Posted: 05 Nov 2018 Contributor: Matthew J Fritschle
How Instagram Stories Can Help You in Marketing
With 1 billion global users, Instagram is a social media powerhouse that’s loved by all and used by most, making it absolutely perfect for social media marketing.
In fact, when you consider that there were about 500 million daily active Instagram users last year, a HUGE jump from 100 million in 2016, it’s clear that Instagram has no intention of slowing down.
In other words, you better jump on the Instagram bandwagon and make use of it as fast as you can.
By putting your creative hat on and using Instagram Stories to connect with your audience and turn them into users.
Before we get to the nitty-gritty of creating an Instagram marketing strategy using Stories, though, let’s cover what exactly it is and what it does.
What Is Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories, like Snapchat, the original “stories” social platform, is a feature that lets users post photos or videos that vanish after 24 hours, meaning that any content shared through Stories will neither appear on main Instagram feeds, nor on profile grids.
As Instagram stated in their post celebrating Stories’ second birthday, this innovative feature has turned Stories into “the home for self-expression and casual sharing for more than 400 million Instagrammers every day.”
After all, the ability to share pictures and short video clips about their regular days has allowed people to express themselves in a completely new and unorthodox way that’s as “real-time” as you can get without posting a live video.
Read More About: Most Effective Social Media Platforms for Viral Marketing
If today is your first introduction to Instagram Stories, you’re probably wondering how to check some Stories out for yourself to whet your appetite for what’s to come. If it isn’t, bear with me for those whose excitement is still new.
Where Can I Find Stories?
To view someone’s Story, all you have to do is tap on their profile, and their Story will appear in chronological order with everything they’ve posted in the past 24 hours.
When you’re on your feed, you’ll also see a list of Instagram accounts you’re following on the top, and if there’s a colorful ring around it, you know you’ve got something new to look forward to in their Story.
It’s as simple as that.
How to Use Instagram Stories for Business
Now it’s time to get to the metaphorical meat and potatoes of this post and cover how to create your social media marketing strategy for Instagram Stories.
Up first, let’s cover the basics of creating a Story.
How to Create an Instagram Story
To start, you can either tap on the icon at the top left-hand corner of the screen, or swipe right on the screen to arrive at the Story camera.
With either one, you’ll end up on your phone’s camera, where you’ll be able to record a video or snap a picture, just like a normal Instagram post. Likewise, you’ll also be able to add filters and customize with text and drawings to your heart’s content.
Once you’re done editing, tap “Your Story” in the bottom left, and you’re good to go.
Note: You can also choose a photo from your phone’s photo library by swiping up anywhere on the screen.
Creative Instagram Stories Ideas
We just touched on the how-to’s of posting an Instagram Story, which included customizing posts. As it happens to be, you have A LOT of options in this realm.
For starters, you have a bunch of Instagram Stories stickers that can take your post to the next level, such as the ability to add your location.
Tip: This is a PERFECT way for local businesses to corral people toward them if they’re hosting an event.
You can also add hashtags to your Story by tapping on the hashtag sticker, which will make your posts even more discoverable for people searching for that specific hashtag — the same goes for the location sticker.
Even cooler, you can use interactive poll stickers that allow you to ask a question and get real-time results from your followers as time goes by.
Marketing-wise, this means you can get your users’ direct opinions instead of pushing through with something, such as a new product or design, and having to learn after the fact that it’s not something they wanted.
Instagram Stories Ideas for Marketing
By now, you probably know that Instagram Stories is making it much easier for marketers to engage with their audience, thereby humanizing their brand and building lasting relationships that generate demand.
For example, you can take your audience behind the scenes and show them what happens behind closed doors, making them feel as if they’re part of the family; an action that works to build on their relationship with you and boost brand loyalty.
If you’re a real estate brand, for instance, you can use Instagram Stories to take your audience on a behind the scenes tour of your properties; if you’re part of a restaurant, you can show your audience how you create some of your crowd-pleasing dishes; and if you’re a fashion brand, you can show your audience what happens during a photo shoot.
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Something else you can do with Stories is tell a story. It is Instagram Stories, after all, so why not make use of it as it’s meant to be used?
For example, by using a slideshow format to showcase a story with a beginning, middle and end, you can increase each Stories’ engagement and ensure your audience stays tuned until the end—as long as your Stories provide some sort of value, that is.
With all the excitement around being in the moment and live video nowadays, a third way you can make use of Instagram Stories is by going live.
And because Instagram gives you a priority bonus for going live, meaning that live content appears above normal Stories, we’ll be covering this specific feature in its own subsection.
Social media marketing with Instagram Live works wonders because we’re part of a real-time generation that prizes being live and in the moment.
Unlike curated videos that can be, let’s admit it, too edited and touched up, going live means that it’s happening right then and there; it’s as organic as you can get.
Like normal Stories, going live means that your video won’t stay forever. The caveat here is that, despite other Stories staying for 24 hours, live Stories go away as soon as the broadcast ends.
Before you start freaking out, know that you can always share a replay of it with your normal Stories.
With that in mind, as this post on marketing with Instagram Live lends, you can make the most of it by going live in a couple of ways:
Influencer marketing by itself is already a very powerful marketing tactic; when combined with a live video, it’s a match made in marketing heaven that makes the most of each and crates something bigger than any could do by itself.
Read More About: How to Find the Right Influencers for your Marketing Campaign
For one, over 90% of brand and retail executives believe that live streaming events create a more authentic interaction with the audience.
Second, younger generations are more likely to value newer technologies like live video, and presenting an influencer in a medium they think is cool is wonderful for engagement.
Interactive Q&A Sessions
Q&A sessions are always beneficial for brands and their users. For the brand, it presents an opportunity for them to know what their audience actually wants to know; for their users, it’s a chance to ask pressing questions they’ve been wondering about; and for both, it’s a way to form a stronger relationship.
As for the live part that makes the Q&A more interactive, the fact that it’s live means that users can ask questions as comments in real-time and get a response that very minute.
Product Launching and Demonstrations
A third way Instagram Live can help you out is if you live stream product launches and demonstrations.
In doing so, you’ll offer the benefits of launches and demos with the excitement that comes with a live stream: everything is happening as-is without any edits or special effects; if something goes wrong, that’s too bad—what you see is what you get.
How Top Brands Are using Instagram Stories
More often than not, the best way to see how and why something works is to turn to those with a lot more experience in the game.
In our case, this means big brands who are spending top marketing dollars to come up with some of the best Instagram Stories examples.
Starting with Etsy, a brand focused on handmade and vintage items, they decided to make the most of Instagram Stories by turning one into a tutorial that helped their audience make DIY matchstick cookies.
And then there’s Wild Turkey, a brand of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey that used the power of influencer marketing to create an ad featuring Matthew McConaughey as an endorser.
Finally, there’s Starbucks, a brand that needs no introduction. To promote their #RedCupContest, Starbucks asked their users to share some of their ideas, which they then featured as Instagram Stories to showcase what they created.
Even though Instagram is a social platform that’s mainly used by fashion brands and others in highly visual industries, the same thing does not stand for Instagram Stories.
By being able to deliver a tailored story that can speak directly to their audience, any brand can make use of it to teach them or show them something they’ll enjoy. Both of which, by the way, are exactly what you want in a social campaign because lead to higher engagement and increased brand loyalty.