Affectionately known as “Insta Stories,” Instagram Stories have the power to drive a TON of engagement and value for brands. At just 15 seconds in length, these stories are short and sweet, making them easily digestible for viewers, even those with a short attention span. The content disappears after just 24 hours making it even more desirable for users. For marketers, it’s a unique opportunity to share your brand’s personality and voice without taking up too much of the viewer’s time.
Since its launch in August of 2016, Instagram Stories have contributed to the massive jump in time that users now spend on the app--which reportedly averaged 30 minutes per day in 2020. According to 99 Firms, an organization that finds online marketing agencies for businesses, nearly 1.7 billion accounts use the Stories format daily. In fact, when it comes to the number of monthly active users, Instagram falls right behind Facebook and YouTube. That’s why a strong IG Stories content plan that is on-brand will both drive traffic and provide great exposure.
Instagram Stories continue to get more creative with eye-catching designs infused with AR filters, animations, templates, and stickers. There are many options to consider when creating a story, so where do you begin? When you think about your marketing efforts, your stories should be cohesive and reflect your brand and style. The following are items you will want to take into consideration when it comes to planning, creating, and ultimately executing your IG content strategy.
Start by establishing a distinct theme and style that represents your brand. One way to do this is by choosing a consistent font, color choice, and filter. Think about what colors are associated with your brand, and consider using these colors for your fonts, text boxes, or background colors. Bullet Proof Coffee does a great job with this, as their primary brand color is orange and they have successfully weaved that color scheme into their IG stories.
Plan your story content around your goals. For example, do you want to generate sales, or are you aiming to gain followers or brand awareness? This will help you determine what you want the CTA or call to action to be.
Pro Tip: If you are using a six-post sequence, for example, consider inserting your CTA in the fourth or fifth post to ensure that you don’t lose your viewer’s attention before they get to the final post. For examples of additional brands that are really crushing it with IG Stories, check out Converse, National Geographic, and Nordstrom Rack.
Decide what type of content you want to create. Will your audience respond better to images or videos? Pro Tip: Canva offers excellent image templates to help you get started and Wave. video helps you create 15-second videos. The best part is that both of these tools are FREE.
Determine how often you want to post and when. If you have a business or creator account you can view your Instagram insights which will help you determine when you should post your stories based on the highest audience engagement times. And we would be remiss if we did not mention that UNUM is perfectly suited to help you plan and post your IG stories.
The type of content that creates the most engagement is interactive music, polls, questionnaires, quizzes, and emoji slider stickers that allow you to learn how much your audience likes your content.
IG Stories can also be very effective when shared outside of Instagram, on your other social platforms such as Facebook for example. Learn how to repurpose Instagram Stories across all of your social accounts.
Once you’ve determined your concept and built your IG Story, the last step in increasing engagement is to add location tags and hashtags. Adding a location tag will help you appear in search results by simply using a location sticker for a specific place. Hashtags are highly effective across all social media platforms; however, you can only add one hashtag sticker per story post, so be sure to choose wisely!
Pro Tip: Each post within the story sequence can have a different hashtag, and if you use the text box to add hashtags, be aware that Instagram will only count the first three you include. Finally, be sure to tag Instagram users, as that will increase exposure and allow viewers to easily like and share your content within their own stories.
There are many ways to create and use IG Stories, but the key is to find a way to share unique content that will allow your brand personality to shine. If you provide value to your audience, they will engage and respond, which will rank you higher in their story banner placement. Don’t forget that the more consistently you post your IG Stories, the greater chance you’ll have of reaching your audience throughout the day. Most importantly, have fun--Instagram Stories are a creative way to grow your engagement, build brand awareness, and drive sales!
Kim is a seasoned content marketing professional with twelve years of corporate communications experience. Her sweet spot is with creative writing both short and long-form, and she has a proven track record working with IBM, Jackson Healthcare, and Walt Disney World, among many others. Kim is also a singer and actress and has been performing on stage and screen her entire life and has a great passion for TV and film production.