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Effective ways to use Instagram stories to engage audience

Jan 17, 2019 10:05:34 AM / by Krithika Ramani

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It wouldn’t be wrong to assume that Instagram is the fastest growing Social Media network today! The Stories feature on Instagram boasts of over 400 million daily active users, making it the best digital place to be for brands looking at social engagement as an important attribute. 

Instagram Stories allows users to post photos, videos and text that are available only for 24 hours after posting. This temporary nature of content allows people and brands to share more about themselves without the compulsion to fit into their Instagram account’s style and aesthetics guidelines. Most brands use Instagram Stories to promote themselves and build their audience. At the other end, Stories provide followers with good reasons to engage with brands and come back for more content, while creating a sense of urgency.

The benefits of Instagram Stories, when used well, include greater brand awareness, audience engagement and conversions. Whether you’ve used Stories before or not, read on to learn how you can implement it into your Social Media strategy, to create authentic, impactful content that drives attention and action.

Here’s how can you optimize the 24-hour window to engage better with your audience:

  1. Share an Inside Look into Your Brand

Indulge the curiosity of your audience by sharing Stories unique to your brand – behind-the-scenes, product showcases, unique use-cases, events, activities, expert interviews, and the likes. These will help in humanizing your brand, allowing you to better connect with your audience. We live in a world of instant gratification. Anything that is quick, easy to understand and avoids delays will be well received. Through Stories, show the creative process, create tutorials, share hacks and give your audience bite-sized educational and informational content that they will enjoy watching. Just keep it raw, informal and conversational.

  1. Use Polls, Emoji Ratings and Questions

Without a doubt, using interactive elements is one of the Instagram Stories best practices! The ‘Poll’ feature in Stories allows you, as a brand, to ask a question with two answer options. With this, you can seek the opinion of your audience, while they feel valued and more connected to your brand. Polls help brands understand their audience better and learn about their likes, preferences and inclinations, enabling them to craft content that resonates better with their audience. The Emoji Rating sticker serves a similar purpose, with the minor difference that the audience can answer a question in terms of a rating slider.

 The Questions feature allows a brand to interact directly with its followers, who can participate by direct messaging their questions or suggestions. Question-and-Answer Instagram Stories are good at highlighting multiple perspectives on a single topic, creating a more appealing experience for audiences. This is a great way to get customer feedback and can help you as a brand understand how followers and customers perceive the brand online. However, this will be effective only if the feedback cascades into improving products and identifying effective messaging tactics to win customers over. Creating quizzes is yet another brilliant Instagram Stories idea.  

All of these ultimately result in improved engagement.

  1. Add Hashtags, Location Stickers and CTAs

It takes time and effort to create good Instagram Stories. But how do you ensure that they receive due traction?

Hashtags are effective tools that help your content to be discovered by the larger Instagram Community. Incorporating Hashtags expands the reach of your Stories, ensuring that they get the views they deserve. You can also add customized hashtags to Stories through stickers or text.

Tagging a physical location in your Stories will make it appear based on the location of your viewers and will also help you to show up in more searches.

As a brand, you sure want people to engage with your Stories - to like, share and comment on them, or take a more committed action like making a purchase. In this context, using a CTA, or call-to-action button is worthwhile, as it tells people what to do next.

 Using Hashtags and Location stickers helps you build brand awareness while the use of CTAs betters the chances of conversions.

  1. Take the Video Route

Your Instagram Stories strategy is incomplete without the use of videos, considering its staggering domination over other forms of visual content. Instagram allows sharing recorded videos as well as live videos in Stories, so a brand can leverage both formats. Videos are a great way to showcase products, their manufacturing process or their actual usage, helping audiences learn about the brand’s offerings. Instead of focussing entirely on promoting products, keep building the narrative with an engaging conversation and show how your audience can benefit from your products. Your videos could also be exclusive interviews of industry experts or influencers and from events you host or participate in. Just remember to keep the videos compelling and unique.

  1. Go Live Often

Instagram Stories also allows for streaming a live broadcast real-time. This ‘Live’ feature has expanded significantly as an Instagram Stories strategy and is a great way to build relationships with the audience. Viewers can interact with a brand during a live session, so you, as a brand can address their questions or comments on the go. This makes it the perfect option for a real-time Question-and-answer session with followers.

  1. Encourage User Generated Content & Employee Generated Content

In the lookout for Instagram Stories ideas? Sourcing User Generated Content (UGC) and Employee Generated Content (EGC) and including them in Stories is a powerful way to forge better relationships with your audience. UGC often comes in the form of customer posts or testimonials that you’ve gotten permission to reshare in your brand’s Stories. EGC is a tad bit easier to obtain and could be in the form of company related or recruitment-based content, personal anecdotes, thought-leadership content, etc. Sometimes, just featuring your employees can be quite effective in giving your brand a relatable human face.

  1. Make Use of Story Highlights

Okay, the 24-hour window of Stories can be extended if you wish to! To make your Stories available to your viewers even after 24 hours, simply use the ‘Add to Highlights’ feature. With this, you can create various themed ‘Highlights’, and then add Stories to them. This will make the chosen Stories viewable on your profile in the ‘Highlights’ section and is a hack to breathe permanent life into your previously-fleeting Stories.

That’s seven best practices for Instagram Stories to effectively engage with your audience. Don’t forget to be authentic, get creative, tell a story and provide value. Make your visuals count and mind your text.

Summing up, Instagram Stories are here to stay. You are missing out on quite a lot if you haven’t made Stories a part of your Social Media Marketing strategy yet! Want to know more about how Wisoft uses Instagram Stories to help brands in Dubai engage better with their target audience? Drop us an email - contact@wisoftsolutions.com.

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Topics: Social Media Marketing

Krithika Ramani

Written by Krithika Ramani