Instagram Stories: Best Practices and Strategy Tips

Instagram Stories are a major way to increase engagement on your brand’s Instagram. When coming up with your next digital marketing plan, it is important to focus on engaging your current audience. However, you need to follow Instagram story best practices. You never want to post just to post.

It’s easy to get caught up in the number of views and reach of your post, but what your customers do after seeing your post is even more important.

Business owners use social media to inform their customers and build trust. Stories create the flexibility to achieve these goals quickly and effectively.

Strategy is Key

Remember the golden rule: never post just to post. When planning content, you can use an editorial calendar (a spreadsheet, whiteboard or whatever works for your team) to ensure your content ideas align with your marketing goals. Your strategy should focus on what you can do for your customer. The rest of the conversation will take place through direct messages, emails or phone calls.

While Instagram lets you capture images and videos for Stories directly on the app, we recommend using your phone camera instead. Images and videos taken with your phone camera will be higher quality than if you took it directly on the app.

Make sure the creative you’re using is eye-catching. Even though it will only be published for 24 hours, you still want to get your content in front of as many people as possible. If your creative is not eye-catching enough, people will simply skip ahead to the next person’s story. The more people you reach, the higher your chances of driving engagement and brand recognition within the 24-hour window your Instagram Stories are live.

Instagram Story Best Practices

Instagram Stories let you take your audience from being passive followers to trusted relationships. Stories also allow you to give your audience a backstage pass into what is going on in your world. Through video check-ins during the day, followers get that valuable face-to-face interaction, bringing a sense of authenticity and trust to your brand. As a result, Instagram Stories pull your followers into your community.

First, set aside some time to explore all the tools Instagram has to offer. Try out different fonts, play around with the different brush styles and widths and look through the stickers you can add. Your content can only be as good as your tools, so make sure you’re familiar with what the app has to offer and match your company branding. If you want to match your text to a specific color in the image or if you want to incorporate the brand colors that are present, use the tear dropper tool next to the color options to select any color featured in the image.

Although Stories disappear after a day, they aren’t gone forever. You can save your best posts as Stories Highlights, which appear on your profile right after your Instagram grid.

Five Important Tips

When used correctly, Instagram Stories are a game-changer. However, if misused, they can become lost in the shuffle. These tips will help captivate your audience:

  1. Consistency. Whether you post twice a week or 3 times a day, your followers want to know when they will hear from you next.
  2. Variability. Post different clips. This may be an introduction video of a new employee, a product promotion or a Q&A session. Showcase your workspace and what your employees are doing behind the scenes.
  3. Engagement. Tags are essential. Hashtags help people find your content. Location tags encourage your audience to visit and increase visibility. Once you tag a location, your story will be added to the aggregate group of stories from that location, allowing you to increase your reach. Tagging other accounts allows them to share on their own accounts. Lastly, don’t be afraid to use stickers, GIFs, polls, questions and other fun features.
  4. You vs. y’all. Talk to your audience as if they are the only ones listening. Your followers are more likely to stay engaged if they feel like they are your friend at that moment. Stories are informal and are the perfect way to humanize your brand. Stories that are too salesy are more likely to be skipped.
  5. Call to action. Directly encourage your customer to engage. Tell them to click the link below, share your Instagram story or post or message you directly. Followers need encouragement and direction!

Be Mindful and Track Story Metrics

When documenting or creating content, be careful not to overwhelm your audience. It looks different for everyone. To find your happy medium, pay attention to your numbers. This might mean that followers stop watching your Instagram Stories after 60 seconds or four minutes. For example, if you see a drop off at 60 seconds, try to make your posts only 45 seconds long. You don’t want to lose your audience right before you make your big announcement.

You’ll want to keep track of your Instagram Story metrics to help inform your strategy. With Instagram’s Creator Studio, business and creator accounts can get access to Instagram Stories growth insights, along with the ability to map new and existing content to net follower changes. To access your Instagram Story analytics on the Creator Studio dashboard, Select Content Library, and then click Stories.

In conclusion, here are so many ways to use Instagram Stories to your advantage! Don’t be afraid to try something new that will set you apart from the competition and draw your audience in. Social media is always changing, so be sure to keep up to date with Instagram Story best practices. Need help developing a strategy? Contact us today!