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Engage Like A Boss With Insta Stories for Brands

By now, if you’re on Instagram, you’ve seen Insta Stories. Since the feature was launched in 2016 as a reaction to SnapChat, it has taken off significantly—statistics show that Stories get about 250 million viewers daily. For brands, Instagram Stories offer a unique opportunity to connect, let users know about their offerings and increase brand awareness.

But it can be tough to stand out. The platform is crowded with businesses and individuals using the feature, so your content needs to be creative, unique and strategic in order to cut through the competition.

Our social media team has been nerding out on Insta Stories—analyzing the data, creating them, trying different strategies, and using way too many dog GIFS (as if there were such a thing). Here’s what we learned about using Insta Stories for our clients.

Insta-Stories

FIRST THINGS FIRST—WHAT IS AN INSTA STORY?

An Insta Story is a separate portal on your profile where you can post videos, photos, or text that will disappear in 24 hours. Stories allow for a lot of creativity, and they also allow for unique opportunities to expand your visibility. They can feature hashtags, location tags, stickers, emojis, polls, dates, drawings, and more. Users can view Stories at the very top of their feeds when they log in, or by clicking on a profile picture outlined in orange to indicate there is an active Story. 

Lots of Instagram users now say they check Stories first, before looking at the rest of their feed! So it’s a good idea to get your brand up there. 

HOW DO I MAKE AN INSTA STORY?

We created a step-by-step Insta Story Tutorial to take you through the basics. Check it out here.

WHAT SHOULD I POST ON INSTA STORIES?

Insta Stories are immediate and ephemeral in nature, which makes them great for sharing content that might not be ideal for your regular feed. Here are some examples of content that brands share on Stories:

  • Behind-the-scenes photos
  • Images that might not fit into the theme of your Insta grid
  • Polls to get feedback from followers 
  • Announcements
  • Bonus photos and videos

WHAT ARE THE BEST PRACTICES?

  • Use hashtags—You can only use one per slide on an Insta Story, so use the most relevant one so that people searching hashtags can discover you. These Stories show up on the Insta Story row for that hashtag, as well. So, when people are searching those hashtags, your Insta Story will come up.
  • Geotag—Adding a location to your Story also shows your Insta Story to anyone searching that location. Your geotagged slides show up in that location’s compilation Insta Story, making your potential audience that much wider. This is a GREAT way to engage with locals in your community. Geotag your business, street, neighborhood, city, state and other nearby locations. Again, you can only geotag one location per slide so play around with them to see what gets you the most views.
  • Analyze the data—As a business, you have access to analytics. Pay attention to the data and try to identify trends. For example, if you get the most views when you post manicure photos, you might want to ask your nail techs to take even more photos and videos of their work for you to feature in your Insta Stories.
  • Engage with other users’ Insta Stories—As with most things in life, you get what you give. Check out the Instagram Stories of the people you follow and engage with them! People will be more likely to engage with you if they feel you have a relationship.
  • Pin your best Stories to your Highlights—Though Insta Stories disappear after 24 hours, you can save your faves at the top of your profile in the “Highlights” section. Think of this feature as a miniature Pinterest page attached to your Instagram. This is ideal for saving Stories that act as lookbooks for specific trends, promote products, show off pics and videos from events, and anything else that’s too good to disappear after 24 hours.  
  • Be consistent—Instagram’s algorithm analyzes everything you do on the app and rewards consistent engagement. So, creating or saving an Insta Story, engaging with someone else’s Story, taking a poll, etc. will all improve your engagement on Instagram.
  • Be authentic & have fun—People want to get to know your brand, and the best way to do that is to be yourself and make it unique! The possibilities are endless with Stories—so don’t be afraid to be creative and bold.

Now that you’re armed with all the info you need to make engaging Stories, go forth and create! We’ll see you on the gram. 

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