Instagram Stories are one of the most addictive features of this social media platform. They are little 15 second commercials that, if used correctly, can yield benefits that no other Instagram marketing strategy can.
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In fact, Stories have become so popular among brands that every third most-viewed Story on Instagram is posted from a business account. Creating a strategy for Stories is not just important at this stage; it is indispensable.
Stories are the most personal and interactive feature of Instagram. You can utilize them to improve your brand’s ad recall and influence the purchase intent of potential customers. Leveraging them the right way can help viewers connect with your brand’s story in real-time.
Instagram Stories have opened the possibility of utilizing convenient and easily consumable content formats that were not possible to use with regular posts.
You can now post a plethora of content that will only last for 24 hours. This means that you can post content on Stories without the commitment of having it on your feed for long.
Let’s take a look at how you can effectively use Instagram Stories to grow your business.
1. Feature Stories on Highlights and your website
Who doesn’t hate to see the content they put their time and effort into deleted after 24 hours?
It is true that a lot of content posted on Stories is only relevant for that day, but there are many Stories that you may want to save for other followers to see.
You can do this in two ways:
Add the Story to Highlights
Instagram provides a handy feature called Story Highlights. This is a great option for those who want to keep their Stories on their accounts longer.
You should visit the Story controls in the privacy and security settings, and turn on the “Save To Archive” option. This will save all of your future Stories in archives and enable you to feature them as Highlights.
Just click on the “+” button below your profile picture and add any old Story that you want to Highlights. You can be creative and make various Highlights folders to segregate different types of Stories.
Here’s an example:
Image Source: Instagram
Feature Stories on your website
Before Instagram launched the Highlights feature, EmbedSocial discovered a similar function to help you save important Stories and feature them on your website. Many brands still use this feature to engage users and build trust.
There are various formats to showcase your Instagram Stories on your website. You can add a Stories Gallery or run an Inline Slideshow on your site. You get access to multiple customization options.
Image Source: EmbedSocial
2. Be a storyteller
Instagram Stories are called “Stories” for a reason. You should keep in mind that the content you post on Stories should not be overly promotional. It should be original and should have the ability to trigger emotions.
It is recorded that 1 out of every 5 organic Stories receives a direct message, and that is an excellent ratio.
Telling original stories can help you connect with your audience on a deeper level. You can use Instagram Stories to build strong relationships with your followers. You can build trust and drive purchase intent with content that helps viewers form personal connections with your brand’s story.
You shouldn’t be afraid of exposing your quirks because they are what make you unique, and that’s what people want to see. They are likely to consider you as more authentic if you show them both sides of the coin.
Image Source: Instagram
3. Interact and engage with users
One of the best parts about Stories, as we discussed, is their ability to increase user engagement. You can not only track the number of likes, comments, and shares, but also get actionable insights about your followers’ preferences and opinions.
There are many features like polls and reaction bars that can help you record responses and gather insights about user behavior in real-time. You can ask any question in Instagram Stories and create more Stories based on the answers you get to boost engagement.
Image Source: Curalate
This is one of the best ways to keep users engaged and collect actionable insights. These insights can help you understand which types of content are working well with your audience.
4. Use Stories data for your marketing strategy
The data collected through Stories can help strategize your next marketing moves. You can identify more about your audience’s preferences and interests.
You can use these insights to optimize your marketing strategy for social media and other marketing channels like emails, blog posts, and paid ads.
You can determine the kind of content that your followers engage with the most. Then, include those content formats and topics in your overall marketing strategy to get a positive growth curve.
Image Source: Out of the 925
Focusing on omnichannel marketing can help you showcase that your teams are well-connected. The more integrated and user-centric strategies you use, the better it will be for your brand.
5. Improve your influencer marketing database
Influencer marketing is a booming industry with a majority of businesses relying on this tactic. It is also estimated to become a $5-$10 billion industry by the end of 2020.
Instagram Stories are one of the prime ways influencers use to communicate with their audiences. You can utilize their strong relationships to promote your brand and get their followers to purchase from you.
However, you need to regularly update your influencer marketing database to make the most out of your influencer campaigns. You should remove influencers who didn’t drive any significant results in the past and add new ones who show good potential.
The first part seems easy, but the second one looks like a lot of work, doesn’t it?
The good part is that you can get help from influencer marketing agencies to identify authentic and reliable influencers in your niche. They can help you find influencers who are directly relevant to your business and have the potential to increase your social media marketing ROI.
Use this influencer agency database of more than 700 agencies to connect with influencers who can help you generate revenue with their Stories. You can filter results by country and city to find more suitable influencers.
6. Run cross-brand collaboration campaigns
Collaborating with another brand may come at a price, but it can prove to be one of your most successful social media marketing moves.
You should find a brand from the same niche as yours, but not a direct competitor. Call them up or visit them to discuss the possibility of a beneficial collaboration on Instagram Stories.
One way is to take over their Instagram Stories and showcase your brand, your office, and your day-to-day activities.
HopperHq’s team was working remotely from Thailand for some time and saw a great collaboration opportunity. They featured a series of Stories about “A Day in the Life of a Remote Team” on Quuu’s profile.
At the same time, Quuu’s team prepared a series of video tips about how to stay productive while working remotely, which Hopper Hq posted as their Instagram Stories.
Both brands benefitted from the collaboration.
Image Source: HopperHq
This can be a two-way effort for brands to increase their reach and showcase their business to an entirely new audience.
You can also do an Instagram takeover with an influencer in your niche by asking them to showcase a day at your office in their Stories. They can also post about their experiences of using your products or services.
You should ensure that you ask them to tag your Instagram account in their Stories and use your branded hashtags. This will help you get more reach and generate more engagement.
The social media market is saturated, but 15-second Stories offer brands and marketers immense possibilities to explore.
Many people spend hours looking at Instagram Stories, one after another without even realizing how long it has been.
You should use this addictive feature to your advantage to stay on top of your audience’s Instagram feed. This will help you increase your brand’s mindshare through engaging Stories and generate more revenue on Instagram.
Guest author: Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the co-founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities. Find Shane on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Linkedin.