Did you miss yesterday's #SMTLive Twitter chat? Read the recap of our "Women in Social Media" conversation.

6 Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Boost Audience Engagement

6 Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Boost Audience Engagement  | Social Media Today

Social storytelling is the latest content trend. Starting with Snapchat's innovative 'Stories' format, the process of connecting various content pieces into a more comprehensive post has caught on, with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all implementing their own variations on the Stories format.

Instagram Stories is the most direct duplicate of Snapchat's function, and it provides brands with a whole new consideration in their Instagram marketing process.  

​Sо how саn your business use Instagram Stories to better engage your audience? 

Here are some ideas and tips based on our experience.

Using Stories

First off, a few basics on how to create your own Instagram Story.

Capturing content in Instagram Stories is simple - after you navigate to the main Instagram Stories screen (swipe right from the main screen or tap on your Story bubble at the top of the front page), you can either tap on the middle button at the bottom of the screen to take a photo, or hold down on the button to record a video.

6 Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Boost Audience Engagement  | Social Media TodayAfter you've taken your photo or video, you can either upload it to your story without a caption, or you can edit your post with drawing tools, text and stickers (as shown above). This is an opportunity to be creative and make your Stories experience more interactive for your audience.

Once you upload a picture, it's added to your Story for 24 hours - other users will be able to access it by tapping on your story at the top of their respective feeds.

1. Show a “Dау in thе Life” of Your Business 

You can use both still photos and videos in your Instagram Stories, which makes it a great platform for showing your audience a unique view of the day-to-day happenings in your office or place of work.

For example, some universities and colleges are using Stories to give prospective students a taste of life on campus.

6 Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Boost Audience Engagement  | Social Media TodayOne of the best things about sharing video with Instagram Stories is that you can do it quickly and spontaneously. While you can put a lot of planning into your video content, sometimes a simple snippet of daily life can be just as effective in promoting your brand.

2. Turn Your Blog Content into Mini-Articles

Looking for a new wау to display your editorial content? Use Instagram Stories tо рut together short, how-to articles on just about any topic.

Shopify has done this with some of their blog content, creating teaser posts which direct users to the full article.

6 Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Boost Audience Engagement  | Social Media TodayTo create a similar story for your business, first take a look at the content you publish on your blog. Chances are you'll find an article that you could easily break down into a few slides to display visually.

After you choose a topic, use your graphic design software of choice to create images, then upload them in sequence to create your story. Make sure you include a cover page with an engaging image and a conclusion image with a call to action and a URL (like Shopify has done) which people can visit for more information.

NOTE: Verified Instagram users can actually post direct links within their Stories, an option which may be rolled out to all users soon, though it's not available yet.

3. Tease an Upcoming Live Broadcast

Live-streaming is the trend of the moment in social media marketing, with Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram providing ways for users to 'go live' at any time. And if you're looking to go live for your business, why not use Instagram Stories to help promote the upcoming broadcast?

To make best use of this tactic, create a brief teaser story that gives your audience a taste of what your upcoming live broadcast - on whichever platform you're using - will be about and include a URL for them to attend.

If people like your Instagram content, they'll probably be interested in your live-streams as well. Use the platform as an opportunity to promote your other content and get more engagement on both sides.

4. Show Your Product in Action

If you want to promote a product, Instagram Stories is a great way to show viewers what that product can do.

You can use Stories to give people ideas on how they can use your products or show them what they can create with your offering - this idea can be particularly effective with hair and make-up tutorials.

Ultimately, your content should entice people to make a purchase - if you can do that in an entertaining and genuine way, you'll be able to draw more people to your website without pushy sales messages.

6 Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Boost Audience Engagement  | Social Media Today5. Celebrate a Company Milestone

Combine interviews and other tactics to tell an engaging story and highlight company events and milestones.

Southwest Airlines did this recently with a story about the retirement of their 737-500 planes which included a Q and A session about the plane's history.

6 Ways to Use Instagram Stories to Boost Audience Engagement  | Social Media TodayRemember to stay on brand with these types of posts, using consistent colors and tone, and remind any employees appearing in your videos that they're acting as the face of the company.

Your business likely has more stories than you realize - treating them like exciting events is a great way to humanize your brand and keep your customers interested in what you do. 

6. Show off Your Creative Process

Maybe it's an early design sketch, a video of you visiting a manufacturer, or simply a product shot of the final item. These kids of targeted looks at your creative process can build a new level of trust and engagement with your audience. with your audience.

You could also consider doing a special feature which gives viewers a peek at an unannounced product or service for a client. Sharing your work with your audience can be compelling and enables you to show the power of your brand and what services you're capable of providing.

Naturally, make sure you have the client's permission to include them in your Instagram marketing.

Main image courtesy of shutterstock

Join The Conversation

Webinars On Demand

Whitepapers