It’s hard to remember Instagram before Stories. But now, Stories have become 2020’s essential marketing medium.
Imagine opening the app today, only to have your feed to scroll through and no Stories to watch, vote on, or ‘ask anything’. Well that was the case in 2016, before Instagram launched the now synonymous feature.
At first they were accused of imitating Snapchat, the first social media app to popularise a Stories feature. Snap allowed users to upload a photo or short video for their friends to watch for 24 hours only. But in 2020 you’ll struggle to find a social platform that isn’t introducing a Stories feature. While Facebook launched their Stories back in 2017, LinkedIn, Twitter and Spotify have all announced upcoming Story features since the start of the year.
It’s easy to see why. Since Instagram launched their version it’s become incredibly popular. Last year, the billion dollar social app announced that Instagram Stories had over 500 million daily users, that’s half of Instagram’s user base uploading and watching Stories on a daily basis. For most brands, you can be sure that includes your customers.
Stories aren’t just popular, they’re also an incredibly effective marketing medium and offer brands a new way to communicate with customers. They give space for more personal, less polished sharing, whether that’s through behind the scenes reveals, or directly speaking to camera. Leaving brands safe in the knowledge that the content will soon disappear and won’t mess with their carefully curated feed.
Another big bonus of both Instagram and Facebook Stories is their prime position. At a time where organic reach feels so unpredictable – and a brand never knows where their content will appear in a users feed – Stories are at the very top. This, combined with the novelty of only being able to view the Story for 24 hours, entices people to watch them ASAP. They’ll often tap through Stories before scrolling through their feed.
Now that we know how Stories became 2020’s essential marketing medium, here’s some advice for marketers looking to maximise the opportunities in Stories:
Master the art of Story editing
Uploading a Story sequence with beautifully edited images and/or videos that fit your established branding, are going to capture the attention of your viewers much better than a single frame Story with minimal editing and too much text. Editing your Stories is going to be a case of trial and error – you’ll need to test out what engages your audience the most. Try out different filters, layouts, Boomerangs, stickers, gifs, texts and drawings. And if you don’t like editing straight from Instagram, try using apps like Canva, Unfold and Inshot. These editing apps have pre-created layouts and stickers for you to use and master the art of Story editing.
Forgetting to add Story Stickers? Your post won’t stick with your audience
Since launching, Instagram Stories are becoming more entertaining and engaging by the day, thanks to the help of Story Stickers. Stickers like the poll, quiz, question, countdown, emoji slider and shoppable tag, are all additional ways for your customers to interact with you, helping to increase your engagement and sales. Use the music and gifs sticker to add some personality and include the hashtag, location and mention sticker to increase your reach and impressions. Without these, your Story just won’t stick with your audience.
Saving time with swipe ups
Have a business account with 10k+ followers? Adding swipe up links to your Stories is vital. Providing external links for viewers to ‘swipe up’ and be directed to your website, YouTube channel or blog will save them time and remove barrier. Without having to from app to app, your customers journey is seamless. If you’re working on growing your following, add a Linktree to your bio and provide call to actions in your Stories to steer viewers in that direction.
Story takeovers with a guest speaker
Create some hype for your customers and promote that a secret guest speaker will be taking over your Story for the day. Influencers make great take over guests. Not only are they experienced in making great content, they can also cross promote the event within their own audience. Collaborate with a creator and have them trial your new product, hold a Q&A or cover your live event.
Make your Story live forever
Originally, Instagram Stories were made to disappear after 24 hours. In 2017, the app introduced Story Highlights where users can now save their Story archives into a Highlight, that’s found at the top of an account’s profile. We can’t live without our Highlights, and neither should you. Saving important content like tutorials, testimonials and recent campaigns will ensure your customers always have this information readily available to view.