Instagram introduced its Stories feature back in 2016. Since then, it has become extremely popular. The idea of ‘stories’ is not new or something invented by Instagram. This was actually first introduced by another social media app, Snapchat. However, Instagram stories are now used by a larger audience base.
Instagram stories are a simple way of sharing content with your audience. They are easy to watch, interact with, and upload. More importantly, they get deleted after 24 hours which makes them a great way of sharing content that you wouldn’t want to retain permanently. These stories are mostly an insight into your life or brand, and this is why people feel more connected to it. This makes the audience engaged and interested in your brand.
You can use Instagram stories to tell a story, show a snippet of production process, directly ask questions from your audience or conduct small polls. Also, unlike posts, Instagram stories allows you to use a range of audio visual means of presentation such as, pictures, video, music, stickers, GIFs, etc. Such personal engagement is to key to success of your brand. This is the reason why 70% of the businesses in the US use stories as a marketing tool.
Instagram Stories for Business
Instagram stories are a great way of running a marketing campaign. Unlike posts, stories allow you to make a more intimate connection with your customers and build brand loyalty. In this post, I share the best tips that you need for successfully marketing your business through Instagram stories.
Even though Instagram stories are a great way of marketing your business, it can be difficult to figure out the Instagram algorithm and generate engagement. Don’t worry, I have got you covered! Just keep on reading to find out how to make the most of Instagram stories.
- How to Start Using Instagram Stories?
- Instagram Analytics
- Hacks for Increasing Views
- Post Consistently
- Work With the Instagram Algorithm
- Create Quizzes, Polls and Ask Questions
- Target Audience Based on Location
- Engage With Story Replies
- Use Hashtags in Your Stories
- Mention Other Accounts
- Host Story Giveaways
- Use Stickers and Widgets
- Use Instagram Music
- Share Your Posts as Stories
- Follow Instagram’s Guidelines
- Save Stories to Highlights
- Use Filters
How to Start Using Instagram Stories?
To be able to use Instagram stories, you will have to sign in or create an Instagram account. You can install the Instagram app available on both Google Play Store and Apple Store, or you can directly use Instagram from your computer. If you also have a Facebook account, you can link your Instagram account directly to it.
After you have signed in successfully to your Instagram account, click the plus icon on the top left. Then slide left to the stories option. Or you can go to your profile page and select the plus icon at the top right then select ‘add story’ from the drop down menu.
You can slide up to access pictures and videos in your camera roll. Instagram also provides a wide range of other features. I will discuss these in detail below.
Creative content always wins the social media game, and IG stories are no exception. Creating an interesting Instagram story content is the key to turn your followers into long-time subscribers of your Instagram stories.
One of the great things about Instagram is that it provides business accounts with all the relevant data through Instagram Analytics. This feature enables you to look at Key Performance Interactions (KPIs) like:
- Reach or impressions: A significant amount of impressions means a piece of content that you have uploaded is doing great, and you need to create more stories, not similar to that one but related to it.
- Navigation and exits: These are the indicators that the story you’ve published does not attract the audience. A high amount of them shows that you need to come up with new content as the current content is making you lose Instagram views.
- Website and link clicks: These indicate how high the user actions are on your stories. This means that the IG story you’ve posted is working as a perfect lead generator, or not. People are highly interested in knowing more and willing to click on further links, or not.
- Follows, shares and replies: These actions help to reach your content to even the non-followers. These actions basically indicate that your story viewers have liked what you have posted and are willing to let other people know about it too.
By using Instagram Analytics, you can get a good idea of the kind of content your followers like. You can use this to optimise your content and generate greater reach.
Hacks to Increasing Views
If you think you can post your IG story as per your convenience and at any time you like, you’re drastically undercutting your views. The more, the better technique truly works with Instagram.
Consistent posting increases your audience’s chances to reach your story. You can further boost reach by posting at the peak time of user activity (which can be accessed through Instagram Analytics). Peak times depend upon the location and audience, so keep yourself updated about your target audience’s user time.
Work with the Instagram Algorithm
Instagram updates its algorithms continuously. Now, the reason for this continuous update is to cut back automated processes and combat third-party applications. The algorithm loves to see engagement and boosts content based on engagement. You should create stories with an aim of maximizing engagement. The best ways of doing that are noted below.
Create Quizzes, Polls and Ask Questions
Since polls, quizzes and questions require an action from your audience, these are great for increasing engagement. These are also great ways of directly engaging with your audience. You can ask questions such as ‘ask me anything’ which allows your audience to get a personal look into your life. You can also ask product related questions such as any optimisation that your audience might want or collect feedback.
I personally think Q&As helped me more to serve my audience better content. When you’ve got the idea of what they want to see in your stories, you can provide them exactly that, and this keeps them coming back for more. I personally love asking questions in Q&As and talking to my favourite businesses.
Remember, any personal engagement is a way towards building your brand loyalty and can be extremely beneficial in the long run.
Target Audience Based on Location
Do you want to gain followers from a particular area or are you trying to generate more local traffic? Using the location tags can be really beneficial in increasing views, and reach the audience from your desired location. Location tags help Instagram users to navigate the exact location of the business.
Engage with story replies
Your audience has an option of replying to your stories through Instagram direct messaging. You should always reply to these messages! While replying may not seem like an important step, responding back boosts the engagement to many folds. Would you not love if you get a quick and witty response from your favourite blogger or influencer? Leaving replies unanswered creates a risk of users stopping to engage with your stories.
