Though the Instagram Story feature has been around for over a year, users are still finding novel ways to use the services it offers. As opposed to simply sharing what is going on in a person or business’ life, one can craft stories that engage customers and allow them to feel like they are directly contributing to the success of that person or business. Over the course of the past week, I noticed three unique examples of companies who employed this phenomenon perfectly. Below, I have listed the companies and detailed what each did to personalize their interaction with consumers.
- Buffalo Exchange
- Buffalo Exchange, a chain thrift store that specializes in selling donated upscale, designer items at a lower price, chose an incredibly unique way to use the polling option on its Instagram story. The store was re-dressing mannequins with new arrivals, and turned to its followers to help choose what apparel went on the mannequins. Voters chose between two styles of tops, two styles of bottoms, two styles of shoes, and even two styles of accessories. After the voting was over, Buffalo Exchange posted a picture of the finished mannequin on its story, showing consumers what they had contributed to the company and leading them to feel more connected.
- The Soda Parlor
- A not-so-hidden gem in Nashville, the Soda Parlor is a famous ice-cream spot known largely for its owner. Olan Rogers, a popular YouTuber, created the space-themed shop in 2014, including an arcade, apparel, and other merchandise to set it apart from other similar establishments. The Soda Parlor shared via Instagram Story that it is going to create a new milkshake. As opposed to stopping at that, however, it then used the “ask a question” feature and invited fans to submit flavor suggestions. Though this feature of Instagram Stories was created for the purpose of followers asking questions, the Soda Parlor repurposed it perfectly to show customers that it values their opinions.
- Lennon Stella
- Actress and pop-artist, Lennon Stella, used her Instagram Story to personally shout out fans who were singing or listening to her new single, “Bad.” Stella looked at stories from these users that she had been tagged in and shared them on her Instagram story. Doing so promotes Lennon’s music, builds her brand, and creates fan loyalty, as she is showing her appreciation for sharing her music. More and more musicians are beginning to jump on this trend, so while it will not always be unique, it is still a great way for artists to connect with fans and develop deeper relationships with them.
Each of these companies is in a different industry, which goes to show the versatility of social media tools such as the Instagram Story. Whether you are a musician, retail store, or restaurant, creative use of social channels will greatly increase the success of your business venture.