Written by Natalie Walker
The social platform, Instagram, celebrated its tenth birthday in 2020. And, a decade on from its launch, 500 million Instagram users are using the Stories feature every day. That’s half of the platform’s overall users!
According to Sprout Social: “Given that Instagram is focusing so heavily on Stories and the format only appears to be getting bigger, brands should get on board with them ASAP.”
A third of the most viewed stories come from business accounts, and a fifth of stories receive a direct message from its viewers. So, having Stories as part of your Instagram social strategy offers an ideal opportunity to raise brand awareness and deliver exclusive content to your followers.
With Instagram and its Stories feature on the rise, it’s time for brands to explore everything Stories has to offer as part of their social media marketing activity.
Go off-grid, while staying connected
Stories are a great way to ensure you’re not dominating your follower’s Instagram feeds. The average user is spending approximately 30-minutes a day on the platform, meaning users won’t feel bombarded if your brand pops up while they’re tapping through stories.
Plus, with 200 million Instagram users visiting at least one business profile daily, you’ll strengthen your odds of them visiting your profile by adding extra content to your stories, which urges your followers to click through to your grid.
So, what type of post can you add to your Instagram Stories strategy to get your followers engaged?
User-generated content (UGC)
If someone has shared a post or story about your product or service, return the favour by sharing it on your profile. Not only can UGC act as a form of testimonial, but it also gives your followers the chance to see your product or service through non-branded ‘real’ imagery. Furthermore, in research conducted by Hubspot, 79 per cent of people said UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
Behind the scenes
One of the benefits of Instagram Stories is that the content doesn’t need to be polished. It can be off-the-cuff and incorporate the human element by taking your followers behind the scenes and sharing follower exclusives. This makes them feel in-the-know and like an insider to your business.
National days and weeks
If chosen strategically, taking advantage of national days can be a great way to engage with your audience on stories. By jumping on these days, timely and immediately relevant posts helps you join in on the conversation using branded hashtags. Anyone else eagerly awaiting National Dog Day in August?!
Content with urgency
If you’re on countdown to a launch or occasion, create a sense of urgency with Instagram Stories by layering your content with a countdown sticker. Once you’ve reached 10,000 followers, you will have access to the ‘swipe up’ feature, meaning your customers can click straight through to your website, tickets or launch page from Stories. This is perfect for capturing your audience then and there.
A story lasts longer than a day
But going off grid doesn’t stop there! Just because Stories disappear after 24 hours doesn’t mean photos and videos are gone forever, thanks to the Highlights feature.
Situated front and centre on your Instagram profile, this is the place to save your all-important stories so people can access them at any time. It is an excellent place for your reviews, product information, customers’ content, campaigns and tutorials.
Interaction is a two-way street
More than a third of users are using Instagram as a way to interact with influencers and brands. This makes the platform the hub for businesses and customers to connect via their Instagram accounts.
But that interaction doesn’t just have to be through comments and direct messages. Instagram Stories has the tools you need to create a fun and dynamic content strategy. Plus, it means you can gain valuable conversations and insight from your followers.
This type of interaction with your audience is an easy and fun way to connect. Show off your products by asking people to vote for their favourites, educate users on your products in an entertaining way, or do some market research by finding out what your customers’ preferences are, giving them the choice between two products or services in a ‘would you rather’ style format.
The ‘Questions’ sticker on Instagram stories opens the two-way conversation between you and your followers.
First, you can post out ‘ask me anything’ and you can interact with your followers by publicly answering their questions. Secondly, you can ask your audience to interact with you by asking them questions. The beauty of this is that you can sift through the questions and choose to answer only the ones you feel comfortable with, sharing your responses on your Stories for all to see.
If you simply want to find out what your followers like or dislike, then the Emoji Slider is a great tool to find out an overall average of responses to a question. Audience sentiment is important to keep an eye on, making sure you strategy is connecting with your followers in the right way.
Looking to up your game on Instagram Stories? Contact us today to find out how we can implement the top tools and techniques to give your Instagram followers more engaging and interactive content to view.