It’s easy to overlook Instagram Stories in favour of TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts, which are all receiving more attention from the social media marketing community. Stories have been around for a long time, much longer than any of the newer, more popular short-form video platforms. Still, it is one of the most important channels for connecting with your target audience on social media, as well as for driving traffic, boosting engagement, and raising brand awareness thanks to its constantly developing set of tools and features. One-third of the most popular stories are brand-published content. If Instagram Stories aren’t part of your current plan, you might be missing out on something.
As of January 2019, more than 500 million Instagram accounts were using Stories every day, according to Instagram’s own statistics, and this number is likely to have increased since then. However, while Stories’ high volume of daily users is certainly appealing, it is not the primary reason why you should incorporate it into your marketing plan. In my opinion, these are the three most compelling uses for it.
Allows you to show the human side of your Brand
Showing the human side of a brand is becoming increasingly popular, and Stories makes it easy to do just that. In a world where automated responses are the norm and insensitive responses from companies are all too common, genuine and relatable content is thriving on social media. In order to demonstrate your genuineness in short-form media, it is best to create content that is spontaneous, one-of-a-kind, and casual. While polished, classy content is great for your feed, the real deal is what draws people to your Stories.
This is a major selling point of Stories, and it can help you connect with your target audience. Providing your audience with videos and images of the actual day-to-day activities of your company not only satisfies their curiosity, but also demonstrates that the people behind the content are human. Many people like to use social media because they feel they can connect with the content they read or watch. By demonstrating that your brand is in tune with its target demographic, be it through clever use of nostalgia, a keen eye for the latest trends, or even just a general knowledge of its consumers’ preferences, you will increase the likelihood of your target consumers interacting with your brand. Here we reach the second impetus to start using Instagram Stories immediately.
Grabs more attention due to its Time-Sensitivity
Stories is a great tool for attracting the attention of your target audience because of its time-sensitive format and set of interactive features for your audience. In order to get users to take that first step, the Stories format provides a simple and effective means of doing so. A few taps are all it takes for your audience to participate in polls, quizzes, questions, and even custom stickers. Customers perceive a company that is eager to hear their feedback. By asking users to take part in your stories, you show them that you are a reliable source.
It’s important to remember that, like TikTok, the content you put out on Stories should place an emphasis on creativity. People under the age of 25 (Generation Z) now account for more than 37% of Instagram’s total user base. Content that appeals to this generation’s sense of individuality and creativity—through novel methods of presenting information, interactive formats, or striking visuals—is likely to do well with this audience.
Generates more Traffic & Conversations
Engagement on Instagram Stories can also lead to more traffic and conversions. A blog is a great place to generate interest in a forthcoming product, share important company news, or inform readers about a specific product or service. 57% of consumers say they use brand followers to find out about new products. You can gain confidence by reading stories. A new link sticker and clear calls to action can help you direct customers to your website. (Note that the link sticker seems to only be available to accounts that are either verified or have over 10,000 followers. Remember to check for updates if you aren’t able to see it on your account right next to the poll sticker at the moment.
Combine this with the exclusivity aspect that Stories provides, and you can have a winning formula. Time-sensitive deals or offers provide your followers with something unique to them. Customers can save money by participating in your stories and reading your updates. This has the dual benefit of boosting sales and building customer loyalty by convincing readers to keep an eye out for more of your work.
Stories put you in the Spotlight
Last but not least, Stories are worth considering because they can help put your content in the spotlight, no matter where you are in social media marketing. With Instagram Stories, your content is front and centre from the moment you open the app, guaranteeing maximum exposure and attention. You have a great chance of getting your brand seen through Instagram Stories, as 59% of Instagram users among American adults log in at least once a day.
Any item in your feed has an equal chance of being overlooked or ignored. The Instagram algorithm is a complex puzzle that may cause a large portion of your content to go unnoticed by users. When you use Stories, you can bypass the usual gatekeepers and go straight to the front of the line to grab your target audience’s interest. The average social media user has an attention span of Instagram posts that can go into greater detail on a given topic, but Instagram Stories allow for more engaging and entertaining content to be shared in smaller, “snackable” chunks.
Finally, keep in mind that you should always be open to trying new things out. Short forms of media, such as stories, benefit greatly from being original. Think about what your audience wants to see and how these tips for using Stories effectively can help you deliver it, then let your imagination run wild.