You don’t want your Instagram stories to appear like disjointed scribbles in a notebook. The stories need to be cohesive and eye-catching. And you need to get as much out there as possible, or at least until it disappears into that 24-hour void.
So planning and scheduling stories is an important component of maintaining a strong following. Persuade the audience that your stories are worth checking out regularly. And that you’ve got the content to back up your brand at a regular pace.
The key is in the planning and scheduling of stories. It may look effortless on the outside but it can be challenging. That said, it’s important to get the process right – these strategies can increase your following and interaction.
Creative Tips for Planning Persuasive Stories
Are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants Instagrammer? That technique may work well for casual posts for friends and family. But your brand may need more careful consideration in the planning department. Try using some of these tips and techniques for planning stories:
1. Unify with Templates
If you haven’t got a creative bone in your body, you’re in luck. Templates are popping up for virtually any creative endeavor you want to undertake. And that includes Instagram stories.
Using a simple drag-and-drop design not only saves you time but also helps unify the story style. This consistency can help your brand stand out. Uniform editing helps to showcase a unique style that’s easily recognizable to the audience.
2. Balance Out Your Call to Action
Using a call to action may help engage your followers. But be careful not to sound aggressive or salesy. Generally, the Instagram story tone should be fun, inspirational, and light. So the last thing you want to do is bombard it with constant pitching.
Instead, try to strike a fine balance with fun elements like incorporating GIFs with your calls. Of course, you want to adhere to your business and marketing strategy as much as possible. But try to keep your drive for more sales or followers in balance with storytelling.
3. Get Personable with Selfie-Style Videos
Who are the people behind the brand? The audience likes to know who they’re following. So give them a preview behind the scenes with a few selfie-style videos.
For example, you can introduce new team members via a short selfie video. Or you can showcase a new location or event. These are quick ways to be personable and encourage more interaction.
4. Go Live
Many Instagram users watch videos with the sound on. So why not take advantage of that? Use live video clips in your stories to showcase events. Take before and after clips, behind-the-scenes looks, or a short interview.
Help humanize your brand by getting your followers involved. Trigger FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) by posting shareable snippets of your live clips.
5. Slow Reveals
Do you have a special event or conference coming up? Why not tease the audience with slow reveals? Pepper your stories leading up to the event with teaser hints like a speaker’s initials or a blurred-out artist picture.
6. Flash Sale
Create a sense of urgency with a flash sale. Instagram stories have a 24-hour lifespan before disappearing. Create a sense of FOMO with special tickets or limited edition merchandise before the story and sale disappear.
7. Instagram Takeover
If you want others to take notice of your special event or brand, consider hosting an Influencer takeover. Partner up with performers, vendors, sponsors, and local influencers. Make them one of your brand ambassadors and encourage them to create stories on your account. Or you can do it for them.
This type of Instagram takeover can reach followers you may not normally have access to. And it gives the ambassador some added exposure, too.
8. Q'n'A's for the Inquiring Mind
Doing a Q'n'A story is a great way to keep followers informed about an event. Especially if you get direct messages with the same questions. Consider using a video or picture format and answer the most popular questions.
9. Contests! Contests! Contests!
Who doesn’t love a contest? Motivate your followers to talk about your event. Run a contest that features the event hashtag or tag the event’s handle for entry. Remember to build buzz by tagging winners in your stories, too.
Scheduling Your Stories
Now that you have your stories planned out, it’s time to schedule them. If you like to keep total control of your scheduling, or you’re short on cash, you can keep track of scheduling yourself.
Use a spreadsheet or bullet journal to keep track of your stories and when you’d like to post them. This method may make sense if you collaborate with a team. Having a spreadsheet online and accessible by others may make more sense than using an app.
Additionally, some Instagrammers also keep a dedicated binder with a calendar to track their posts, scheduling, and analytics. You can also keep mockups and event flyer information all in the same place.
When it’s time to post a story, you’re going to have to do it manually using this technique. However, it’s budget-friendly and may be ideal if you don’t have a prolific posting schedule. Or if your business has a person dedicated to this.
A Final Thought About Apps and Paid Services
You could also download an app to help with your planning and scheduling needs. Some apps help with planning and come with convenient drag-and-drop templates. Others take the guesswork out of what and when to post.
However, depending on your needs, these apps and services can get pricey. If you are okay with limited posts per month, you may be able to find a free plan that suits your needs. Otherwise, expect to add a monthly expense for this convenience.
Lastly, there’s nothing that says you have to use an app. Sure, it makes posting convenient. But if your creative juices flow better when you do things manually, don’t let popular opinion sway you.
Some people work well with apps and services and some don’t. Every brand is different, though, so choose the method that makes the most sense for your needs.