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Ask Social: Instagram's New Features

Posted By TNNA HQ, Thursday, July 27, 2017
Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ask Social: Instagram's New Features

By Mari Chiba Luke and Vickie Howell

Ask Social is a collaboration between Mari Chiba Luke (@mariknits), business integration manager and design director of Stitchcraft Marketing, and Vickie Howell (@vickiehowell), executive producer and host of The Knit Show with Vickie Howell.

Dear Ask Social,


With all the live video options, I’m overwhelmed! I just read an article about Instagram Live, but why would I do Instagram Live instead of Facebook Live? How is it different?





Dear Over-grammed,

There are many social media platforms, and I totally understand that it’s overwhelming trying to figure out where to spend your precious time and resources. When it comes to Facebook vs. Instagram, quite simply that you most likely have different audiences on each channel. Although you’re likely to have some overlap, many people who are following you on Instagram probably aren’t on Facebook, and vice versa. Even if they are, depending on how much they’ve interacted with your account on each platform, the algorithms may or may not be showing your posts to them. By engaging on both platforms, you increase the chances you’ll reach your target audience.


Instagram Live is similar to Facebook Live: it will let followers know that you are currently live, allow for comments and live interaction, and you can save the video once you’re done broadcasting. Thus, many of the strategies you are using/considering for Facebook Live will also carry over to Instagram.


Here are some content ideas for your Instagram Live videos:

1.    Announcements - just as you announce a new product launch to your team; host a live video kick-off meeting with all your loyal followers.

2.    Early Access - to a sale or coupon code, reward your followers and let them know you value them.

3.    Behind the scenes tour - show your followers your studio, a new shipment coming in, a peek behind the curtain to how the magic is made.

4.    Host a live tutorial/lesson - teach your users something! Advice on using your products, crafting, or anything else that’s related to your brand, letting your expertise can shine.

Remember that your video should reward users for watching your video, provide something of value and incentivize them to watch again in the future.


Here are a few tips for getting the most bang for your buck with Instagram Live:

1.    Before you go live: post images on your feed and use Instagram Stories to tell your followers when you will be live with a teaser to what you’ll be talking about.

2.    Capture emails: ask users to submit a question to a specific email before you go live, or direct them to a link for the special offer you announce in your video. Now you’ve captured emails and you can incorporate these followers into your future marketing plans.


Happy Gramming!


Dear Ask Social,

I’ve been hearing a lot about Instagram Stories lately, but I don’t really get what the benefits of using it are. Can you please explain how Stories is any different than my regular feed, and why I should be using it to promote my business?





Dear Unclear,

Stories was created as Instagram’s response to the popularity of SnapChat. For those unfamiliar with the format, both of these app functions offer a form of micro-communication via low-quality, quick (15 second) videos, photos and GIFs which may or may not be doodled over with text, location tags, or silly overlays. These bits of content are only “live” for 24 hours, and then disappear into the web ether. The former means taking a lighthearted approach to content creation, the latter means that followers will want to check your feed regularly for fear of missing these little, insider’s nuggets!


The simple way to think about the differing purposes of Instagram streams versus stories is like this: whereas the smart approach for your Instagram photo feed is to be inspirational, the benefit of using Instagram Stories is to create a relatable face for your brand. What that means is that although the strategy for your feed might involve posting an ongoing series of beautifully curated and styled photos, your stories can be somewhat off-the-cuff, and with very little attention paid to aesthetic. Your stories can either be a direct extension of the activity on your feed, or a slight departure (as long as it’s still relatively on-topic.) This is a business owners' chance to let followers know that in addition to being an impressive brand, it’s also run by real people who are as passionate about needlearts as their fans. Stories can humanize your company, which opens the doors for consumers/followers to feel like your business is more than that — it’s also composed of virtual friends. When people feel like you’re accessible and authentic, it creates loyalty, which not only feels good — it’s also smart marketing!


Here are 3 post ideas you might play with for your business’ Instagram Stories:

1.       Behind the scenes photo of your messy warehouse or studio during a hectic time, with accompanying text like, “It may not be pretty here, right now but your new Brand X yarn will be GORGEOUS!”

2.       Quick video (you’ll need a friend to hold the camera for you) of your hands stitching with a link (just click the link icon at the top of the screen) to a corresponding pattern or blog tutorial.

3.       Use the Boomerang option to create a GIF of a product order going in and out of a mailbox so customers know their stuff is on their way!


Have fun — we can’t wait to see YOUR Stories!


About the Author

Ask Social is a collaboration between Mari Chiba Luke (@mariknits), business integration manager and design director of Stitchcraft Marketing, and Vickie Howell (@vickiehowell), executive producer and host of The Knit Show with Vickie Howell.

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