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In 2016, Instagram launched its now super-popular Stories feature. These videos and images are only available for 24 hours and feature multiple photos and recordings that can also connect to linked websites accessible via swiping.
Stories are starting to become more popular for businesses and brands that utilize Instagram after the company switched algorithms to a nonchronological ordering. Instagram now allows businesses to share information outside of their feed and offers many opportunities for creative brand establishment and marketing, as well as more direct interaction.
Learning how to use Stories to your business’ advantage can open a ton of doors for brand promotion. Here are some ways you can create these media snippets to expand your business and create connections with your customers.
Establish a Brand
Instagram’s Stories function is all about storytelling, and there’s no better way to establish a brand than with carefully created, content-rich stories. Social media marketing has long demonstrated the importance of a solid brand, and Instagram Stories give businesses the space to do that without overloading their customers’ feeds.
One of the most important considerations when starting to brand your Instagram Stories is making sure you’re including a recognizable logo or featuring your business name prominently. Without this, your Story’s efficacy could be limited. Unless you’re a huge household name, chances are your viewers aren’t going to recognize your business or product instantly.
Along with your business name, you can establish branding via graphic design, including color scheme, font choice, and tone. By carrying over the branding used on your normal Instagram page and website, you can create a cohesive overall look, which goes far in online marketing.
Image via Flickr by tobyotter
In the past year, Instagram has incorporated polls into Stories. These brief, informal questionnaires are superimposed over images and are an excellent way to get a feel for your customers while also showing them their opinion matters. As pointed out by AdWeek‘s Pius Boachie, “by having the opportunity to get your audience’s two cents on a point or decision, you could save your brand time, money, and energy.”
While in-depth market research is vital for most companies, this quick survey option can help indicate whether your content marketing is doing what you want it to do, while also inviting input into your company model. According to Instagram, users under 25 spend up to 32 minutes a day on the app, with much of that time spent looking at Stories. Adding feedback opportunities is a great way to get low-pressure but high-return surveys in front of your customers.
You can also use Instagram Stories to cultivate interaction with your audience. You can do this via the surveys we mentioned before as well as several other avenues. It’s easy to set up fun contests through Stories, with opportunities to highlight different customers in your Story as a fun prize and incentive. You can also encourage customers to reach out through these contests.
Stories give your brand an opportunity to really shine, thanks to your tone usage and cultivating customer interaction. Whether you’re going for something light and playful or sleek and sultry, it should carry over into your outreach. Of course, always keep it professional, but by establishing a personality for your brand, you can create a sense of translucency as well as continuity.
Using hashtags is another great way to encourage interaction with your customers or audience. You can create one for your business as a whole or for specific promotions and respond to posts that use it to establish brand trust as well as translucency.
Stories are one of the best ways to share information about your business. But don’t set up the images and videos like a traditional ad — if you’re unsure about how to design your Story images or videos, take some time to look through other brands’ Stories. Companies such as Airbnb and NASA have excellent approaches to their Stories and use them to build their brand and generate interest while imparting important information about their companies through both subtle and direct elements.
These elements can include anything from opening hours to indications of what your business offers. The more elegantly you can build them into your Story images the better. This is why it’s important to consult experts on interactive media products before you dive into crafting a Story-based campaign.
The images should include as little text as possible — if there’s more information you want to share, Instagram allows users to add links to their Stories that can be accessed by swiping up. You can use these to direct viewers to a landing page or other information source. Plus, because you aren’t sending out specific links, you don’t need to worry about swamping your customers’ inboxes. Your Story is more general and less directed and, therefore, less likely to get overlooked due to customer burnout.
Share Events and Promotions
While website tools such as landing pages are great ways to share specific information about limited-time engagements such as events and promotions within your company or business, it can be difficult to direct people to those pages, especially if they aren’t signed up for your email list or simply don’t check their messages regularly. Instagram stories can solve this issue by giving your customers a regularly accessed feature that directs them toward landing pages or provides similar information.
Stories can include multiple pictures or videos, so you can change up the info presented on each for a landing-page-like feel. Both genres more strongly emphasize graphic design over wordiness and, thanks to Instagram’s swipe-up capabilities, you can direct users toward designated pages for extra information. Because stories are time-sensitive, they offer great ways to add an air of exclusivity to event or promotion alerts.
Instagram’s Stories are quickly becoming one of the most-talked-about media marketing tools at brands’ disposal and, when used effectively, can be incredibly useful in improving turnover and disseminating information about your brand in a beautiful, visually appealing way.