8 Ideas for Developing Short-Lived Instagram Content

By Hugh Beaulac / 11 January 2019

Short-lived content isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a powerful marketing trend small businesses can’t afford to miss. Learn 8 actionable ideas for short-lived Instagram content to promote your business with ease.

People crave authenticity now more than ever, so it’s no wonder short-lived content, also known as ephemeral content, attracts so many users.

On Instagram, it comes in two forms – Instagram Stories and Livestream – and it is getting more and more popular. Consider the statistics:

  • 400 million accounts use Instagram Stories daily.
  • One-third of the most viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses.
  • 96% of US marketers surveyed plan to continue using Stories ads in the next 6 months.

If your business doesn’t create short-lived content already, your competitors may use it to gain an edge.

In this article, you can learn 8 ideas for Instagram short-lived content that have worked well for major brands and our clients at MC2:

  1. Take users behind the scenes
  2. Share tutorials and how-to videos
  3. Organize Q&A sessions
  4. Target the right audience
  5. Use geotag stickers and hashtags
  6. Collaborate with micro-influencers
  7. Show off your product
  8. Share user-generated content

These tips will help you gain inspiration and bring your business to the next level.

1. Offer Behind-the-Scenes Content

Since customers are already bombarded by ads, it's no wonder people crave authenticity. Taking users behind-the-scenes is one of the best ways to form authentic connections with your audience by humanizing your brand.

Behind-the-scenes content makes your brand feel more real to followers, as if it's impossible to outsource or replace it. Companies can use short-lived Instagram content to leverage new aspects of the content they already create without overposting.

If you're a small business owner, you can take the followers behind the scenes with ease – just use your phone and take a picture or a short video.

Instead of directly promoting your products, behind-the-scenes content lets your audience get to know your team members. Try publishing:

  • A personal story about your brand
  • Introductions to your team members
  • What your work process looks like

While many companies try to keep the backstage content away from their customers, brands like Mutable Design invite their followers to take a look at their real life.

Mutable Design uses short-lived Instagram content.

Mutable Design uses short-lived Instagram content to take followers into its workplace by showing the process of creating videos for their Instagram feed.

While Mutable Design’s main feed shows off its products, short-lived content on Instagram Stories allows the team to leverage the assets they are already creating into new, authentic content that offers a peek at the creative process.

No matter what your niche is, sharing personal content is a great way to engage with your followers and increase loyalty to your brand.

2. Share Tutorials and How-to Videos

People love educational content. If you can teach your audience something useful, they’re more likely to engage. You can use short-lived Instagram content to share engaging tutorials and how-to videos.

No matter what your business sells, you can always show followers how to use your product so that it can solve their problems. This content is time-sensitive and helpful, so it pairs well with the immediacy of short-lived content.

You can teach your customers something new by posting:

  • Demonstrations of how to use your products
  • Current trends in your niche
  • Tips, tricks, and lifehacks

For example, Sherbet with Sprinkles promotes handmade gifts. To educate their followers, the team publishes short-lived content about how to create holiday decor at home.

Sherbet with Sprinkles promotes its products on Instagram Stories.

When the holiday season ramps up, it’s the perfect time for Sherbet with Sprinkles to help followers get ready for the holidays and learn something useful.

Whether you're a big brand or a small business, your followers crave for valuable information. If you can share useful tips and tricks, Instagrammers will view you as an expert in your niche.

3. Organize Q&A Sessions

Customers can choose from a wide variety of brands and products, so they are picky about their purchases. To make the right decision, they need to compare and contrast different options, and they will often have questions about your products.

If you want to convert followers into customers, it's important to predict and answer their questions. Organizing Q&A sessions on Instagram can come in handy for this.

If you've decided to organize Q&A sessions, remember to:

  • Group all Stories with answers into one Stories Highlight album so that visitors can access information faster
  • Save Instagram Livestream on your business page for 24 hours to engage more followers and reply to their questions

In the example below, you can see how to use question stickers in Instagram Stories. You can post a question and encourage followers to add their own questions, then reply to all of the questions publicly so people can learn more about your company.

Followers can ask questions on Instagram's short-lived content.

When you're just starting up with your business, you have to put time and effort into establishing your brand. People want to know everything before buying a product, so anticipating and answering their questions is a must.You can also go live to answer all questions in real time. When you speak in front of your followers, you can deepen your relationship with them by establishing a real connection.

4. Target the Right Audience

If you use Instagram for marketing, you need to measure your results with the right metrics. While many small business owners are obsessed with the number of followers their business account has, it's important to attract the right audience: people who can become your customers with time.

Your Instagram presence means nothing until you attract an audience that is interested in your brand and product. When you attract irrelevant Instagrammers, you won't get results or conversions – so focus on the quality of your followers, not quantity.

Fortunately, Instagram offers numerous features that can help you attract and advertise to the audience that’s most likely to purchase your products – starting with #5 on our list, using geotag stickers and hashtags.

