Ever wondered how you can be included in the day-to-day lives of your target audience? The closest you can get with your customers digitally is through Instagram Stories. It was launched three years ago in 2016, and this feature has gained the hearts of people and businesses all around the world. It’s like a magic door for reaching out to your audience directly and in the most effective and fun way!
In today’s article, I am going to share how to use Instagram Stories to grow your business.
So What Are Instagram Stories? – A Short Introduction To A Giant Door Of Opportunities
Instagram Story is a short-lived content publishing feature on Instagram that allows the audience to view and interact with a piece of published content for 24 hours of posting.
It is an excellent space to:
- Showcase day-to-day life
- Give tips/tutorials regarding your product
- Engage with customers, take feedback
- Share behind-the-scenes stories with your followers
- Generate leads
- Answer queries
Check how Canva uses stories to educate their audience about their product:
Your Instagram Stories are snackable bites of content with which your audience can be educated, entertained, or attracted to fulfilling your business goals.
Why Instagram Stories Can Be Better Than Other Ads?
Consider this simple logic –
If given an option, will you “click” on an ad you saw online OR check out the funny behind-the-scenes post of a company? (followed by a trail of other mixed content that includes a purchase post).
I rest my case here. But in case you are not satisfied yet, let’s quickly view a few Instagram Story statistics that will convince you once and for all for why you need to prioritize Instagram Stories in your social marketing plan –
- 500 million users use Instagram Stories. Every. Single. Day. – Instagram internal data, January 2019
- 86.6% of Instagrammers post on Instagram Stories – The Preview App
- 60% of Millennials watch and post Instagram Stories – VidMob
- 1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Z-ers look for Stories of the products or services they want to buy – VidMob
- 51% of brands are using video on Instagram Stories, and it has better retention – Socialinsider
- One-third of the most-viewed Instagram Stories are from businesses – Instagram
The positive stats are endless – As you can see, there is a massive potential for you in the world of Instagram Stories. Now whether you are a corporate business selling expensive products or you run an online handmade goods store, or you provide fitness coaching – you have a place in Instagram Stories.
Okay, so, we figured that Instagram Stories are vital for marketing. But what next? How do we utilize this feature to its full potential?
Well, grab your pen and paper. I am going to give you a detailed guide on all the fantastic Instagram Story features that you can use. We will learn how to create story content, optimize the post, and measure the results of your efforts.
Before we start learning how to make an Instagram Story, let’s understand what GOALS we are trying to achieve with these Stories and HOW.
Goal 1 – Brand Awareness
How – By creating content relevant to your brand and industry, following design guidelines, promoting your brand, and the ecosystem around it.
Example: In the below example, Ritebite reshared a user-generated story hence promoting brand awareness.
Goal 2 – Engagement
How – By creating interactive content like polls and questions, initiating direct communications with your audience, holding giveaways, challenges, and competitions, by actively tagging and resharing user-generated content.
Goal 3 – Sales Or Signups
How – By using the ‘Swipe Up’ feature and product stickers to lead the audience into sales, promoting products and giving people a reason to buy, by actively and publicly answering questions of the audience.
Goal 4 – Communications
How – By addressing audience voice and queries, appreciating tagged posts by the audience, making an important announcement, sharing company goals or a social cause.
There can be more goals along with the ones mentioned above. It’s always great to keep the end goal in mind while taking on any marketing activity. Your Instagram Stories should be a healthy mix of multiple company goals. Each of these goals can be achieved through a specific type of post or a trail of mixed-and-matched posts.
After setting a goal for your Story, now is the time for the fun to begin! Let’s start creating Instagram Stories.
Step 1 – Create
With Instagram Stories, you can create a multi-sensory and multimedia experience for your audience by using texts, videos, audios, and clickable items. There are multiple features and several combinations to play with for creating an interactive story.
Let me quickly give you a visual idea of all the features Instagram Stories offer. Then we will talk about how to make an Instagram Story by combining and playing around with features to create your unique content.
- Live – Here, you can give live updates of events, or speak directly to your audience where they can respond over text. You can also showcase live testimonials, product usage, and much more. After the Live Session ends, you can choose to add this video to your Story.
- Create – This is my personal favorite. You have a blank space to work with and beautiful templates to get you started. You can add text, use interactive templates, as well as, conduct polls and quizzes!
- Normal – Here, you can add a picture or a video by either capturing from the camera or choosing from your gallery.
- Boomerang – This supercool short video format has taken over the world. Have fun creating Boomerangs with customers, office staff, and about everything that moves.
- Superzoom – When you need to add a bit of drama to your content, use this feature! I bet you can create great memes with Superzoom.
- Hands-Free – This is just another way of shooting videos for your Story. In normal mode, you need to hold the button to shoot the video whereas, in hands-free mode, you just have to tap the button once.
- Music – This latest feature has added another layer of awesomeness to Instagram Stories. Browse from the Instagram music library to add songs and other music to your Stories.
1. Filters – The Instagram Story is loaded with fun filters to make your posts attractive. And, the filter library keeps growing with regular updates. Make use of trending filters and create fun Stories for your profile.
