The Instagram Stories update feature has been one of the biggest and most important strategies that has been put in place for sharing content when using this social channel for businesses.
This is especially the case for businesses that have that want to grow their engagement.
By introducing this new feature on the platform, it allowed new way for users to discover new content. Similar to the algorithm that traditional Instagram posts employ, the Instagram stories algorithm makes it such easier and convenient to find content that they may find interesting, even if they do not follow the account that creates the content.
This is achieved when your story becomes featured on the Explore Page of Instagram. It means that you have the potential to reach a large amount of possible new followers and for them to participate in audience engagement. It is also possible to optimise your Instagram Stories to ensure that they have a greater chance of being featured on the Explore Page.
The added features of Instagram Stories have made the platform more prosperous, and through the addition of these tools and features, the platform has become more robust and has become a greater, more valuable tool for marketers. The only concern for most businesses and marketers however is that they each need to find out how they work and how they can be best utilised for their personal audience.
As more users are utilising the Instagram Stories feature each and every day, it is imperative for businesses to have a well thought out and executed strategy for sharing their content on this updated feature – this is especially the case if the main objective of your strategy is to increase engagement and followers.
How often should you post to Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories have created a new way for users to discover new content on the platform. Similar to the algorithm that the Instagram feed adopts, the Instagram Stories algorithm can help users discover new content through the feature, even if they do not follow the account. However, one of the primary differences between the algorithms that are used with Stories and the regular news feed, is that Instagram will not punish users for posting too many Stories consecutively.
This is most likely due to the short lived nature of Instagram stories as they only live for 24 hours – similar to the content that is shared on Snapchat. As a result of this there is not a lot of pressure for Instagram to prioritise some posts over other posts on the user’s feed.
Although you cannot be penalised by Instagram for posting too many stories, it is important to note that users have the function to ‘mute’ stories should they decide to do so.
Trying to find the right schedule and strategy for posting Instagram stories is extremely personal and varies from user to user, depending on what works best for them and their audience.
When to post to Instagram Stories:
When posting a regular post to Instagram, the time in which you post is extremely important. In order to receive the most audience engagement, you must post when your audience is online and the most active.
Instagram stories, on the other hand, allows for businesses to be at the top of their followers news feeds for 24 hours until they have decided to view the content.
How to utilise all features of Instagram Stories:
Along with the Instagram Stories feature, Instagram has also recently rolled out the feature to add links directly to a website or product to any Instagram Story post. This is a big revelation in the features that Instagram offers their users as this is the first time that users are able to add a link on the platform that doesn’t live in their bio.
The ability to send your followers to a specific product page or landing page is extremely useful as it creates a streamlined way to send your audience to a relevant landing page for your business at no extra effort for the user.
Another feature of Instagram Stories that can be extremely effective at driving audience engagement is the ability to tag other accounts. This can be en extremely useful tool if you are running a contest or have an influencer campaign takeover for your account.
Instagram is simply becoming one of the best and most effective social media platforms to build brand awareness, drive traffic, increase engagement and can even boost ecommerce sales.
With the utilisation of this tool across so many different brands and businesses, many are left wondering how to use this feature differently to help them stand out from the crowd. You can use some of the most popular examples of posting behind the scenes footage, product promotions and answer frequently asked questions, however, there are so many other ways to get creative with the feature.
Here are the top 5 creative ways to utilise Instagram Stories:
If you want your content to stand out from the rest and take your content to another level, then you can try to post a day-in-the-life series on Instagram Stories.
You can accomplish this by taking the users through a typical working day of your business. You can show your employees getting to work, going on lunch, sneak peeks of upcoming promotions and products and even how many cups of coffee you get through in a day.
Instagram users love to see the inner workings of a business and the daily operations of businesses. This makes them more comfortable with you, you can create a sense of relatability and makes the audience more likely to want to engage with your business. The aim of this is to get as personal as possible and to let people into your world.
It is critical that you think of ways that you can utilise this strategy to build your specific business in your specific industry if you have a unique clientele. For example, this can be a great tool to help build trust and reputability as a lawyer or is an ideal way to show off your dedication and impeccable attention to detail on finished pieces of art as a tattoo artist.
DIY Projects or Tutorials:
Tutorials are a great way for food bloggers, or the ever popular and growing make up bloggers to showcase their skill and the items they are creating, however, this process isn’t only limited to bloggers.
This Instagram Stories strategy can be used or a multitude of business, such as restaurants. For example, if a restaurant is presenting a special dish that evening, they can share a series of photos and videos on their Instagram Story that showcase how the dish is made, and even encourage their followers to recreate the dish and try it for themselves at home.
Many businesses tend to shy away from this kind of Instagram Story strategy as they may believe that they are giving away some trade secrets and are discouraging their followers from going to their restaurant. Rather, this builds trust and loyalty with your audience as you become a reputable and reliable source of information for them. Additionally, as Instagram Stories disappear after only 24 hours, it gives your audience an exclusive opportunity to get the recipe from you, creating a sense of urgency to follow your page and keep up to date with all of the content that you post.
The key to this Instagram Story strategy is to remember that these content pieces only last for 24 hours, so it is important to keep the content fresh, original and fun while still remembering valuable and entertaining to your specific audience and their interests.
If you decide to implement this strategy for your business, you may want to consider making it a regular series that gets posted each week to your Stories. This is a great way to build audience engagement as they can come to expect certain content from you each time and will tune in to catch these updates.
Establish yourself as a leader:
One way to establish yourself as a leader in your industry and to drive audience engagement is through creative content on the Instagram Stories feature. It is important that you stay creative as the images on Stories rotate quickly, giving you only a 10 second chance to capture the audience’s attention.
You may consider spacing out your content, also known as micro-sharing, when you post a series over the course of 3 days, rather than the entirety of a piece at once. This allows for your followers to tune in regularly to view your content and keeps them in anticipation for the next series of content.
Promote your Instagram Live Sessions:
Instagram Live is another feature of the Instagram Stories update that allows you to host and broadcast live, directly from your mobile device. As you cannot announce or schedule Instagram Live, you can utilise Stories to update and remind your audience of the details of when you are going Live.
You may want to start a series of posts 24 hours prior to you going Live to inform your audience on the topic of the Live session and exactly what time they can expect you to begin your broadcast. Teasing announcements of your Live session is the best way to drive more viewers and traffic to the broadcast.
Encourage Audience Participation:
One of the largest driving factors for audience participation is to engage with your audience personally.
Followers on Instagram want to talk to you, all they are waiting for is for you to ask. The biggest advantage to audience participation of the Instagram Stories feature is direct messages as it keeps the messages that are shared, private. This means that the messages that are sent are not displayed publicly and not for everyone’s eyes. Rather, the conversation is directed to the users private inbox where a private conversation can take place about the topic of the story.
So, if you want your business to gain some real insights from your audience, such as the type of content that they want to see more of, what they need help with or what they are struggling with, you can simply just ask them to respond directly via DM’s and you may be surprised with the amount of feedback that you receive.
With the constant evolution of social media platforms and the abundance of new features of existing social channels, there is only one prerequisite for success: to trial different marketing methods and learn the ins and outs from trial and error. Don’t be afraid to experiment and ask your audience for their suggestions and feedback.
Instagram Stories are a relatively new, and ever changing feature to share content, however, they encourage authenticity, creativity and innovation while utilising the fear of missing out by not staying up to date.
It is now up to businesses to harness this insider information and use creativity to share content to your followers on Instagram. Instagram Stories are essentially the most straightforward and simple way to present the best and most engaging aspects of your company to make content that users actually want to watch, instead of skipping through it.