The declaration that sent the social media world into a frenzy:
“We’re no longer a photo-sharing app,” said Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram.
Since its release date on October 6, 2010, Instagram has carved its position in the marketplace as the photo-sharing app. It fended off challenges to its crown from platforms including Flickr, PhotoBucket, Picasa, and Dailybooth. It cemented its position as one of the big five social platforms. So why, at the height of its popularity, would it make such a shift away from its core usage?
Answer: Because of TikTok.
The most popular app of 2020 and the seventh most used social networking site, TikTok’s two billion users are a force that Instagram can no longer ignore. Especially popular with the burgeoning Generation-Z, Instagram has to adjust its positioning to etch its position in this critical demographic. The competition between TikTok and Instagram represents the future of social media content.
Here are a few ways your financial brand can prepare for these changes and effectively utilize Instagram.
Update Social Strategies
In Instagram’s announcement, four key updates are coming to the platform.
- Empowering creators and increasing monetization opportunities
- Expanding shopping opportunities to match the commerce shift from offline to online
- Prioritizing video and entertainment in search algorithms
- Improving messaging features as trends shift away from posts and stories and toward DMs
While financial brands don’t need to adjust for all of these four pivots, it’s the last two points that we’ll focus on the most.
It’s no secret that video has been the priority for Instagram’s organic search. To generate traction among your target market, it’s vital to incorporate some elements of video into your content strategy.
Further, (as we’ll talk about later), Instagram users are changing how they connect and engage with each other and brands on the platform. The trend is moving away from comments and toward direct messaging. Set up workflows to accommodate this change now before it negatively affects your brand.
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Embrace Video Storytelling
“People come to Instagram to be entertained,” Mosseri stated. This means your video needs to tell an engaging story, even if it’s an ad. It doesn’t have to be full-length skits with high-quality video editing, but this kind of creativity is critical for your brand.
Storytelling is the growing focus because it’s the driving factor for keeping users watching until the end of the video. Short-form videos (content lasting one minute or less) is a great way for financial brands to get started. What TikTok helped Instagram learn is that if users continued to be entertained, they stayed far longer on the platform. The more your videos engage, the more priority they’ll receive on the algorithm to reach your target audience. Remember, this applies to even your ads on Instagram, so make sure they are as engaging as your regular content.
Optimize for Messaging
Financial brand customers have often turned to social media to ask questions and engage with their institutions. We all know of those customers that mistakenly provide their account information on public comments. But as users begin to utilize DMs more, as Instagram’s focus on messaging indicates, brands need to adapt their workflows.
While on the surface it may seem easier to handle direct messages rather than public comments, it actually comes with its own unique set of challenges. Through this more private medium, users will expect greater personalization and faster response times. Creating pre-approved responses or building a customer support team to meet these needs should be a primary component of your social media marketing plan. Remember, it’s a matter of when, not if, these comments will soon impact your organization.
The way your financial brand uses Instagram needs to change. While these changes will happen gradually, start preparing for them now. The faster you jump on these trends, the better your results will be.