They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes you need a few more words to tell your story. Instagram’s new feature, Instagram Direct, was launched to keep Instagram users engaged as the app competes with other social networks. Instagram Direct is comparable to other messaging apps such as WhatsApp, but has the photo sharing exclusivity of Snapchat.
The conversation must start with a photo or video, but can continue on as a text conversation that can be shared with 1 or up to 15 of your followers. Instagram Direct is similar to Snapchat in the fact that you can choose exactly who sees the photo, instead of sharing it to the public. However, the major difference is that Snapchatters loose those photos and videos after 10 seconds, never to be seen again. With Instagram Direct you can revisit exclusively shared moments again and again.
The real-time likes and chat gives Instagram users a similar feel to that of Facebook Chat. You can view which of your followers are online, and see notifications when they have read your sent messages. However, Instagram users follow all types of profiles, including brands, athletes, celebrities, and artists. This means easier access to communicate with people they might not have been able to contact before.
So how does Instagram Direct affect brands and retailers?
- Brand updates or promotions can be shared exclusively to selected customers
- Find social influencers that create engaging user generated content
- Recruit sponsored talent, social influencers and your followers to your brand ambassador program
- Ask permission to use customer user generated content as branded content
- Customers can share a product selfie to see their closests friends opinions