Why Small Businesses Should Invest in Short-Lived Content on Instagram

Contributed content / By Hugh Beaulac / 20 December 2018

Instagram’s short-lived content is a powerful marketing tool that small businesses should use to connect with their target audience, boost engagement, and drive sales. Learn how to use short-lived content to grow your small business on Instagram. 

Although 92% of small businesses plan to increase their investment in social media, most small business owners don't want to invest time and effort in short-lived content.

On Instagram, short-lived content is known as “Stories.” Instagram Stories vanish within 24 hours, yet 400 million Instagrammers use ephemeral content daily. Despite its popularity, marketers might question the value of creating content that’s designed to disappear – especially when they have a limited marketing budget.

One thing I've learned over 5 years of working in social media marketing and on my blog is that small business owners want to get results they can measure (in followers, sales, or engagement) without wasting time or money. 

No matter what your business’s size, niche, or location might be, there are many cost-effective – and measurable – ways to use short-lived Instagram content to grow your business.

You can use this article as a primer on short-lived content, including its relationship to other Instagram content and how it supports customer loyalty.

What Is Short-Lived Content on Instagram?

Short-lived content is a type of content that is available for a short period of time before automatically disappearing. 

On Instagram, short-lived content includes Stories and LiveStream.

Since this content appears in a separate feed and vanishes quickly, users can add more content without posting an overwhelming amount of content to their permanent feeds. The sense that short-lived content is posted in real time also makes it seem more authentic. 

Gap Instagram

To businesses, producing content that disappears might seem like a waste of time and effort. The growing number of users and high engagement rates, however, prove it's a powerful marketing tool. 

Marketers Should Focus on Instagram’s Short-Lived Content

Although you can use different social media platforms for short-lived content, including Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, Instagram is the best choice for businesses. 

About 61% of social media users are on Instagram, and 80% of them follow at least one business account.

Among brands that currently use Instagram Stories, nearly all (96%) plan to continue using Stories in the next 6 months. 

Brands plan to produce short-lived content because users are fond of it. According to data reported by Instagram, Instagram Stories has increased the time spent on the platform from 15 to 32 minutes per day.

Marketers should pay attention to short-lived content because it has already captured their audience’s attention.

Why Small Businesses Should Use Short-Lived Content

The Instagram community is growing fast, and it's becoming more difficult to stand out from your competitors. If your brand already has a presence on Instagram, creating short-lived content can score points with Instagram’s algorithm. 

Posting short-lived content can boost your permanent content’s chances of attracting your audience’s attention

Additionally, short-lived content appears in a separate feed and adds a colorful ring around your Instagram profile picture, attracting users back to your profile. According to Forbes, this helps you beat the Instagram algorithm and engage with your followers.

Small business owners might assume that only big brands have enough budget to give ephemeral content a try – but short-lived content is an essential way to support the content they are already producing. 

In addition to boosting your existing Instagram content, short-lived content offers 2 key benefits:

  • Building customer loyalty
  • Boosting sales

Short-Lived Content Builds Customer Loyalty

Customer loyalty is an essential element of a business’s growth. If your business has a presence on Instagram, your goal should be turning followers into customers.

Once you attract a following on Instagram, you can focus on nurturing your followers into repeat customers. More than half of loyal customers (60%) will tell friends and family about a brand they trust, growing your audience of potential customers even more. 

Unfortunately, small businesses often prioritize promoting products on Instagram over increasing customer satisfaction. 

It can be very costly, however. New research from NewVoiceMedia claims that 51% of customers will never use the company again after a negative experience. The bottom line? Customer service matters. 

As a small business owner, you can use Instagram as an extension of your customer service by:

•    Asking followers to share their thoughts with question stickers
•    Adding poll stickers to welcome your followers’ opinions
•    Paying attention to user questions during Livestreams

When you use short-lived content to listen to your followers’ problems and comments, your followers are more likely to trust your brand and become repeat customers. 

For example, Sephora uses Instagram Stories to welcome feedback on its products.

Sephora's Instagram Story
Source

With the help of poll stickers, Sephora gives its followers a chance to express their thoughts and vote for their preference. As a result, customers feel that Sephora values their thoughts and opinions.

When you use Instagram’s short-lived content to gather quick polls or feedback, you can understand how to make your product better while gaining and nurturing your followers’ trust. 

Short-Lived Content Boosts Sales

Short-lived Instagram content is designed to boost engagement on and off the platform – ultimately leading to more sales.

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a common psychological trick that convinces followers to take action faster. Since short-lived content is available for a short period, users are afraid of missing out on something important, so this form of content boosts engagement. 

Knowing this, you can include a new product launch announcement, time-limited discounts, seasonal giveaways with branded freebies, or deals of the day in short-lived content to attract sales.

Instagram also makes it easy for retailers to land sales. In fact, Instagram now allows users to shop directly from its Stories. Just click on a shopping bag icon to learn more about the featured item and buy it directly, without having to leave the app.

Nearly three-quarters of users (72%) have bought something on Instagram, so it's important to improve this part of the customer journey. 

To help, Instagram offers product tags and clickable links that help customers learn more about products and make faster purchasing decisions.

Foundr Instagram Products
Source

When you see a shopping bag or “See More” icon, just tap on it to get additional information about a featured product without leaving the app. If you’re interested in buying it, you can view it on the website to complete your purchase. 

Your Instagram followers already use the platform to inform their purchases, so your brand should be present there, too.

Short-Lived Content Can Bring Your Small Business to the Next Level

As short-lived content gains popularity on Instagram, businesses that don’t produce it risk missing out on an important opportunity for growth.

Small businesses can use short-lived content to promote products, attract new customers, and increase sales on Instagram. 

Best of all, there are few risks associated with trying short-lived content: Because it disappears quickly, short-lived content is a quick way to engage followers and doesn’t take much time to create. 

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