A simple guide to using Instagram stories for marketing

Before the introduction of the Instagram algorithm, life on the platform was simple, and you did not need to bother with crunching different marketing techniques just to reach a wider audience. However, times have changed, and accounts are now struggling to adapt to the new times.

One of these changes is the introduction of the Instagram story, which has changed the way people use Instagram these days. The platform now has the look of an upgraded online album, much more than just the traditional album that you thought it would be. In addition, there has also been the introduction of product stickers, which a business can use to attract customers to buy its products in a direct way through Instagram.

They can be a very good way of engaging your audience in fresh ways, while leaving some content open for the audience to find out later.

Why should you bother anyway?

For a mobile experience on the platform, the best form of engaging with the audience – they are even better than using auto views in your Instagram next video post, because they have higher engagement levels. In fact, many brands are now taking notice of the effectiveness of this method, as the data from the platform reveals that at least 30 percent of the stories originate from businesses.

The basic appeal of this method is because it is very easy and fun to consume, while it bears less formality compared to other post types because of the ephemeral format that reduces the stakes. Because the format is a more ‘casual’ one, it brings a layer of authentic interaction that brands can apply to make themselves seem more relatable to their audience.

There are other reasons to be happy about using Instagram stories. For instance a very active user base of 400 million users, and an opportunity to create something effortlessly without being stressed over making it as perfect as possible. In a sense, they tend to be more forgiving than other kinds of posts like photos or videos, since you do not need to create the perfect shots or angles. You simply need a creative spark, and an interesting moment.

You can also consider Instagram stories as a test base for ideas you may want to implement in the future. If the audience receives the story well,  will know it through positive replies and they watch the whole story without skipping or exiting before it ends, then you can consider to use the idea in future posts or other social media accounts you may have.

They also give you the chance to drive traffic to your account easily. Because the algorithm ranks them highly in searches, they can be found easily when someone else searches for it. You can take advantage of this feature to advertise your brand and the products or services you offer, which makes it easier to do product discoveries.

In addition, you can add geotags (they describe the location you are in) or hashtags, so that people can find your feed easier and check out your brand. When you have ten thousand followers or more, Instagram allows you to link out your account to your stories, as an additional chance to market yourself.

Tips on using Instagram stories

Use all the creative options to make interesting content

It is important to note that stories are usually shot in a vertical format, instead of a horizontal one. You can adjust the sizing of the story according to the screen you are working with, although the standard is 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels long.

They will also provide you with some modes and allow you to create in extra formats. These include text, which you can put a variety of styles against backgrounds, Boomerang that allows you to create looping videos lasting one second, and lives, where you create a live stream to engage directly with your audience.

You can also do super zooms, which adds a humorous feel to your stories, focus that allow you to blur surrounding objects and keep the subject in focus, hands-free that allows for recording of videos without continuously pressing the record button, and rewind that records videos that play in reverse.

All these formats can let you have a lot of enjoyment when you are creating your content. You can use video editing apps that help you make the stories when you are compiling. Your only limitation is your own creativity, so use all these options at your disposal to make your content unique and interesting.

Do not stress yourself about posting

Stories only have a maximum duration of 24 hours, but that does not mean you should not plan ahead for them. If you are serious about getting your brand out there, then you need to consider your Instagram story as seriously as you would your video and photo posts – and that means you plan them for the future.

The best way to think about the story is treating it like a TV show, including planning a schedule for your week ahead, and even  having some ‘recurring’ parts that people liked, and then you can build content around these specific parts. This will not only make you have more choices for your content, but also help in making the experience more interactive and consistent involvement for your viewers.

If you feel you need to tease your viewers about the ‘next episode’, and encourage them to tune in when you post, as well as knowing when the next episode comes out.

Use hashtags and geotags

These help people to discover your stories easier – you can utilize stickers as well. Stickers include poll stickers (these get you instant feedback from the audience), product stickers (mostly used by businesses), questions stickers (similar to the poll stickers), hashtag sticker, and selfies sticker (act similar to watermarks in images and videos).

 

Final thoughts

Instagram stories are a fresh opportunity to market your brand to your audiences, and if you use them well – they can add an aspect of reliability to your brand.

1 Comment

  1. That is FB for ya..changing the rules on a whim.

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