Unless you’re new to the world of social media, you have more than likely seen Instagram’s take on the idea of disappearing photos/videos. With small bubbles at the top of your home screen, you can watch your favorite brand, bloggers, and best friend’s daily lives in small doses.
Instagram Stories has been a feature on the widely-used app since August 2016. Since being released, this update continues to have new additions that help it differ from the other well-known app, Snapchat. In less than six months, Instagram Stories had 150 million daily active users. It took Snapchat six years to reach the same number. It’s safe to say that Instagram Stories has proven to be a successful addition to the already popular platform.
So what makes Instagram Stories so popular? Stories is a great way for a person or brand to give a more raw and authentic experience to the viewer. It works exactly like Snapchat Stories, allowing the user to post photo and video slideshows that disappear after 24 hours. When posting, you have the ability to be as creative and thought out, or as raw and live as your want. It’s honestly the best of both worlds.
How It Can Drive Business
It all starts with implementing a strategy. Just like posting to Instagram, Stories should also include a high-level strategy in order to maintain consistency and remain sticking to the objective. Although Stories are a great way to provide “behind the scenes” or raw footage of your brand, there should still be a plan on how you wish to accomplish your goal. You would hate to lose Instagram followers because you let Bob the intern take over your company’s account and just post cat videos to your Stories all day (although, who knows, maybe that’s what your followers want to see).
Another great way Stories can help drive business is through the utilization of Stories advertising, which is still currently in the testing phase. Similar to Facebook ads, these will offer targeting, reach, and measurement capabilities. The ads will appear between Stories, but not interrupt individual Stories. These are a great way for more people to see your brand, without having the feel of a traditional advertisement. It also increases the views to your account by people who do not follow you.
Speaking of, by posting Instagram Stories with a public account, there is the chance for more visibility on the Explore page. With this feature, your brand is able to reach not only your current followers, but potential followers as well. This puts your brand and Story in the hands of new eyes and possibly new customers.
Even so, it’s really other additional features on Instagram Stories that help it stand out from the competition and boost business for your brand:
Swipe Up Feature
Before now, the only way to drive people to your website was by putting the link in your profile’s bio. Although this feature still exists, Stories provide a new and easier way to link your website. This is important because reducing the number of steps to redirect the user greatly increases the odds of a conversion. With Stories, this conversion can be effortless.
It’s important to note that when posting a swipe up link to your Stories, you have to create a call to action. On your Stories photo, you must creatively tell the viewer to “swipe up for more”, or “swipe up to see XYZ.” Without telling the viewer, he or she may either feel less inclined or interested in what lies behind the swipe, or simply not notice that you have a swipe up link.
Live video is a way to give genuine, real-time footage of your brand or organization. Although created with strategy in mind, the live video gives the impression that you are giving the viewer an exclusive, “inside look” into the company. This feature also helps give a face and voice to your brand. Live videos also allow for real-time comments from the viewers. A lot of companies use this for Live Q&A sessions, but you could use it however you please!
With live feed, timing is incredibly important. For instance, you are not going start a live video at 1am when all your viewers are most likely asleep. However, using best practices, you can find the perfect viewing time based on your industry. If you feel that your video did not reach the large audience you expected, you have the option to save the live video to your Stories for 24 hours. This allows viewers who did not tune into the live video to still be able to watch your content.
It’s safe to say that Instagram Stories are a hot and trending way to connect with your following and potential following. With so many features, the positive possibilities and return for your brand are endless. If you are interested in getting started but aren’t quite sure where to begin, contact a social media professional at Go Local Interactive to learn more about how we can help your business grow.