“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” – Seth Godin
In today’s market, it’s essential to be connected through social media. With the ease of reach, and the fact that one out of every five minutes someone spends on their phone they’re looking at some form of social media, it’s imperative to garner that audience. One of those ways is through Instagram. Instagram is famous for being able to display creative-heavy content right in front of your audience. Instagram hosts many features for displaying content.
One of those features is Instagram Stories. What is it you might ask? When Instagram Stories first came out in August of 2017, all anyone could talk about was that it was a straight up rip of Snapchat – or at least, that’s how it was perceived. And, in all honesty, that’s a decent argument. The functionality is the same. The feel is similar. Hell, the story disappears after 24 hours. But, there’s a key difference. Instagram, unlike Snapchat at the time, managed to turn their Stories into an effective tool for businesses without ruining it for consumers. It’s attractive to both consumers and business.
Why Use It?
Each and every day, more than 300 million people use Instagram Stories. That’s good news for the millions of business profiles out there looking to get their name and product out there. There’s also even better news – one in five Stories on Instagram gets a direct message. That’s a lead and an easy way to get one.
Another reason to use it – it’s simple. Half a billion people use Instagram every month to create content, express ideas, and connect with others. In addition to that, a ton of content is generated too. Around 95 million posts are done each day. Though it may sound crazy with that much content being produced, it’s relatively easy for businesses to stand out.
Create a Strategy
With 95 million posts being made each day, it’s good to have a strategy in place to create a cohesive plan to garner an audience. One of the main draws of Instagram Stories is to create audience engagement. And Stories has multiple methods you can use to draw in your audience and gain a positive foothold on their attention span.
This strategy can be anything you want. You can give an in-depth look at behind the scenes shots of your business. MotorTrend does a great job of this. During their annual “Best Driver’s Car” their Instagram Story showed all the behind the scenes shots and what all goes into preparing the corresponding Youtube show and Magazine.
Types of Posts to Make
Like regular posts on Instagram, you want your Story to be filled with a fun mixture of posts. These posts can be a mix of fun, lighthearted content showing your office workers on the job, promotional content, and things you find interesting. It helps that Stories is pretty laid-back in general so the quality of your content doesn’t have to be overproduced and top notch. Just have fun and show your followers an authentic side to your business.
You don’t want to bombard your followers with loads of promotional content and links to it all the time. That’s a quick way to turn off your audience and have them tap through your story faster than a lonely dude on Tinder or just ignore your story – and essentially your brand – all together. Remember, be authentic.
Location and Hashtag Stickers
Instagram rolled its hashtag and location stickers last December (2017). At the time of its initial launch, it was more for fun rather than useful. But, Instagram took heed to user concerns and added a ton of functionalities to its stickers, including the ability to see location-based stories on the Explore page, and the ability to search for stories by location and hashtag. These features made it possible for your Story to be seen by those who weren’t your follower. Giving businesses this ability means they can have their story watched by someone who could just be looking for a product or location.
Link Your Stuff
I know earlier in the post I said don’t put links in your story. Well, there’s a fine line when it comes to tossing links in your Instagram Story. Don’t put a shitload in there. That’s just annoying. Have one, maybe two throughout the posts in your Story. Linking to every little thing will just cause accidental clicks and piss off users.
Tag Other Accounts
Tagging other accounts is a great way to drive engagement and get new followers. The ability to tag other accounts in your Story is a great way to host a takeover or have influencers showcase your stuff through your account.
Another aspect of tagging is through Instagram’s paid partnership feature. With this, you can tag other businesses that you’re running partnerships with or other companies that have helped you develop your product.
Polls and Emoji Sliders
Ever want to know what your audience thinks of your stuff or your posts? Ask them. With Instagram’s interactive poll stickers, you can ask your audience any question you see fit and directly see the results as votes pour in. You can get feedback on certain products, crowdsource, or provide another aspect of entertainment and increase engagement.
Unlike polls and emoji sliders, you can have your audience type out full-on answers to your questions. Instagram Stories allows you to post a sticker with a question and your audience can tap it and type out a full response. This type of engagement is unheard of in other products and really creates a strong connection with your audience.
Tell a story. Clear and simple stories are loved by all and are easier to remember. Instagram Stories are just that, they’re stories told through your business’ perspective. Be sure with your story that there’s a clear beginning, middle, and end. Be authentic. Don’t try to hang on to the coattails of a movement and spin it into attempted sales. That’s a quick way to piss off people and be remembered for the wrong thing. Be valuable. People follow brands because they want information on them. Show your followers why it’s valuable to be following you, whether it’s products that make life easy or provide insights into life’s questions. Be creative. Instagram Stories offer plenty of features that enable your inner artist to shine. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Your audience will notice and reward you with attention and engagement. Plan your shit. You’ve got 24 hours to have your Story shown. Though there are hacks to get around this – you can edit content which extends the life by 24 more hours – plan your Story out instead of just doing it on the fly. Promote it. Boosting your story will get it more exposure. If it’s time-sensitive, must see, or anything like that, throw some dollars behind it and get more eyeballs on it. Use CTA’s. People need to be told what to do. You don’t want your viewers to not do anything, so tell them what they need to do. Hold their hand so they don’t have to think. It’ll be better for you in the long run.
That’s why every business should be leveraging Instagram Story’s massive popularity to find more advocates and customers. If you have an Instagram, you might as well use it. It doesn’t cost you anything.