It’s story time. Stories are the one tradition that seems to transcend cultures and engage all walks of life. They are important IRL (in real life), and online. In 2013, Snapchat introduced their story feature which paved the way for Instagram’s story feature which came out 3 years later. Some people call them IG Stories, or InstaStories, from here on out we will refer to Instagram Stories as “Stories.” Trends on Insta have always ebbed and flowed, but 1 trend that was with us for a while was “perfection.”
The perfect feed, the perfect lighting, the perfect pose all maintained this perception of near-perfect people and their colorful lives online. With the vulnerability of a video that is temporary, those walls of perfection began to come down. This is incredibly important for our younger consumers, but also for businesses. This social climate we live in has become more accepting of an honest disposition rather than a seemingly unattainable one.
We think every business should be leveraging social media in order to engage directly with your audience, and Instagram is a great platform to have those interactions. Social media makes it possible for your audience to connect with you on a more personal level, which can help to build brand loyalty. Not to mention that you can use it to strengthen your brand identity as well. In fact, one of the best ways to do this is through IG Stories.
What is Instagram Stories?
Instagram is a social platform that focuses on uploading pictures and video content, which makes it look very much like a digital portfolio. There are over 1 billion active accounts with more than 500 million users watching Instagram stories daily.
The continued growth and number of active daily users and viewers of Stories out performs every other social media platform.
Instagram Stories are located prominently at the top of every user’s feed and actively rotate with every page refresh. The accounts a user interacts with the most (through liking, commenting, and watching stories) will appear first in the story rotation. It’s predicted that this year users will post more stories than content in their feed.
Instagram Stories are short format video clips or pictures with overlaid text, emojis, gifs, etc. and are traditionally easier to consume than posts that might have a block of text beneath them. Users can tap left and right between the accounts they follow and catch up on posts, news, and information quicker than scrolling vertically through a feed. Stories last for 24 hours but there is a way to have them live on your profile for as long as you like through their Highlights feature, we will be discussing just stories and not Highlights in this article.
The Benefits of Using Instagram Stories
It might not seem like an advantage to post content that’s going to disappear after only a day, but you might be surprised at how effective this actually is. The following are just a few ways that you can benefit from using Instagram Stories:
- Stay at the top of user’s minds. First of all, followers will know that your content is relevant because of the fact that Instagram Stories will only appear for 24 hours. This means that they know your Instagram Stories content won’t be outdated when they view it. Secondly, while your feed posts won’t always show at the top of your followers’ feeds, Instagram Stories will. This allows you to keep your brand at the top of your followers’ minds.
- Instill a sense of FOMO. The knowledge that the content you’ve posted will disappear after just 24 hours will encourage followers to view it right away out of FOMO (fear of missing out). This makes Stories a great tool for engaging your audience.
- Market events and products in real time. If you’re holding an event or a sale, Stories can be a great way to bring attention to it, even during the sale since you can essentially advertise in real time.
- Experiment with marketing more. While you should always be careful with what you say (once it’s on the Internet, it’s there forever), the nature of Instagram Stories allows you to be a little looser with what you upload. You don’t have to worry about the content being on your site forever, so you can upload more playful pictures or try more experiential marketing techniques to see how they go over. Stories give you a platform to be edgy, unique, and to play around with what might not traditionally be a standard post on your story.
Ways to Use Instagram Stories
Keeping the advantages of using Instagram Stories in mind, the following are a few examples of how you can use Instagram Stories to boost your marketing:
- Provide behind the scenes sneak peeks. Providing followers with behind the scenes footage helps them get to know your brand and the people behind the company. For example, a simple “day in the life of” video is a great way to show followers what goes on at your business. This will make followers feel like you let them in behind the scenes for a personal tour, thereby helping strengthen their connection to your brand.
- Promote live broadcasts. If you have any live events coming up, such as a Facebook live event, then Instagram Stories is a great way to promote them.
- Reveal new products. Launching a new product? Instagram Stories is a great way to reveal a new product or to tease an upcoming product reveal. You can also upload videos showcasing how new products can be used. It takes about 7 times from a person to start feeling connected to a product, so teasing and showcasing it on your stories leading up to a launch is a great way to enhance that product recognition and awareness.
- Celebrate company milestones. Celebrating a milestone, such as the ten year anniversary of when your company was founded, provides more insight into your company and helps keep your brand at the top of mind.
- Announce collaborations. If you’re collaborating with another business on a product, service, or event, let your followers and their followers know. This is a great way to not only generate awareness of the collaboration but also to increase awareness of your brand in general through your partnership.
- Post polls. Engage with followers by using Instagram Stories to post polls. This is a good way for followers to share their options and for you to get some insightful feedback. One of the many features that you can use when posting Instagram Stories is the Reaction Slider, which is a more user-friendly multiple choice question and answer format.
TL;DR (too long; didn’t read)
Storytelling is a basic human tradition that has found its place in Instagram Stories. It’s been predicted that this year users will post more stories than content in their feed, and we already know people watch more hours of Instagram Stories than on any other app.
These are just a few ways that you can use Instagram Stories to your benefit. You’ll find that you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to your Instagram Story campaigns. If you have more than 10,000 followers, you’ll also be able to include swipeable links that can help to generate traffic to your site. Even if you haven’t reached a high follower count yet you can run ads that offer the same feature.
Instagram Stories can be very beneficial in building brand awareness, generating brand interest, and converting new leads. If you’re unsure of how to use the different features within Instagram Stories, we’ve got you covered. While you’re here, you should also check out our Instagram and see what stories we have live today.