Private conversations allow you to have a personal chat with your audience. While responding to every reply seems like a tedious task, keep in mind that this effort goes a long way in building loyalty.
Use Hashtags in Your Stories
Similar to everything else on Instagram, stories allows you to add hashtags. These hashtags help Instagram understand the category of content that your story relates to and show it to the relevant audience. While Instagram has a limit of thirty hashtags for posts and reels, there is no limit for stories.
If you follow the proper engagement enhancing technique, you may already know how beneficial hashtags are. These hashtags open the door for more and bigger audiences to see your content. Hashtags earn you views from people that you otherwise couldn’t have gathered.
If you want to add a hashtag sticker, you can add one hashtag only, but typing the hashtags allows you to add ten in your stories. If you don’t want these hashtags to ruin your story aesthetic, you can always hide them under GIFs or type them in a colour that matches with the background or picture of the story.
To use the right hashtags, decide who you want your stories to reach. Are they hikers, fitness enthusiasts or travel enthusiasts? Then do a quick search about the hashtag that is trending in your niche. Insert the most relevant and trending hashtags, and see your views increasing.
Mention Other Accounts
Account mentions are critical when you are working with brands and other influencers. These shout outs are a way of showing your appreciation as a collaborative partner or just as a fan. Brands often repost the user-generated content, so mentioning the brand in your stories will have your chances to get featured either in the brand’s stories or posts, giving you exposure to a broader audience.
Host Story Giveaways
To show your appreciation to your IG story community, host giveaways and reward them with gifts. You can host milestones giveaways such as ‘giveaway at 250K followers’. These giveaways generate more views on your stories, and non-followers will eventually follow you or your stories religiously to win the giveaways.
Use Stickers and Widgets
Instagram loves to experiment with new widgets. These widgets are always exciting when they are newly launched, and everyone follows them. These trending widgets and stickers can boost the overall reach of your IG stories. These make your stories gives a visual appeal. Do remember that sometimes these stickers and widgets take time to load or lower the quality of stories. You can also use these stickers for business purposes. For example, before launching a product, you can share a snippet in your story with the countdown sticker to create excitement.
Use Instagram Music
The content that has music always attracts people. According to Brandwatch, 70% of IG stories are watched with sound on. Your followers will enjoy your content more when they get to hear their favourite music and eventually engage with it. You can add a ‘sound on’ sticker to add more colour to your story as well.
Share Your Posts as Stories
Write an engaging post and share it as a story. Leave your post with an intriguing end, and ask your followers to see more information on your stories. You can also hide a part of the picture so that your audience needs to visit the post.
You can also increase the likes on your posts using stories by re-sharing your Instagram post on your stories. The simple tap on these stories will directly lead the audience to your posts and increase its reach.
Follow Instagram’s Guidelines
The basic dimensions that Instagram suggests are 1080×1920 while the minimum dimension is 600×1067. To optimise the content for every phone, Instagram gives 250 pixels margins on the top and bottom of the screen so that the main content won’t be cropped on any phone. You will have to make sure that no key element of your story ends up in this 250 pixel safe zone.
For any story, file size should be less than 4 GB. Also, images should be in .PNG or .JPG format and videos should be in .mp4 or .mov format.
If you don’t follow these dimensions, Instagram will crop your content automatically or decrease its quality. Your content won’t be displayed ideally to your audience.
Save stories to highlights
Unlike regular IG stories that disappear after 24 hours, the story highlights will permanently remain a part of your profile. You can add a story to your highlight by clicking the heart icon in the bottom right corner of your story.
Once highlighted, your followers can view these stories any time they like, and because they don’t disappear, you can save your most viewed or engaging content on your profile. You can create various folders for your highlights. These are great for grouping similar content. For example, if you a travel blogger, you can add separate highlights for each location.
Instagram offers interesting and fun filters to attract your audience. You can edit your content with these filters to make them more eye-pleasing and interacting. You can add funkiness to your stories or edit them using these super cool filters.
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Instagram stories are an impeccable way to keep your audience connected to you. It’s a perfect place to endorse or market your product if you are running a business profile.
The best thing about Instagram stories is that they automatically disappear after 24 hours. This gives you a lot of room to play around and explore to figure out what works best. Additionally, stories are not as intrusive as posts and do not get shown on your followers feed directly. Instead, they have to specifically open the story. This allows you to post many stories in a day which is not possible for feed posts.
Instagram stories have tons of features which allow you to directly engage with your audience. You can ask questions or conduct fun polls to get your audience’s views. Your followers also have an option of privately messaging you through your stories. These tools make Instagram stories a great way of increasing your engagement and boosting your business.
How do stories work on Instagram?
Unlike Instagram posts, stories are only visible for 24 hours and don’t show up on your feed. Instagram provides different filters, effects, GIFs, etc. for stories.
Where can I see Instagram stories?
Stories are visible in a bar the top of your feed in a chronological order. If you want to see the story of a particular person then you can visit their profile and click on the profile picture.
How do you make a good Instagram story?
The key to creating an attractive Instagram story is to keep the content as engaging as you can. For this, you can use Instagram templates, add filters and GIFs, use Instagram music, ask questions or conduct polls.
Do IG stories disappear after 24 hours?
Yes, the photos and videos you share on your Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours. You can add these stories to Instagram highlights if you want to keep them on your feed after 24 hours. You can add a story to your highlight by clicking the heart icon in the bottom right corner of your story.