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August 26, 2019
The Stories feature on both Instagram and Facebook has gotten extremely popular recently. This is a way to provide compelling yet short-lived content for your audience that’s highly visible.
Snapchat introduced the Stories feature several years ago. However, both Instagram and its parent company Facebook adopted it and quickly surpassed Snapchat. Instagram alone has 500 million active monthly Stories users. There are several reasons this feature is so powerful.
Let’s look at some of the best ways to maximize your results when marketing with Stories.
Stories are effective for grabbing your audience’s attention. Once you have this, however, it’s up to you to keep them interested. No matter what your Story is about, you should always end it with some type of call to action. You can only add links to Stories if you have at least 10,000 followers or a verified account. However, even if you can’t use links, you can still suggest that people visit your landing page, blog, video, or anywhere else. Even if you’re just creating a check-in type Story to say hello to your followers, you may as well send them somewhere while you have their attention.
Stories are the ideal platform to benefit from the power of influencers. Stories are designed to be spontaneous and timely. Turning the platform over to someone whom your followers admire is a powerful way to build engagement. The key is to partner with someone who’s a good match for your brand. Don’t expect influencers on Instagram or Facebook Stories to spend all their time pitching your products. This type of marketing works best when it comes across as spontaneous and authentic.
As noted, Stories are largely about visuals. That’s why you should do everything possible to make them as attractive and eye-catching as possible. One way to do this is to add stickers. Both Instagram and Facebook provide many colorful and striking filters and other visual effects to let you customize your presentations.
You can add a variety of stickers that are basically emojis to express whatever mood you want to communicate. Face filters are a popular feature that can make your Stories funny or outlandish. You can also adjust the background colors. Keep in mind that you should stay true to your brand. With so many effects and filters to choose from, it’s easy to get carried away. If your image is generally formal and professional, wacky cat-themed face filters might be more confusing than entertaining to your followers. However, such features can help you customize your Stories and express a variety of feelings and moods.
Hashtags are an important Instagram feature that helps you attract a wider audience. You can incorporate hashtags into your Stories as well as timeline posts. Hashtag stickers make it easier for people interested in this topic to find you. You can also create your own hashtags, which is a good strategy if you’re holding a contest or promoting a new product. Location tags work in a similar manner if you want to attract a local audience.
Polls are a fairly new feature for both Facebook and Instagram Stories. Running a poll is a good way to find out what your followers are thinking. People always enjoy expressing their opinions. You can use polls for demographic research. You can also poll your audience just for fun on popular topics such as sporting events, TV shows, and celebrities. Try to avoid controversial or divisive issues unless discussing these is part of your branding strategy.
As opposed to Facebook Stories, Messenger Stories (which were originally called Messenger Day) can only be created and accessed via mobile apps. If you’re active on Messenger, it’s worthwhile to create Stories specifically for this platform. You can control who sees your Stories on your privacy settings.
There are many benefits to creating Stories as organic content. However, if you want to boost your efforts and quickly gain a wider viewership, you can invest in advertising. On Instagram, Story ads appear in between organic Stories. This is actually an advantage as it makes the ads seem more natural and harder to distinguish from organic Stories. One benefit of marketing with Stories ads is that you can add links to them (as we noted, you can only do this in organic Stories if you have 10,000 or more followers or a verification badge).
When creating Stories ads, make sure you conform to the specs set by Stories. If you already advertise with Facebook or Instagram, you can easily convert your feed ads to Stories ads without doing any extra work. This, however, isn’t the best approach as your images may get distorted to fit the Stories format. Text may also get truncated to fit the 190 character limit. It’s better to take a little time to create ads specifically for Stories so they fit the format properly.
Instagram has recently added interactive Stories ads which let you add polls to your ads. Instagram reports that in beta tests, polling stickers caused beta testers to spend more time watching video ads.
Whatever techniques and features you use with Instagram and Facebook Stories, make sure you stay true to the concept. That is, the idea is to actually tell stories that are interesting and engaging. Here are some overall guidelines to keep in mind.
Scenic Road is a content and video production agency that helps you build your brand using authentic storytelling. To learn more about our services, contact us.
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