August 26, 2019

Tips for Marketing with Stories on Instagram and Facebook

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.

The Benefit of Creating Stories

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.

  • Stories appear at the top of members’ pages. While posts are easy to miss on busy timelines, Stories are hard to miss.
  • Stories rely mainly on visual content, which is proven to attract more engagement than text.
  • You can use Stories as organic content or advertising.
  • As the name suggests, you can use this feature to tell your own story.
  • Short-lived content is compelling for its timeliness and urgency.

How to Get the Most Out of Stories

Let’s look at some of the best ways to maximize your results when marketing with Stories.


Drive Traffic to Other Content

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.

Leverage the Power of Influencer Marketing

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.

Make Your Stories Sparkle With Filters

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.

Use Hashtags in Your Instagram Stories

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.

Poll Your 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.

Create Facebook Messenger Stories

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.

Invest in Stories Ads

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.

Use Stories to Tell Your Story

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.

  • Keep learning about your audience. Take your cues from the responses you get. Focus on topics that your followers care most about.
  • Authenticity is more important than technical perfection. You don’t need to spend hours setting up your presentation as you might for a corporate video. You want to have interesting visuals and be clearly heard, of course. Beyond this, however, it’s fine to create Stories off the cuff without a polished script or perfect camera angles. People will be more impressed with an honest and authentic approach.
  • Be consistent. Check your own Instagram or Facebook feeds. You probably recognize certain names at the top, people who post Stories consistently. Posting regularly helps you attract a larger and more loyal following.
  • Actively encourage engagement. Don’t simply talk to your audience. Ask people what they think and encourage them to reply. Give them a choice of ways to contact you or submit their own contact as not everyone likes to reply directly to Stories.

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.