While photos are the main attraction of your Instagram account, a good social media strategy incorporates all of the other features this platform has to offer. It’s not enough to post, like and comment on photos to get seen these days—more and more users are viewing and engaging with businesses through Instagram Stories.
According to Instagram, one-third of the most-viewed Stories come from business accounts, and the platform is making it easier for users to browse and shop websites directly from Stories. These features will likely continue to expand and diversify, so utilizing Stories is a must.
Whether you’re new to Instagram Stories or just looking for ways to stand out, consider these five ideas:
The Instagram Polls feature allows users to easily create and vote in customized polls, which can be used for both entertainment and research purposes. Whether you’re curious about what kind of content your audience wants to see on your feed, or if they are pro- or anti-avocado toast, just ask them!
Stories only last 24 hours and then disappear, which can be good for flash sales or giveaways, but bad for beneficial, evergreen content that can help users get to know your business. Fortunately, Instagram released Highlights, a feature that allows Stories to show up in the bio section of a user’s profile page. You can choose which Stories to keep, as well as group and name them so users can easily find what they’re looking for.
According to Hootsuite, consumer trust is on the decline, and more people are turning to each other for business and product recommendations. Businesses that put their employees, customers, advocates and influencers at the front of their marketing strategy might see more success, so consider having one of these key people take over your Instagram Stories for a day or set amount of time. This encourages users to visit your account to see what an influencer is up to, which increases traffic and may turn casual viewers into active followers.
Video continues to be a popular content platform, and Instagram Stories make it easy to shoot video inside the app or upload external video files. Stories have 15-second limitations, so you can either shoot short, snappy videos or post a longer video that has been cropped into 15-second fragments. Instagram also has nifty features like Boomerang, Superzoom and Rewind that can help make your videos more creative, as well as a Live feature that allows you to broadcast video in real time.
Creating unique templates for Stories has been a popular trend among Instagram users. Templates can be used in a variety of ways, from promoting sales to featuring a person or quote of the day. You can also create questionnaire or “choose your own” templates that are purposely designed to share with your audience, so they can screenshot, fill out and post in their own Stories. Include your username somewhere in the template, and you might see traffic increase as users visit your account to find the original templates.
Instagram Stories are a fun and effective way to reach your audience—without the pressures and restrictions that can come with posting static photos and videos. With so many features to choose from, incorporating Stories into your Instagram strategy is a no brainer.