Instagram is the sixth most popular social media network in the world, boasting an upward of 1 billion active users. In Singapore, it’s the fourth social network after YouTube, Facebook and WhatsApp, having attracted 59% of the total population in Singapore (that’s about 3.4 million active users).
Its popularity and the rate at which it’s growing makes it a key social media marketing channel for the digital marketers in Singapore.
It’s also one of the platforms where the competition to be heard or get noticed in a slew of other content is becoming even stiffer.
So how do you make your Instagram stories more distinct and influential?
The point is to focus on catching the eyes of your audience as quickly as you possibly can through the Instagram stories you create.
About Instagram Stories
Instagram stories were officially launched in August 2016, and the feature spread like a conflagration. Speaking of which, in just a year, the feature had managed to attract an upward of 300 million active users.
What the feature basically does is proliferate the number of people you’re able to reach by taking advantage of the world’s fastest growing social network, Instagram.
According to Instagram, their story feature encourages the bulk of its users to stay on the platform for longer, in addition to visiting it more frequently. In which case, users under the age of 25 years have been reported to stay on the platform for an average of 32 minutes per day, while their older counterparts spend about 24 minutes a day on the Facebook-owned, photo-and-video-sharing network.
Now, assuming you’re given 10 to 15 seconds to showcase your products and services to 300 million people, what would you do? You want to make sure that you’re converting the bulk of the users you attract into buying customers.
Here are some important primers on how to get started and achieve this one essential feat:
Leverage Polls with Instagram Stories
Not long ago, Instagram made it possible to add interactive polls into your Instagram stories. For those who’ve had a chance to use the feature before, you’ll agree the polls are complete fun and a frictionless way to engage your audience and share your thoughts on any topic. Even better, the feature gives you the opportunity to let your followers share their point of view, which can go a long way to save your business loads of time, energy, and money when conducting a poll.
The feature looks simple, but it’s as professional as you’d want it to be. Not long ago, Airbnb decided to conduct a simple poll using the feature and the practice was outstanding and very effective to their course, as reported by them.
All that Airbnb had to do was take advantage of follower-generated content and a series of other Instagram channels. More like killing two birds with one stone. They simply chose to engage with their followers’ content and then use the responses generated to create Instagram stories. It never becomes this simple.
Audience engagement matters a great deal in social media marketing. And one sure way to come up with engaging stories and posts is by leveraging user-generated content, which goes at length to ensure there’s accountability and that you’re getting measuring metrics that you’ll be using to boost your conversion on the platform.
So many influencers and brands have reported seeing an upsurge in their Instagram Live and Stories engagements ever since the polls were pioneered. With Instagram Insights, many of these brands were also able to track their engagement per post, as well as their entire feed activity for a given stretch of time.
Worth mentioning are a slew of third party tools such as Cyfe, with which brands were using to benchmark their own growth against that of their competitors. That way, they were able to figure out effective ways on how to improve their Insta stories for better conversion.
Integrate Links in the Stories to Increase Your Sales, Generate More Traffic, and Ramp up the Number of Leads
One of the most incredible essences of taking advantage of social media is the connection it allows you to to make with your followers. It’s for this reason that Instagram and Snapchat decided to take their social media connection a notch higher, and the results were incredible.
It’s to be however noted that in order for you to fully capitalize on the benefits of connecting to your Instagram followers, you have to come up with a way to cash in on the attention you’re getting. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting the connection.
First, learn how to tag and link. If anything, that’s what sets Insta stories miles apart from Snapchat’s. While it’s possible to capitalize on the attention you’re getting from Instagram through the stories feature, Snapchat offers limited opportunity on how to work your way around it.
With Instagram, you even have the option to link your stories with your own self-hosted content or if you’re an e-commerce trader, even link it directly to your products and drive massive sales.
It gets even better if you’re using BigCommerce. With this option, you can directly add a buy button to your Instagram stories or a “add to Cart Instantly” kind of CTA. Your followers can then swipe up to be redirected to your product page to take action. How effective.
The feature also allows marketers to link to lead-generation forms using a wide range of email marketing software. This is particularly useful if you’re looking to grow your email list and get even more of the followers you attract to take action.
The only limitation with this feature is that it’s only limited to business profiles with an upward of 10, 000 followers. So before you even think of taking advantage of it, it’s important that you start by working on your profile first.
Also, while at it, you have the option to use a shortened URL or redirect your users to a link on your bio, which has proven to be an even more effective option.
Run Instagram Contests
Ever thought of hosting a contest? Well, look no further than Instagram stories. They are absolutely fun, right from the announcing part to the part where the contest will be going live, all the way to the countdown leading to the winner announcement.
