Stories have been around for 8 years – can you believe it… In August 2016, Instagram launched the now-popular Stories – a feature that allows users to take photos, add effects and layers, and upload it to their Stories for their followers to view for 24 hours.
This feature has continually evolved over the last few years – from being an IG “post” that’s only visible for 24 hours to becoming more video-based. IG Stories also introduced more engagement-boosting features that are great for starting conversations, personifying brands, and getting real-time feedback straight from your audience.
As consumers expect a more authentic connection from the brands they support, 24-hour Stories have risen as the perfect outlet for impromptu camera content with minimal post production. So if you’re not regularly publishing Instagram Stories for your business, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity!
Here are 5 things you should be doing as part of your content strategy to grow your brand and sell through your stories:
The very first step to creating a solid Instagram Stories strategy is to plan and define your business goals. This will help guide your content and tailor your publishing strategy to focus on what’s most important for your business.
Here’s a couple of suggestions to help you start setting goals for your stories:
The feature is such a handy tool for your audience to get to know you on a more authentic level. You know that the people who are viewing your stories already follow you, so they want to see your content and they are interested. That’s why stories are perfect for you to show your face and personify your brand.
Your audience WANTS to engage with you (we promise), so take advantage of this! Instagram Stories have tons of easy-to-use features that encourage audience engagement – from one click polls to quiz stickers and more. Take Poll Stickers as an example: one of the quickest and easiest stickers for your followers to get involved, making them a great option for an instant engagement boost.
Instagram Stories may disappear after 24 hours, but it’s still a good idea to keep it in-line with your brand look and feel, especially if you’re going to be highlighting your stories. There are tons of easy-to-use and affordable design apps available that make designing Instagram Stories a piece of cake. Our favourite is Canva and we can even design your own on-brand templates for you which you can use in your own Canva account.
Yes, stories are great for engaging with your audience and educating them, but don’t forget to also showcase your product offering or services. If you can direct people to learn more about your product and tag your products in your stories, you’re naturally shifting your audience down the funnel in preparation to convert into a customer.
Feeling like you might forget all of this information? Here are the key words to remember when you plan and create Stories:
It’s also very noteworthy that Stories don’t HAVE to be planned to the tee or very formal – you might realise that the video Stories where you’re showing up, talking with your audience and showing your real self might perform so well!
Everyone is very into Reels right now (for good reason), but as you just read, it’s just as important to keep on creating Stories. So, what’s the difference between Reels and Stories? The inherent difference is that you use both effectively as part of an Instagram growth and engagement strategy.
For Reels, top of funnel (TOF) content is a great option to provide awareness of who you are, what you do and what you can offer new audiences who may be seeing you in their Explore page for the first time. Remember to stick within your niche for Reels so you attract the right followers back to your account!
Instagram Stories are primarily seen by your existing audience, therefore connection-based and trust-building content is great here in order to continue to nurture your relationship and maintain that audience. Also, because your Stories audience is likely to be a lot warmer and further along the customer journey, promotional content is likely to perform better here than with Reels.
The Takeaway? Use both Stories (for engagement, trust building and sales) and Reels (for awareness + growth) as part of a well-rounded Instagram strategy.
Are you feeling confident to create Instagram Stories on a regular basis to better market your products or services? We hope so!