The latest Instagram stats show there’s currently more than 800 million monthly active users and according to Sprout Social, many experts believe it could reach one billion in 2018. So what’s going on with Instagram Stories?
Well, according to Media Kix, as of 2017 Instagram Stories alone has more than 300 million users every day. That means a lot of eyes are on this platform, and there’s great potential for marketers to get noticed using Stories.
Instagram Stories Lets You Get Up Close and Personal
The key to success with Instagram, as with any other social media platform, is that you have to first build an audience. Even more importantly, and more-so with Instagram than some other networks, you have to share reliable, personal content each and every day. People use Instagram as a brilliant bridge between business and personal lifestyles.
Instagram Stories are basically photos, text or video that can be shared instantly – and that will “self-destruct” after 24 hours, rather than being saved to your main photo grid.
This might seem like a small or unexciting feature but actually, it represents a bold step into the future for Instagram and a massive opportunity for marketers. The feature strongly resembles that of the Snapchat platform, and some viewers have even shared that they skip the main grids to only view Stories of their favorite brands!
Why Instagram Stories Matter
Instagram Stories essentially gives you a new way to communicate with your audience that’s a lot more direct and immediate, which helps to increase opportunities for engagement with your audience. Using Stories has the potential for making your audience feel as though you are talking to them directly to a much greater degree.
The temporary nature of the content will make it more exciting because the content is time-limited. By sharing a photo or media you have only recently uploaded, viewers feel almost as though they’re being “brought along for the ride” – as though they are right there with you.
Instagram Stories also appear right at the top of your viewer’s feed – thereby ensuring that they will be much more likely to see the content.
How to Make Your Instagram Stories Successful
Perhaps the biggest challenge for many creators will be in knowing when to use Instagram Stories, and when to upload photos.
One way to think about this is to consider the difference between content that perfectly embodies your brand, versus content you want to share directly with your current fans.
For instance, you might want to share a joke or a photo of your day with your fans. Letting your followers feel as though they’re getting to know you in that small way is a great way to increase trust and brand loyalty.
But the challenge with a joke or photo of the day on its own, is that it doesn’t really say much about who you are or what your business is all about. Therefore, you might not really want it to appear as a permanent inclusion to your “grid” for first-time passersby.
Ask yourself this question: Would you be happy with this photo being the first impression that a visitor has of your brand? If the answer is no, perhaps it’s better suited for your Instagram Stories.
There are also other options offered by Instagram Stories, such as the option to create live videos or to make “boomerangs,” which are essentially short repeating videos much like GIFs. This variety provides you new ways to more directly and personally reach out to your followers with fun and creativity.
Your Daily Plan
If you want to have a highly successful brand that showcases who you are in life and business on Instagram Stories, then you need to put in the thought and effort it takes to post consistently – with high-quality content. Use themes that are engaging, visually appealing, and well-branded with your colors and fonts as accents.
Use your content to begin showcasing your behind-the-scenes efforts, and to highlight how you are building relationships with regular posts.
The Simple Daily Blueprint to Grow on Instagram Stories
1. A Story a Day
Post at least one Instagram story a day. Save them in a folder filled with lots of photos, so that you have something to publish on days when you don’t do anything exciting.
2. Save Your Stories
Within settings, set your stories to save automatically, so that you can share these pictures in Facebook or elsewhere online.
Integrate emojis, hashtags, filters and even polls to make your images stand out, and to highlight things you want viewers to see.
4. Try Video
Keep in mind that live video can run up to 1 hour – invite a friend or colleague to go live with you!
5. Give to Receive
Spend at least 15 minutes each day liking other posts on Instagram, joining in on conversations, and sharing great images.
Become a Dedicated Brand Builder with Instagram Stories
If you can dedicate time to sharing Instagram Stories, you should find that you can very quickly grow a relevant and well-connected audience. Understand that it takes these three components: time, authenticity, and commitment. Add Instagram Stories to your social media toolkit using the 5 tips above, and start to boost your brand online today!
Are you sold on Instagram Stories as a brand-building tool now? Share your thoughts in the comments!