There is no doubt that Instagram is a valuable and necessary marketing tool with its 800 million users, 500 million each day. Instagram is best for visual marketing. It is a great place for companies to create and establish a brand.
Instagram Stories was released in 2016 as a way to compete with Snapchat, and it has already surpassed Snapchat in popularity, especially among businesses. One-third of the most viewed Stories on Instagram are from businesses!
Instagram Stories are slideshows or short videos that do not appear in the feed, but rather in the Stories section. They are only 15 seconds long and available for viewing for 24 hours unless they are saved and made available for longer. Stories appear at the top of the Instagram screen in little circles. Users just need to tap their circle to create.
Stories are meant to create engagement, and are less about on brand content and good lighting and more about quick, catchy and engaging content. Stories allow a little more freedom and creativity since they disappear, so there is less need to focus on design as with a traditional post. This does not mean that Stories are haphazard. Companies should still have a marketing plan when using Stories. In fact, it allows businesses to create a series and build anticipation for their viewers.
Since stories are not around long, they are also a great place to test an idea or do a poll. This allows businesses to see if an idea will catch. They can then post a permanent post in their regular Instagram feed or the can launch a campaign somewhere else.
Stories are meant to be interactive. With the swipe up feature and the stickers feature, viewers can really engage.
Businesses can add a Swipe Up feature that will take viewers right to their webpage. This is great for sales and getting traffic to websites.
The stickers feature add a variety of ways viewers can interact with Stories.
Product stickers: After your account is approved for shopping on Instagram, you can add a sticker to any photo uploaded as a story. When you add a shopping sticker to a product, buyers can simply tap to learn more about the product tagged, and then tap again to make a purchase.
Poll sticker: Get feedback by writing questions and custom answers. You followers can pick an option and see the poll results in real time.
Hashtag sticker: When your followers click this sticker, they’ll be taken to the relevant hashtag page. For Stories, it is best to use hashtags that you own or branded hashtags rather than ones that will direct users to other pages.
Questions sticker: Let people respond to your stories—all your followers have to do is tap the sticker and type their response. You can also tap their question to provide an answer.
Music sticker: Slowly rolling out to some countries, this sticker lets you share part of a song in your story.
Selfie sticker: Tap the sticker that shows your profile photo to start taking photos you can add as stickers to your next story.
Geotags are a great way to get in front of a local audience or a desired audience locale. Regularly geotagging your Stories will help you become findable!
Here are the different formats offered in Stories
Type: Text-based posts in a variety of styles against a colored background.
Live: In-the-moment live streams where your audience can comment in real-time.
Boomerang: Create fun 1-second looping videos.
Focus: Take portraits that blur out the background and keep your subject's face in focus.
Superzoom: Dramatically zoom in on your subject from afar
Rewind: Record a video that will play back in reverse.
Hands-free: Record a video without having to hold down the record button.
Stories also allows you to use other design programs like Canva and PowerPoint, among others, to create content.
Instagram Stories are undeniably popular and a must have tool in a digital marketing bag.
Just this month, Instagram made some updates to Stories. Instagram's new Layout mode allows users to use multiple pictures in one story. This feature is in the camera setting in Stories. With six different grid shots, users have a few options.
Instagram is constantly changing to stay relevant and fresh, as should all businesses!