2. Stickers – You have some interactive stickers and other plain stickers to choose from. Stickers will be an essential part of your Story.
3. GIFs – Instagram has integrated Giphy in its feature box, hence allowing you to add GIFs from a vast library. When you can say it with a GIF, why use words? 🙂
4. Draw – Use your basic drawing skills to make your post truly personalized. Write, draw, or simply highlight something!
5. Add Text – At last, use your words! You have a few options of fonts to choose from. You can select alignment as well as highlight your text.
Using Online Video Editor
Using templates on our online video editor is a great way to create truly unique content, tailor-made for your brand. When you are using Instagram for business, templates allow you to create your own identity as a brand and stand out from the very-crowded Instagram Story row.
Let’s quickly see how you can create beautiful Stories for your brand using our Instagram Story maker,even if you are a complete beginner.
1. On the home page, select “Pre-made Templates.”
2. Below the search bar, choose “Instagram Story.”
3. Select a template that suits your needs. By clicking on a template, you will be able to preview it before you start editing.
4. Click on “Use this template.”
5. You have now entered into one of the most customizable online video editors out there. Go nuts and make an awesome Instagram Story with minimum efforts.
Here, you can add videos and images from a library of 1M+ premium stock. You can change music, add stickers, filters, and overlays too.
After you have done all the required changes, click on “Preview & Export” from the top right corner of your screen. It will download an MP4 file, which is the most recommended Instagram Video format. It will take a couple of minutes to render and Voila! You are all set to share the video.
You have a host of Instagram business tools at your disposal. Identify the best ones for you and make full use of them.
Step 2 – Optimize
Now that you have your content ready let’s optimize the Story so it can help you reach a wider audience and achieve multiple goals.
1. Tag – Tagging relevant people or business profiles to your Story helps you attract their attention without actually contacting them. For example, if you are a travel influencer and are looking for brands to collaborate, tagging your target brands can help them discover you. It can be a small start to significant future collaborations.
2. Hashtags – People search for content on Instagram using hashtags. Hashtags can also be followed. Hence, if you want to come in the feed of your potential audience, use hashtags. Use community hashtags, location hashtags, acronyms, emoji hashtags, special event hashtags, or so. Doing hashtag research and finding the most used ones is totally worth it. Use 1-3 hashtags per Story.
3. Product Sticker – This is one of the essential tools for closing actual sales via Instagram stories. Instagram allows you to add a product link in the form of stickers by which your audience can directly go and purchase items. Post beautiful photos of your offerings and use product stickers to enable users to buy that product. Note that this option is available to accounts that are approved for Instagram Shopping.
4. Tag a Business Partner – This feature allows you to tag a business partner while doing a paid promotion for other brands. For example, if a travel influencer is doing paid content for brand ABC, he or she can tag brand ABC on the Story. The brand name will show up on the top left corner of the screen, below profile name. It allows the audience to know the content is sponsored.
5. Swipe Up – This feature allows you to add external links to your Story. Want to promote a blog or your website? Or do you want your audience to land on your sales page? Use the Swipe up feature. (Note – This feature is available to profiles with 10,000+ followers.)
6. Highlights – If your Story is a part of a more extensive campaign or a basket of content, make a dedicated highlight group under your profile, and add relevant stories to it. This way, you can keep the Story on your profile as long as you want to. Plus, it’s a great way to create a “carousel” of grouped content.
See how Hubspot does it:
Instagram Story FAQs To Keep In Mind
When Should You Post Instagram Stories?
While no enough study states the best time to post Stories, I would recommend you to post throughout the day on almost equal intervals. Remember to post your best content first. You can check out the insights section to find out when your followers are most active and put out the most energy there.
How Many Instagram Stories Should You Post?
It depends on the amount of content you have to share. 2-7 Stories per day is a decent choice; however, make sure they are made of quality content. Even if you post two Stories with quality content, it is fine.
How Long Are Instagram Stories?
Instagram video length can be a maximum of 15 seconds, but the ideal Instagram Story length depends on what is the goal of your Story. If you have a longer piece of content to share, divide them in bits of 15 seconds each and upload them in a series of Story. Shorter GIF-like stories can be 7-8 seconds.
What Is The Instagram Story Ads Dimension?
9:16 ratio is the perfect Instagram Stories dimension. That accounts to 1080px by 1920px. However, if your Instagram video dimensions are different from this, you can pinch in or out to fit it into the Story.
Can You Schedule Instagram Stories?
Yes, you can. You can use social media management apps like Later or Buffer (paid apps) to schedule Instagram ads and posts. You can use Facebook Creator Studio, too (available for free). Although please note that you cannot use some features like stickers for scheduled stories.
How Much Does Instagram Ads Cost?
Advertising on Instagram has proven to be an excellent ROI for marketers today. Depending on your budget and goals, you will be spending anywhere between 20 cents and $2 per click (CPC) or around $5 per 1000 visitors on the Cost Per Mile (CPM) method (source – InfluencerMarketingHub). The Instagram advertising costs you incur will be worth in no time as they are 2X more efficient as compared to other platforms.
