With a user base of 300 million plus and ground-breaking features like ‘Stories’ which disappear over a span of 24 hours, Instagram has evolved into one of the most sought-after portals of social media marketing. User statistics have revealed that one in every five stories receive a direct message and the same can even be from a potential client. This can serve you well in lead-generation activities.
What Are Instagram Stories
Instagram stories refer to slideshows containing pictures and short videos which can be shared by account holders with their followers. It can be thought of as ephemeral content that doesn’t get featured on the main Instagram feed or a user’s profile grid. Now that you have understood the basics of Instagram stories in a nutshell, let us now take a look at some clever strategies which can help you gain an edge over your competitors.
Tips & Tricks Of Strategically Using Instagram Stories
Keeping It Simple & Authentic
The best thing about simple stories is that they are easier to recall as our brain gets activated. On coming across a good narrative, our brain synthesizes the oxytocin hormone which helps users in bonding better with others. If you cannot convey your entire idea in a single frame, then you can opt for multiple stories to share the beginning, middle and end of the entire script. Keeping the stories authentic is also extremely important as people can readily realize fake news while scanning through the same.
All of us wish to be ‘Jack of all trades’ and tutorials seem like the ultimate nirvana is achieving the same. YouTube tutorials tend to be pretty lengthy and we often tend to skip bits and pieces to reach up to the main part. Instagram stories on the other hand can garner greater engagement by showcasing just the highlights of the same. This can help users in getting a complete picture without having to spend much time.
Sharing An Exclusive Look
We all love to feel special and sharing an insider look through stories can serve as a great means of doing the same. Makeup mogul Kylie Jenner recently launched her birthday collection which was an ode to the sickening amount of money this 22-year-old mother has in her kitty. She however gave followers a sneak peek inside the series with an Instagram story earlier in July.
You can also take the example of the New York Times which offers ‘behind the scenes’ content in its stories. These clippings go beyond the surface and can actually make the audience feel special and cared for. New York Times took its followers for a behind-the-scenes tour to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show which surely went down well with everyone, be it an animal lover or not. After all who doesn’t love seeing those adorable pups preparing to showcase their worth in front of a gaping audience?
Hosting A Takeover
An Instagram takeover can serve as a cool means of gaining more organic traffic while adding up to your brand value. It serves as a win-win combo for both influencers and the brand. Under this innovative means of digital marketing, an influencer takes over the Instagram account of another user and shares his/her insights about a product, service, or even news from their very own perspective.
This trend was initiated by Burberry and GE back in 2012 when they invited influencers to cross-promote content by taking over their Instagram feeds. This helped them in reaching new audiences and had since then served as the gold standard for Instagram marketers. Teen influencer Jordyn Jones took over Maybelline’s Instagram handle to share an inside look at the New York Fashion Week and subscribers just couldn’t get enough of this bombastic combo.
Sharing Questions & Answers
Sharing questions and answers through Instagram stories can serve as a brilliant means of adding multiple dimensions to a specific subject. This in turn leads to a fulfilling experience for the end audience as they get to talk about their personal viewpoints and discuss opinions regarding something. While trying to promote a brand, it gets easy for the brand owners to directly interact with their followers participating in the Q&A session.
This tactic is often used by the New York Times and one of the most glaring examples is the protests at Standing Rock after which a Q&A session was conducted through Instagram stories for broadcasting different views on the topic. Different makeup brands can often be seen conducting Q&A sessions to gain consumer awareness about the latest market demands.
Users sometimes need to be guided in terms of upcoming actions. This is where Instagram prompts enter the scene to add up to the engagement meter and also keep people glued to their device screen rather than simply swiping left. The ‘Hold To Read’ prompt can serve you well if you have added lengthy text messages to your Instagram Stories.
The ‘Tap For More’ prompt is ideal in those cases where you initiate the Instagram story with a particular question and wish to invoke curiosity amongst your subscribers. Clicking on the tile can redirect you to a subsequent page providing further information. Last but not least comes the ‘Get Ready To’ prompt which can garner excitement and anticipation while setting the stage for the big reveal.
Giving Shoutouts To Subscribers
Instagram is perceived to be an informal channel that marketers can use to develop deeper connections with their targeted audience. Thus, shoutouts serve as a great means of making customers feel valued. Fans absolutely love it when their work gets recognized by their favorite influencers and brands. Maybe this is why top brands can often be seen organizing contests with unique usernames, and hashtags and urging subscribers to post content related to the same. The best entry is short-listed and shared with a global audience on the brand’s Instagram page.
Sharing GIFs In Instagram Stories
Instagram has joined hands with GIPHY to come up with a high-quality GIF library that can easily perk up your stories. These expressive stickers can be added to all pictures and videos posted in your story. GIFs can be added simply by tapping on the sticker and taking your pick from the available options powered by GIPHY. This can serve as an innovative way of adding to your follower base and imparting a unique personality to your Instagram stories.
Location Stickers For Enhancing Discoverability
Location stickers were initially thought of as a cool new addition to the Instagram portal. It was applauded more for its fun factor rather than usefulness. But people slowly started realizing the massive potential which location stickers hold and have been using them for adding to the overall productivity of their Instagram feed. You can use these stickers in your Instagram stories for catering to a large audience base as these stories can be searched by hashtag and location. These stories were initially shareable with one’s own follower base but can now be searched by typing in the specific hashtag and location.
Tagging Other Accounts
In the field of social media, it always pays to tag more and more accounts while posting a story. This can increase your engagement meter and make it more likely for others to view your post. Tagging others can be especially helpful if you are working in collaboration with an influencer or celebrity.
Suppose you have more than 10 thousand followers in your business account. You can easily lure in more traffic by strategically using Instagram stories and placing an URL that might redirect them to an email list, landing page, or even affiliate page. This can be especially helpful if you are an influencer and trying to promote a particular product or service. In this way, you can send your followers to the landing pages you are promoting. This feature can only be enjoyed by account holders having more than 10k followers. Instagram doesn’t allow the placement of links in any place other than the bio. Thus, placing them in the stories can definitely serve as a serious bonus as it redirects people toward a browser inside Instagram. Users can easily pick from the spot where they had left off by simply crossing it off.
Story templates are increasingly being used by on-trend brands and influencers so that users can take screenshots and complete the same. As followers post these screenshots in their stories, they end up indirectly marketing for their influencers. Brands can reach out to their target audience easily in this way.
In the dynamic world of modern times, it is necessary for marketers to evolve themselves constantly if they wish to sustain the competition in the long run. While Instagram serves as a great means of reaching a wider audience, you need to constantly convince your customers to spend more time on your platform. Stories are a wonderful means of garnering customer engagement provided you do it in the right manner and by following the tips shared above.