Brands: How to Make Instagram Stories Work
Instagram Stories has been around for quite some time – it was first launched back in August 2016 and it quickly became a hit with both, viewers and content creators alike. Simply put, this feature allows content creators and PR professionals to share photos and videos throughout the course of a 24-hour period. The Stories that you upload are presented in a slide-show format in chronological order and each Story disappears 24 hours after you upload it – unless you save it in your Highlights.
If you’re a PR pro, Instagram Stories are an excellent opportunity to promote and market your brand. The numbers don’t lie: as of January 2019, Instagram Stories topped 500 million daily users and an impressive 39% of users become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it on Instagram Stories. Read on to learn more about how you can use Instagram Stories to promote your company or brand!
Instagram Stories vs. Other Social Networks
How does Instagram Stories compare with Stories on other social networks? As you can see from the graph below, Instagram Stories is one of the hottest story platforms out there, surpassing both Facebook and Snapchat:
Now, Instagram Stories doesn’t just deliver when it comes to reach, it also generates plenty of engagement as well. More specifically, 68% of Instagram users regularly engage with brands (as a benchmark, only 32% of Facebook users do the same).
Instagram Stories vs. Instagram Posts: What’s Better for B2B Brands?
The way we see it, Stories and posts on Instagram are complementary rather than conflicting formats and B2B brands should rely on both formats to build up their brand.
That said, when it comes to generating leads and driving traffic back to websites, there are some obvious advantages that Instagram Stories have over posts.
First and foremost, Instagram Stories allows you to include a link to your landing page so that you can kick-start your lead generation process. With posts, it’s not possible to add a clickable link to your caption. While you can include a link on your bio, it’s not feasible to update this link every time you upload a new post that promotes a different product, service or offer.
On top of that, Instagram stories also make it easy for potential leads to reach out and start a conversation. For all Instagram Stories that do not include links, users will see a message bar at the bottom – with this bar, they can Direct Message (DM) a company and ask them for more information about a product or service.
Examples of B2B Brands Leveraging Instagram Stories
While some PR professionals and marketers automatically assume that Instagram Stories are more suited to B2C companies, that’s not true. There are many B2B companies that are successfully using Instagram Stories to promote their brands – including Buffer, Shopify, General Electric, Mailchimp – and more.
For instance, Buffer uses Instagram Stories to take their community behind the scenes and chat with them in informal Q&A sessions (see visual). Shopify, on the other hand, promotes its latest blog posts using Instagram Stories.
Best Practices: How Can Communicators Use Instagram Stories
Some tips and best practices that you can use to super-charge your Instagram stories include:
- Using video and photo editing apps to enhance your Instagram stories. Popular apps include Snapseed, PicsArt and Photodirector Photo Editor;
- Using a Hashtag Sticker to boost the discoverability of your Instagram Stories;
- Using a Location Sticker to tag your business (assuming that you’re operating in a physical location, instead of remotely).
On top of that, here are some relevant statistics that will help you maximise the potential of your Instagram Stories:
First, the optimal Stories posting length is between one to seven Stories. After seven Stories, the completion rate drops to below 70 percent. Bearing this in mind, remember not to spam your audience!
Next, you get more views on your Instagram Stories if you post outside office hours.
Last but not least, it pays to post your best and most compelling Stories first.
According to statistics, more people exit on the first and last story frame than any other part of your Stories. This means it’s important to capture their attention right from the get-go which is why you should front-load your Stories with your most impactful content.
How to Measure the Impact of Instagram Stories
How do you fine-tune your Instagram Stories strategy? Simple – make sure you track key metrics so that you can continuously improve and deliver better Instagram Stories. Some metrics that you’ll want to keep an eye on include:
- Completion rate;
- Reach and impressions;
- Exit rates according to story frame.
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t provide you with any high-level analytics or reports to monitor your overall performance. This means you’ll have to open each story you’ve posted and swipe up to see the statistics for that specific story.
If you’re posting several stories a day, checking your statistics individually is obviously a tedious and time-consuming process. The good news? There are third-party analytics platforms that you can use to monitor your Instagram Stories such as Sotrender. This tool gives you an overview of your Instagram Stories stats in an all-in-one dashboard and it allows you to identify your best-performing Stories at a single glance.
A Final Word on Using Instagram Stories
Feeling overwhelmed at adding yet another format to your marketing mix? Don’t worry – Instagram Stories is pretty user-friendly and it’s fairly easy to learn the ropes and start pushing out content for your Stories.
Keep in mind: Instagram Stories is just another way for you to attract and engage your target audience. As long as you keep the basic principles of marketing in mind (understand your customer, rely on storytelling, generate a conversation, etc), you’ll have no problem creating Instagram Stories which are well-received by your company’s or client’s audiences.