How Brands Can Take Advantage of Instagram Stories

Opinion: When designing your ads, it is important to catch your audience's’ eyes quickly

NASA uses its Instagram Stories to share behind-the-scenes footage
NASA/Instagram

Once Instagram launched Stories in August 2016, the feature spread like wildfire. As of November 2017, Instagram Stories topped 300 million daily users.

Instagram Stories offer social marketers a great opportunity to reach a higher number of people by taking advantage of one of the fastest-growing social networks.

Instagram has reported that Stories have encouraged users to stay on the platform longer and visit it more frequently. Users under 25 spend more than 32 minutes per day on Instagram, while those in the older age groups spend more than 24 minutes a day on the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network.

You have 10 to 15 seconds to show up to 300 million people your product or service: What would you like them to see that would boost conversions?

Here’s how you can get started:

Take advantage of polls within Instagram Stories

Instagram launched a feature last October that allows users to add interactive polls to their Stories. These polls are a fun, frictionless way to get your audience engaged and hear their thoughts on any and all topics. By having the opportunity to get your audience’s two cents on a point or decision, you could save your brand time, money and energy.

On Travel Tuesday last November, Airbnb asked its followers to participate in a poll. As simple as it looks, it is both professional and well-structured.

Airbnb took advantage of content generated by followers or other Instagram channels. This way, it kills two birds with one stone. Airbnb engages with its followers’ content, and the task of creating a Story becomes easier by just taking already existing content.

Darian Kovacs of Jelly Marketing predicted that brands will focus on audience engagement and user-generated content with more accountability and measurable metrics to boost conversion on Instagram, and boy, was he right.

Influencers and brands alike have seen an increase in Instagram Live and Stories engagement after employing polls since the feature’s inception. Using Instagram Insights, they can track engagement per post or entire feed activity per time period. Third-party tools like Cyfe, meanwhile, are great for benchmarking own audience growth against that of competitors.

Use links in your Stories to increase sales, generate leads and gain traffic

One of the incredible essences of social media is the intimate connection brands can form with their followers. Stories (Snapchat or Instagram) have taken the opportunity for connection one step further. However, if your brand isn’t capitalizing on the attention it gets from Stories, then the connection is wasted. The easiest way to do that is through direct links.

One of the best things about Instagram Stories for business, and what sets them apart from Snapchat, is the ability to tag and link.

Brunch Boys uses both the “swipe up” function for verified users and the tagging feature by highlighting the restaurants where they eat.

With this amazing feature, you can link out to your own hosted content assets or, if you’re an ecommerce marketer, to product pages. Using BigCommerce’s buy button, you can even use an “add to cart instantly” type of call to action. All your followers have to do is swipe up on your stories and get redirected to your preferred URL.

Marketers can link to lead-generation forms from their respective email marketing software and boom, your email list is going off the roof.

Currently, this feature is only available to business profiles with more than 10,000 followers. You can use the alternative of writing a short URL, or just direct them to the link in your bio (which is ineffective).

It’s all about digital storytelling

One of the things the proliferation of Stories has proven is the value of real, uncut content in the eyes of audiences, so documenting your journey with Stories make your brand approachable.

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