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DMEXCO ’17: 3 Ways Brands Can Embrace Instagram Stories

“Brands have been one of our earliest adopters of Stories and they’re absolutely crushing it,” said Kay Hsu, global Instagram lead for the creative shop at Facebook. Hsu delivered a rock star performance at DMEXCO ’17 offering tips, tricks, and real-world examples on how brands can use the social platform.

Amy Hsu of Instagram at DMEXCO ’17, which she calls D-Mex (“I’m going to keep calling it that. Hope it sticks.”)

The key to understanding and enjoying Instagram Stories [1] is remembering that anything posted will soon disappear, and that fleeting nature makes anything posted more fun, urgent, or precious.

“When things disappear, all the sudden we have a new world of creative freedom,” Hsu explained: Experiment with ephemerality.

Before she began, Hsu offered a few stats to make the case for the platform: Instagram Stories has 250 million daily users, and 50 percent of businesses on Instagram have created a Story in the last month. One-third of the most-viewed Stories come from businesses. Also, members under 25 average 32 minutes per day on the platform.

To guide brands that haven’t tried Instagram Stories yet, Hsu offered these three ways they can succeed:

  1. Create Stories That Intrigue

Give a little bit of information to reel the viewer in. Brands could give an exclusive peek at a new product or provide backstage access. It’s a great way to humanize a brand, Hsu suggested.

  1. Create Stories That Highlight

Use the platform to focus attention on a brand’s message or a new product. Stories are viewed on mobile devices and fill the screen, so brands have viewers’ undivided attention.

  1. Create Stories That Teach

People love to tap through the elements of a Story. Hsu showed how Lowes put that to good effect creating a digital flip-book that showed a person working through a home project. Stories are also suitable for recipes or anything else with specific steps.

While Hsu didn’t mention it, these tips work just as well for Snapchat, since Instagram Stories is simply Facebook’s version of Snapchat. Brands can create the same type of experience on either platform.

“Be willing to takes risks,” Hsu encouraged. “Experiment with ephemera. Try things out. Make mistakes.” Don’t be afraid to fail, because anything posted can be deleted. Create, have fun, and “get super-dooper weird,” she said.