Harnessing the Power of Instagram Stories

Harnessing the Power of Instagram Stories

Published on 22nd of March 2024

You’ve likely seen Instagram Stories and probably even used this feature on your personal account. Many people focus more on the tiled images or the short Reels and think that Stories aren’t as valuable because they are temporary posts. But if you’re not scheduling brand content for Stories, then you’re missing out on a key tool that could help significantly drive engagement.

In fact, your Stories are a powerful way to actively engage and involve your customers in your brand. These posts can also drive brand awareness and loyalty, which improves your overall bottom line. Let’s talk a little more about what Instagram Stories are and how you can start harnessing this powerful tool for business growth.

What are Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are a way for users to share any combination of photos and videos they want with their followers. You can add drawings and stickers, create polls, and add music to these posts. However, 24 hours after you post a photo or video to your Story, it disappears so that it can be a constantly changing and evolving slideshow. Unless you disable this feature, viewers can respond to a photo or video in your Story.

Stories vs. Reels

Creative reels composition

The content you post on your Story can either be a photo or video. You can ask your viewers questions with a text box and conduct polls, and although temporary, it’s a very flexible tool. Instagram Reels is a video content feature that allows users to create short videos that are very similar to TikTok videos.

Another critical difference between the two formats is time length. While the user can craft a video for a Story, the time limit for a Story video is 15 seconds. Some users get around this by splitting a longer video into 15-second intervals. Reels can be up to 30 seconds long. Finally, even if your account is set to public, a Story has a more private, “just us friends” vibe.

Top Strategies for Creating Stories

Using Instagram Stories can have a seriously good effect on your business engagement and outreach if you know the right tactics, such as:

  • Product demos

    The short Story videos are the perfect length for a quick product demo. Link several videos together if you need time to demonstrate multiple features. Sprinkle in polls or even a link directing viewers to a specialized landing page.

  • Take a poll

    3D illustration pink magnifying glass checklist

    Speaking of polls, you can use Instagram’s poll stickers to craft an eye-catching, interactive engagement tool that not only gets viewers involved but also can deliver key, voluntarily-reported data directly to you.

  • Go Live

    Going Live is hands-down one of the best ways to engage viewers. While you may be fearful of turning the camera on yourself for your business, it’s an excellent way to show your customers that you’re just like them, with similar concerns and problems.

  • A slice of office life

    Your business office might be a desk in the spare room, or it might be a downtown space, but taking your followers on a “tour” or inviting them in to see the office party shows them you’re relatable and helps them to feel like they know you.

  • It pays to advertise

    You can use Stories successfully to engage your following. However, if you’re looking for a way to reach a much larger audience, then creating a Story Ad could be the ticket to brand awareness.

  • Get by with a little help from friends

    Medium shot happy friends taking selfie

    Shout out friends and fans, or swap Story highlights with business partners. As John Donne said, “No man is an island entire of itself.”

  • The good news

    Single photos that act as slides with text and the short video format are great for passing along relevant news to followers. You could feature a mix of news from the industry or feel-good news from around the world and mix in news about your business.

  • Tease an event or video

    One of the biggest benefits of time restrictions is that it can generate a lot of excitement. You can let viewers get a taste, then direct them to tune in for a more extended event or send them to a landing page to close the deal.

  • Save the best

    If you’ve put together a really engaging or informative Story, you don’t have to watch all that hard work fade away. Save your best Stories as Highlights, and they’ll appear on your profile for as long as you want to keep them.

Hacks to Polish Your Stories

Creative reels composition

At the ripe old age of 12, Instagram has long been a massive presence in social media. Many people are very familiar with using it for personal interactions. But if you’ve never thought about using Stories for business before, or if you’ve only focused on photos and Reels, try these tips to polish your Stories:

  • Story Stickers

    Instagram often changes stickers, so you’ll frequently see new ones to choose from. Stay relevant with holiday stickers, let people know where you are with location stickers and don’t forget your hashtag stickers.

  • Sharing Stories

    Make sure that your viewers can share your Stories. It’s a great way to grow viewership for free. Go to your app’s Settings and select Privacy. Once there, you can navigate to Story and choose “Allow Sharing as Message.”

  • Making music

    Colorful image of retro vinyl record player isolated over colorful background Vintage things in modern life

    Adding music to your Story can up the excitement and entertainment of your Story. Also, if you want to do the opposite and make your Story post silent, you can opt for that. Some users like music, while others don’t. Experiment with your posts and add music to see if it drives engagement up or down.

Making Stories Work for You

You already know that planning your content is the key to an effective social media presence for your business. Instagram Stories is a unique tool that can provide a creative platform for engaging with more customers and creating a sense of community. If your engagement is sluggish, then harnessing the power of your Instagram Stories could be the game-changer you need to finally expand.

Article by Blastup

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