Let’s try this one more time – I originally wrote this post last month – and let me tell you, it was great. Then, the internet gobbled it up, and as I hit “publish,” almost the entire post disappeared into the ether, never to be seen again. Since I was already limited on time that week while we were in the throes of last minute conference prep, you can imagine the angst that caused me – and that also meant that I haven’t been able to bring myself to attempt to resurrect the post until now. But let’s see if we can do some justice to the original and get you excited about using IG stories.
In August, Instagram rolled out their new “stories” feature, affectionately referred to as “Snapchat for grown-ups.” We’ve already talked about why you may want to care about this, and how you can use them, so today, I want to look at a couple of accounts who are using IG stories really well now that we’ve had a couple of months to figure them out and talk about what advice you can appropriate from their examples.
The first one I want to take a look at is @London, self-described in its bio as:
If you’re a fan of London, or of travel in general, you’ll want to follow @London. This account was created by Dave Burt, and is run by him and a couple of his friends, as they explore the city, sharing tips with followers on new places to check out, music, restaurants, shops, and more. They even take us with them on their travels outside of London.
I had started following the account a while ago since London is my favorite city. But what really has brought it to life for me is their use of IG stories. Daily, Dave and his friends, Matt and Ron, take us on a journey through their day in London. It sounds simple, but the use of this medium makes the experience feel very personal, so rather than the group engagement that you feel that you’re getting with standard Instagram photos and videos, you feel as though you’re having a one-on-one conversation, a sneak peek into their day. It creates a three-dimensional version of the account that’s just not possible in your regular feed.
What does this mean for lawyers?
Successful business development is all about creating relationships, and social media has been a way to take this online and expand it dramatically. I still stand by my earlier statement that it’s unlikely you’re going to see business coming in from using Instagram, BUT it can be a handy tool to have in your arsenal (and you should know how it works because your clients are using it for their own purposes). That being said, using IG stories is a stronger way to develop that level of intimacy with your Instagram followers than simply posting photos or videos has been – you’ll want to continue to do that too since some people don’t watch IG stories yet, or prefer to engage just with their IG timeline.
As is the case with @London, sharing stories about your day gives a more well-rounded perspective on who you are as a person and helps paint the fuller picture of the person that you want your followers to get to know, like and trust. Not all of these have to be related to your work (though there are creative things you can do in this vein). Why not treat your IG stories as almost a travelog of your local experience?
- When having lunch with clients or colleagues, share where you’re eating and what you’re eating, spotlighting the local restaurant (you can do this without giving away WHO you’re eating with).
- Share secrets about the neighborhood that your office is in – what’s the best place to have coffee? To grab lunch? To have drinks with colleagues after work?
- What’s the view like from your office? From your firm’s conference room? What do people see when they come into the building on the ground floor?
- Look for the artistic in the mundane: some of my favorite shots and stories are when people will take a fresh look at something unexpected – taking a boomerang video of people on escalators/elevators, photographing their coffee, looking up at what’s above when you’re normally looking down at your mobile, etc.
What might seem boring or every day to you may be completely unique to Instagram followers who have never been to your city, or your part of the city. So try looking at your corner of the world with fresh eyes – not only will it make you appreciate your everyday experience more, but you’ll also engage your IG following.
Don’t be afraid to test things out here either – IG stories disappear after 24 hours (yes, anyone can screenshot them, and this is why you still want to be generally cautious and be advising your clients appropriately). But in terms of whether you’re getting the “perfect” image or video, don’t sweat it. This is where you shoot a quick recording of your firm’s pickup soccer game, and you don’t worry that the lighting wasn’t perfect, or you take a selfie with your daughter before her ballet recital without fear that the angle wasn’t just right. Have a little fun with it – though the same rules of not drinking and posting DO apply!
The next account to look at is Carin Olsson’s @ParisInFourMonths. Carin:
Moved from Sweden to Paris to follow my dreams and haven’t left since. Photographer based in Paris. Snapchat: “carin-olsson”
Carin is an amazing photographer, and it doesn’t hurt that she lives in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. She’s young, she works in the fashion industry, and her canvas is Paris, so it’s easy to see why you’d want to follow along! But although I’d followed her account for a while, as was the case with @London, it hadn’t really come to life for me until she started using IG stories. Carin re-posts a lot of her Snapchat stories to IG, and similarly to what Dave and his friends are doing, gives us a peek into her daily life in Paris. We follow along as she heads to meetings, on photo shoots, and out to coffee, lunch, drinks, or dinners with friends.
What does this mean for lawyers?
Even the mundane is interesting! Yes, it’s true that Carin lives a fascinating life, one that probably a lot of people would trade for. But, like many of us, she’s also spending a lot of time in meetings, answering emails, heading out on a run, or going out with friends. But she uses IG Stories as her storytelling medium to add depth and dimension. We get sneak peeks into the work that she’s doing when she’s allowed to provide them, she shoots the ground and her feet on her way to meetings, or out taxi/Uber windows as she’s traveling around Paris, and shares shots of her favorite restaurants and spots in the city.
We may not all live in Paris, but our own cities and towns are beautiful in their own way. Why not give a sneak peek into our own daily lives?
- Share snapshots of the people that you engage with every day: co-workers, colleagues, professional staff. Who are the people you see daily that we as your IG followers should see too?
- Share your “day” with us: what’s it like to spend a day as a lawyer? Are you heading to client meetings (on foot, by car)? Are you off to court? Do you spend most of the day in your office?
- Showcase your clients: Obviously this will depend on the type of law you practice, and your clients’ permission, but there will be cases where your clients would love to be spotlighted. Do you visit their offices? Maybe they’re a unique brand that people should know more about!
- What are your extracurriculars? Are you meeting up with friends after work? Do you run in the most beautiful place in the morning? Are you training for a triathlon? Are you a soccer parent? Do you snuggle up on the couch with your pooches in the evening? What are the things that you do outside of the office that bring you joy?
Sometimes, we get bogged down in the weeds of our daily lives, and they seem like just that – weeds. But when framed properly, they can be a beautiful tapestry of the life we’re living, connected to the people we’re engaged with every day, and those stories are what connect us to other people.
Whether you jump into IG Stories today, or just dip your toe in the water so that you know what they’re all about for your clients’ sakes, I highly recommend at least taking a look at @London and @ParisInFourMonths – I promise you won’t be disappointed (though you *might* be booking a European trip shortly)!