6 Ways to Build Your Brand with Instagram Stories.
We all have to agree to the fact that there's something about stories that drives curiosity and excitement. It's amazing to see how brands and users try to squeeze in every drop of creativity within their content to stand out. Stories are a great tool for such brands. Among the one billion active users on Instagram to date, around half of them—500 million users, that is—watch stories on a daily basis. Since the advent of stories, people have had more content to watch on Instagram. Not only are they using this app more and staying on it for longer, but they are also dedicating 50% of their time viewing stories instead of posts; so much so that influencers and marketers are publishing fewer feed posts and more stories since 2016, which is when stories came into the picture. Feed posts are predicted to decline even further this year.
If you're already intrigued, that's great, because we're going to discuss everything about stories in this post. This includes what they are, why they are popular, why you should use them for marketing your business, and how to use them.
Initially designed as a means of simple interaction or sharing small glimpses of life, stories were the epitome of light content that users enjoyed watching. Slowly but steadily, businesses and brands started to realize the potential of this niche and used it to market their content. Unsurprisingly, these caught on among users, and the marketing strategies of businesses took off. But what is the secret behind these stories, and why have they become so popular?
The concept of stories was initially invented by Snapchat. Then, it was steadily adopted by Facebook and Instagram as one of their main features. Stories are basically light content that disappears within 24 hours. They are raw and fresh, and they appeal to users because of their essence. These are also extremely powerful to convey information and relevant data. Compelling stories are a great way to enhance the understanding and receptivity between two sources.
Stories are basically designed to be vertically-formatted and take up the entire phone screen. It's interesting to watch content that fits in the whole window. Users no longer have to rotate their phones, squint their eyes, or zoom in to watch content. It's fast, easy, and convenient. It's also a boon to companies as they don't need to stress on producing fresh content for their stories every few months.
Followers might not entirely recall all content that a particular brand produces. They might, however, remember the impact or impression that the content had on them. Brands can always tweak or twist old content to present it in a fresh way.
Also, stories aren't necessarily direct ads that could otherwise be off-putting for followers. They often don't have any direct intention to sell products or convince customers to buy any brand's services. We're not talking about story ads here.
Businesses and marketing agencies are putting a lot of effort into producing story content that stands out. To know what already works and what will work this year, we've curated a list with some tips of how to use them for marketing your business.
But before that, let's talk about how to create a simple story.
Creating stories isn't rocket science, obviously. Follow these simple steps, and you'll be good to go.
Open the Instagram app, and you'll notice a camera icon on the top-left corner. Tap on it, and the window will direct you to the camera function to record your content. A big circle placed on the bottom center of the window is used to either shoot an image or record a video by holding it down to film. You can also upload an image or video from your phone gallery by accessing the tiny thumbnail on the bottom-left corner.
When you have shot or decided what content to upload, you need to set the viewing frame. This is what your followers will see when they tap on your story. You can either leave it to cover the entire screen or pinch the image and zoom it in or out. Next, you can add various features such as text, location, and temperature by using the third icon on the top. To enhance it, you can add fun features such as stickers, GIFs, or even mentions and tags.
After preparing the frame and adding all the required features, press the “Add to Story” button. You can decide whether to hide it from someone or form a closed group to share it with only chosen followers. You can also add the snaps or videos to your highlight panel. After you're done, you can check the number of followers that viewed your story by clicking on it once it has been uploaded.
Boomerang and Hyperlapse are fun ways to create engagement with your stories. Boomerangs are short videos or GIFs that create a back-and-forth loop of the captured moments. They are majorly used by the younger generation, mostly within stories.
Hyperlapse is another creative feature that captures short time-lapse videos. The app uses your smartphone's accelerometer to capture smooth videos and create a hyperlapse. These two tactics are useful in creating digestible content that is truly engaging.
Contests and giveaways are the best way to create major engagement and encourage people to follow your brand. A lot of businesses realize the importance of giving away free items to generate sales and revenue.
How this works is that you announce contests to win free trips or your newly launched products by requesting your followers to follow and subscribe to your page, and share it with a number of other friends. This helps you gain more Instagram followers and basically a lot of potential customers. Contests and giveaways have gained a lot of traction lately, and we'd highly recommend using this tactic to lure more customers.
