Why should you bother investing time in Instagram Stories? Because if your brand is on Instagram, but not using stories you are losing out massively on engagement. Instagram has a massively active user base, with over 500 million people viewing Stories every day, according to Statista. Real-time face-to-face interaction with your brand builds customers trust in your content, knowledge, and products, and this can really set your brand apart.
Stories last 24 hours, so don’t stress too much about the when try to focus more on coming up with interesting content. Your followers will be able to view your Story whenever they check Instagram. Also, you can save them permanently to highlights, but we’ll get to that at the end.
Just like your regular Instagram posts, don’t forget to have fun with it. Save the long-haul posts for your blog or LinkedIn. Quick snappy content is key.
• Call to action
One of the best features of Instagram Stories is linking. Tie your Stories to the links in your Instagram bio with calls to action such as Apply Now, Book Now, Buy Tickets, Contact Us, Download, Learn More, Shop Now, Sign Up, Watch More. If you’ve got more the 10,000 followers then you can use the “Swipe up” feature which is great for shoppable & readable links.
Just launched a new campaign or product? Get your followers to promote it by tagging you in their own Stories – the temporary nature of Stories means they are more likely to engage if it’s not a permanent fixture on their own page. Have a look at ASOS’s campaign in 2018 for inspiration which we featured on our 5 great social-media campaigns from 2018.
• Behind the scenes peeks
Show off the interesting moments in the everyday. Not every company can be as ludicrous as the Boring Company selling flamethrowers, but we humans love getting exclusive access to things we’re not part of. Make the most of the little things, for example, an interesting meeting venue, blurry colour swatches for a new product, or simply the set up of an event. None of this has to be polished like main page promo shots so it humanises your company and connects you with your community.
• Pearls of wisdom
Been in the game for a long time or have expert knowledge in a niche? Don’t hold this wisdom back, use Instagram Stories to take sound bites and link out to your latest literature. If you’re not one for creating long-form content then sharing a quote of the day or #MondayMotivation from inspiring accounts is also great, tag them and get on your heroes’ radars. Discovered something you feel like everyone needs for their business? Show it off and tag the company, they may even feature your shoutout on their Story.
• Themed hashtags
Research popular hashtag national holidays and find which ones mesh with your brand best. This falls into the keeping things fun and light category of Instagram use, everyone loves a good #NationalDoughnutDay in the office post. This is easy filler content, keeping your brands’ posts consistent without having to do much heavy lifting.
• Feature your products
A great way to breathe life into older products is to feature them on your Story which you can then tag with product stickers “to give customers quick access to product information and a seamless shopping experience”. While your curated feed may be only filled with new announcements and latest developments, your Story can be turned into a highlight reel for people to shop any time. Once your business profile has been approved for product tagging you can use this in both your feed posts and your Story.
What format to use in Stories?
• Static images
Static posts are great but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t flow. If you’re focusing more on text then make sure you’re using an image in the background so your words have an anchor. Try to create a narrative with images and the text overlay, and this should be concise and engaging.
• Have a focus
Just because it isn’t as curated as your feed doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have direction and drive your follows to engage past the first image.
Stickers are a great way to brighten up static posts. Here are the most popular ones for engagement.
Are you less than 24 hours away from an interesting event, sale launch or promo? Use a countdown sticker to announce it, you can add the time and date deadline. Your followers can then subscribe to this and get notified when the clock runs out!
Try starting a conversation with your followers. Using the question feature is a great way to have organic content created for you. Make sure the question is short (75-80 characters max) and also allows for short answers, as the question response will be cut off after three lines. To really pull together the look of your Story use the colour circles to tie in the question text box with the image.
Sharing: When sharing the responses if you get a flood of them, firstly Yay! Secondly, you can use text again against a photo or you can respond with a video answer, simply tap on the response and it’ll create a new Story draft for you to edit,If you want to share any of the responses to your Instagram Story, you can do that too! Simply tap on a response and it’ll open it in a new Story draft. Add a photo or video clip, stickers, text, or any other extras you’d like and publish!
Ideas for questions
Ask for feedback: Questions are a great way to get feedback from your followers if you’re having an idea session, feel free to ask your community what they want to see more of what their favourite trends are at the moment.
