Let’s admit it, Insta Stories is the best thing that happened to social media so far (sorry, Snapchat). At the same time it’s the worst, because now time we spend on Instagram jumped to a new height. Before we only needed to scroll. Now we also have to tap and swipe. By the way, do you usually scroll or swipe first? What do you find more entertaining? What makes you react more often? I haven’t found a decent research or any official data yet, but from my experience, Instagram becomes more and more about Stories. Why and how can brands use them to their advantage?
Stories are real and raw, more expressive and revealing, less filtered than Instagram feed. Stories give us a bunch of tools for self-expression, and keep adding more and more. Stories make you interact: replying directly to the person, avoiding the comments section feels more personal. Nobody can see your conversation, and in some way it gives us more liberty, which happens less and less when we know our post can be seen by everyone. The fact that our response will be seen by one exact person, gives us more freedom and more desire to interact. And maybe the best thing about them, they disappear in 24 hours! Perfect for updates that have limited relevance period.
All that makes Stories the perfect tool for engaging the audience. I insist, this feature MUST be used by brands that want to get digital exposure on a daily basis.
- Stories are for Storytelling. You can tell that’s exactly what the great minds of Instagram wanted us to do with this feature – tell stories. In Stories brands have an opportunity to take viewers on a journey, and the more compelling each story is, the greater chance they will watch till the end. Remember, viewer can always swipe away from your story, so you better keep it short and simple, or highly entertaining, like Mercedes-Benz does.
- Videos, Photos, Boomerangs, and recently added Stop Motion, Rewind and Superzoom options. Pick few favourites or mix all of them to achieve maximum engagement. I find it highly effective when a video is split into short 15 second edits and posted as a series of stories. Each can have different music or titles, tone and message, together shaping the story you want to share today.
- Using Stickers, Emojis and Graphic elements brings fun and light mood into your stories, gives endless opportunities for creativity, but most importantly, it makes branded content look organic in the eyes of viewers who are used to seeing these elements in stories of their friends. So, instead of being seen as somebody who only tries to sell, you get a chance to show the personality behind the brand, show your followers they can have a laugh with you too.
- Live videos. Having an event, product launch or want to invite followers to the backstage of your photoshoot? Go live. Users prefer hyper-relevant, in-the-moment content and ready to spend on average 3x more time watching live videos comparing to videos that are no longer live.
- Polls. I can’t stop expressing my admiration towards this feature. Who can resist voting when they get a chance? You just can’t help but tap the screen, even if it’s the stupidest thing ever. Adding polls to your stories is not only entertaining but it gives viewers a feeling of being involved. It shows the brand cares about what they think. It always feels good when somebody is asking for your opinion, isn’t it? And even more, when it’s done by your favourite brand!
- Certified accounts can link a web address directly to the story, allowing people reach the web link easier by performing simple swipe up action. No more need in annoying “link in bio” in the post caption.
Remember, there’s no such thing as enough of content. Now that Instagram Stories can be shared just like any other post, it became another wonderful outlet for your brand to get more exposure. Go behind the scenes, introduce people who work on your product, show what inspires and motivates you. Talk to your audience in their language, and in 2017, it’s undoubtedly the language of Instagram Stories.
Thank you for reading this post, and please let us know what you think below. If you want us to help you create content for your Instagram, contact us here.