A lot of brands run blogs on their websites that contain information about their products or their discipline. Even though they may have excellent content, visibility decreases due to the saturation in the market. To overcome this issue, you can use the feature of stories to drive more traffic to your blog.
At times, you just want to make your customers aware of the information that your blog provides, which can be reflected in your stories in bits and pieces. You can plan a bunch of stories on a particular day during the week and assign a blog post to each, using creative infographics and a link to the post. This leads to improved brand awareness and more traffic to your blog or website.
Poll stickers and emoji slider stickers are the new way to create engagement with your audience. These are used to ask questions to customers or demand their opinions. Polls include two options that need to be answered by the story viewer.
Users can also react to stories by voicing their opinion on any question by sliding the emoji. It shows the reaction percentage by other users. Poll questions like “Which product do you prefer out of the two?” or “Which outfit would you prefer?” can easily compel your audience to answer.
You can also use the feature of conducting quizzes or a set of Q&As by presenting a question and giving four options with a correct answer among A, B, C, and D. A great example of a brand that constantly uses polls and emoji sliders is Lush Cosmetics. The brand has figured out its way of creating powerful interaction with their customers, which helps in driving more sales.
After reaching 10,000 IG followers, Instagram gives you the option of adding links to your stories. This solves a huge problem: the inability to add clickable links to your posts. Whether it's your blog article, newly launched products, or an update to your mobile application, you can add the link to your story after sharing relevant information on it.
This grabs the attention of your followers and evokes curiosity in them. An amazing aspect of this feature is that users don't need to leave the Instagram interface; instead, the link directly opens within the app, making it completely convenient for them. It also increases footfall and traffic on your website, helping to significantly increase sales.
Even though stories are disappearing content that lasts only up to 24 hours, you can permanently keep them on your feed by adding them to your highlights.
There's an option called “Add to Highlight” at the bottom of the story. You can create a highlight panel with a title that'll act as an album of your favorite or important stories.
There's no limitation to the number of highlights panels or the number of stories in each album. It's an amazing way to keep your important brand moments highlighted on your feed. This is specifically useful when you've covered important events during your journey and want to keep them visible throughout.
As we discussed above, no one likes a parade of stories that are repetitive and monotonous. In such cases, the majority of users fail to pay attention to your content, even if it is credible. Stick to a maximum of ten stories to tell your tale.
Anything above that is bound to have fewer views than anticipated. You need to stick to the point and avoid multiple stories, especially if there's no connection between them. A great tactic to keep your story on the front row is to schedule and post stories after a while, say three to four hours. This lets your viewers find you easily, and you can have more views on your latest stories.
While we've talked about IGTV stories multiple times, we're mentioning them again due to the importance they hold. But here, we're going to talk about integrating IGTV videos with your stories. You can post a link leading to the full-length IGTV video on your story, and add the relevant link to the IGTV description. We already know that you cannot add clickable links on posts, so this feature is extremely helpful.
Stories are called this for a reason. They demand that you tell a story that's alluring, captivating, and interesting. You have a blank canvas to produce short, creative anecdotes that can create a lasting impression on your followers.
While you're storyboarding your content, try to have an interesting beginning and a satisfying end, with content that resonates with the viewers. Even if you're posting stories during no fixed hours that are spread throughout the day, you need to make sure that all stories connect. Make sure that they have a good flow. End the stories with greetings or a simple “Thank you” to your viewers.
When you put effort into your content, it shows. Many people take stories lightly and aren't willing to put much effort into story content as it disappears within 24 hours. They don't realize that stories are watched more than posts and leave a great impression of your brand. That's why it's important to create your own style that reflects your brand identity. Pick certain fonts, a color palette, or a theme that looks distinguished and marks your brand's recognition. It shouldn't be monotonous, either. Play with your content, but keep a subtle trait of your brand to make it stand out.
Using Instagram stories for marketing in 2021 is a great step toward reaching your goals. However, it should be noted that these tactics and strategies shouldn't be repetitive and frequent. That's why it is important to build a marketing strategy and content plan that'll instruct you on the type of content to be used beforehand.