Instagram recently hit one billion daily active users. I would argue that, over the past year, it has become the most important social platform for marketers to establish their brand image and build a community of loyal followers.
Instagram launched Stories two years ago now. This quickly became a favorite feature among users (all except for the Snapchat die-hards) and opened up a myriad of new opportunities for marketers.
Creating a flawlessly-branded Instagram page is one challenge we all understand, but posting exciting Instagram Stories requires a completely different skill set. The good thing is that Stories don't need to be as polished as your regular posts, but they require time and attention to ensure you don't miss any real-time engagement opportunities. That being said, why should you care about using them?
We held and #SMTLive Twitter chat to discuss this topic. Below is a recap of the group conversation.
What are the benefits of Instagram Stories?
Supposedly one-third of users are watching Stories every day. That's about 330k people; your target audience must be in there somewhere.
IG Stories are the pulse of today’s social media. Real-time, quick, disappearing after 24 hours and of course, appearing on the top of your followers’ feed immediately #smtlive— Shraddha Sankhe (@Shraduh) August 14, 2018
Stories are also the only piece of content that you can use to directly link to your site. It's a helpful driver of traffic, leads and sales.
And, although you can't track emotions (yet), users find them very entertaining. This is a chance for everyone to get creative. For example, you can show some BTS moments to make your audience feel included in the action. Use the poll or question tools to interact with your audience. Share other's Stories that you've been tagged in. Share a photo you love or whatever feels right for your brand.
Those are the benefits to Stories, but how do you create something that resonates with your target audience?
How do you create stand-out Instagram Stories?
Here are a few ideas on how to create fabulous Instagram Stories straight from the #SMTLive community.
1. Know your audience and create for them.
A3: Look at your audience. Who are they? Know them inside out. Then create for them, as if you were speaking directly to your best friend or neighbor. This will allow you to needle into the Stories that matter most to your audience, in the most genuine way possible. #SMTLive— Mish Guru (@mishguru) August 14, 2018
2. Have fun with it. Make it unique, authentic, engaging and entertaining.
A3 - A good Instagram story is one that is engaging, unique, entertaining, funny. Have some FUN with it! Showcase your personality! #SMTlive— Julia Campbell ???????????????? (@JuliaCSocial) August 14, 2018
3. Be consistent.
Q3 It's not only about the content but also about the frequency of your stories. Consecutive Stories that include polls, questions, and emoji slider to increase engagement & feedback. Create custom “cover photos” for featured stories to create a consistent look and feel. #smtlive— Kayla Roofe (@KaylaRoofe) August 14, 2018
4. Don't be scared to use video (and consider investing in audio).
A3. Video grabs attention better. Have good audio. #SMTLive— Angela Pritchett (@A_Pritchett) August 14, 2018
5. Be creative with the short time you have.
Ensure each post is a snackable piece of content and be personable - don't be too monotonous and don't be afraid to change subjects/topics slightly. This will keep people clicking on it and watching it through. #SMTLive— Susie (@illustr8foodie) August 14, 2018
A3: I always thinking giving a tip or showing people how to do something is the most beneficial for your audience, however those relatable moments are important too #smtlive— Carina Wingel ???????? ???? Startup Brand Expert ???? (@CarinaWingel) August 14, 2018
A3) We love to use Stories as a way to give people insight into the culture at the TSI HQ! They're a super fun, customizable, bite-sized marketing tool. We like to think of them as tiny little interactive comic books! #SMTLive— Truly Social Inc. (@trulysocial) August 14, 2018
After shooting some fun content, you want to make sure you get the most exposure possible.
How do you reach your target audience?
There are two simple tricks you can use here:
1. Use hashtags and add location to increase exposure through the discover feed.
A4 - To increase the exposure and engagement of your Stories, tag other accounts, add a location, and/or hashtags (but not all of them at once or it looks cluttered IMO) #SMTlive— Julia Campbell ???????????????? (@JuliaCSocial) August 14, 2018
2. UGC! Repost your audiences content that you are tagged in.
A3: Having UGC - getting your followers engaged is one of the best ways for them to care about your stories. Who doesn't want to see themselves featured #SMTLive— Elizabeth (@Equinnwo) August 14, 2018
Thanks, #SMTLive friends for all the great advice! Hopefully, this was helpful and sparks some new ideas for you next Insta Story.
(Next Twitter chat: 'Bring Your Social Media Videos to the Next Level '
Today, September 11 from 12-1pm EST)