An all known thumb rule of business branding is: follow your consumers to the target media channel for communication. So it is only natural that advertisers have followed the footsteps of their target consumers over the course of time and used radio, television, Facebook and finally Snapchat and Instagram for business purposes.
The core idea to keep in mind is that you should use these channels not only for the purpose of advertisements and branding, but to communicate with your consumers on a personal level as well.
Snapchat and Instagram Stories have much higher engagement and wider reach than Facebook, which is reason alone why you should consider using these channels to communicate with your customers. More importantly, Facebook marketing is getting overcrowded every day, while Snapchat and Instagram still have room for innovation. Last but not the least, these channels give your brand a better platform to attract the young millennials - who are, undoubtedly, your future customers (if not present).
Share discount codes and host giveaways
Reward your loyal followers for checking your feed by sharing surprise discounts or hosting giveaways on your Snapchat or Instagram stories. Not only does it grow your reach and follower base, but boosts sales too!
Noir achieved a lot of success using this technique, especially with the help of YouTubers such as The Jhakanaka Project.
Allow an account takeover
When you let an influencer or celebrity to take over your Snapchat or Instagram account, you instantly have a pull effect on that individual's followers and fan base. Given that you share a similar fan base, this is bound to create long term followers. More importantly, seeing a favourite influencer publicly endorse a brand generates sales as well.
Do not let your stories become monotonous by only sharing about your products and promotional messages - feature your followers on your stories to create engagement. You can tag them directly and give shout-outs as well, which further strengthens the customer's bond with your brand. Urban Truth is an expert at this type of content marketing.
VIP access and sneak peeks
You can share sneak peeks of upcoming products on your stories as teasers to create hype over your next release. This directly makes your followers feel privileged to have seen the teasers first, especially if you reveal such hints on other media channels much later.
For invite only events such as fashion shows, give your followers an opportunity to be a part of those events by getting to experience it from an insider's point of view. For example, the luxury fashion brand Zurhem shared parts of their recent fashion show on their stories, which let their followers experience the grand show without even being there.
Another fun and useful feature that can be used for these is the Instagram Live option. You'll see many celebrities using it to show the fans a day in the life.
Vlog a little
One of the main purposes of using these channels is to bond with your customers, and for that you will often need to share a few personal snaps on your stories. A shot of your morning breakfast, perhaps a scenic view from your office space or even the late night shifts before a product launch - all these give a humane touch to your brand and makes your followers appreciate the hard working people behind the company.
But, always remember not to overdo your story length and count. You can even see insights on your Instagram stories, so remember to not let more people swipe away from your stories just because they find your stories irrelevant and overdone.
Sabrina is the co-owner of Newton's Archive and a senior at IBA, DU.