Highlights
While Instagram Stories only last 24-hours initially, adding them to your Highlight reel means the content can be found by a new audience at a later date.
- Use the Swipe Up option.
If you have over 10,000 followers, you will be able to add a link to your Stories that pushes to your content. This is a great way to drive traffic to a key landing page, and also a good incentive to get those follower numbers up!
Finance brands already embracing Instagram Stories
@JPMorgan’s Instagram account perfectly embodies the informality the platform is associated with while also providing their customers with a better understanding of the brand. JPMorgan’s Stories content includes a look inside their offices, key statistics relevant to their product and an introduction to their staff members.
In this example, JP Morgan are using a highly topical poll topic to promote direct engagement with their audience. This both keeps their brand front of mind with their target customers and increases trust in their brand’s insights through the use of user-generated content. It also demonstrates the brand’s ease with Instagram Stories widgets, the informal use of emojis contrasting well with the brand’s more curated grid photography.
Finance planning app @Mintapp expertly uses Instagram to demonstrate and share its subject matter expertise. The grid is dominated by well-designed, illustrated tips and tricks to promote the brand’s value to its potential customer.
Over on Stories, Mint takes a slightly different approach, with a more informal tone and greater use of video and widgets. In this example, Mint is highlighting its Certified Financial Planner in a self-made, low-production video answering common questions. This is a great way to give the brand a warmer, more personal tone and capture their audience’s attention as they swipe through their Stories. It also reduces any perceived ‘stuffiness’ that may still be associated with financial planning, with a warm and approachable expert speaking informally. It’s worth noting that they even choose to keep in small errors and mispronunciations rather than refilm or raise production levels, again adding to the sense of informality and intimacy.
Investment company for women, Ellevest clearly understands the power of good content. Their @Ellevest Instagram Stories focus on episodic content, encouraging the audience to engage regularly with a format they’ve come to know and expect. This includes the #askSallie hashtag series which poses questions directly to the CEO Sallie Krawcheck and regular sharing of content from their ‘Magazine’. This also takes advantage of their 10k+ follower size, adding a swipe-up to push their audience to their website.
This particular example is a great use of cross-branding, tapping into a huge publication like Glamour Magazine’s audience to promote the Ellevest brand to a wider group it wouldn’t normally have access to. Instagram Stories is being used to turn financial investment into a broad-reaching, accessible, young-female topic – made personal by Ellevest’s CEO directly engaging through video. The content was also re-shared on the Ellevest Instagram Stories to ensure as wide a reach as possible.
Instagram stories are an opportunity to show an alternative and engaging view of your finance brand while complementing existing social media strategies. If you’re considering how Instagram Stories could work for your brand, get in touch.