Instagram makes contents more entertaining and effective. It does this by adding a lot of value to it, all with the sole aim of getting your audience hooked in right from the start to the end of the contest when you’ll be announcing the winner.
However, before you rush to start an Instagram contest, it’s crucial that you dedicate a few minutes to understanding the basic rules of running one. Otherwise, there’s the risk of wasting your time and effort in setting up the contest, only to have it taken down by Instagram for violating some of their rules and policies.
In quick highlights, Instagram demands that the contest be accompanied by all the rules, terms and eligibility requirements for participating. Also, the platform demands that you make it known that the contest is in no way sponsored by Instagram.
Instagram contests don’t get flagged down so often, but you’re better off erring on the side of caution than taking unnecessary risks.
That being said, here are some pointers on how to make the contests you run on Instagram more effective:
Use Branded Hashtags
Every contest you run should be accompanied by a branded hashtag which will be helping you track conversations and giveaway entries.
Whatever you do, simple logic demands that you avoid using generic hashtags such as #contest, which makes it impossible to track your entries as there’s a stronger possibility of there being thousands of contests using the same hashtag.
Use them both
A perfect example of a catch 22 – while using generic hashtags makes it quite impossible for you to track your contests, you might want to use them because they help to increase visibility. You want your contests to show up whenever someone searches for them online. So why NOT use both of them?
All you’re required to do is to separate them from brand-specific hashtags using line breaks. You can start by listing your contest-related info, perfectly blending it with your branded hashtags, after which you can go ahead and list all your generic hashtags at the nether-end of the post.
Using Stunning Graphics, Photos, and Videos
Instagram promotions do so much better with stunning visuals. Whatever you do, use your creativity to make the graphics you use more engaging and eye-catching.
Poorly done graphics like those made with Microsoft paint aren’t going to draw in more followers. So make a point to invest in a good graphic designer if you lack the technical expertise to pull one off.
Give Out Relevant Prices
The price you give must be directly related to your brand or industry of operation. Don’t settle for a prize simply because you’re convinced it will be attracting more entries.
The point is to attract high-quality entries, NOT just entries. You want to make sure that the entries you attract are somehow interested in your brand or the products or services you’re offering to consider taking an action at the end of it all.
Make the Entry Process a Cinch
You want your users to have an easy time entering the contest. So start by cutting off all the unnecessary requirements in a bid to give many of your brand followers a chance to participate in it.
Use User Generated Content for Entry
Cut the entry requirements of your contest by simply opting for User Generated Content where users are only required to produce a piece of content as a requirement for entering the contest. Nothing out of the ordinary, something simple like the users submitting a photo of anything that’s related to your brand. For instance, they can take a photo with your logo in it or with one of your products and so forth.
Don’t run the contest for far too long. If anything, a week is enough to get more people to discover the contest and participate in it. Anything longer than that is more likely to bore your users or leave the bulk of your followers to procrastinate until the end, with a stronger possibility of them losing interest along the way.
Take advantage of Stickers
Stickers are the simple photos that you pin on your photos and videos. They are meant to add an extra dimension to them, thus making them even more interesting.
The best part is that there’s nothing complicated about adding them to your photos or videos. On reflection, all you have to do is upload the photos or video the usual way and afterward tap on the folded smiley at the top of your screen. The sticker menu will pop up for you to select your choice of sticker.
After you select a sticker the next thing you do is pinch it to either increase or reduce the size. You can then move it all around your screen and press it until a pin button appears. Tap it and ta-da! You’re done adding a sticker to your Instagram stories.
Add Highlights to Your Instagram Stories
Highlights are the stories you select so that they can stay beyond the standard 24-hour lifespan you’ve set.
There’ll come a time when you’ll create a story you certainly love. This is a story that you want to stay for longer. By highlighting it, not only will you be extending its lifespan, you’ll also be making it simple enough to be seen.
To highlight a story, just create an Instagram photo or video the usual way. Once done, go ahead and add it to your story, after which you can open it and tap on the HIGHLIGHT feature at the bottom-right corner of the page. The next thing you do is press NEW and name the content before adding it to reel on your profile.
Let’s Wrap Up it All Here
Instagram stories aren’t fading away in the near future. They’re here to stay, for the foreseeable future on the very least.
As a brand, you might want to leverage the platform’s popularity so you can drive more customers and find more advocates for your brand. Use it, and while at it, make a point to make the most out it.
To those looking to take their Instagram stories to the next level, why NOT make good use of the talented team at MediaOne? All you have to do is contact them with your query and they’ll be glad to respond to your request. Simple huh… let’s chat.