When Instagram Stories were first released, the sentiment was neutral. Snapchat had seemingly cornered the market on live video, at the time, and was followed by the masses. Yet, in November 2017, Instagram Stories had reached 300 million daily active users with users under 25 years of age spending more than 32 minutes each and every day on the network.
Brands were moving to Instagram for many reasons, most of which were because they had already built a significant following on this platform versus needing to build a new community on Snapchat. New features were arriving every few months, with these features being of interest to brands - advertising potential, CTA integration within stories and the ability to mention other brands and users right from the video. When live video hit the scene, Instagram had truly set and delivered their strategy - one that catered to brands connecting with their followers.
As a brand, you might wonder how you can get more out of your Instagram Stories, generating awareness and greater interest of your business online.
Here are 5 ways to get more out of your Instagram Stories.
1. Create Instagram Story Highlights
Let’s say you have an epic series of videos for your latest Instagram Story. Before Instagram Story Highlights came around, you could save it, sure, and perhaps repurpose the content later. If you didn’t save it, the content would disappear after 24 hours, never to be seen again. Epic videos gone, in the blink of an eye!
Instagram Story Highlights were released in December of last year, and acts as an archive of your favourite clips. It appears as a pin to your profile of sorts, within the ‘Highlights’ tray under your regular story tray and Instagram bio.
To create a Stories Highlight, you can perform the following actions:
Head to your Instagram Profile, where you will see a “Highlights” section underneath your Instagram Bio
The first circle in Highlights should say “New”. Click on this.
You will be taken to your archived stories, where you can choose what to include in your first Stories Highlight group
Click “Next” and give your highlight a name
Click “Done” then “Add”
Voila - you’re done!
One tip when creating Highlights - ensure that it has a clear and concise theme. From a user perspective, it would be unfortunate to scroll through many, many highlights to find one that it is engaging.
If you are a retail brand, consider creating a “New merchandise!” Highlight. If you’re a restaurant, you could include a “Day In The Life Of Our Chef” Highlight.
2. Tutorials, education and knowledge will engage your audience
Using your social accounts to educate your audience is not only helpful, it’s also engaging and can help grow your networks. Tutorials, tips and tricks can be a great way to do this.
Consider how you choose to follow your favorite accounts. Chances are, you have an affinity for such brands or you get value out of their Instagram profiles. Including tutorials, education and knowledge can not only position your brand as a leader in your industry, it will also help grow your audience.
3. Link to other accounts - such as partners or influencers
Especially if you work with influencers or brand ambassadors, linking to other accounts can help to increase your own visibility on Instagram.
Users scrolling through Instagram Stories will frequently jump to other stories within their account. Remember the statistic we provided for you as we started this blog - users under 25 years of age spend more than 32 minutes each and every day on Instagram. Sharing other accounts within your Stories is not only an act of strategic goodwill, it can come back to help you as other accounts do the same.
4. Take advantage of all features
Instagram Stories has so many features that you can use - from filters to text, the pen tool to locations, and polls in between.
Engage your audience by using the features available to you. We especially love the integration of polls within your Stories, as it’s a great way to generate engagement. Pose a question, gauge sentiment and use the data to inform your marketing decisions.
5. End with a CTA
If you are investing time in your Instagram account, this means you’re investing money - time is money! On Instagram, just like any other network, it’s important to generate revenue and ROI with your time (and money!) investment.
CTAs are a great way drive traffic and awareness of your services or products. For example, you can drive website traffic by prompting users to swipe up (if you have at least 10,000 followers). If you don’t have 10,000 quite yet, you can change the link in your Instagram bio to act as a CTA in the meantime. Consider encouraging your Instagram Story viewers to visit the link in your Instagram bio for more information on your services or products.
CTAs present a huge opportunity to prompt users to interact with your brand. Take advantage of this opportunity.
Instagram Stories provides plenty of opportunity to engage your followers on your daily activities as it relates to your business. Not only can this engage your audience in a more meaningful way, it can also help generate greater interest and connection with your following. When creating your next Instagram Story, ask yourself - will this engage my audience while impacting my business objectives?