If you are a social media professional, odds are you’ve seen Instagram Stories. And, if you’re providing social media services for small businesses, it’s likely you’ve been asked if these cool visual stories are an option for promoting a brand. You can. In fact, it’s one of the hottest trends in content creation for social media. We’ll show you how. But first, let’s find out what Instagram Stories are.
What Are Instagram Stories?
If you are a “visual” brand (you have something to show) you definitely need to incorporate Instagram into your social media calendar for small business and bigger brands. You know how to do this, how to attract attention to your best photos with the help of hashtags. We also told you about Instagram carousels. All this seems to be pretty easy, but Instagram stories are something that everyone watches but they’re either lazy or too shy to create. They should, however, be part of your social media calendar plan. There is no content creation template for Instagram Stories – they are based on your own existing or new content.
An Instagram Story is either a slideshow of photos or a video. The interesting thing about an Instagram Story is that it is timely, so they are only up and watchable within the 24 hours of publishing.
The Instagram Stories feature now has more than 200 million users per day, measured by someone either posting an update to their story or viewing a friend’s from the carousel at the top of the app. Some might say that Instagram stole Snapchat’s videos. Nevertheless it took Snapchat 6 years to build this list of watchers, while Instagram stories blew past Snapchat’s numbers in just 6 months.
It’s all about where your audience is. When you think about social media marketing services, you know you need to promote those networks where your target audience hangs out. If your people happen to be on Instagram, it’s lucky you are too, because with its constant development and improvement you can keep your audience engaged on a much deeper level.
Why people watch Instagram stories so avidly:
- They don’t want to miss them
- Real people share real videos
- They can see what your products look in real life
- Video format beats photos in Instagram stories
Some can complain about this 24 hour restriction, but I’m sure this restriction is what makes Stories so popular. It’s human to postpone things for tomorrow, Stories demand you watch them now or miss out on them. In stark contrast to a human’s tendency toward procrastination, there is also a strong pull toward the fear of missing out (also known as FOMO). (Smile)
It’s not a secret that we carefully select best pics and apply filters to them before we publish a photo in our feed. That’s fine for personal photos, but when you’re selling something, you have to approach your photos differently. Your clients want to see a real product they would consider buying, see real place they want to visit, and see the faces of real people whose service they will use.
Visual content is powerful. Yesterday we told you about photos vs text, and today is a new era of video. Short engaging videos for your marketing is what your business needs today.
Why Do You Need Instagram Stories For Your Business?
You may think of Instagram Stories as just a toy that isn’t appropriate for business, but one third of all the stories comes for business accounts.
What benefits you, as a business, get:
- Bigger engagement
- More personal interaction with your clients
- Promotion of your goods or services
Some people mindlessly scroll their feeds. People may neglect bright perfect pictures, but when they watch a video, all their attention is in there. Why is that? First, because we focus on one thing for more than the second it takes to register a photograph, and second – we have several slides devoted to a single story. That means, when we create Instagram Stories for business, we create several slides devoted to one brand and their content. People are more likely to pay attention to a Story than they are to a single image.
In this crazy world of automation, people aren’t spending as much time thinking about the care they put into their Instagram posts. Social media marketers schedule ready made templates with ready made hashtags automatically. That’s fine for a certain type of marketing. In fact, it’s necessary, but Instagram Stories provide a great way to show your clients/potential clients that there is a real person on the other side of their mobile devices. Creating a video or, better yet, a LIVE video for them you build strong personal connection with people.
As I’ve already said, we’ve developed advertising blindness. We do not see promotional posts and do not accept them as almost every second post sells its brand goods. Instagram allows you to make your “goods/services” stories available in a fun and engaging way.
8 Ways To Make Your Stories More Creative
There are strategies for create Instagram stories, and they’re not too different from your basic content marketing best practices. Since Instagram is a visual social media channel, you can use some of the tools in your social media content generator to achieve some more advanced content creation examples you can use in an Instagram Stories campaign. Let’s take a look at some of the strategies for making great Instagram photos – things that are part of the standard social media marketing guide of today – and apply them to Instagram Stories. We’ll also look at some brands that have taken their content marketing learning in regards to Instagram and applied it to great Instagram Story campaigns.
