Instagram Stories have proven to be an incredibly valuable tool for brands and businesses, precisely because their content disappears quickly enough. This feature has become extremely popular. And when combined with flexibility and a roster of ever-expanding opportunities, stories are an extremely valuable and multifunctional asset for marketers.
The best way to use Instagram Stories is to grow your reach by building brand awareness along the way, and in this article, we ll cover the strategies you can use.
Let s recap – what are Instagram stories and why businesses need them
To avoid confusion, let s quickly understand the terminology. Instagram Stories are not posts. Instagram posts appear in user feeds and remain permanently (unless deleted) on your profile page. Users can save these messages and view them at any time. In the image: post on the left, story on the right.
The stories will automatically play until you watch them all. They disappear after 24 hours. You can get analytic information on stories, although the metrics are slightly different from regular publications.
All businesses should consider Instagram Stories as an integral part of the platform. There are several reasons for this:
- Stories have a high engagement rate, with 150 million daily active users as of January. Instagram Stories also have an average open rate of 28% higher than Snapchat Stories. Also important: 15-25% of people who see a story with a link scroll up. Users are officially engaged and interested.
- Stories take up the entire mobile screen. You get the full attention of the users. This kind of activity is a big deal.
- Stories scroll continuously. While users can skip brand content in their feed, your content will definitely appear in their stories feed. They can scroll through it if they want, but since it takes up the entire screen, they ll at least take a quick look before going any further.
Using stories by itself automatically increases the reach of your posts because users are passionate about them. We ll take a look at several User Generated Content (UGC) techniques to learn how to use Instagram Stories to expand your reach even further.
Strategy 1. Encourage users to create custom content
Even if your story is only seen by your followers, you can use it as a springboard to expand the reach of your business. One of the best ways to do this is to encourage the creation of user generated content. This is the content that users will share on their profiles using the hashtags you have recommended to them.
There is a formula you can use when creating stories that inspire custom content. The first story is a summary of what users will see. Then some examples of customer images. The last slide should be with a CTA so users can share and create their own content, always with a reminder to attach your branded hashtag to it.
This has two big benefits: you will have more content to add to your stories, and user-generated content will be available to all of their subscribers, expanding your reach for them.
Strategy 2. Use stickers with Instagram Story hashtag
Instagram recently released two new types of stickers that can be used in Stories: hashtag stickers and location stickers. First, we ll look at hashtag stickers.
You must have a branded hashtag on Instagram. It helps build brand awareness and makes it easier for users to create content for your brand. Including your branded hashtag in the Story sticker offers several benefits that can help increase your reach and brand awareness at the same time:
- It encourages users to share their custom content with a hashtag.
- Users can click on a hashtag and then view all other posts (including yours) that contain it, which will give an extra boost to your other content.
- If users come across your story in the search section and click on a hashtag, it strengthens your brand s position and increases the likelihood that they will see more of your content and follow you.
To add a hashtag sticker to your story, click the sticker icon in the upper right corner.
You will see a variant of the hashtag sticker. Click on it and enter the hashtag you want to make interactive.
Strategy 3. Use location stickers
You should also use location stickers. This will remind users of where you are and encourage them to use the same location hashtag when creating custom content about your brand.
Adding location stickers works the same as hashtag stickers. Once you have selected a location sticker, you will need to find the location you want to enter.
Strategy 4. Run a story ad
Want to quickly increase your reach with Instagram Stories? You can run Instagram Stories that I find extremely useful now that they have additional goals.
When launching Story Ads, it s best to avoid using reach targets – even when trying to increase reach. This is because, as with regular Stories, Story Ads disappear as soon as users finish watching them. For users who are not familiar with your brand, it will be most beneficial in the long run to use the opportunity to send them to your site or app instead of hoping it stays with them. Your reach is still increasing, you are simply increasing the likelihood of other results.
You can launch Instagram Story Ads with the following goals:
- Video Views
- Website traffic
- Website conversions
- Mobile app downloads
Place brand information in story advertising. This way, users will know exactly who you are and will be able to find you. Story Ads can be videos or images. The video should be no more than 15 seconds.
Instagram Stories can do a lot for your business. Using them to expand your content reach and present your brand to new audiences (both directly and indirectly) is a huge benefit. Using these strategies can help you create added value for your business, even if the stories themselves disappear within 24 hours.