By Cecilia Calatrava, Communications Advisor & Olga Aristeidou Communications intern at European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (@EBRD)
For the EBRD, social media used to be something of an afterthought in our communications output. Nowadays it is central to the way we convey our messages to our audiences. In a vertiginously changing social media landscape, we are trying to embrace the full potential of Instagram to connect with our audiences through its newest feature: Instagram stories. Instagram stories help us capture “everything in between” and create a bigger, richer narrative than a series of individual photos can.
Why do we use Instagram stories?
- They give us even more of a “humanizing effect” than other platforms do. The use of light-hearted and humorous content is a way to build trust and rapport with our audiences.
- They are refreshingly different from the picture-perfect content we post on other platforms. We also feel comfortable with using a more relaxed language. As opposed to our newswire-type Twitter approach, we can let our creativity run free and spice up our content with emojis, geotags, filters or “hand writing”.
- We can post as many as we want without cluttering the feed. With a life span of 24 hours, users don’t want to miss out. The time constraint creates a buzz around whatever is happening, which increases engagement.
- Instagram stories are a unique opportunity to show what we do “behind the scenes”. It allows us to give our audiences a true taste of what we do and how we do it.
- They are the perfect vehicle to engage with younger audiences, sometimes neglected but soon to become the next generation of decision-makers.
How do we use them?
The EBRD works in more than 30 countries across three different continents. We liaise with our people on the ground to give us a “sneak peek” of what’s happening in the region. That could be a visit to a client’s small business, the making of a video production, an event, or a high profile political event – you name it.
Our stories are usually very different from each other in content and narrative. Each Instagram story has its own narrative and face behind each story, telling us what is happening. Our content includes video, time lapses, photos and screenshots. We use short captions in a relaxed language, emojis and stickers. We try to be as spontaneous as we can. This is an example of what we did during the filming of our “Junior Vet” program in Ukraine:
As Instagram stories are proving increasingly popular, our aim is to experiment with different types of content. Boomerangs, animations or more polished campaigns are some of the items on our wish-list. Joint campaigns with other MDBs, live Instagram stories and the use of paid promotion are some other areas that we wish to explore.
And last, but not least, we would eventually like to have as many stories as regions we engage with. So far, we’ve had the chance to tell stories from Georgia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Armenia. But there are many stories – from many more countries – we want to tell.