Eight ways to win with Instagram Stories
"Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, Instagram Stories can be a strategic and creative way to engage your community."
This year Instagram Stories turns two, and it has had an enormous impact in its short lifespan. It’s a force to be reckoned with, as it continues to dominate over competitors like Snapchat and Facebook Stories. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, Instagram Stories can be a strategic and creative way to engage your community.
Many brands have attempted to integrate Instagram Stories into their social media strategies but not all have succeeded. When you log into Instagram, the list of active Stories is overwhelming. With so many brands and users using the feature, it can be difficult to stand out.
Below are a few ways to win via Instagram Stories, many of which you can easily implement without completing overhauling your current social media strategy.
1. Understand the Algorithm
Although many of us wish it didn’t exist, that dreaded algorithm affects where your Instagram Story lands on the top of the Newsfeed. The algorithm renders its judgement on the basis of a few factors; how frequently you use Instagram, engage with other accounts, and how often you post to name a few. Understanding the algorithm can help you better define your posting strategy, and work with it rather than against it.
It’s also important to understand the algorithm from a user’s point of view. It predicts which Stories users will want to see based on their Instagram habits (i.e. accounts they follow, posts they like, content they share). Because of this, some fans will see your Stories more frequently than others. The more views your Story gets, the closer it will be to the beginning of the Instagram Stories list at the top of the Newsfeed.
2. Embrace the Fun Stuff
There are many creative tactics available within Stories to make your content pop. Don’t ignore what’s available; use it to your advantage! Add emojis, stickers, or GIFs to your frames, switch up the font style or color to add personality, use a filter, or tag a fan if you share their photo. The options are always changing, so it’s important to keep up with the trends. For example, consider employing the “Ask Me a Question” feature. The recent addition to IG lets you field anonymous questions from your fanbase, then answer them publicly via Stories. It’s a new way to engage more meaningfully with customer feedback and ideas. How cool!
3. Upload Previously-Created Content
One of the ways Instagram Stories initially stood apart from Snapchat was that it enabled users to upload previously-created content without a white border. This gives creators the flexibility to design unique, detailed, and thoughtfully produced content to share via Stories instead of having to shoot in real-time. It elevates the quality of your content and helps Stories stand apart.
4. Share Fan Content
A great feature of Instagram Stories is the ability to share others’ content. When a fan shares an incredible moment related to your brand, capitalize on it by sharing it to your Story. Not only will this strengthen the fan’s love for your brand but it will also show fans you appreciate them.
5. Mix It Up
Instagram Stories allow brands to become more relatable to their customers and establish more personal connections. If every Story you create is a promotion or a price point, fans will quickly disengage and even unfollow your account. To avoid this, mix it up! Ensure your Stories are not all promotion-based by showing other sides of your brand. For example, take them behind-the-scenes at your PR event instead of merely showing them the finished product. Your fans will notice and keep coming back for more.
6. Include a CTA
When possible, include a call-to-action at the end of your Story. Ask fans to “Swipe Up” to a URL or reply to a question. An easy way to include a CTA is to ask fans to share content using a specific hashtag. Your Story should be conversational, so invite fans to participate and be a part of your community.
7. Test and Learn
What’s a blog post about social media without a mention of analytics? On Instagram Stories, as always, you should analyze performance and adjust your strategy accordingly. Business Instagram users have access to data which helps brands better understand their audiences. You can determine who your audience is, what days they engage with your content, and what Stories perform best all from the Analytics page of Instagram. It’s easily digestible information that will help your Stories better reach your business goals and objectives.
8. Have FUN with it
Instagram Stories is successful because people have fun creating and watching them. If you enjoy yourself while you’re creating your next Story, there’s a good chance your fans will enjoy it too.