Instagram stories have completely altered the way we use Instagram, shaping the platform into something much more than your basic online photo album. When it comes to digital marketing, Instagram Stories prove to be an extremely useful tool in keeping your followers engaged and opening your content up to newer audiences. Brands across the world have taken notice of the quick and engaging format that Stores follow, with Instagram’s business data showing that one third of the most viewed stories come from businesses. To put it simply, Instagram Stories are fun, creative and easily consumable. In this guide we will discuss some of the more popular ways to further build your brand through Instagram Stories.
Leverage User-Generated Content
Firstly, user-generated content (UGC) is any type of content that is created by another user, everything from tagged photos to a branded hashtag. It’s said that Millennials tend to trust UGC 50% more than any other type of media, so it makes sense that to encourage your audience to feature your products and tag your brand in their own stories to build your followers and reach a much wider audience. A common strategy to doing this is offering some sort of incentive to motivate people to share with their followers their experiences of using your products, such as gifting them with a free product or a chance to be featured on the brands own Instagram page.
User-generated content will certainly save you a lot of effort and time, enabling you to advertise your products without being too pushy, whilst helping you gain the trust of your audience and give a sense of credibility.
Take Advantage of Instagram Stickers
Every time you post a photo or video to your story, you will have the option to apply specific stickers, each of which encourage several types of unique engagement. Below are some of the stickers available:
- Product Stickers: If your account is approved for shopping on Instagram, you will have the option to add a product sticker to any story. Viewers will be able to tap to learn more information about the product and then tap again to purchase.
- Questions sticker: This allows viewers to respond with an answer to your story or pose a question from them..
- Polling sticker: Receive real time feedback from creating questions and customized responses
In 2017, Instagram launched the polling feature that allows users to add interactive polls to their stories and has proven to be a widely popular tool, which of course massively helps boost engagement with your audience. Polls are one of the best ways to get valuable customer feedback, helping you understand exactly how your online customers and followers perceive your brand. Customer feedback can also help you craft specific content that resonates better with your audience and identify the most effective messages.
To get started with a story that features a poll, choose the sticker icon from the top menu of the screen:
You will then be able to choose from the available stickers, The Poll Sticker, Emoji Sticker and Questions Sticker are the ones highlighted below:
Use Links and Hashtags Within Your Story
Social media is great for establishing intimate connections between brands and their followers, with the introduction of stories most certainly taking that connection one step further. It is therefore essential that your brand makes the most of its stories views and the attention it receives. A good way to do this is through direct linking.
With this feature, you can provide links to your homepage, blog, product page or any external content related to your brand. Your followers will be given the option to swipe up on your stories and be instantly redirected to the chosen URL, digital marketers tend to make the most out of this through linking to lead-generation forms from their email marketing software. However, this feature is only available to Instagram pages with a following of 10,000 or more.
Hashtags on the other hand are another effective method in ensuring discovery by a wider audience and boosting those views. Users now have the option to add customised hashtags to their stories through text or stickers. On top of this, you can tag a physical location to your story, showing up to local viewers based on that location. It’s important to note that you should almost always tag your own brand in your stories to help direct viewers to your own page.
Make the most of Instagram live
Instagram Live allows you to record videos and present them in real-time to your followers. Despite giving you less control as its on-the-spot, it still proves to be versatile and interactive. The biggest advantage of Instagram Live is that every single one of your followers will be notified of when you begin filming, allowing them to be instantly directed to the stream. The live stream can also be uploaded to your story for up to 24 hours so anyone can continue to watch it throughout the day.
It’s important to understand that Instagram Live should be about interaction, which means consistently inviting your audience to have some input and recognising comments that you can actively respond to. Some examples of live stream topics include live vlogging, influencer takeovers, covering a specific event related to your brand or running an audience based competition. It’s easy to ignore this feature as it’s not necessarily simple to organise, but for pages with a large following base it may prove to be a worthwhile tool.
With its extremely unique storytelling features and solid conversion methods, digital marketers should be looking to put more resources into Instagram Stories when it comes to building social media presence. It allows you to make your brand fun and relatable to your audience by creating captivating content for users to interact with and build confidence in your brand.