by Mandy Schmitz | Guest Contributor | DIGITAL MARKETING
Instagram is a relatively new social platform, but it already boasts a mind-boggling 1 billion users per month.
Out of them, about 130 million click shopping posts per month.
These staggering stats surely tell us about how effective this platform is when it comes to businesses.
One of the many features that Instagram offers is the option of posting stories. Users can post photos and videos (15-second clips) to their stories visible to their audience for the next 24 hours.
Since it was launched, brands and businesses have added Instagram stories to their plethora of social media marketing methods. Some have found relative success while others ended in dismal failure.
This then begs the question, what IG stories should you post to ensure engagement? Since it is new, marketers have been scrambling to find the perfect success formula. But fear not. We delved deep into the subject to give you this quick guide on how to craft a great Instagram story.
How Do Instagram Stories Work?
If you want to post an Instagram story, you need to tap the ‘+’ sign on your Instagram feed’s top left corner. This will direct you to either post videos or pictures. You can add up to 10 photos and videos to a single story that will be available to your audience to view for the next 24 hours.
Every photo stays on the screen for 7 seconds when someone taps your story. Videos also have a cut-off time of 15 seconds, so even if you post a longer video, it will end on the 15 seconds mark.
To increase the time of a video story, there are other options, such as breaking your video into 15-second chunks and adding each chunk in the series of your single story.
Why Post IG Stories?
Instagram stories are a quick and efficient way of connecting with your customers. People engage directly(through Instagram Direct) when you keep posting Instagram stories. There are several other reasons for posting IG stories, such as:
They Help Maintain Your Business Positioning
With Instagram's changed algorithm, you cannot see every post by everyone. Before the algorithm change, your feed would work in reverse chronology until the point you viewed all the content published that day.
However, now you can only view the content that is more relevant to you. With this change, businesses need to change their Instagram strategy to stay more visible. Here's when Instagram stories come into action. It helps businesses stay relevant by being updated on Instagram stories.
Instagram Stories Don't Need to be Highly Edited
Instagram stories are short-lived. They only appear on the user's screen for 24 hours and then disappear. This makes it easier for them to post. You can use any relevant pictures or videos to stay connected rather than highly edited content that went on your feed before the stories.
IG Stories Give You a Chance to Decorate Your Posts
IG stories give you a chance to decorate your posts with emojis and stickers. You can add polls stickers, questions stickers, etc., to create highly engaging content that keeps your customers hooked.
Your Business Can Grow Through Real-Time Connection
With features such as going live on your IG stories, you can connect with your audience even during business hours. For example, you can go live on IG stories and do a production stage live where your customers can see your processes. This strategy humanizes the business process, and your customers will appreciate the transparency you're offering to them.
Instagram Offers Downloading and Saving Content
Many people may hesitate to use Instagram stories due to their short-lived nature, but there's an option of saving all your content directly in your camera roll. You can also download each story manually from your Instagram story.
Foster Quick Feedback
Instagram stories are a great way of getting instant feedback on any of your posts. People want to engage through answers and polls. They view your stories and immediately send queries through Instagram Direct, leading to one-on-one contact with your customers.
You Can Use Instagram Stories For Sponsored Content
If you have a huge following, you can take advantage of it by offering similar brands to get featured on your Instagram stories. You can promote their content and ask money for it.
The IG Stories You Should Be Posting
Now that you know how important IG stories are for your social media marketing efforts, comes the all-important question: What IG stories should you be posting?
Based on our sleuthing on the web and in marketer forums, here are the most popular Instagram story ideas:
1. IG Stickers
Instagram currently offers a wide array of stickers you can use for a lot of things such as:
Poll stickers are an instant way of asking questions directly to your customers. You can even present two of your products in a story with a poll sticker to get a comparison of what your customers like the most.
Soliciting questions from your audience is a great way of keeping them engaged. Plus, it’s a creative way of posting FAQs on your social media pages.
These types of stickers can help you educate your audience about your brand.
Through donation stickers, you can appeal to the benevolent side of your audience. You won’t only project a socially responsible brand but also raise funds for a cause. Talk about hitting two birds with one stone.
Instagram Music Stickers
With these stickers, one can play a background track in their stories.
2. Take Advantage of IG’s Features
Instagram Create Mode
This is one of the newest features offered by Instagram. Through this feature, you can repost stories, share GIFs through Giphy, and begin a countdown for an event.
The best part with Instagram Create Mode is that it doesn’t require you to post a picture or a video.
Tags in Stories Anyone can make a shoppable tag by tagging an item on Instagram and opening it for their audience to buy.
Augmented Reality (AR) Filters
The augmented reality filters allow users to perform several function simulations as they would do in real life. For example, women can now try their branded lipstick using these filters on the brand’s page.
This is a breakthrough feature for people who want to experience anything before buying it online.
Just like you can do with the popular app TikTok, this feature allows a user to make videos on a background track.
3. Make How-to Guides for your Customers
The sequential style of Instagram makes it ideal for making step-by-step and how-to guides. You can break your picture or video content into smaller chunks. These sequences can be used to educate your audiences creatively without getting monotonous.
4. Engage Your Audience with Quizzes, Polls, and Questions
Quizzes, polls, and questions are an instant way to get real-time feedback from your audience. With every new product, you can post quizzes and questions to engage your audience and create awareness about the new product.
5. Market Your Product by Using the Countdown Feature
You can set a timer for your next sale or a new launch by using the countdown feature in the Create mode. This will give you real-time feedback from your audience and create excitement for your event.
6. Connect Through Behind the Scenes Stories
You can feature stories of any of your brand’s processes by featuring them on your Instagram stories live option. Such activities will increase the trust of your customers in your brand.
7. Push Your Main Feed Through Highlighting It on Your IG Stories
If you want real-time feedback over content that directly goes to your main feed, you can share it on your story with a different sticker. This way, your post will be visible to a larger percentage of your audience.
8. Create a LookBook through Pictures
Create an online catalog by arranging your product pictures in appealing sequences on your IG stories.
9. Add Sneak Peeks of Your Upcoming Reveals
No matter what type of business you have, you can always create sneak peek stories on Instagram to excite your customers.
10. Share Customer Reviews
Screenshot customer reviews on your page and in messages then share it on your Instagram story. Needless to say, seeing reviews from real people will increase customer trust and loyalty.
11. Shoutout to Relevant Brands
You may not know it but giving a shout-out to other relevant brands will increase traffic to your Instagram page. I mean, if you give them a shoutout, there’s a good chance they’ll do the same to you too which means increased exposure for your brand.
How Many Stories Should You Post In a Day?
There is no hard and fast rule for posting stories—however, the more, the better. If you can post regular and relevant content in your Instagram stories, it will increase your brand visibility. As a rule of thumb, every business should at least post once a day to keep their audience engaged.
Instagram stories can be used as a simple and outstanding tool to engage your audience. The countless features these stories offer can help you maintain your business image. Through these, you can give your customers real-time updates and get real-time feedback - something that was hard to do before IG stories were introduced.