Why Instagram Stories are Important for Social Media Marketing
Instagram is an extremely popular social media platform with 1.1 billion monthly users which makes it fertile ground for marketing. With a global reach that connects solidly with millennials, understanding the best ways to engage with audiences on the platform is key to launching successful campaigns. As a top digital marketing firm, we wanted to share why Instagram Stories play a critical role in social media marketing along with providing some tips to get started.
What are Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories is an innovative feature that was modeled after Snapchat stories. IG stories have been around for a few years now and they allow users to post photos and videos with a limited shelf life of 24 hours before they disappear. The content shared on stories does not appear in the main IG feed nor will it show up on the profile grid unless the user chooses to feature a part of a story by posting it in the profile.
Did IG copy Snapchat? More or less. There is the ability to use text, doodles, filters, and effects to content and content appears together in a slideshow format. There is also the ability to add songs to stories and hide stories or make them private.
Why use IG Stories for SMM?
There are a host of reasons to use Instagram Stories for social media marketing:
- Large active user base – IG stories boasts over 200 million daily active users, which is more than Snapchat.
- Integration – The integration of Instagram with Facebook allows for useful marketing opportunities within both platforms, such as using Facebook’s Ads manager to create Instagram ads that compliment any Facebook ads.
- Easier to schedule – There is a lot of onus on “posting at the right time” to get content in front of people when they are more likely to engage, and other posts won’t push them down the feed. Stories are a bit unique with a 24-hour shelf life so the best time to post is less important compared to regularly posting for that 24-hour visibility.
- Engagement – Generally speaking, IG stories are a fun content form. There is an opportunity to showcase the personality and unique aspects of a brand. Fun, interesting, upbeat content can be very engaging which is an important aspect of social media marketing.
- Outbound links – For those accounts with more than 10,000 followers, there is an option to include an outbound link within your stories to help generate extra traffic to a location such as a recent blog or sale items on a website.
- Content variety – Along with lighthearted, fun content, IGS can also be used for user polls and answering users’ questions. Both polls and Q&A sessions offer unique content opportunities.
Tips for Creating Instagram Stories
Like with any new content medium, there will be a learning curve. With that being said, here are some basic tips that every business can apply to the process:
- Create content for your audience – A business should focus on the audience. Unlike celebrities or pseudo-celebrities that might just post about their day as a way to connect with fans, a business should focus on understanding their audience and then crafting content that will interest and entertain them. For example, one business opted to create a story about how they were re-painting the inside of their store which was a horrible idea. It was literally watching paint dry and just about as exciting.
- Be authentic and fun – Stories are very much a hip, happening medium and that is only achieved when being authentic. It is a way to peel back the curtain a bit and showcase personality in a fun, unique way.
- Consistency is important – This tip has two meanings; the consistency of posts as well as consistency of appearance. Stories should be relatively frequent, especially when incorporating polls and questions as people want to see the results. Cover photos and introduction video snippets can be incorporated to create a consistent look and feel for stories.
- Short and sweet – Stories is the perfect medium to provide users with a delightful snack of content. Whatever the purpose is, such as demonstrating how to do something or showcasing a new product, keep it short.
- Use exposure techniques – Stories should use hashtags and location to increase the opportunity for exposure with the discover feed. Other accounts can also be tagged to increase reach and alert your audience of new content.
- Make use of tools – There are a number of fantastic tools available to help with Instagram Stories including numerous free story templates or apps like Over. Video editing and analytical tools can also help with creating posts and measuring their effectiveness.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that Instagram is a fantastic platform for connecting to a global audience, especially with younger generations. Instagram Stories can play a critical role in social media marketing when used properly which means first and foremost having fun and showcasing personality.
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