What is Instagram Stories?This post has already established the fact that Instagram is great for business. However, there are several types of marketing strategies that a marketer is able to create for this platform only. Instagram Stories constitutes a solid ground for an effective marketing strategy and during this article, I am going to describe the methods and advocate their effectiveness in the short and long run. So, what is Instagram Stories and why should a marketer include this feature in their campaigns? Well, Stories was launched last year as a clone of a similar SnapChat feature. However, it managed to quickly surpass its and competitor and get into the mainstream with over 300 million users worldwide in 2018.
How to Use Instagram Stories the Best Way for Successful Social Media Campaigns by @katairobi via @CoScheduleClick To Tweet
Why Include Instagram Stories in Your Marketing Strategy?While all the important reasons have already been listed in the introduction section of this article, let’s add some other important data a marketer should consider before starting to include Stories in their marketing campaigns. According to Mediakix, there are 2 times more stories posted by brands on Instagram than Snapchat. This means that marketers are already favoring Instagram as their major marketing channel and at the same time, that there’s a wider audience on it. The same source suggests that in a single month, at least 50% of the brands active on Instagram have already posted at least one story.
At least 50% of the brands active on Instagram have already posted at least one story.Click To Tweet
What Are the Correct Dimensions for Instagram Stories?Images for an Instagram Story should be 1080x1920 pixels. That means a 9:16 aspect ratio as well. While other sizes can be uploaded, they will be cropped.
How Long Are Instagram Stories?They run for up to 15 seconds. They disappear after 24 hours.
Instagram Stories Length: Videos up to 15 seconds. Disappear after 24 hours.Click To Tweet
How to Use Instagram Stories as Your Campaign's Main Content FormatWell, first and foremost, you need a working Instagram account and a content producing strategy. Regardless of your final goals, it’s important to start on the right foot with any of your content marketing plans and in this case, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind before actually starting to post your stories such as:
- Your audience. It’s important to know a thing or two about the audience you are designing your messages for. Who are them? What’s the age group that your followers are a part of? What’s their social and economic status?
- Your goals. What is it that you want to achieve? Is it awareness? Or, do you want to drive in more sales? Maybe you want to gain more influence or to expand your audience? Whatever your goals may be, it is important to have them clearly stated before starting to work on your campaigns. In order to get from where you are now to where you want to be, you need to know what or where your destination is.
- Your visual identity. Stories are a form of ephemeral content which means that you don’t need to spend as much time brainstorming for ideas and designing the best possible slides. This is what the whole idea about this Instagram feature. It allows brands and individuals to be more creative by investing less in designs and more in spontaneity and truthfulness. However, this does not mean that you should neglect your visual identity and not take it into account. If you have such elements and they are popular among your audience or very well known, do not hesitate to include them in your Stories. You may benefit a lot from the awareness that is already there.
1. Product-Based ContentOnline shops and product manufacturers can leverage Instagram Stories by including some of their offers between their slides. Here’s an example from “The North Face” of a clever wordplay and a simple yet effective story that encourage their fans to shop for their bags:
2. Cultural/Social-Based ContentIf you are not in the business of selling goods, then you will have the liberty to post anything you want. If you are selling experiences, you can tie your content to the official purpose of your business. For instance, travel blogs or travel agencies can post collages from their most important and valuable destinations. Here’s an example from National Geographic, which shared a story about the most visited national parks:
3. User-Generated ContentDepending on how big is your fan base, you can leverage them to get even more awareness by challenging them to post on your behalf. You can either ask them to send you their pictures out of which you can design the stories or, you can ask them to publish their own stories. Their inputs can include branded hashtags, photos of products, services mentions and so on. The greatest example in this case comes from Red Bull, the true king of today’s online user generated content. They’ve created a whole media company to deal with this kind of content. There are however, other great examples as well. Here’s an example from Airbnb:
4. Other Types of ContentThere is no limit in what your stories can feature. It depends solely on your own inspiration and creativity and perhaps, the audience you are trying to engage with. For instance, you can announce company related news such as Ben & Jerry did in this example: Or, you can provide valuable content, as this New York Time’s questions and answers story featured in the next image:
Tips on Driving More EngagementInstagram provides you with numerous tools that you can use in order to attract more followers and convince them to engage with your brand. You may already know that accounts with more than 10 thousand fans can include a swipe-up slide on their stories and link back to their own web pages. Apart from this option which I am sure it will be more than beneficial for your campaigns, let’s talk a little bit about some other important options featured here: Polls. One of the easiest and yet most effective ways to drive in engagement and to increase your sales or awareness on your brand, is through polls. You can insert simple and straightforward polls within the slides of your stories and ask people questions and let them answer. A good example, in this case, comes from a cosmetics retailer, Nykaa, who presented their followers with a question and two answers which both led to a possible purchase decision. Also, you can use the polls to get valuable data from your audience and conduct a simple yet thorough market research about information that you need in order to continue your campaigns or start new ones. Geotags. There are a lot of stickers available for Instagram Stories. One of the most interesting and yet, more powerful of them is the geotag location sticker. Here’s an example of how a tagged story can look like: Mentions. You can also use influencer in getting more attention from a larger audience. They can either mention your brand or, you can let them take over your stories and give yours and their followers inside looks at some exclusive content. Here’s an example that comes from Maybelline New York, a cosmetics brand that used Jordyn Jones as an influencer for one of their campaigns. Highlights: One of the most acclaimed updates the Stories received during 2017 was the introduction of highlights. This new option allows you to save your stories as an archive that will live on your Instagram Profile. This means that you can easily curate the content posted as stories and choose what your followers will see first when they land on your profile page. Summary: The benefits of an Instagram Stories Marketing Campaign
- Instagram Stories is a free marketing and engagement tool.
- You can invite people to visit your website via the swipe-up feature.
- Video stories are being featured in the explorer section.
- You have creative and inspirational liberty. No need to focus on the design since the content is automatically deleted after a day.
- You can leverage influencers and geotag your posts.
- You can use Stories to drive in more customers, to raise awareness or in order to engage with your fans.
- You can also use this feature to share company related news, to promote new products or services, to announce new featured articles or podcast episodes.
Instagram Stories for AdvertisersWe’ve established the fact that Instagram Stories is a great marketing tool. You can leverage it to expand your pool of fans, to raise more awareness on your brand or to drive in more engagement or sales. In short, Instagram may prove to be one of the best channels for your business marketing strategy. Did you know that Instagram Stories can also be used as an advertising channel? Did you know that you can post ads between the slides of other people’s stories? Well, you can and as a consequence, if your budget allows it, you can try this feature as well. Why? When you publish a story your reach is as high as the number of people that follow your Instagram account.
When you publish a story your reach is as high as the number of people that follow your Instagram account.Click To Tweet