How to Engage Millennials on Facebook and Instagram – Continued

#1: Deliver Disappearing Messages to Keep Interests Piqued

In keeping with their experiential preference, disappearing media is popular, especially among younger Millennials. They like knowing that intimate sharing in words and pictures, as well as rambling posts, will disappear forever.

Facebook’s mobile app and Instagram now include the ability to share photos and videos directly with specific friends. These messages disappear 24 hours after they’re viewed up to two times, similar to Snapchat.

To access this feature, called Direct, on either Facebook or Instagram, simply tap on the little paper airplane icon. For example, on Facebook, the icon is on the top left of your main news feed. (Note that this feature is only available for personal profiles at the moment.)

Send a direct message with photo or video to one or more specific people.

Send a direct message with photo or video to one or more specific people.

When you tap the Direct icon, you’ll first see a list of any friends who have seen your replies and vice versa. Tap the big blue button at the bottom of the screen to take or select a photo or video first, and then choose the friend(s) to whom you wish to send the media.

Facebook really wants users to take advantage of this feature, as the camera icon shown in the screenshot above allows you to first take a photo or video, add filters and stickers, and then post to your stories and/or use the Direct feature to send to specific friend(s) privately. To access the camera even quicker, right swipe while looking at your news feed.

See which friends have replied to you and which have seen your replies, plus tapping the blue button opens the camera.

See which friends have replied to you and which have seen your replies. Tapping the blue button opens the camera.

On this screen, you can tap the camera icon next to a friend’s name to record and send another private direct photo or video.

Next, whether you take the photo/video using the camera icon or tap the paper airplane Direct icon, you’ll be able to customize your media by adding filters and stickers.

Take your photo or video using the various lenses, filters, and stickers to add interest.

Take your photo or video using the various lenses, filters, and stickers to add interest.

While the example above isn’t exactly what you’d call a “marketing message,” keep in mind a mantra I’ve been espousing for over a decade now, “To succeed on social, we must think and act like a member first and a marketer second.”

Posting to your stories and/or sending media to specific friends via Direct can be a great way to support top-of-mind awareness and add an even more personal feel to your posts.

Once you’re happy with your media, tap the right arrow button at the bottom. This brings up a screen where you can choose to publish this media to any of three places:

  • Post = to your personal profile wall, where the media becomes a regular wall post and doesn’t disappear
  • Your Story = visible in your story at the top of the news feed of any of your friends for 24 hours
  • Send Directly = to specific friend(s)

Once you've created your media, choose from any of three options to post: your wall, story, and/or specific friend(s).

Once you’ve created your media, choose from any of three options to post: your wall, story, and/or specific friend(s).

Because these features are still very new, like most users dabbling with them, I too am experimenting. Sometimes I post to my wall, sometimes not.

Below is a fun example video that I posted to my wall, where I’ve donned the Wonder Woman filter, just before I take the stage at Marketo’s annual Marketing Nation Summit.

On Instagram, the process is very similar to Facebook. Tap the Direct icon at the top right of your main screen. On the next screen, you’ll see a list of notifications including replies to your stories, mentions in stories, and direct messages. Just like Facebook, reply to any friend/follower by tapping the camera icon next to the user’s name.

https://www.facebook.com/maris/videos/10154399602105868/

To create a new Instagram direct, tap the ‘+’ icon and then select specific friends (people you follow) and tap the Next button. Then tap the camera icon at the bottom left on the message screen to take your photo or video, and send.

Also, similar to Snapchat, if friends take a screenshot of your message, Instagram will let you know.

Build Disappearing Stories on Instagram and Facebook

Given the success of Instagram Stories late last year, Facebook added a very similar Stories feature that mimics Snapchat, where content disappears after 24 hours. Personally, I’m not convinced the Facebook Stories feature is in the right place, dominating the top of your main news feed. It will be interesting to watch the rate of user adoption over time.

Concerns you may have about over-posting diminish with the Stories feature. You take photos during the day with the feature, building your story. In 24 hours after posting, it’ll be out of your feed and gone.

To use the Instagram Stories feature, tap the camera icon on the top left of the home screen. Alternatively, you can quickly launch Stories with a right swipe. (Note: a left swipe on your Instagram home screen takes you to your direct messages.)

Tap the camera icon at the top left (or just swipe right) to take a photo or video to share to your stories or send to specific people.

Tap the camera icon at the top left (or just swipe right) to take a photo or video to share your stories or send to specific people.

By the way, whenever you take a screenshot of any content on Instagram, a notification like the one below will pop up, letting you know you can share the post with your friends.

Instagram lets you know you can easily share a post when you take a screenshot of it.

Instagram lets you know you can easily share a post when you take a screenshot of it.

Continuing with your Instagram story content, tap the circle button at the bottom of the screen to take photos, or tap and hold to create a video. Swipe left to add filters to your photo or video and add stickers and text as you wish. Once you’re happy with your media, tap the arrow on the bottom right to add it to your story.

Like Snapchat, it’s not about capturing great photography. It’s about sharing moments. Remember how we started with the appeal of experiences to the Millennial crowd?

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