Yes, Stories show your brand in real life and they are more “human” than your polished photos, but who says you can’t edit your stories to make them look better? Use filters and attract even more attention to your stories.
@ceremony.company, a coffee shop, highlights their goodies in the best way possible. Every day they “storytell” their delicious coffee and you can’t help yourself. You want to go there and have some for yourself. Don’t you agree it’s the best way to show how their clients how they can relax and sip their lattes under the spring sun rays on their terrace?
If you don’t use emojis, you are strong enough to survive this “image panic”. Sometimes, I even use emojis for my newsletters, and notice a bigger open rate. People love funny images accompanied with relevant massages.
@riva_g_ is a creative director of the NYC yoga center. Her brand is really personal. Every day I watch her stories, where she shares moments of her yoga life. It motivates me! Aren’t these emojis cute? Without them it would be just a photo of a tired woman. Use emojis instead of words, sometimes it’s even better!
Write in Your Photos
When you catch attention of your followers, don’t let them go without your message. They watch your Stories, so they have no chance but to read your message. Tell them what’s going now in this Stories, it’s great way to become a little closer to them.
@therawkitchen, a restaurant, doesn’t just share their food and place, but staging and preparation for their events. I feel like I know several people in the company, as they represent their restaurant and I watch stories with them very regularly. They have a tradition to have one person record stories every day. For example, today it’s an administrator, tomorrow – owner and so on. It’s a great way for their audience to get to know everyone – every PERSON – behind the brand. It’s very powerful.
Make your stories brighter with stickers. You can add your location, weather, and time. Let them know where you are, it engages!
@jamieoliver, a world famous chef, travels a lot and he never misses a chance to share his locations and sometimes even his feelings! His brand is very open. From time to time he shares remarkable moments with his family. Not every shot or video should be promotional. Jamie proves that.
You’ll also find new geostickers for Chicago, London, Madrid, and Tokyo, all designed by local artists. Instagram is distinguishing these from Snapchat’s Geofilters by attaching each artist’s username to their sticker, so you can go to their account to check out more of their artwork.
Now Instagram allows you to add links to your website or any other landing page you need. Who still thinks Stories aren’t for business? Once they like your video they can just hit “see more” and be redirected to your page! Bravo Instagram!
@beachyogagirl, a personal yoga coach, uses YouTube as her main marketing channel, and she never misses a chance to drive Instagram traffic to it. She always keeps me informed what’s new is already live. This feature is especially good for online shops – update about new arrivals, special offers etc.
If you want to lead users to your business Instagram page instead of your website, you can do that with mentions. When texting in your Stories, just put @ first and add the name.
@nike_newbalance_sport, an Instagram sports shop, has several pages according to the goods they sell. If you have several pages you want to inform people about, Stories Mentions is a great way to do this.
Information about Updates
If you don’t know yet what to post in your Stories, turn it into a catalogue, like @rails, a clothing brand does. Every one their stories is 3-5 photo slide show of their new arrivals.
Print Screen and Edit Pages
You can also upload and edit your photos/screenshots and then post them in Instagram Stories. These may be shots of your website or Insta page, blog or any other channel.
@gypsea_lust, a lifestyle journal, informs about their new blog posts in a very creative way.
It can be tough to keep up with all the things you need to know to be an effective social media marketer. You have to keep up with all the Facebook marketing tips for 2017, the Facebook marketing guides for 2017, the best decisions to make for your social media posting schedule and what you need to do to product the best content while using smart social media marketing automation tools. Since there’s not a constantly evolving content marketing guide (other than blogs like ours that try to keep you updated), you have to keep your finger on the pulse of all the trends. We can help!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial on Instagram Stories. You can use PromoRepublic, social media content builder, to create compelling images to use in your slideshows.