YouTube and Instagram Stories offer more interaction and targeted content

Communicators can use the features to enhance influencer marketing campaigns, increase social media engagement and build brand buzz. Here’s the scoop.

New YouTube and Instagram features can help PR and marketing pros looking to increase engagement and stand out from competitors online.

YouTube recently announced a new Stories feature for users with more than 10,000 subscribers.

It’s yet another move to follow in Snapchat’s footsteps by offering followers instant and temporary content. Instagram launched its own version of Stories in August 2016 and as of July, has 400 million daily active users. Facebook also offers its own version of Stories. Each video under YouTube Stories is available for a week to both subscribers and non-subscribers of a users’ channel.

The short-form content across social media platforms has been increasingly popular to PR and marketing pros looking to capitalize on short attention spans and increase brand mentions and consumer clicks.

The Verge reported:

There are some major differences between Instagram Stories and YouTube’s iteration of the feature. YouTube Stories last for seven days on the mobile app, they will appear for both subscribers and non-subscribers, and they’ll show up in YouTube’s “Up Next” sidebar beside a video. Creators who use the tool will be able to respond to fans who interact with their stories, and creator responses will be seen by anyone who comes across the story. Fans can leave comments or questions on stories, and creators can publicly address each response.

The feature is aimed at the platform’s influencers, offering them another way to build and strengthen their communities on YouTube.

In a company blog post, Todd Sherman, product lead for YouTube Stories, wrote:

As a creator, you’re always looking to strengthen your relationship with your audience. You bring them along on your travels, give them a backstage pass to one of your videos, or even a sneak peek at your upcoming video. Through testing the Stories format with a small group of you over the past year, we’ve seen you do just that, from FashionbyAlly giving updates on what’s coming next, to Colin and Samir bringing their fans into the creative process. We applied feedback that we got from you to build a product specifically designed with you, the YouTube creator, in mind.

Though the tool is not aimed at advertising partners, Adweek published a guide to crafting and distributing content via YouTube Stories. Brand managers with access to the feature could use it to share additional content with subscribers, such as behind-the-scenes access to content processes including photo shoots or extra interviews with experts.

YouTube also published a guide to posting, viewing and moderating comments on Stories.

PR and marketing pros without access to YouTube Stories can still harness the potential opportunity to grab consumers’ attention by working with influencers who start using it. It could end up becoming yet another piece of content available to brand managers to sponsor, getting their organizations’ names in front of potential customers (and enticing them with a call to action, such as a coupon code).

The feature is worth paying attention to for brand managers who want to interact with viewers on YouTube, especially because Stories could play a bigger role on the platform in the future.

The Verge reported:

Although YouTube tested the feature with a few channels earlier this year, the rollout to those essentially within YouTube’s Partner Program means YouTube Stories may start appearing more often on the homepage for mobile users. People on Reddit have discovered the upcoming change and have expressed mixed reactions about Stories on the platform. One user suggested that YouTube needs to focus on fixing its ongoing issues, including demonetization problems and advertising concerns, before rolling out bonus features.

Instagram Stories offers more targeted content

Instagram Stories also added a few additional features to its popular tool, the first of which is called “Close Friends.”

Lifehacker reported:

Called Close Friends, the feature allows you to choose whether an image is shared with the masses or just people on your close friends list when you add it to a story. No one will know whether they’ve made the cut to your “close friends” list or not, so you can select whomever you’d like to be included.

Fortune reported:

“Instagram stories has become the place to express yourself and share everyday moments, but our community has grown and sometimes what you want to share isn’t for everyone,” Instagram said in a statement. “With Close Friends, you have the flexibility to share more personal moments with a smaller group that you choose.”

Users add people to their list by going to their profile and tapping “Close Friends” in the side menu. When posting their stories, they will see the option to share just with the people on that list. If one of their followers has added them to a list, a green badge will appear when they are viewing stories. A green ring with also circle their profile photo in the stories section.

Brand managers can use the feature to create targeted lists of passionate brand ambassadors, sending them sneak peeks to upcoming product launches and campaigns or additional exclusive content to keep brand buzz rolling.

PR and marketing pros can further tailor their Instagram content through alternative text options.

Forbes reported:

Instagram introduced automatic alternative text so users with visual impairments can hear the descriptions of photos through a screen reader as they use Feed, Explore and Profile. Instagram uses object recognition technology to generate a description of photos for screen readers so that users are able to hear a list of items that photos may contain as they browse the app.

Plus Instagram is introducing custom alternative text so users can add a richer description of your photos when they upload it. And users who have screen readers will be able to hear that description.

What do you think of the new features, PR Daily readers?

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