Since arriving on the scene in 2017, Instagram Stories have become a key part of social media marketing. Ephemeral video content has really taken off (despite the death of Vine) and Instagram is arguably the most popular platform, trailed by Facebook and Snapchat.
However, you’ll be needing an Instagram Stories content strategy to make the most of this incredibly valuable channel. We’ve outlined eight top tips to spice up your stories and stand out from the crowd.
#1: Get to know your Instagram audience
First thing’s first, to ensure your Instagram Stories content is hitting home for your target audience, it’s time to grab a magnifying glass and channel your inner Sherlock Holmes.
A great way to find new insight is to research your existing followers. Consider what kinds of content they engage with, which hashtags they use most, and who features within their online communities.
You can also learn a lot by looking at your competitors, just don’t copy their work! The idea is to stand out, not fit in.
Instagram Stories is designed to be a more spontaneous medium than its parent platform, and as a result the quality standards of design, filming and photography are often lower than seen in regular posts.
However, many brands are producing carefully curated content that continues their core creative values. If your business is fashion, beauty or homewares for instance, the bar is already set very high for Instagram Stories content. Visual industry sectors use every social channel at their disposal to create a strong brand image, and this is no different.
Does your Instagram page already have a striking aesthetic? Consistency is key to winning over followers and retaining a loyal audience, so consider carrying your brand look across your Instagram Stories content too. Consider colour schemes, image framing and depth of field to create a strong overall look throughout your entire Instagram account.
#3: Generate repeat visitors
If someone engages with your Instagram Stories regularly, algorithms will serve them more in the future. Encourage people to watch and interact with your content, and your posts will likely appear in their feed more often.
Instagram algorithms also consider how quickly people interact with a post, and how long they spend interacting. That’s why it’s so important to use great captions, engaging content and different formats to catch and keep your followers’ interest. The more time they spent watching, the better Instagram will rank their engagement.
Stories that garner plenty of views and engagement demonstrate to Instagram’s algorithms that you’re creating high-quality content, and push your content higher up in your followers’ Instagram Stories queue in the future.
Instagram Stories Highlights then allow you to curate and showcase content on your page, prioritising what users want to see first, or what you hope they might engage with most. Keep track of your Instagram Stories analytics to see what content works best for you, and consider building your highlights around this.
Instagram hashtags are still one of the best ways of reaching and engaging with audiences on Instagram Stories. Users can search for a location or hashtag to see a compilation of Story posts by other users, opening up a world of content that caters to their interests.
Identify high reach hashtags, but make sure you keep on brand and stay relevant to your audience. That means no #like4like or #thuglife on your business account!
#5: Explore All The Instagram Content Features
Instagram rewards users for exploring all of the platform’s offerings. By testing out every platform functionality, you not only benefit directly from the cool new features, but also gain more recognition from Instagram as a top technology adopter!
Experiment with slider polls, superzooms, IGTV and live content to take your Instagram Stories up a notch. Don’t be afraid to experiment – that’s what social media is all about!
#6: Tag Other Instagram Accounts
Brands can gather plenty of attention when they involve other followers and brands in their Instagram Stories content. You can even share your location, a great strategy if you’re attending a business event. Accounts will be notified when they are tagged in any Instagram Stories, so individuals and brands will know you’ve mentioned them and may return the favour.
#7: Engage with Your Instagram Audience
Contrary to popular belief, Instagram Stories content shouldn’t be all me, me, me! It’s thought Instagram not only prioritises posts with high engagement, but also limits exposure for accounts that neglect to engage with their followers. That’s why it’s crucial you stay on top of incoming comments, especially within the first hour of posting. If you don’t respond to Instagram user engagement, your posts’ visibility may drastically decrease.
#8: Host an Instagram Stories Takeover
An easy way to switch things up is to arrange an Instagram Stories takeover. Invite a guest host to curate your story for the day, ideally someone you know your audience would be interested to hear from. You can also offer to return the favour! By reaching out to others and collaborating on your Instagram Stories content, you can vary your output effortlessly and attract new followers who follow your guest host.