Stories are a big deal on Instagram.

 

They’ve been around since 2016, and despite many of us predicting they’d never succeed (because we were *all* too dedicated to our beloved Snapchat, #RIP), well, they did — and boy-oh-boy, have they become an important and crucial channel for social media and digital marketing success.

 

Here are some stats for y’all (according to Hootsuite):

 

  • 500 million people use Instagram Stories, daily.
  • 200 million users will visit at least 1 business profile, daily.
  • ⅓ of the most-viewed stories on Instagram are from businesses. #wow
  • 50% of our Instagram audience ‘hangs’ in stories. 
  • 64% of Instagram users will trust brands who humanise themselves via social media, and will consequently grow loyal towards them. Thus, showing your face on socials is *so* important.

 

Those are some pretty powerful stats, but the best part? It’s actually *super* easy to implement a strategic Instagram Stories strategy.

 

Here are some of our top tips.

 

Plan out your stories in advance (but leave yourself some wriggle room!)

 

Taking a strategic approach to Stories is often overlooked. Each day, we watch influencers and brands post a bunch of stories that seem, well, candid.

 

Truthfully, though? A successful approach to stories involves time, effort and *lots* of planning and forward-thinking, just like the content we post to our feed. Although recording on-the-go can be a fantastic way to show your followers footage in real-time, planning your Stories in advance will ensure you’re always providing your followers with new, valuable and exciting content (and will also reduce the likelihood of you sharing content you’ve already touched on).

 

But, with that being said, it’s no secret that social media is constantly changing. Leaving a few gaps throughout the week for you to talk to last-minute topics that have surfaced will keep your Stories relevant and fresh. (For example, plan out stories for 5 days per week, and leave 2 days for last-minute content and updates).

 

We’re *so* quick to curate a schedule for our feed posts, so we should absolutely be doing the same when it comes to Stories.

 

Interactive stickers encourage engagement (and Instagram *luuurves* that)

 

Encouraging your followers to engage with your Stories is a fantastic algorithm buster, and a great way to prompt their engagement? Add stickers to your Stories! (For example, Polls, Questions, Quizzes, Sliders).

 

Instagram takes note of your engaged followers and will continue to prioritise your content at the top of their feed, every time you post (because they know your engaged followers truly care about your content). #score

 

Not only do interactive stickers work in your favour, but they work in the favour of your followers, too. Asking them questions about themselves or for any recommendations they might have (ie. If you’re looking for a small Melbourne-based florist to order a birthday gift from, ask them if they have any recommendations!) will show your followers you care and are interested in getting to know them.

 

And ultimately? They’ll love you for that.

 

Say, ‘Hey!’

 

It’s no secret that Instagram users *adore* watching humans on their screens. In fact, according to a stat I mentioned at the beginning of this blog post, 64% of users are more likely to grow loyal towards a humanised brand on social media. Cool, right?

 

A really great example of showing up on socials and reaping incredible results is Clare, from @bonmaxie. Clare shares incredible BTS footage of owning a business as a mum, while working alongside her partner. Her followers have grown so very loyal, and her social results are proof of exactly that! — Seriously though, check out the number of comments she receives on her posts and watch her following grow exponentially every month, as a result.

 

So, my key takeaway for this one? Show your face on Stories. Say hello to your audience. Show them who you are and give them a little insight into your day-to-day. They’ll love getting to know the human behind the brand.

 

Creating value via Stories Highlights

 

Stories Highlights are the *perfect* way to guide new followers around your biz. I personally like to view Highlights as an ‘easily accessible, virtual tour of your business’.

 

Here are my tips when it comes to Highlights:

 

  1. Create strong, yet simple titles for your Highlights — If you’re a florist (not sure where the flower theme has come from, but hey, I’mma continue to roll with it), some great Highlights could include: Flowers, Order, FAQ, BTS.
  2. Update your Highlights frequently — Ensure the content in your Highlights is always relevant. If content is no longer relevant? Say #byebye and get rid of that irrelevant bad boi.
  3. Don’t make your highlights too spam’y. Keep them short (with less than 10 stories per highlight — except maybe for your FAQ or BTS Highlights) and sharp. Nobody wants to watch 5,000 outdated stories, let’s be real.

 

Personally, I find that I’ll check out a brand’s Highlights when I’ve first learnt about them. Stories Highlights have become a great first touchpoint for me, as a consumer, so I love being able to learn everything about a brand via their Highlights, rather than scrolling through the entirety of their feed in order to find the information I need.

 

Use your Highlights to provide newbies with all the information they need at a quick, first glance.

Simple? Yes. Effective? Also yes.

 

Don’t forget to sell, sell, sell!

 

All too often, I see brands prioritising ‘sales-y’ posts in their feed, while using Stories solely for BTS content.

 

I get it, it always seems like Stories are for the casual content, the candid content. Yet, with 50% of our audience hanging out in Stories, it kinda seems a little counterproductive to ignore your offerings when sharing Stories.

With so many people tapping on Stories rather than scrolling through the feed, it’s important to remind your followers about your products / services.

 

Give them calls-to-action (Eg. Tap our #linkinbio to shop — or if you have 10k+ followers, make use of that handy ‘Swipe up’ function) and share your launches, sneak peeks and special offers on Stories, too!

 

I love creating Instagram Stories. They’re fun, they empower followers to engage with you (even if they don’t engage with the Stories themselves, they’ll often send through a DM following up on something you shared — it’s pretty darn awesome!) and they’ll keep your social presence exciting.

 

If you’re looking to get started on improving your Stories presence, we shared a 30-day video shyness (aka. Showing up on Stories) challenge a few months back to help you get started.

 

Give it a crack and let us know how you go!

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