To get me to follow your brand is one thing, but to keep me following is another. The difference between the two is simple: storytelling. Are you selling me something with photos pulled straight from your catalog? Is your influencer strategy unattainable and unbelievable? I might be hitting that unfollow button. The question your brand really should be asking is: are we creating and inspiring content that keeps our fans tapping through our stories, watching our videos, and interacting with our posts? Users are hyper-selective as to which brands they allow in their curated feed. Will you be one of them? Here are five brands we’re following for their best in class storytelling.
This Canadian-based backpack and travel company makes our list for their mastery of crafting a story with UGC. They curate their UGC under the clever hashtag #WellTraveled alluding to the quality travel accessories' jaunts around the globe. If the brand were to try to recreate the user images themselves, it would involve many expensive, international shoots. Not to mention, the authentic appeal of the UGC is doing Hershel a service given UGC sees an average of 28% higher engagement on social. Hershel has a balanced mix of UGC featuring their products as well as more general inspirational travel content where the product takes the backseat. Hershel is telling the story of millennial travel in a colorful and captivating way and their products are just the vehicles that guide us to the meat of the narrative.
When Airbnb first got its start, many were struck by how personal it was to let a stranger stay in their home. Airbnb’s Instagram takes ownership of that same humanization by featuring the stories of their Superhosts. They make our list for their ability to tell their advocates’ stories. It’s no mistake that the Airbnb advocates are also positioned as experts of their respective cities, which lends well to Airbnb’s experiential product offerings. There has been an uptick in the Superhost story posts as Airbnb is celebrating five years of the designation.
Patagonia is notorious for their customer service and their conservation efforts. So, naturally, their Instagram meets at the intersection of those two ideas. Patagonia makes our list for their incredible product storytelling. Very few brands are willing to show their product as worn and patched, but Patagonia uses their Instagram to advertise their robust product repair offerings while simultaneously telling the story of the person behind the worn product. They celebrate their products’ durability and timelessness by adorning the repaired products with “Worn Wear” badges.
If you’re looking for a best in class example of video storytelling on Instagram, look no further than Bon Appetit. Their recipes are aspirational yet relatable and their videos convey that in their produced yet personable style. Although the end product of their recipe videos tends to be beautifully plated, they don’t shy away from bloopers to show the personality of the chefs behind the creations. Bon Appetit posts seven-card stories we actually want to watch. They extend their videos across channels and mediums. For instance, they’ll post an Instagram story to introduce the video concept with text overlay. From there, users can swipe up to view the full video on YouTube. Their Instagram mostly consists of beautiful food photos with the occasional video creating a recipe in the test kitchen and their videos are always optimized for sound off within the feed. They aren’t afraid of longer videos and on their IGTV–one can easily go into a rabbit hole exploring how to make homemade peeps, the best chocolate chip cookie, or 32 of the best slices of pizza in NYC.
It’s never too late to start telling your story with your Instagram presence. Or, if you’ve been telling a story that no longer aligns with your strategy there’s no reason you can’t pivot your messaging using your Instagram to help you. Plenty of brands have deleted any historical evidence of their past strategies to begin telling a new story (we’re looking at you Coke and Google Nest). Think of Instagram as your writing room and every post as another page of your book.
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