If you didn’t know, Instagram stories are temporary posts that appear at the top of your Instagram feed. They last for only 24 hours and can combine picture and video posts. Read on below to see how these stories can add punch to your social strategy!
Instagram Stories is one of the hottest features in social media right now, and not just because nearly everyone in the trendy “under 30” demographic is using them. They can be a powerful commercial tool for your brand, and they combine some of the most powerful aspects of still and video imaging to create an interactive moment that your audience can participate in. The critical skill in social media marketing is identifying where the market is participating, and Instagram Stories is currently where it’s at.
1) Stop the scroll – Instagram is a literal stream of images. While beloved by individual and commercial users alike, it is the embodiment of visual clutter. Often, people spend less than a second on an image, then move on and rarely look back. Effective posts arrest their attention, stop that scroll, and invite your audience to look deeper, read longer, engage with what they’re seeing, or give feedback. IG Stories are positioned at the top of the feed, presented as those unmistakable sleek little circles, so they can be the first thing users start their Instagram session with before getting lost down the rabbit hole. You can also make them multi-image. So if they are going to be scrolling, you can encourage your audience to scroll through your feed to see your newest posts.
2) Make IG Stories work for you – For free! Take advantage of the fact that Instagram prioritizes both Stories and Live posts, without requiring advertising fees to boost it. If you go live on your profile while you have a story running, your content jumps to the top of Instagram’s feed for your followers. It’s one of the best ways to attract attention without having to break the bank on expensive ad buys, or spend long nights staring at your post insights trying to figure out what IG’s algorithm likes today. Greater impact can be achieved with less effort by striking where the iron is already hot. Go live!
3) Create urgency – Essential to any marketing campaign is a sense of urgency. Stories only last for 24 hours, so audiences will be motivated to come back to your profile, again and again, to see what’s new before it’s gone. FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) is a real and powerful force in modern marketing, especially on the web. Make it work in your favor and keep people coming back for exclusive content they can’t get elsewhere on their feed. Audience engagement will climb because they’re interested, dedicated followers will pour in, and fans motivated by FOMO will swarm to see what you’ve posted. Turn your page into an inevitable, daily destination for your audience!
4) Gather useful information about your audience – Collecting data and opinions through polls and calls to action keeps your audience engaged and communicates that your brand is here to serve them. You can use the poll feature to gain valuable information about your audience and motivate engagement from them that normal analytics would be hard pressed to deliver. A good rule-of-thumb in internet marketing is that it almost always works better if people are clicking and typing instead of just looking, and Instagram builds opportunities for that level of engagement right into their platform.
5) Instantly expand your audience – Partner with other creators and companies in your field to create content and host a Take Over. With your powers combined, you will immediately hit a larger audience. Hosting a Take Over is an effective way to cross-promote brands to new audiences. Find other businesses and identify local (or national) celebrities and community figures that resonate with your product or service. Then, invite that partner to post on your IG story for a day. This creates a kind of “must see event” that can hit your audience AND their audience. Often, reciprocal relationships can be built where you take turns taking over each other’s channels. This give-and-take doesn’t simply double your potential audience—given the natural boost and publicity that Stories is afforded by Instagram’s marketing algorithms, you and your partner will find that your reach is considerably magnified!