Getting the Most Out of Your Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories, introduced in 2016, has grown massively on the platform and is being used more by users in comparison to their feed posts. The popularity of Instagram Stories is evidenced by the fact that Instagram Stories have more than 500 million daily users, with 1/3 most-viewed stories being from business accounts.

Stories appear for 24 hours and can be used to achieve business growth in a variety of ways. Not only can stories help you increase the number of your real Instagram followers, but they’re also extremely useful in driving engagement, building awareness about your business, and can even result in sales conversions. The resulting increase in the number of your Instagram followers can translate into more Instagram likes for your account and the growth of your business.

Knowing how you can best utilize Instagram Stories for your business to get the most of this Instagram feature is crucial, and here’s your guide to getting it right.

Have an Instagram Stories strategy in place

A strategy for your Instagram Stories can help you control and put into effect several ways of using Instagram Stories to optimize your business reach and growth. Posting between 1 – 7 stories each day has been found to achieve greater story completion rates of over 70% as compared to a greater number of stories. Posting consistently to build relationships with your viewers at the times that they’re most active is necessary to see a rise in the number of your real Instagram followers and get more Instagram likes. Your Instagram Stories strategy should focus on the following areas:

Using Instagram Stories to drive sales

Stories can be used to grab viewers’ attention, get them interested, achieve a sales conversion, and see a growth in the number of loyal customers your business has. Sales conversions can happen through stories in several ways. Even if you haven’t got 10k Instagram followers, product stickers, which are added as tags to particular items in your stories, can help your viewers shop for your products. Color and transparent variations of the product stickers also ensure that it goes well with any aesthetic of your Instagram Stories.

Adding links to your Stories can also be a massive growth driver and serve as a clear Call To Action for viewers to engage in. Whether you make use of text or give verbal instructions, asking viewers to “swipe up” is a great way to encourage conversions. Including “swipe up” motivating GIFs is also a great way to direct your viewers to the link. If you’ve got less than 10k Instagram followers, you can direct their attention to the clickable link in your bio through stories. Putting a countdown sticker in your Stories is also extremely effective if you’re looking to hype up product launches or other upcoming brand events. Viewers can even be encouraged to click on the sticker to stay informed of when the countdown ends.

Instagram Stories Ads are also an extremely effective way to drive business sales and can be targeted to the audience of your choice based on interests, location, demographics, and behavior. They also increase the likelihood of business growth by presenting your brand and its products/services to an already engaged audience.

Using Stories to showcase user-generated content and positive press can also be a great way to put out testimonials for your brand without letting the quality of the video/photo taken by users affect the aesthetic of your Instagram feed. Positive press showcased through Stories can, in turn, capture the interest of another viewer and get them interested in your brand, which could potentially result in a sale, furthering business growth.

Boosting engagement through Stories

Instagram Stories offer a great opportunity to engage with users and make it a more interactive experience, fostering a community sense. Authenticity is also maintained via the sharing of ‘behind the scenes’ footage and snippets from events hosted, leading to a sense of personalization.

Engagement can be boosted through several features of Stories. Polls can be used for viewers to choose between two options, questions can be sent in by viewers that are then answered, quizzes on interesting topics or even your brand can help arouse viewer curiosity, and even the use of emoji slider stickers can offer a sentiment reaction to a story posted. Chat stickers were also recently introduced to allow for a 32-participant chat forum to join the chat, which is a great way to get a focused group discussion going on a topic relevant to you or your business. Going live is another great way to increase engagement through Instagram Stories, not only because your Instagram followers are notified when you go live, but also because it gives them an opportunity to ask questions, make comments, and even engage in live discussions.

Getting more views through Stories

Hashtags and location tags can be included in stories to help your Stories be viewed by a larger audience. They can also be resized or blended into the background so as not to affect the overall aesthetic of the Story. Hashtags and location tags allow your Instagram Story to be viewed by more people by adding them to similar content posted by others. Location tags work well, especially for food and travel accounts, because people looking to travel to a place may just seek some inspiration from already existing content about the place. Posting consistently also helps to get more Instagram followers for your account, generate more Instagram likes for your posted content, and boost business growth.

Disclosing sponsored stories

Proper disclosure of sponsored content is necessary where there is a brand association, whether it is for a paid partnership or gifting. Disclosures can’t be hidden under other text/stickers, and need to be legible during the length of your story, in writing, as many verbal disclosures may go unheard by viewers who click on stories with the sound off. Disclosures not only help you meet the needed requirements, but are also beneficial to both parties involved in the brand association, increasing the likelihood of Instagram followers of each account ending up following the other account.

Scheduling Instagram Stories

Scheduling your Stories for Instagram can save you time and ensure you’re still consistent when it comes to Story postings. Several scheduling tools now make it possible for you to select the image/video you want to post as a story, plan your caption for it, as well as select the stickers you’d like to use with it and choose a date and time for when the posting should be made to your Instagram Stories. By carefully planning and scheduling your Stories, you’ll be able to ensure that your Instagram followers aren’t left wondering why you’ve suddenly gone quiet if you don’t have the time to make a Story, as the scheduling tool will do it for you.

Designing brand-aligned Instagram Stories

Your stories can communicate your brand’s personality, and so, having stories that align with your brand can be extremely helpful in putting across the impression you want. Design app templates, as well as Instagram’s very own built-in design tools, such as layout mode, numerous filters, brush tools, text options, GIFs, color picker, and even boomerang, can help to develop brand aesthetic aligned Stories on Instagram that can further business growth.

Using highlights the right way

Highlights on your profile on Instagram can help to save your Stories beyond just the 24 hours that they usually last, but that doesn’t mean you should be saving all your Stories to your Highlights. Typically, saving Stories that direct the most traffic to your website and other business links, Stories that include a Call To Action, or a shop-able link, should be saved as Highlights to allow viewers to access it even after 24 hours. Having a unique cover for your Highlights will also help to attract more Instagram followers and promote business growth by lending a unique brand aesthetic for your business that your viewers can’t help but be drawn to.

Use the right ‘Stories sizes’

The video/photo aspect ratio for Instagram stories is 9:16, while the maximum length of a video is 15 seconds, although Instagram does post longer videos to Stories as consecutive 15-second segments. The video or photo size requirement for Instagram Stories is 1080 x 1920 pixels. Adding text/stickers to stories while staying within the given blue lines allows the content to be visible to viewers.

Benefiting from Instagram Stories analytics

Insights can be generated for your Instagram Stories just as it can be for your posts, and making use of analytics on Instagram as well as insights from Analytics tools can give you access to information such as reach, impressions, exits, replies, taps back, profile visits, taps forward, follows, next story, shares, swipe away, and so much more. Insights from Instagram Stories analytics can help you evaluate your strategy and assess what’s working and what isn’t so that you can work towards improving your strategy and witness growth.