When the Stories feature was introduced in 2016, it marked a big step in the evolution of both Instagram and online marketing. From morning coffees to groundbreaking innovations, Stories have seen it all.
This is both exciting and a bit frightening. With so many businesses gaining a lot of traction through Stories, how do you set yourself apart from the crowd?
Well, here’s the good news: There are all sorts of ways to do this.
Stories allow you to truly unleash your creativity, so the number of opportunities to increase engagement is virtually endless. Even though a one-size-fits-all strategy doesn’t exist, there are some tips that are pretty much guaranteed to draw your followers in.
1. Prerecorded vs. Live Stories
To unlock the full potential of Instagram Stories, you need to understand different benefits that come with prerecorded and live stories.
When it comes to engagement, live stories do a much better job. Users love seeing what’s happening in real time, which is why live stories are great for drawing people in. Of course, the actual results will mostly depend on the content that you’re pushing through them. Still, they’re always the safest bet when you want to captivate your audience.
Prerecorded stories, on the other hand, are great for building your brand, as their effect extends beyond just the 24 hours that a story lasts. The best way to use prerecorded stories is for creating narratives, covering your products in-depth, and publishing content that you want your followers to remember.
Prerecorded stories are also great for flash sales, quick promotions, or any kind of short-term announcements. What’s important is to create a balance between the two types, as well as all the different types of content that you’re sharing.
2. Use the Polls Feature
Instagram Stories are getting frequent updates that allow you to step up your game. Instagram Polls is easily one of the best features for increasing engagement. Better yet, there’s an endless pool of useful information you can get through them.
By posting polls, you allow your audience to get in touch with you. You can use the feature to see what products they like the best, how much they’re enjoying them, and ask a number of other questions that will help you add value to your products.
It’s a win-win situation. You give your audience a voice, and they engage with your content and offer valuable feedback.
3. Use Mentions to Give Shout-Outs to Competitors
Instead of just typing the handle of an Instagram user, you can now use the Mentions feature to actually tag them in your stories.
Now, shouting out to your competitors might seem like a bad idea. In the competitive world of Instagram marketing where everyone is fighting for every single like, gifting followers and engagement to your competitors sounds pretty counterintuitive.
This doesn’t have to be the case. If you play your cards right, there’s much more that you can gain than lose from this move. The reason is simple and boils down to collaboration instead of competition. This can not only increase engagement but expand your reach as well.
Instagram prides itself on being a community. Despite this, many businesses look at each other as enemies. If you take a different approach, you might build some strong business relationships and broaden your audience. Instagram marketing doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game, which is exactly what this proves.
As an added bonus, you get content that you don’t have to work hard for. All it takes is a few words and a screenshot, and you’re good to go.
4. Be Consistent
Only a third of your business profile visits comes from followers. The remaining visits come from people who have yet to become a part of your community.
To ensure that this happens, consistency is key. A study conducted by Union Metrics showed that engagement doesn’t drop as you post more frequently. This means that you won’t have to worry about boring your audience as long as you create engaging content.
Make sure not to skip a day with your stories. You’ll want to make sure that the red circle around your profile picture doesn’t disappear, as it signalizes that there’s something to be seen. Posting frequently humanizes your brand and gives your followers more opportunity for interaction.
5. Stay Up-to-Date with New Features
Stories are being refreshed with new features on a regular basis. It’s important to keep track of all of them and start using them as soon as they roll out.
GIFs are a great example. They show how a minor detail can make a lot of difference. They’re fun, eye-catching, and can breathe more life into your stories. The same goes for background music, all kinds of fonts that you can use, and various other effects.
A great thing that you might want to try out is creating your own GIFs. This is something that many Instagram gurus are doing, and it’s a great way of making your stories pop.
This is where you can let your creativity shine. It’s one of the main things that can make you unique, so make sure to always experiment with any new features that you get as soon as they are introduced.
The Final Word
With an average engagement rate of 1.73% per post, Instagram remains the undisputable king of engagement. A lot of this potential is attributed to Stories. They’re by far one of the strongest tools for increasing the level of connection with your brand that your audience feels.
It is crucial that you master the art of telling your brand’s story by using this feature. It can make or break your social media marketing success. If you follow the above tips, you’ll be much closer to developing great brand awareness, as well as high engagement rates.
As new features roll out, you’ll have more opportunities to invite your audience in. Make sure to take full advantage of them, and you might turn Stories into your most powerful weapon.