5. Use Geotag Stickers and Hashtags

If you sell online and deliver worldwide, it doesn't matter where your customers come from. If you have a local business, it's much more important to attract Instagrammers who live close to your business and can visit it.

You can signal what type of audience you want to attract by adding geotag stickers and hashtags.

When Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse shares Instagram Stories, the company adds a geotag so that followers and visitors can tap on the sticker and find out more about the location.

Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse uses geotags on Instagram.

Adding a geotag sticker helps interested followers understand more about Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse’s locations, which users can see on a detailed map.

Geotag stickers also ensure that Cultivate Coffee & TapHouse’s Instagram Story appears in the “explore” feed, allowing other Instagrammers to find this business by its location. As a result, the company attracts the right local audience.

Attracting the right audience is the key to your success on Instagram. When you use a geotag sticker in your Stories, you can target people who live or work in your target area, increasing your chances of winning new customers.

6. Collaborate With Micro-Influencers

When people make purchase decisions, most trust their friends' recommendations. On Instagram, thousands of people follow influencers – and trust these familiar accounts nearly as much.

In general, the more followers an opinion leader has, the more he or she will charge for sponsored posts. While collaborating with celebrities can be expensive, 84% of influencers charge less than $250 per post on Instagram. Small businesses can get the best ROI by collaborating with these micro-influencers who have less than 10,000 followers.

Choose a micro-influencer to collaborate with by looking for:

  • An influencer who shares your target audience
  • An active community of followers (the number of likes and comments matters)
  • An opinion leader who shares your views and values

For example, a toy company called Shimmeez partnered with a micro-influencer named Lynn, who blogs under the name Snaps by Lynn. As a mom of two kids, Lynn has the same target audience as Shimmeez, so the company sent her a product to review.

Shimmeez partners with Instagram influencers.

Once Lynn received the Shimmeez product, she shared an unboxing video in her Stories. In this case, short-lived content created a fear of missing out among followers who were already likely to be in the market for children’s toys.

Once you've found a perfect micro-influencer who meets your needs, it's time to offer a collaboration to attract your target audience in a genuine way.

7. Show Off Your Product

Since Instagram is a visual platform, it's the best place for showcasing images of your product.

You don’t need to hire expensive photographers, however. Instagrammers love personal, intimate mobile photography that you can shoot with an iPhone.

Forget about flat lays with a white background. These photos look so commonplace and impersonal that people often scroll them.

Instead, there's another great way to demonstrate your product without being too salesy: feature it in Instagram Stories.

To feature your product in short-lived content, you can include your products without making them a main focus of the post. For example, you can hold a branded cup while livestreaming or wear a T-shirt with your logo.

For example, Lululemon uses their sportswear in educational videos that help followers learn sports tips.

Lululemon uses Instagram influencers.

Although these posts are designed to educate followers, they also show off Lululemon products in action. For followers who are thinking about purchasing, it can be helpful to see product demonstrations disguised as helpful tips.

By subtly demonstrating your products in short-lived Instagram content, you can show off what makes your products great.

Tip: Tag Products in Instagram Stories

Wouldn't it be great if you could add a link to your website via Instagram Stories?

While big business accounts with the 10,000 or more followers can add a clickable link to Stories, this feature is not available for small business owners.

They can, however, can get the same benefits by using shopping stickers to tag products. Shopping stickers provide additional information about an item without taking users out of the Instagram app.

Shopping stickers also simplify the checkout process, driving more sales. You can follow Instagram’s step-by-step guide to tag products in your Stories.

Gap is one of the first companies that tried shopping stickers. The company added a shopping sticker (the bag icon in this picture) so users could see details about the product.

Gap tags products with shopping stickers on Instagram.

When Gap followers tap the icon, they can discover additional information about the product such as the description and the price, encouraging them to take action faster.

Modern shoppers are inundated with shopping options, so providing relevant information that simplifies their decision-making can help your business grow.

8. Share User-Generated Content

Customers often seek social proof before making a purchase, and user-generated content can make them more confident about buying your products.

Sharing user-generated content (UGC) is a great storytelling technique to improve social media engagement. Strong UCG also proves the quality of your product because people generally won't share photos of a product they don’t like.

Converse has a community of fans who love the brand, so it's easy to find people who wear its sneakers. Converse finds Instagrammers who use their sneakers and features them in Stories.

Converse uses UGC on Instagram.

When Converse shares a user’s photo, its social media team tags the user who created the photo and adds the post to a Stories Highlight.

Small businesses can use this tactic, too. UGC is cost-effective because it doesn’t require creating new content, and it displays the social proof users are looking for before they purchase.

Businesses Benefit From Short-Lived Instagram Content

Short-lived Instagram content attracts highly engaged users, so it's important to make the most of it.

If you want your followers to buy your products, you should showcase them via Instagram Stories and Livestream by publishing user-generated content, using lifestyle photos, and featuring your products.

The more information your potential customers have, the faster they make the purchase decisions.

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