How Brands Can Leverage Instagram Stories

The following is a guest post by Kaley Hart. Kaley is a San Diego based digital strategist and writes for Jumper Media social media marketing column. She loves working with small businesses and telling their stories through social media. Kaley is very talented, but her most impressive quality is the ability to identify any dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club. Go Bruins! You can connect with her on
Twitter @kaleyhearts

Instagram stories have been around since August of 2016, but many businesses still aren’t sure how to properly incorporate them into a marketing strategy. Every day, there are 100 million users taking advantage of Stories, whether they’re creating or viewing them. As a result, IG Stories are becoming a major part of social media growth and engagement.

If you think your business is ready to start using Stories to grow on social media, there are a few things you should know. Here are some tips on how to be an Instagram Stories professional right off the bat.

1. Post consistently, but not too long or too often

If you post too often, users will start to ignore your Story notifications- this is arguably the worst thing you could do! Also, put the most important content at the beginning, so people are more likely to see it before they swipe out and move onto something else. It’s easy to get carried away because Stories are so easy to shoot and have many fun options, but the attention span of the average user is very short- so stick to the important stuff!

2. Avoid direct ads that feel spammy or forced

Another common mistake that companies make is to create stories around advertising. This is risky because direct ads tend to perform poorly on stories. Try to keep your stories feeling genuine and personal rather than catchy and spammy. It’s not a bad idea to share your products on a Story, but we recommend candid or spur-of-the-moment posts to really connect with the consumer.

3. Keep words to a minimum

It sounds like common sense, but many profiles make the mistake of writing too many words across their stories. If your eyes are looking at the words, that means you aren’t paying attention to what is going on in the post- and vice versa. Additionally, Stories are short- only 30 seconds long- which means that wordy posts will get ignored and your information will be lost in the shuffle. Proofreading is also a good idea because auto-correct fails can happen to anyone!

Image Source: NewsWhip

4. “Behind the Scenes” or “A day in the life” are a great way to bring people into the workplace

If you are a brand that creates tangible things or want to share the workplace with your followers (such as a coffee shop or a clothing store) a great way to do that is to take stories of special events or fun days in the storefront. Giving off the impression that it’s a fun place to be means that people are much more likely to visit.

5. Use the new features as they roll out

Instagram is always adding new features and updates to the Stories, and using those means you’ll be on the front lines of edgy new tools and tricks to use. With social media, the sooner you start implementing new filters and stickers, the more active and genuine you seem to users. Geotags, locations, and stickers are a fun way to give information to people without having to spell it out… literally.

6. Feature takeovers on your story

Allowing ambassadors or employees to take control of your IG Stories for a day is a fun way to up your engagement and switch up the usual routine of your story. The Ladies Professional Golf Association gives one of their players an Instagram account to take over for a day, and that player advertises on their page as well. This creates a big buzz around the Stories, which in turn brings users back to your profile.

7. Use the Swipe-up feature

The swipe up feature is great for businesses because it allows you to easily link to your website. People are much more likely to learn more about your product if it is easy to do so- which means the less clicks it takes to make a purchase, the better. This feature alone is a great reason to switch your account to a business profile.

8. Check your Insights to see what you are doing well and what you could do better.

Insights are a great way to check which posts are doing well and which should be removed or edited. The Insights portion of your IG page can also be extremely helpful in figuring out what time of the day your followers are most active. Especially with influencers, your followers may not be in the same time zone as you- which means that they aren’t getting optimal engagement.

Here are a few of the important things to look at and how to interpret them.

Impressions: This is the number of total times that your story has been seen. This is a good way to see if people are watching your story multiple times, which may mean that they are showing it to someone else!

Viewers: This is the number of unique accounts that have viewed your story. This gives you a sense of how many people pay attention to your business and your updates.

Replies: This is the number of people that clicked “reply” on your story. It could be questions about the product, interest in collaborating, or just a quick hello! You can encourage people to reply to your Story many different ways, like asking your followers a question.

Swipes: This is the number of times that people quit viewing your story before it has reached the end. If you are posting long stories, or too many times throughout the day, people are likely to swipe out and move on to other pages.

These are just a few of the ways that businesses can use Instagram Stories to gain a larger and more attentive audience. Instagram Stories are relatively new, so the brands that can figure out how to use them to their advantage will have a huge leg up on the competition. Try them out on your profile, and see if they are a good fit for your marketing strategy!

Has your business started experimenting with Instagram stories? What have been the results?

Instagram stories have been around a while, many businesses aren’t sure how to incorporate them into a marketing strategy. Here is what you need to know. instagram marketing tips, how to use instagram for brands