Now that you have optimized your post, let’s see how you can promote your Instagram Stories ad to reach out to a broader audience.
Step 3 – Promote
There are several ways (organic & paid); you can promote your story content; within Instagram and beyond the app too. You want to make sure that you fetch maximum benefits from the piece of content that you have created. Here are a few ways through which you can promote Instagram Stories.
How To Advertise On Instagram Using Instagram Stories Ad?
Imagine you are reading a magazine, and you come across an ad in-between your regular content. It is blended so well into the material that it is difficult to tell apart the actual content and the paid advertisement. Instagram ad Stories feel quite similar to users. The Story ads are featured in-between a user’s regular story carousel giving you a much better completion rate. Like this:
You can design full-screen immersive stories and create an ad that targets a specific group of people at a particular time for a specific period.
Method 1 – Instagram Stories Ad On Facebook Ad Manager (2019)
- Select + Create New Campaign
- Choose your objective based on your marketing goals
- Click continue
- Fill the Audience details
- Edit Placements > Instagram > Stories
- Select continue
- Set ad budget and schedule
- Select Ad format- Single image/video or Carousel
- Add media, text, and links
- Set up tracking
- Select Confirm
- Make the payment
- Voila, done.
You can read about Instagram ads to know more.
You can preview this ad before you give it for review.
Method 2 – Stories Ad On Instagram App (2019)
- Upload the Story
- Click on three dots and click on Promote
- Select Destination – where to send people (profile, website or DM)
- Select your audience (automatic or create your own)
- Select your budget and duration of the promotion
- Preview promotion
- Click Create Promotion
Other Ways To Promote Your Instagram Story Content –
Share As Post – You can share your Story as a post too. If you receive substantial engagement from a particular story, it is a good idea to share as a post and include it in your feed permanently.
Send As Direct Message – You can either send the Story to your followers individually or create groups based on several factors like gender, age, etc. The time is taken to make these groups will pay off when you can reach out to a specific type of people via a post that requires a particular target audience.
Repurpose – Since these stories are downloadable, you can easily use this content to post on other media like WhatsApp. The only downside is that they will not be interactive as they are within Instagram.
Step 4 – Measure
How To Measure Instagram Stories Analytics:
Instagram Insights – To see a general overview of your Instagram profile performance, go to Profile > Insights. Here you can view the performance of both posts and stories.
Instagram Story Insights – To track in-depth analytics of individual stories, click on the Story, swipe up to view a list of statistics for interactions (engagement), and Discovery (reach). If you have posted interactive stories (the one with the question or poll sticker), you will also be able to view answers and votes.
Creative Studio – If you have a creator profile on Instagram, you will be able to access more in-depth analytics via Facebook Creative Studio. All you need to do is connect your Instagram with Facebook page. Visit Creative Studio to set up your Creative Studio for Instagram.
Third-Party Services – You can use social media management apps like Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule, SproutSocial, or so to schedule and post Instagram stories. These apps give you an advanced level of analytics and insights which enable you to fine-tune your social media strategy further.
Here Are Some Of The Types Of Content You Can Put On Story
- Events – Office parties, promotions, traditions, Holiday parties, launch, etc.
- Day In The Life Of.. – record a day of designer or writer or CEO – anyone who’s day makes a good story.
- Behind The Scenes – show processes, photoshoots, people in action, etc.
- Product Announcement/Update – create countdowns before launch, declare limited period launch offers, collaborate with people for launch, etc.
- Discounts – share giveaways, discounts, offers against some type of effort from the audience like mentioning you in their Story.
- How-To – share product how-to’s, tips, or tricks relevant to your industry, etc.
- Journey – show the journey of your company, product, or campaign.
- Polls & Questions– conduct polls, collect feedback using the stickers.
- Humor – share memes and jokes related to your industry.
- Social Cause – share how your company is making an impact with social causes – as simple as banning plastic teacups from office or a tree plantation day.
Instagram Stories Tips
1. Thoughtful Layout
Your goal is to stand out from the crowd and yet maintain a brand theme. Make thoughtful choices while designing your story layout. While creating Stories ad, keep the Instagram ad size as 9:16 for the best results.
2. Give An Inside Scoop
Instagram Story is a place where you can truly give an inside scoop of your company and personally connect with the audience. Everyone wants to know the real, unedited face of people and companies. Share processes, behind-the-scenes, heart-to-heart conversations, and anything that allows you to connect as a human.
3. Adding Multiple Hashtags Invisible Trick
A secret tip to add multiple hashtags on your Story without disturbing your image is by using the dropper tool to select the text color and blending the hashtag with the background. It’s pretty simple. See the video below:
4. Use FOMO To Your Advantage
People want to see what they don’t have yet. Share pictures of experience they haven’t had but would love to have – as fancy as a team dinner on a yacht or as simple as a planned surprise birthday celebration of your boss or colleague. Something they can repeat in their own lives and at their own workplace.
Instagram Stories have gained the attention of marketers all over the world. If you are not using it for your company, you are missing out! I hope you are thoroughly prepared to create, promote, and measure your Instagram Stories with our detailed guide.
Learned something more about Instagram Stories that you want to share? Comment below.