An Introduction to Instagram Stories and Why It’s Big News for Marketers
Instagram Stories can essentially be summed up as Instagram’s attempt to jump on the SnapChat gravy train. These are photos that Instagram account holders can take and share with their users but which will ‘self-destruct’ after one hour, rather than being saved to that user’s grid.
This might seem like small or unexciting new feature for the platform but actually, it represents a bold step into the future for Instagram and a massive opportunity for marketers.
Why Instagram Stories Matter
Instagram Stories essentially give you a new way to communicate with your audience that is a lot more direct and immediate, which will right away help you to increase engagement with your audience.
This is because it makes your audience feel much more as though you are talking to them directly. By sharing a photo that they know you have only recently uploaded, they feel almost as though they are being ‘brought along for the ride’ and almost as though they are there with you.
What’s more, is that the temporary nature of the content will make it immediately more exciting because it will be time-limited. That means that if your viewers don’t check it out quickly, then they will risk missing it entirely!
Another thing to consider about Instagram Stories, is that they will appear right at the top of your viewer’s feed – thereby ensuring that they will be much more likely to see it.
How to Make Your Instagram Stories Successful
So, the question is: how do you go about making your Instagram Stories successful? What is the secret to doing this well?
Perhaps the biggest challenge for many creators will be in knowing when to use Instagram Stories and when to upload photos as usual.
One way to think about this is to consider the difference between content that perfectly embodies your brand, versus content that you want to share with your current fans directly.
Because sometimes, you might want to share a joke or a photo of your day with your fans. Letting your followers feel as though they are getting to know you is a great way to increase trust and brand loyalty and especially if you have a ‘personal brand’.
But the problem with this, is that it doesn’t really say much about who you are or what your business is all about. Thus, you might not really want it to appear as a permanent inclusion to your ‘grid’.
The question to ask yourself then is: would you be happy with this particular photo being the first impression that a visitor has of your brand? If the answer is no, then perhaps it is better suited for your Instagram Stories.
And then there are the other options that Instagram Stories give you: the option to create live videos for instance, or to make ‘boomerangs’ which are essentially short repeating videos much like GiFs. All of these provide you with new ways to more directly and personally reach out to your followers.