The Power of Instagram Stories to Build a Massive Audience. The latest Instagram stats show there’s currently more than One Billion monthly active users and according to Sprout Social. Instagram Stories also appear right at the top of your viewer’s feed making them highly visible content to create.
Stories are time sensitive almost insider content that you can use to engage your audience for Instagram, great for sneak peeks, insider tips and putting the human side of your business on display.
5 Types of Instagram Stories to Try:
Stories’ creative quirks and sequential style actually make it prime for a variety of campaigns for businesses. Below we’ve highlighted five different types of Stories which are popular with brands of all shapes and sizes.
How-To’s and Tutorials
Stories’ sequential format makes them perfect for step-by-step, how-to style content. From recipes to beauty tutorials and beyond, bite-sized educational content is an engaging alternative to traditional video or blog post.
Stories are unique in that they can be used as bite-sized lessons and how-to’s for followers
And as a sort of call-to-action, Samsung encourages followers to share their creations using the #withGalaxy hashtag for the opportunity to be featured in their feed:
Sharing User Generated Content (UGC)
Many brands share Stories dedicated to their followers’ user-generated content such as tagged customer photos
Instagram Stories are a prime place to show off UGC via hashtags
Stories represent a fantastic place to publish UGC if you don’t want it to dominate your main feed. This is especially important as you don’t want your valuable shout-outs from followers to go to waste.
Part of the beauty of Instagram Stories is that they don’t have to be big, polished productions.
In fact, many brands create Stories that are sort of off-the-cuff while attending public events or industry conferences. In a sense, Stories allow brands to take their followers along for the ride.
Events and conferences are practically made for Stories, taking followers on a journey
And for brands who want to go behind-the-scenes without taking up any valuable real estate on their feed, look no further than your latest Story.
Stories allow brands to take followers “behind the scenes” to show off the personality of their teams
Announcements that keep your followers guessing through every step of your Story represents one of the most creative ways to use the format.
Brands can keep followers guessing through Stories as Stories can help brand hype specific announcements and promotions via adding series of stroy posts
In order to get more eyeballs on your Stories, let’s quickly touch on the format’s best practices.
Best Practices of Instagram Stories for Business
So, what should businesses focus on if they want to squeeze the most out of their Stories?
Point Followers to Your Stories
Here’s some food for thought: the 400 million people using Stories daily represents about 40% of Instagram’s base of active users (1 billion). In other words, although the Stories are wildly popular, not everyone is on board quite yet.
So if you’re posting fresh content to your Stories, don’t be afraid to let your followers know about it.
Occasionally asking your followers to check out your Stories isn’t spammy at all, especially if you’re posting exclusive content there. From time to time, simply post a reminder like this one from Shake Shack:
Make Your Visuals Count
Instagram is famous for striking visual content and your Stories should be treated no differently. Given that you only have a split second to grab your followers’ attention, make sure your Stories compel people to keep watching by:
Using bright, contrasting colors in your fonts or overlays Including a person or someone’s face to make an instant emotional connection
Capturing interesting or unfamiliar settings (think: landscapes, nature, crowds, etc.)
Although your Stories don’t need to tick these boxes 100% of the time, consider them an added bonus for winning people’s attention.
Mind Your Text
Perhaps a no-brainer, make sure that any text you include on your photos is legible.
Instagram’s default sans-serif font is easy to read, but brands might understandably want to experiment with different font packs or colors.
That’s totally fine, granted you’re not using clashing colors or something that might be tough to read via mobile (think: red on orange). Likewise, don’t crowd your Stories with too much text and run the risk of overwhelming your followers.
Clear, legible text is a must-have for effective Instagram Stories
Incorporate Interactive Elements
Polls and Question Stickers instantly make your Stories more interactive, encouraging engagement from your followers from the word “go.” These features represent a playful way to pick your followers’ brains.
Elements such as quizzes and polls make Stories uniquely interactive Rather than let your Stories gather cobwebs, these elements represent a sort of call-to-action to engage your followers and get them engaging!
Creating Instagram Stories:
Adding Images from your Camera Roll:
This is a super simple and quick way to get an extra photo or GIF onto your Instagram story post. All you have to do is copy a photo from your camera roll and then paste it onto your story using the text tool!
Start by opening a photo and tapping the “share” button. You will then get the Feed or Stories option for the image, choose stories and then you can personalise your story with stickers text and more.
A few top Instagram Stories Tips:
See How Many Times Your Post was Shared on Stories
Instagram collects a ton of great data around your Instagram post’s performance, like the number of impressions, saves, follows, and more. But there’s one piece of data you might be missing out on: story reshares
You won’t find this in your Instagram Insights. Instead, you’ll need to tap the ellipsis in the top right corner of a post to pull up a menu with the option to “View Story Reshares”.
This will take you to a screen with a list of your current public reshares.
Align Your Text Left, Right, or Centered
A few of the font styles in Instagram Stories lack the option to be left- or right-aligned, which can be a bit of a nuisance.
Usually, you can just tap the alignment button in the top left corner of the screen to change your text’s alignment. But if the button is missing (which is the case for the Modern, Neon, and Strong fonts), your text will automatically appear centered.
Luckily, there’s an easy solution! Simply type a message in Instagram Stories with a font that doesn’t have the alignment button.
Now swipe a finger left or right on your text. This should change the text’s alignment.
Hide Your Hashtags
Sometimes hashtag stickers can ruin the aesthetic of the Instagram story you want to post, but thankfully there are ways around it.
If you want to hide hashtags in your Instagram Stories, type out your hashtags (you can include up to 10 in your stories), and then pinch them to make them smaller.
Now place a GIF or image sticker over the hashtag text so it’s perfectly hidden!
Or you can select the color tool from the text option and choose a color that perfectly matches your Instagram story background (this works a lot better if the background is a solid color). With just two taps, your hashtag content will magically blend into the background but still be searchable!
Keep in mind that if you make the hashtags too small, Instagram won’t register them! So the best way is to camouflage them with the background or hide them behind another design element.
Instagram Stories Tools:
In addition to the Instagram app and the built in features it has here are a few extra tools for your Instagram Stories Toolkit:
Later: Create your stories on your desktop and then program them with Later. Posting regularly on Instagram Stories is key to building an audience and increasing your views, and you can plan your stories just like you would plan other social posts in your content calendar.
Now instead of coming up with new stories daily, you can add your photos and text directly to your Instagram Stories scheduler! By scheduling your content in advance, you can make sure you’re posting consistently and staying top of mind with your followers.
All you have to do is drag and drop your stories on to the storyboard tool, and then re-arrange them to fit the order and look that you want.
Over: Whether you’re sharing tips, inspirational quotes, or want to add a creative twist to your campaign, Over is a great app for Instagram Stories that lets you overlay text and graphics onto your photos and videos!
Over has a “gazillion” photos, fonts, graphics, templates and tools to choose from to help you create high-quality, on-brand content.
Canva: Canva’s mobile app is another super-simple way to create beautiful Instagram Stories templates for your business, and you can create templates on your phone or on your desktop.
For Instagram Stories, there’s plenty of ready-made templates to choose from, and you can customize your template with millions of background options, 130 different fonts, and tons of graphics to create “on-brand” templates for your insta stories.
Discover More Marketing Tips in the Marketing Circle
The Marketing Circle is my inner circle community where you get to work with me on all things marketing in a group environment. We will explore all things marketing – from demystifying the marketing world to blogging, working with the media, email marketing, social media, and more.