DECODING INSTAGRAM: Everything you need to know in my experience

I was recently asked a few questions about my thoughts on Instagram, and especially Instagram Stories. I thought that I would share my thoughts with you too, so that my point of view on the platform, is here for you and possible here to help!

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Based on your experience, in particular with Instagram, do you believe that Instagram Stories, are a crucial format to gain visibility and engage with your audience?

Instagram stories, or social media “stories” in general – have changed the way that we consume social media. The “stories” format that were pioneered by Snapchat, is now a staple of the social media world – which means that if Instagram stories are not part of your media mix yet, you should seriously start reconsidering them.

As much as, Instagram stories still do not prove to drive increased visibility, in my experience –they are a different and unfiltered way of sharing what you are passionate and interested about with your Instagram followers. The ephemeral pieces of content we see from our friends, family and influencers on Instagram, Snapchat and increasingly Facebook are what consumers want most. The news feed is a relic of the past and while it’s not going away anytime soon it will no longer have the same impact it has had on society again.

Facebook itself sees stories as the future and says one billion of them are shared on its platform every day but has so far not being able to monetize them as much as its other ad inventory. 

Still important to note though, that Instagram stories in no way impact how the Instagram algorithm works; meaning that even if you post 100 stories a day, this will not favour your profile. Whilst, posting regularly Instagram posts will help brands feature higher in users’ timelines and it won’t downrank people who post a lot.

Therefore, my tips are to:

1. Use Instagram Posts frequently to keep your audience engaged and to potentially attract new followers to your community,

2. Use Instagram Stories to feed extra, unfiltered content to the people that follow you

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Always based on your experience, the use of Instagram posts is more or less effective than Instagram Stories?

Instagram posts and stories should not be considered mutually exclusive. They both serve different purposes and should be used in different ways to build you brand.

In my experience, Instagram posts allow you to reach more people, simply because they do not disappear within 24 hours. However, Instagram stories allow me to share more amateur snackable pieces of content that show my true self – this is because you are basically ‘live-streaming’ on a day-to-day your life behind the scenes. People increasingly crave for content, and Instagram stories are the quickest and easiest way to give people that without too much fuss.

Instagram posts and stories should not be considered mutually exclusive. They both serve different purposes and should be used in different ways to build you brand.
— Giorgina Clavarino

As a digital content creator, do you believe that Instagram is fundamental for the launch of a new brand, or is it possible to live without it?

I believe that before anyone goes off and launches another social media channel, because they think it’s the best thing to do for a brand –they should stop and rethink their actions, before moving forward. When launching a new brand, I feel that people often get lost in the sea of options that nowadays exist to promote a brand – resulting in brands forgetting what their main purpose was.

It’s important that before you start speaking to an audience as a brand, that you have a clear view on what your values and ambitions are. Once you’ve ticked this box, you can then develop a marketing strategy where you consider all of the best tools that are available nowadays, which can help you achieve that ambition. Not every single product or service on the planet has to be on Instagram to sell– maybe Instagram is not even the right place for you to advertise your brand or you might not be reaching the right audience. Instagram is not everything.

Once you have identified the channels that best fit your brand, I recommend that a strategy is developed for each. Things to keep in mind are: 1. What you will be using the channel for 2. What do you want to say? 3. Who are you speaking to?

Lastly, do not expect to build a loyal community of followers overnight. Building an organic community takes time and with Facebook increasingly changing their algorithms, organic social reach is almost dead. Which means that a balance between organic and paid posts will be necessary to reach more people.

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

Would you consider launching a brand and promoting it, only via Instagram? If not, what other channels would you consider using?

Brands cannot survive simply by relying on rented platforms (i.e. Instagram). Increasingly brands need to understand that they need to build their owned platforms too in order to succeed in the competitive world we now live in. Having a website and an Instagram page is no longer enough, brands need to start working on building engaging newsletters, catalogs, blogs and kiosks, as they are all important assets within a brand’s overall owned media portfolio. Despite platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to reach huge audiences (mainly if you pay for it), they are rented, you do not own them. Whilst owned media assets are directly controlled by the brand. Nobody else.

Considering how some people have taken advantage of platforms like Instagram, which have allowed them to even develop and grow brands? Do you believe that there are channels that are as effective?

For social media influencers, Instagram has played a vital role in the success of these brands. I do not believe that there are tools as effective for social media influencers right now.

Source: Influencer Marketing Hub, 2019

Source: Influencer Marketing Hub, 2019

nowadays, Do you bleive that people buy into brands or into people?

I increasingly believe that people buy into people and not into brands. This is often why brands partner with testimonials and influencers - because they can borrow values from the best talent – helping brands to build credibility and trust in a world that is increasingly lacking both.

Scarcity of trust towards social platforms with the rise of fake news, clickbait articles and bots, have led influencer marketing to be a new era of social networking - one that is more about human connection as opposed to information consumption. It’s one reason why the influencer marketing industry is on the rise, expected to grow by 41% to 6.5bn in 2019. Brands are looking to work with social media influencers who have developed deep connections with their audience.

Forbes actually found that 92% of people trust an influencer more than a traditional advertiser. This means that people buy their products because they trust them. If you remove influencers away from their brand – then no, there would be no purchase intention there, because there is no credibility.