Warren Buffett once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Nowadays, brand reputation is more important than ever, and misjudged words or behavior from key stakeholders can have devastating effects on the bottom lines of businesses. This is particularly true in the modern age of smartphones and social media, which allow everyday people to broadcast their opinions with just the click of a button.

Numerous celebrities have felt the repercussions of social media posts that have backfired, many causing them to lose their jobs and resulting in them being ostracised by society. One example of social media gone wrong was from Kim Kardashian, who holds an Instagram following of more than 122 million.

In a previous Instagram Story, Kendall Jenner stated enthusiastically, “No, I’m really concerned. I don’t think you’re eating,” in which Kim responded, “OMG, thank you!” In another one, Khloé Kardashian said, “You are a walking Facetune doll,” and called her “anorexic” in the waist. Kim was clearly very flattered by this remark. In response to this, fans immediately jumped on social media to discuss Kim’s insensitivity, reports Seventeen.

However, this uncensored ability to broadcast your life to the world through vanishing stories can be used for a lot of good, allowing us to share positive stories as well. Since the launch of Instagram Stories in August 2016, the feature has built up incredible momentum with more than 400 million daily users, more than double Snapchat’s 191 million user base and dwarfing Facebook’s 150 million announced earlier this year.

This offers a lot of opportunities for marketing, in a means which resonates with Millennial consumers. We are naturally pre-dispositioned to see life in the form of stories and with this new technology, we can project to the world who we are, what we are doing and how we want to be seen.

So, how can individuals, brands, and organizations use stories in positive ways?

A story of unity

Social media sites from Facebook to Reddit have assisted in the formation of groups and societies which span the entire world, and Instagram is no different. Whether a person chooses to follow a vegan lifestyle blog or even a university they study at, it says something about who they are and what they want to be a part of.

Stories add to this by creating a more personal way for channels and individuals to communicate and share with one another. Linkedin, the professional social media site, is the latest to jump on this bandwagon and has recently announced that it will release its own stories feature titled ‘Student Voices’.

Universities across the US that take part in the beta test, will have a ‘Campus Playlist’ that shows short clips posted by students from their university, and videos will automatically disappear after a week. However, students’ videos will not be permanently deleted as they will remain visible in the “Recent activity” section of their own user profile.

“Campus playlists are a new video feature that we’re currently rolling out to college students in the US. As we know, students love to use video to capture moments so we’ve created this new product to help them connect with one another around shared experiences on campus to help create a sense of community,” states LinkedIn product manager Isha Patel, as reported by TechCrunch.

While this attempt to encourage students to share stories with their campus can have a positive impact on the campus community, it could also tarnish the reputation of the individual if they were to post something in poor taste, especially given the professional nature of LinkedIn.

The videos vanish from the playlist after a week while staying permanently visible on a user’s own profile in the “Recent Activity” section. This is very different from Snapchat’s original design, where videos permanently disappear, and could confuse some users, causing them to post videos which they expect to quickly disappear.

This new addition could do a lot to boost the site, and the campuses it services, but this alteration to the traditional feature could plant the seeds for its own demise.

More than one side to the story

Incredibly, 42 percent of people distrust brands. As such, brands are always on the lookout for new ways to present themselves as humanized and authentic, instead of being remote and unreachable.

From a previous Forbes article, David Harrison, a Senior Vice President at EVINS, an award-winning branding, marketing communications and public relations company, states that “staying true to brand voice while communicating with your audience honestly and openly is paramount. Audiences don’t want to see their favorite sneaker brand posting boring, sales-heavy content, just as they don’t want their bank posting cat memes.”

For brands, Instagram stories are an excellent opportunity to show an authentic side. According to Sprout Social, numerous brands have successfully incorporated stories into their social media brand such as BarkBox, a monthly subscription box service for dog toys, treats, and goodies, which created an adorable Instagram Story consisting of multiple clips from a “doggie interview” between an employee and a wonderful little pug. This not only adds something different and interesting to the users’ newsfeed but also communicates an authentic, humorous side to their brand.

Certain startups in this space have done well to recognize the impact these stories can have on building a brand, one of which is bidpin, an Instagram growth service geared towards achieving organic growth for their clients by employing specialized algorithms tailored to the client’s content to improve their follower count and engagement. Bidpin has successfully built multiple accounts from 0 to over 1 million followers using its Instagram growth service, with cutting-edge algorithms and a massive network of 537+ million followers.

When we look at data from stories and the impact they can have, it is easy to understand why bidpin has seen such success, and why their skills are so in demand in the modern world.

Instagram previously partnered with social media analytics platform Delmondo to analyze more than 15,000 Instagram stories from 200 of the world’s top brands in one of the largest Instagram Stories research studies ever to be carried out.

The study found that accounts that posted a series of 10 stories earned twice as many median impressions as accounts that didn’t post at all, and those with 20 stories earned five times the number of median impressions than the non-story posters. Moreover, users who consume Instagram content are so engaged that brands see a 75 percent completion rate on their stories, which means their audience stays to watch all the way to the last story frame.

In addition to the above findings, one-third of the most-viewed stories come from businesses, and one in five stories earns a direct message from its viewers, according to Instagram’s internal data.

These success rates can be demonstrated in campaigns such as Oreo’s eye-catching ads on Instagram Stories which helped the cookie giant drive significant growth in ad recognition and ad recall with a 17 percent lower cost per lead.

Creating a happy ending

With bleak headlines around the world, it can be hard to remember there are still a lot of good stories out there. For those who follow PETA or Stand Up To Cancer on social media, it is a lot easier to remember the good stories out there thanks to these charities’ well-executed campaigns.

According to John Haydon, Stand Up To Cancer invited Instagram followers to a live Q&A with Sharon Jones to discuss her new documentary, and PETA invited Instagram followers behind the scenes to film a new PSA about the dangers of leaving your dog in a hot car. Both case studies demonstrate the inclusive and personal nature that can be conveyed through Stories, and for a charity, delivering a humanized message is arguably more important than any other industry.

In addition to this, huge social media challenges which encourage the use of video have brought about serious change in the real world. The viral phenomenon, known as the Ice Bucket Challenge, raised more than $220 million around the globe to help tackle ALS, and, according to The Guardian the ALS Association has stated that money raised by the viral charity challenge, dismissed as ‘slacktivism’ by many, has helped identify a new gene associated with the disease.

While this might not have directly involved Instagram’s Stories feature, it is a clear indicator that a lot of good can come from viral videos around the world. Whether it is a charity, company or community, Stories has a lot to offer to help make advertising and the lives of Instagram followers more interesting and personal than ever before.

 

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