Tailor to a theme: Making your stories topical will not only garner more interaction but also make your responses more interesting and relevant. Trying a new product/feature/tool in your industry? Then start a conversation around that. Bringing a little holiday spirit into the office? Try asking your community what they love about the season / their favorite traditions.
A new feature in 2018, Polls are a quick way to get an immediate specific response rather than trolling through individual opinions which may just be ‘yes or no’. Use your following to get a mini survey on something which wouldn’t necessitate an email survey.
Users are more likely to participate in a ‘fun’ Instagram story rather than a more traditional email poll. It’s also a great way to highlight information to your followers, anchoring your story with a Q & A feel rather then throwing information out there.
TOP TIP: Use Geotag and Hashtag Stickers to Increase Discoverability.
Stories are now searchable by both location and hashtag so use both to your advantage. If you get enough people engaging with your story you can even get it onto the Explore page; the content on the Explore presented is different for each user, it curates posts based on user engagement, interest and association so if you get your content on this page it casts a wider net then just your followers. Also tags work to make your company part of the community, so next time you’re having a business lunch at a cute local cafe, snap a pic of that latte and tag it.
Why use video over just a plain image? Simply, it’s far more engaging. Active content will capture your followers’ attention far better than just a plain image. It also offers something different to your curated static feed. Lots of the instances we’ve talked about in What? and Images can be done in a video, so here we’ll just focus on what extras video Stories bring to the table.
There are a plethora of video editing apps for Instagram stories as you can upload previously curated content. There’s no time limit as anything longer than 15 seconds will be automatically segmented to fit the story format, adding a subtle transition effect between each, so you no longer have to worry about being cut off mid-sentence.
If you prefer a more laidback organic approach then there are many fun video editing tools on Instagram in the app. Boomerangs (a short video loop) are a classic way to add a little movement to what would otherwise be a blurry static post, think Cheers-ing the camera. Slow-mo, super zoom & rewind are fun ways of tweaking original content and pretty much do what they say. Stop motion is an option for all those super creatives and weaves multiple images into a flipbook style video. Don’t forget you can also go handsfree if you want to set up a shot and not have to physically hold the button down until you want it to end.
TOP TIP: don’t be afraid to show your face!
Videos let your followers get to know you or your head of social media in a more personal way than a simple photo. Connect and get chatty. If you have a large team then doing little spotlights on what they bring to the business or projects they’re working on, can be a great way to show your company culture. Also means you don’t have to always be in front of the camera!
Live videos capture whatever is in front of your camera once it starts rolling. Your followers will get a notification once you start so it’s a great way to grab an audience’s attention. Creating live content can understandably be daunting, but it should feel casual and interactive. There are lots of great ways to get create with Live Stories.
Instagram Live ideas:
- Try hosting a Q&A or an AMA (ask me anything) with your CEO or head of an interesting project. Make sure you’re taking questions from the live comments as well as having some prepared in case of lulls.
- Vlog something interesting. Going to an industry event? Talk about what’s the hot buzz or main draw for you as you’re about to go in, then show off the event be that a floor walk or talking to an inspiring peer.
- Promo a launch by setting up a mini talk show. Think a TV segment but instead of 3 minutes squeezed into a busy show the focus is all on your company’s latest exciting thing.
TOP TIP: You can replay your Instagram Live videos to your Stories.
Those who tuned into the initial post will still have the same sense of urgency to click which Live videos create. This new feature now means live videos are not lost forever after broadcast. Replaying them allows more of your followers to see your content for 24 hours after the live stream.
Last step: Curate Stories into Highlights
Highlights are a great way to show a promo for your company. They are normal Stories which can be saved to a section all on its own on your profile: below your bio and above your newsfeed.
You can have more than one highlight reel think Our Journey, Businesses We Love or simply Motivation. To ensure sure you never lose a Story you may want to have on a highlight ensure you enable the “Auto-Archive” feature in Settings.
Want some help with getting your Instagram feed up to speed? Contact us today! Call us at 0203 664 7973 or send us any inquiries on our contact page: https://www.themediamarketingco.com/contact-us/