There are so many active users on Instagram Stories, it’s probably easier to count how many people aren’t using it.
These disappearing videos had humble beginnings back in 2016, but now have a solid viewership of 400 million. (That’s twice Snapchat’s meager 191 million, but no biggie.)
This makes Stories an obvious choice for brands to promote content.
But there’s more to the Instagram Stories game than just gaining followers. When you unlock this potential as a tool for marketing and advertising, you can use Stories to engage your market and boost your sales exponentially.
Get them curious, get them excited, get them buying. All you have to do is tell a good Story.
In today’s article, I invited Mikey Blanco, a Community Outreach Specialist for Instasize, to teach us how..
1. Don’t forget to use hashtags and geotags
From a user’s perspective, hashtags and geotags are a great way to explore an entire world of interests through Instagram.
For example, searching for #lifestyleblogger leads the user to all the posts tagged under that topic. If your brand’s Instagram Story is tagged under this hashtag, the same user can find their way to your post along with all the other posts under the same hashtag.
Increasing your chances to get more views is the precise reason that you should use high-traffic and brand-applicable hashtags in your Stories. And while you’re at it, why stop at #lifestyleblogger when you can add #iphoneography, #instagood, and lots more?
When applicable, you should also add a sticker that shows the location of your business. This geotag not only puts your Story on the “Explore” feed of that particular place—it can also boost foot traffic to your store. After all, people can’t find you if they don’t know where you are.
Hashtags and geotags in Instagram Stories help put your brand on the radar of your target market. The benefits are obvious, but we’re just getting started.
2. Link your Stories to your shop page or promotional posts
There’s always more to each Story than meets the eye, and the same holds true for Instagram. Nowadays, there’s a new feature that allows users to swipe up on a Story so they can learn more about a particular product or service.
This “See More” feature redirects the viewer to your main website or online store—but that only happens when you get viewers curious enough to swipe up in the first place.
How exactly does this happen?
A simple, surefire way is to make your Instagram Stories appealing enough to capture a viewer’s curiosity. A photo and video editing app like Instasize is free to use and offers content creators a complete roster of powerful editing tools.
Try out more than 50 professionally designed filters to express the mood you want to achieve. Also check out the latest feature called Text Styles that transforms any wall of text into artistic typography.
If you make full use of Instagram Stories and use the “See More” feature as a call to action, you get to show followers a behind-the-scenes look into the inner workings of your brand AND convert site visits to sales in one go. Nifty, huh?
3. Use Instagram Stories to actually tell a story
There is no limit to the number of Instagram Stories a brand can post in a day. Use this to your advantage!
One idea is to break up one long Story into bite-sized bits. For example, if you’re promoting a sale, you could post images of your sale items and their prices, one Story at a time.
The last Story will then have a call to action and lead back to your website or online store. The same tactic can be used for step-by-step guides, too.
Think: pages in a book. Make one Story lead to another, and another, and another—hook your audience and then get them to buy.
You can also use Instasize filters to make sure all of your Stories for a certain campaign follow a cohesive look.
Of course, don’t forget to add links and hashtags to make your Stories even more accessible to a wider audience.
4. Create polls to engage followers and gain insight
Every brand wants to know what their target market really wants. And with the “Polls” feature of Instagram Stories, you get valuable clues as to what sells and what doesn’t.
Ask your followers a question by creating a poll. Customize your answer choices, then post it on Instagram Stories. As soon as the poll ends, you get to see how many chose A over B, this over that.
This feature not only lets you engage with your followers in a fun way, it also allows you to do some simple consumer research before launching a product or service.
5. Invest in sponsored Instagram Stories
Just like old school marketing, you have to spend some to gain some. If you want to expand your reach beyond just hashtags and geotags, you’ll have to invest in sponsored Stories.
You can tell which are sponsored, as these are labeled as such in the upper left corner under the IG handle.
Sponsored Stories are available to accounts with business profiles. These Stories pop up between those from accounts you already follow.
And, when used correctly, sponsored Instagram Stories can have a huge, positive, and lasting impact on your brand.
Think of it like direct marketing. You’re sure to get views and reach your target market because your sponsored Story automatically appears on their feeds. And just like other forms of paid advertising, you can instantly see how your Story performs by viewing its metrics and learning from them.
And speaking of metrics, Instagram also conveniently shows you statistics at the end of your campaign to help your marketing efforts.
6. Learn, adjust, and improve with reach and impressions
Numbers are everything, and this is especially true with Instagram Stories. Two important metrics you can measure are reach and impressions.
Reach is the number of people from your target market who viewed your ad, while impressions are the number of times people viewed your Story. You’ll want to keep an eye on both and make sure they’re performing at their best.
See a decrease in your brand’s reach? You can address that by improving your hashtags and geotags, investing in sponsored Stories, or even tagging some of your favorite followers when necessary.
Don’t underestimate the pull of influencers. They’re there for a reason!
Notice a drop in impressions? You should explore the different ways you can make Stories fun and make your followers want to watch again and again and again.
Maybe take a look at what your favorite accounts are doing and check on your competitors. Watch, take notes, and apply the elements that you think will work for your brand.
There are lots of techniques, and sometimes it’s as simple as making your content relevant to current trends and events. Or, as mentioned in tip #3, use a photo editing app to improve the look and quality of your posts and give them that distinct Instagram feel.
7. Master the dance of taps back, taps forward, and exit rates
Instagram Stories that are engaging usually demand a rewatch. You can see this with the number of “taps back” you get on your Story. The higher the number, the more your target market just had to go back and watch again.
“Taps forward” are the exact opposite. People tapping forward or next on your Story means they couldn’t wait to move on. Or, you could’ve placed clickable stickers too close to the right side of the screen.
Either way, taps forward are negative and require your immediate attention.
Ideally, you’ll want to create Stories with high tap back instances and low exit rates. This is why you have to make sure your series of Stories for the day are coherent, engaging, and interactive.
If a Story doesn’t excite you, chances are it won’t excite your followers, either.
Ready? Now it’s your turn to tell YOUR Story
Instagram is a great place to explore, for marketers and regular users alike. And withStories, brands get the unique opportunity to interact with potential customers, give sneak peeks of upcoming projects, and convert sales—all in one convenient place.
Now it’s your turn to unleash your creativity. Armed with these 7 practical tips, go wild, have fun, and use all available tools to take your brand to places traditional advertising won’t.
Before you know it, you’ll be creating Instagram Stories that resonate with your target market.
And remember, it all starts with a good Story.
About the Author: Mikey Blanco is a Community Outreach Specialist for Instasize, a free-to-use content creation tool available on iOS and Android. He keeps himself busy by connecting and collaborating with other brands, sites, and influencers. A geek at heart, he spends the rest of his time reading up about random bits of information and playing video games. Reach him at [email protected]