6 Smart Ways to Use Instagram Stories for Social Media Marketing

By on November 5, 2018

 Image Source: Adobe Stock

Social media marketing is continuously evolving. Just when you think you already have a grasp on everything you need to know, something new comes along.

Such is the case with Instagram Stories, also called IG Stories. Since it’s launch in 2016, Instagram Stories has risen to popularity and businesses were quick to jump on the bandwagon, and rightfully so. From 100 million daily active users in October 2016, the number of Instagrammers who use stories every day ballooned to 400 million in June 2018.

Not only that. Instagram Stories is experiencing a content explosion with 300 million stories created every day. And guess what? According to Instagram, one-third of the most viewed stories are those created by businesses.

The business case for including Instagram Stories in your social media marketing is solid — it’s no longer a question of whether you should, but how well you do it.

If you’re new to Instagram Stories, here are 6 tactics to get you started:

  1. Use Story Highlights to Make a Good First Impression

If you’re still building your Instagram following, using Instagram Story Highlights is a great way to introduce yourself, your business, or your brand.

Compared to regular Instagram Stories that disappear after 24 hours, Story Highlights live permanently on your Instagram profile and are displayed prominently just below your bio. Story Highlights give your new followers bite-size videos that communicate who you are, in a more creative, personal, and engaging way.

If your company were a movie, think of Instagram Story Highlights as short trailers and teasers for your brand.

  1. Maximize Geotagging and Hashtags

Hashtags and geotagging make it easier for your intended audience to find your Instagram Stories. It’s also a great way to get more followers and fans.

If you’re new to Instagram Stories, hashtags and geotagging fall under a feature called “stickers.” They are visual elements stuck on the image or video you’re sharing, pretty much like stickers. Almost all active Instagrammers use hashtags to search for topics that interest them, so using popular hashtags with your Instagram Stories will allow your content to show for these searches.

As for geotagging, every time someone enters a city or location, Instagram culls Stories that have been geotagged in that location. If you run a local business, this is a great way to boost your visibility and encourage immediate conversions.

  1. Schedule Story Takeovers from Influencers 

A takeover is basically allowing someone else to create the content for your Instagram Stories (or any social media asset for that matter) for a specified period of time.

Why should you do this for your own Instagram Stories?

According to leading marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk: “Instagram Story takeovers are a backdoor approach to accessing new demographics.” He adds: “These takeovers are not only fun, but are also a great example of a 50/50 value exchange—a partnership that’s mutually and equally beneficial. When someone with influence shows up in your domain, there’s innuendo for endorsement.”

When an influencer takes over your Instagram Stories, he or she will be naturally inclined to promote the takeover to his or her own followers. As a result, you will gain access to this influencer’s followers and hopefully, convert them to be your own. Throw in an exclusive deal for the influencer’s followers and you have fully executed the 50/50 value exchange mentioned above.

  1. Get Inside the Heads of Your Followers with Polls

Decades ago, it was extremely difficult for businesses to get insights from their customers. Commissioning a survey takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money.

Well, not anymore.

Instagram Story has an easy-to-use poll sticker. Post a question that is answerable with a yes or a no. With one tap, your followers can give their answers. The poll feature is great not just in gathering feedback, but also getting the pulse of your audience for something new you’re cooking (i.e. get initial thoughts on a new product, new features, pricing, etc.).

  1. Use Clear Calls to Action 

When a “regular Instagrammer” creates Instagram, the intention is very single-minded — to share something in that person’s life that he or she believes is worth sharing to his or her friends. However, when a business creates an Instagram Story, apart from posting something share-worthy, there’s a marketing objective involved.

Of course, not all your Instagram Stories need to have a call to action, but you need to know and plan which posts would contain a CTA and what the CTA is. The objective should be clear to you — drive traffic to a new blog post, encourage followers to take advantage of a deal, and so on and so forth — and you need to have the right and specific CTA to achieve this goal.

  1. Don’t Be Afraid of Creative Executions 

Logging into Instagram is like walking into a Broadway production. The story lines could be different — from comedy to romance to tragedy — but creativity is always expected. Therefore, don’t be afraid to try something a bit out of the box when creating Instagram Stories, as long as it is in line with your brand identity.

For example, you can create customized stickers using images of key leaders in your company. You can create fun questionnaire templates. You can create mini-videos (Instagram Stories are limited to 15 seconds) that form a longer storyboard. As long as the content is engaging and the messaging is on point, go ahead and be a tad bit more creative.

It’s Time to Tell Your Story 

The positive reception of Instagrammers to IG Stories is proof that there’s a demand for more interactive, creative, and fun content. Likewise, with Instagram users investing time to consume Stories created by brands and businesses, there’s compelling evidence that IG Stories could be a powerful social media marketing tool when used correctly.

If you haven’t thought of using Instagram Stories (or Instagram for that matter) for your own social media marketing campaigns, it’s time to give it some thought. As this form of content becomes more popular, so does your audience’s expectations for content. Reap the potential rewards by mastering IG Stories starting today.

About Prafull Sharma

Prafull Sharma is the Founder of content marketing agency LeadsPanda. He shares tips to 2x your content marketing results on LeadsPanda Blog. You can connect with him on Twitter.
Close

Like what you're reading?

Like us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for more!