Instagram is nowadays very important not only for big companies to build their brand identity but also for your personal branding. Almost all of us have an Instagram account where we share selfies with our friends and photos of our dogs.
Most big or modern companies include the platform in their marketing plans and make sure to post weekly if not daily.
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If you care enough, your feed is well thought through, with semi-curated content, attractive filters and smart hashtags. If so, that’s great! However, it is not enough anymore. If you or your brand, or whoever concerned, wants to matter on Instagram, you (or they) should start uploading Stories.
What is Instagram Stories?
Do you know how Snapchat My Story works? Well, Instagram Stories are similar. You upload a vertical image or video and it will be available for all your followers to watch. It is positioned on top of their home page, for 24 hours. Afterward, it gets deleted.
Recently, it was the mentioned profile feed that was the most important aspect on the platform. Curating posts, choosing appealing colors, filters, hashtags, etc. However, according to SproutSocial, due to Instagram’s new algorithm, 70% of posts don’t get seen.
Another reason for this high` percentage is that Instagram is overloaded with content. For people who follow hundreds or thousands of accounts, it is simply impossible to see it all. Unless they spend the whole day scrolling through the app.
Today, more people watch Stories. One of the reasons is functionality as all of them are on top of Instagram’s homepage and they disappear once you’ve seen them. This means that you won’t have to accidentally go through the same content the next time you open the app.
Moreover, the fact that they won’t be available after 24 hours is attracting many users as they don’t want to miss something interesting.
If that didn’t convince you yet, there is a lot more data and statistics to back it up.
For example, according to Hootsuite, as of June 2018, there are almost 1 billion MONTHLY active Instagram users. DAILY, there are almost 500 million users. 80% of them, that is 400 million, watch Instagram Stories on daily basis.
Why not use Snapchat if Instagram Stories are so similar to them?
Snapchat was first. Instagram followed. Why not use the first, original app then? According to Business Insider, since Instagram launched the Stories, Snapchat usage went down between 15-40%. Moreover, social media influencers prefer to post on Instagram.
According to Social Report, 11 out of 12 of those influencers post more on Instagram than Snapchat. Their reason is backed up by statistics too. In 2016, they got around 330,000 views per day on Snap and now they get a maximum 250,000 only. The difference is huge, isn’t it?
How to make sure your Stories stand out?
There are multiple criteria you have to fulfill to make sure your Stories aren’t lost in the crowd or overlooked.
- Use high-quality pictures. There is no way to go around it. No followers want to see pixelated or blurry images.
- Your smartphone is vertical and so are everybody else’s phones so keep your images, graphics, and videos the same.
- Use extra features provided by the app itself. Those include:
- Mentions: Mention someone else’s account. Same as if you were creating a traditional post. This allows them to later report your Story into their own.
- Location: According to Brand Watch, the location widget is the most used one by Instagrammers. It also puts you into a pool with other accounts who shared a Story from the same place. Hence, your chances for wider, but geographically specific, audience increase.
- Filters: Once in a while a certain filter trends among influencers. Follow fashion and adapt your stories to them. Which ones does your competition use? Melbourne, Tokyo or Oslo?
- Stickers and GIFs: They are funny. Just go ahead and try to make your audience smile.
- Story Highlights: If you highlight your Story, it will become available for an indefinite period of time on your profile, on top of your posts. You can categorize them according to featured products, colors, etc.
- Live Video: When you start a live video, your followers receive a notification to watch it. Perfect Call-to-Action.
- Focus on engaging your customers. Repost their Stories if they mention your name in them, create polls where customers can answer a simple question or let them ask you questions through a submission box.
- Use a third party app to design your Story according to your brand identity. Here are 3 app examples: Unfold, Inshot and Canva.
Unfold allows its users to create minimalistic Stories designs. Except for adding an image (or multiple images), you can also add text in various fonts. The app is most famous for its polaroid-style Stories and catalogue-like ‘Cover Stories’.
It works both with photos and videos. However, there are many more features included, for example, the newest one adding ripped edges effect.
Inshot is an app that, when it comes to Instagram Stories, it allows you to create beautiful backgrounds for both images and videos.
Those can be various, you can create, for example, blurry ones to keep the focus on your product or ones with a big contrast. Some other features include editing your photos and videos and applying special effects.
Canva is a very popular platform both for a smartphone as well as desktop. You can use it to create all kind of designs, including posters, ads or Instagram Stories.
The advantage of Canva is that it offers lots of different templates to choose from as well as copyright free images, fonts and graphics.
Instagram Stories are nowadays very popular and it surely cannot be ignored, especially by brands and companies trying to reach the young audience. For some creating engaging and interesting Stories comes easily. To others, it gives a little headache.
If that’s the case, use the mentioned tips and suggested apps and features and slowly work your way through it. Analyze your Stories insights and see it as a creative learning process.
Eventually, your brand will be thankful for including Instagram Stories in your marketing plan.