With over 2.35 billion active monthly users on Instagram, 500 million daily active visitors use Instagram Stories. With that number of people tapping, swiping and typing, there’s a huge captive audience for you to plug into.
Why Instagram Stories are a Powerful Marketing Tool
Instagram Stories let you share immersive content that draws in your audience. The 24 hour time limit gives Stories a FOMO effect. It entices viewers to check them, not knowing what's next. Plus the 15 second format makes it easy to string together a series of quick content snippets.
You can save more polished content for standard posts. But they key is that stories can be used for informal, interactive updates. Their intrigue creates interest. Their shelf life is their superpower.
Combining these factors means it's easier to keep tapping than exit out. When you use stories for marketing, you grab viewers' attention and spark engagement. When done well, you're building brand awareness and creating new chances to convert customers.
The Impact of Instagram Stories on your Business
Used in combination with posts and reels, stories need just as much consideration as anything else in your content marketing strategy. When executed well, you can expect to see a number of business benefits from consistently using the stories feature.
Improving Brand Visibility
Stories make you visible, right at the top of the feed. If people follow you, they can regularly consume your content without even actively looking for your business. It's the best way to stay front and center, and above the fold. The bottom line is that more people should see your content if you consistently publish high-quality stories.
Stories Humanize Your Business
The main feed is a space where you might often be quite calculated about what content to post next. But you can get more personal with stories. That human angle can include snaps of the team, works in progress or locations you're working from. The possibilities are endless, and we've found real joy from this kind of content. It's super accessible for a viewer. Users get to see the people behind a business, which helps them connect with you more deeply.
Engaging Your Audience
There's heaps of ways to reach your audience. Polls, quizzes, stickers and music, #hashtags and @mentions are all baked into the app. It's simple to empower users to engage and reshare content they really value. And all of that helps to spread the word.
You can also use stories to get instant feedback. It's a powerful market research tool once your engagement is up. Your audience can give honest feedback about your activity and launches. And polls can tell you about the preferences of a subset of your followers.
Repurposing Your Content
You don't need to craft content that's one and done. Re-sharing it helps you reach people who missed it the first time round. Even those who've seen a theme before can benefit from your message being reinforced.
Create stories that cut up specific value points from your longer form content. Reshare your carousel as stories, or even from your blog. With any content you create, you should consider the value it can have as a story. By doing so, you can improve brand awareness and increase conversion. You're raising the chances of being heard, recognized, and remembered by your audience.
10 Ways to Use IG Stories to Grow Your Audience
Using a well-considered content marketing strategy will help you craft stories that help boost your engagement over time. Best of all, you can craft these with almost zero cost. And a story that doesn’t get huge engagement isn’t a dealbreaker, especially when you’re starting out. Here’s some of the things we’ve tried to build our engagement over on Instagram.
1. Excite followers with behind-the-scenes content
Keep your audience up to date with your business. Consider what might interest them and build anticipation in a human, more engaging way.
2. Share live videos and invite followers to join in on the conversation
Getting conversations going with the audience is easier with stories. Invite them to participate when you're live. Rather than just sharing content, you have the chance to build meaningful and instant connections.
3. Boost engagement through collaboration
Find partners that align with you who can add value by participating in your stories. We've got a lot of joy from collaborating with those who have expertise in their area. There's also good opportunities from cross-promotion too. This is most effective if you collaborate with those where the theme or crossover audience is similar.
4. Run Polls or Quizzes
You can drive instant engagement by posing questions people can answer. The level of effort needed for interaction is low, but will be repeated over time as they become familiar with your business. Polls are especially helpful for engaging lurkers, which represents a huge amount of users on Instagram. You can also use polls and quizzes this to double down on conducting market research.
5. Add Fun Visual Elements
Stories were tailor-made for GIFs and stickers. They can add emphasis to certain points of view you have. But they're also another way to show your human angle as a business.
“Stories represent a shift in the experience - from passive consumption to active engagement. This makes them a goldmine for business’ marketing efforts.” - Sam Lafontaine - Growth Marketing Lead at designstripe
6. Include Interactive Elements for Longer-Term Engagement
Instagram allows you to add countdown stickers to your stories. A countdown that leads up to the launching of a new product or important announcement will build up hype.
7. Drive traffic and Sales with the"Swipe Up" Feature
Verified and Instagram Business accounts with more than 10,000 followers can use the “Swipe-up” feature to add links. This is perfect for sharing new blog posts or fresh product drop announcements. Encouraging your followers to swipe up is both interactive and effective at dramatically increasing engagement. Whilst you might not be there right now, it’s worth bearing in mind as you scale.
8. Offer Discounts and Limited Promotions
Limited-time discounts and promotions are perfect for Stories posts. It keeps your business on top of the mind the followers, makes them feel exclusive and is a great persuasive technique that’ll encourage them to buy.
9. Recycle Your Best Stories with Highlights
Stories disappear 24 hours after posting. But the best ones can be permanently on your profile. Showcase and promote your business by highlighting those that got great traction.
10. Use Story Ads to Reach New Followers
Story ads are a smart way to quickly build your social presence and attract new prospects. Optimized to captivate viewers, they spark interest and get people clicking. Use quality visuals for maximum impact. Incorporate a clear call-to-action like “Learn More” or “Shop Now” to make the ads intentional.
Quickfire Tips to Improve Your IG Stories
Crafting good stories starts with identifying your goals. You can optimize the process by defining who your target audience is, what your objectives are, and when you think it is best to post your stories. Consider the attention span on Instagram. Stories are short. Give people enough time to digest the content and don't overpack it.
Your followers need to recognize your brand in an instant. So consistent colors, filters, fonts and visual styling are crucial. And bear in mind the dimensions required for clean 9:16 stories that feel at home on Instagram.
Of course, if you want to take the stress away from doing this, that's what our Smart Layouts tool is for. We've designed so you don't need to worry about fonts, ratios, hex codes or anything else. Just create your next story in seconds.
What experiences have you had with Instagram Stories so far? What has been most effective for you, and where are the barriers? We’d love to know as we build on the solution to make social media easier for businesses like you.