Instagram, or IG, has gone from being a simple photo-sharing app to a social multimedia hub with over a billion users. It has been a powerful tool for marketers for years, but with the introduction of Instagram Stories in 2016, everything changed. With the ability to produce high-quality content in minutes, brands have seen engagement, lead generation, data collection, and revenues skyrocket. Read on for the full story on Instagram Stories.
What is Instagram Stories?
In 2016, Instagram responded to the success of Snapchat and launched a new feature called Instagram Stories that allows users to curate collections of photos and videos that a user’s followers can watch as a slideshow.
When you post a story, it remains visible for 24 hours. This means you can create stories that allow followers to view your content without this content dominating your front page. Think of your stories as supplemental to your IG feed.
Creating content for your Instagram stories is easy. Adding a picture or video via the app can be done with a simple click. Or, if you want to add content that was not created on the IG app, you can do that too so long as it was created within the last 24 hours.
When you publish a story, you can decide who sees it. You can also apply links and hashtags, add a location, access viewer metrics, and more. Maybe the best thing about IG Stories is that they are “Discoverable,” meaning those who are not following you can also see them.
The power of Instagram
Instagram is growing rapidly and is on the verge of becoming the most popular social media outlet in 2019. This has huge implications for your business. Consider the numbers:
- Instagram currently has 23% more active engagement than Facebook. This means more clicks, likes, comments, and shares and less passive scrolling.
- An average of 1 in 5 Instagram Stories posted by businesses results in a direct message, or a lead, from a customer.
- From the end of 2017 to the middle of 2018, or just over 6 months, active Instagram Stories users grew by over 100 million, or 33%.
- Nearly 1 in 3 adults in the US use Instagram regardless of income.
These numbers are important, but the real power of Instagram Stories comes from its seamless convergence of your brand’s profile, advertising, sales, and customer engagement. With just one story, you can introduce your brand, showcase features, link to your product page, and create interactive polls and contests to get users clicking. This could take weeks to do using traditional marketing techniques. With a good IG story, you can accomplish all of this in just a few seconds.
Adult Instagram users average around 30 minutes per day on the app. By posting as often as possible, you expose your brand to users every time they open the app. You are likely to get more followers, more shares, more visitors to your site, and more conversions.
Do not spam your audience with ads. Instead, give them a deeper, more personal look at your brand and company. Your IG Stories should be like a conversation at a coffee shop, not a theatrical performance.
Take your followers behind the scenes at your facility or office, introduce them to your staff and your favorite customers, tell them a story about your humble beginnings, or show them how your product or service is changing lives.
For example, you could introduce your followers to a real customer who’s using your product to improve their quality of life.
Interact with your audience
Go back to the theatrical performance vs. coffee shop analogy. Not only would a coffee shop conversation be more authentic, but the coffee shop (Instagram) is also more interactive. You cannot have a conversation without interacting, so you should view interaction as a core principle of your Instagram Stories creative efforts.
The brands that do well on Instagram entertain and engage users with creative content. Instagram might be new to your business, but take this as an opportunity to really think outside the box.
Start with your product or service and work from there. If flu season is approaching and you want customers to come in for vaccinations, you could run a series called “What has more germs?” Each story could include two options (toilet seat or door handle, for example) and a clickable poll. At the end, the answer would be revealed and the user would have the opportunity to swipe up to go to your website for more information. This story is interactive, entertaining, and educational, and IG stories make it extremely easy to create and publish in just a few minutes.
Instagram Stories are fun, but at their root, their purpose should always be to move potential customers through the sales funnel. Regardless of the topic or focus of any particular story, the value of your brand and the solutions it offers should be clear to the viewer.
In our vaccine example above, the service is portrayed as the solution very clearly—”getting your flu shot will protect you.”
Call to action
Converting is easier than ever on Instagram Stories thanks to the “swipe up” feature. You can add a link to your website to your Story, and when users swipe up, they will automatically be transported to that “buy now” button on your page.
But, in order for this to happen, you need to place a call to action (CTA) on your Story. You can experiment with creative ways to do this or simply add a “swipe up for more!” message at the end of your Story. If you’ve created a great IG Story, viewers will want to see more. All you need to do is tell them how, and they’ll swipe away.
Every brand has a story
Your brand is more than just a product or a service. It’s composed of real value, real people, and thousands of real stories just waiting to be told. iProv has helped medical professionals all over Arkansas use Instagram stories to connect with real people and change lives. To find out more about how to tell your story, contact our team today.