Instagram has over 300 million users, most of who are young and highly engaging. That is why using innovative and engaging Instagram content; Government agencies, businesses, hospitals, health care organizations, etc. have been able to coordinate swift responses and speedy user participation. We also see personal benefits as we engage with family/friends, school, listen to the latest news, and get entertained in new ways.
because we are spending more time on Instagram doesn’t mean it’s
business-as-usual. So how should you be using Instagram with the spread of
COVID-19? Keeping reading for tips on how Instagram content adapts during a
time of crises:
Instagram Live Content is Bringing us Together
Statistics show that Instagram has seen a 40% increase in usage due to COVID-19, with views for Instagram Live doubling within a week. From classes to online workouts, influencers, celebrities, creators, entrepreneurs, and regular Instagram users alike have been creating content to support their wider community.
Live Instagram interactions have been on the rise in recent weeks, allowing people to support and keep themselves active creatively. The live features let you interact face-to-face with Q&As, chats, games, and more. To help, the team from Instagram recently published a new listing of tips to enable you to go live and connect with your audience.
The fitness sector has been able to tap into this surge of live-streaming. You can see influencer fitness buffs like Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) streaming live morning P.E workouts for kids stuck at home. During this pandemic, we have seen each live stream amass over a million views, which is twice the number of views a Wicks’ video usually generates.
Others, fitness pages such as Katie Dunlop and London Fitness Guy, have also witnessed more engagement in their live fitness videos. These live-stream workouts go to show the deep sense of community and encouragement that comes from working out with other people during times like this.
Schools are not left out on Instagram live screening. Their Instagram content has been adapted to include hosting parent town halls, conducting classes if need be, and creating virtual communities where students, families, and teachers can share videos and pictures of classwork and other updates.
Although live streams have always been a popular tool for Instagram content that allows you to interact with audiences in real-time, self-isolation has made more people look for ways to build and maintain connections. Isn’t it interesting how it took a pandemic for these functions to really take off?
Posts are More Empathetic
Everyone around the world has been affected by the pandemic in different ways. So when posting, remember that your current situation is likely different from the next person’s. Your post should convey empathy for your followers and offer compassion. Mainly when posting memes, you need to think twice before doing so.
Also, try to limit the number of times you mention COVID-19 in your content. Consider the tone of your captions and the perception and effect on other users facing a different reality than yours. Some of your followers may have lost loved ones, lost their jobs, are battling with depression or illness, etc.
An example of a brand that has infused great empathy in their Instagram content is the online store Ban.do. They have been able to use an empathic tone in their captions and still promote their products. Ban.do starts by acknowledging the fact that it is a weird time for sales and that some users may be going through financial strain. Their posts show empathy and the fact that they are thinking about all of their followers and not just the ones who can afford to shop.
Even while promoting the last day of their sale, that would typically have captions like ‘last chance!’, ‘shop the link in our bio!’, etc. their posts are now more subdued. They have kept it simple and classy by merely only providing information such as the percentage discount, end of the sale, and giving their followers the choice to decide to take action if they want to.
Introducing the Co-Watching Feature
Co-Watching is Instagram’s newest media sharing function that allows users to save and share Instagram content with up to six friends using the in-app video chat. Create content you would want to share in a video chat by liking or saving the relevant posts, and then access them as you stream the video with friends.
To access Co-Watching, start a video chat through the Instagram Direct messaging tab, click on the photo icon at the bottom left-hand of your screen. From there, you can select users from your saved and liked posts to share with the groups you are video-chatting with.
According to a spokesperson for Instagram, the Co-Watching feature was created to meet the increasing demand for virtual connectivity, stating, “We decided to make it available soon so we could offer more ways for people to come together right now.”
With the world craving more social options, Instagram’s Co-Watching is designed to facilitate this need for human connection by providing users with more opportunities to stay in touch with friends and loved ones in a fun and engaging way, all in real-time.
Focus on Positive Content
During a crisis where there is so much fear going around, it becomes crucial to control the conversation and maintain a positive mindset from the situation. Instagram users now more than ever need to post real and positive content. As you share yours, you can also reach out to people ask them what positive thing(s) have happened to them personally or professionally since the start of the crisis. The outpouring of responses that come in will most likely amaze you.
Take, for example, Lizzo, the artist who is known for championing the cause for body image positivism. She led an extensive campaign for her 8.4 million Instagram followers to “promote healing during this global crisis.”
Post Relevant and Solution-Based Content
Before you post anything on Instagram, it is important to look up the Instagram guidelines on posting during the COVID-19 crisis.The guideline came up after concerns were raised with the flood of coronavirus filters on Instagram. A lot of users reported it as an insensitive filter, given the increasing number of deaths from the outbreak.
Therefore, the Instagram content you post needs to be done in an informed and proactive way. Here are some examples of great inspirational and educational content. A straightforward way you can deliver informative content is via swipe-through carousels that can provide people with practical tips. Most users are stuck at home and are looking for engaging content to inform and motivate them. So keep it clean and straightforward.
Another means of providing relevant content is to rework your overall content strategy to address prevalent issues. For instance, Instagram travel brand @Revolve known for its fantastic vacation and travel content had to shift from the brand’s content strategy drastically. So in place of #revolvearoundtheworld, they are going with a new hashtag #revolvearoundthehouse that encourages @Revolve followers to “stay positive, productive, and most importantly, stay connected.”
Additionally, your post needs to be created to find the best way to support your community by adding value to their lives. Looking at the current trend of posts from influencers, the shift is now towards solutions-based content. We are now seeing more instructional style guidance, advice on self-help, well-being, and interactive community-building content. Basically, content that is fun, uplifting and can help audiences pass the time while at home.
A report by Influencer Intelligence, also points to the quizzes and other types of interactive content shared via Instagram stories by influencers such as Katie Snooks. From the report, it is suggested that this could be an additional strategy for brands hoping to connect with consumers during this crisis. Now more than ever, where more users are searching for a sense of ‘community,’ influencer marketing has become more relevant than ever before.
As the outbreak rolls on, it is not in doubt that we will continue to see more Instagram content being adapted to establish better ways to connect users with relevant information. Also, with more and more workers needing to work from home, Instagram will indeed become a more critical information and interaction lifeline.
Irrespective of what the situation turns out to be, remember to be compassionate, understanding, and find ways to relate with your different users.