Stories are one of Instagram’s unique updates, which has turned the popular platform into a full-fledged multimedia story-telling app.
A story is a series of image and video posts that you can connect to each other using hashtags. Posts within a story also have the ability to cross-post to other platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
As a marketer, this makes stories essential for your digital PR and marketing toolkit. Not only can you create compelling content that will engage your audience, but you can also measure the success of your efforts through the analytics platform Instagram provides.
Why Are People Emphasizing Stories On Instagram?
Instagram is the largest social media platform in the world, and it currently has 1.440 billion monthly active users. Increasing the company’s value and stock is regularly among the top ten most actively traded stocks on the New York Stock Exchange.
With that kind of market penetration, it’s no surprise that Stories was one of Instagram’s major focuses this year.
The app was redesigned from the ground up to be simpler and more streamlined and to feature larger images. It’s clear that Instagram’s team wanted to make the app more about sharing inspiring content and fewer about vanity metrics like ‘likes’.
Stories allow for a more intimate connection with your audience than ever before. Instead of just passively consuming content, you can engage with your audience by sharing relevant and interesting tidbits about yourself and your company. These could include the products you sell, your industry, or even your personal life struggles.
The Marketing Potential Of Instagram Stories
Before using Stories for your marketing plan, it’s important to understand its full potential. Just because you can post to Instagram Stories doesn’t mean you have to.
The app is highly compatible with smartphones and tablets, so you can theoretically reach a massive audience. Thanks to its 500 million monthly active users, Instagram is the perfect place to start your journey.
With that many people using it, you can be sure that there will always be at least a few interested in your content. The fact that Stories is free makes it a no-brainer for any business.
From a marketing perspective, it’s worth noting that Instagram is currently one of the most popular social media platforms globally. It operates in more than 200 countries and has 29 official language versions.
Based on the numbers alone, it’s clear that there’s an audience out there for just about anything. Whether you’re a tech startup, an influencer, or even a brand that wants to promote a new product, you can probably find an audience on Instagram. Just make sure that your content is relevant to their interests.
From a purely digital PR perspective, Stories is a goldmine. You can use the platform to post both regularly scheduled content as well as event-related content. The latter can include blog articles, videos from conferences and webinars, and more.
For example, if you’re a fashion brand that wants to highlight a special collection for Fall 2019, you can use Stories to post a roundup of the season’s trends and individual style guides for each product in the collection. This will allow your audience to follow your fashion journey and understand the trends you’re helping to pioneer.
How To Use Instagram Stories For Your Marketing Plan
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at how to use Instagram Stories for your marketing plan.
Create compelling content
Instagram’s biggest asset is its audience, meaning the content you put out there will have the greatest chance of success. That’s a good thing because you’ll never get the opportunity to speak to more people if you don’t take advantage of it.
When it comes to marketing on social media, content is everything. Without good content, all the likes in the world won’t do you any good. You need to make sure that your posts are interesting, well-written, and offer some value to your audience. With that comes a certain degree of originality, but you also want to ensure that you connect with and inspire your audience. That’s something that anyone can do.
To get started, simply create a blog post or draft an eBook and then use the popular blog publishing tool HubSpot’s blogging platform to get your content online. From there, you can continue to use the platform to grow and strengthen your audience.
Follow, engage, and interact with your audience
If you’ve ever been on Instagram, you probably know that you can add people you follow on the platform. Through this feature, you can see all the content they post, and if you choose to, you can also engage with them through direct messages. You can also use the platform to post updates regarding upcoming events you’re participating in or covering. As a general rule, you should try to post at least once every two weeks, although this could vary based on your content.
To get started, follow Instagram’s instructions and ensure you’re always interacting with your audience. If you want a greater impact and to be more influential on social media, consider becoming a popular influencer. However, ensure you’re not compromising your ethics by selling your influence or becoming a paid actor.
Use stories to their fullest
While regular Instagram posts generally have ten images, Stories posts can have as many as 30. That’s a significant difference, and it makes a fundamental difference in the way that you should approach using the app. Instead of simply posting to the best of your abilities, you can use the device’s limited dimensions to your advantage.
The important thing to do is make the most of what the platform offers. If you’re a fashion brand, consider using the additional page space to your advantage by displaying an outfit for each model.
If you run a business or brand and have a verified Instagram account, you can take advantage of the fact that people are more likely to trust and engage with you based on your account’s status. That’s a good thing because, with more than 500 million monthly active users, there’s certainly an audience for your product or service.
Analytics And Measurement
Last but not least, let’s discuss the platform’s analytics and measurement tools so that you can measure the success of your efforts.
Instagram is serious about making sure that its users have an engaging experience and that they always feel that their opinions, questions, and concerns matter. With that comes a dash of skepticism and a lack of trust in metrics and numbers.
Start Using Instagram To Your Advantage
To that end, Instagram provides three distinct metrics: reach, engagement, and frequency. The first and most basic one is reached, which measures how many people you reach with your content. The second one, engagement, measures how much you engage with your audience through your content. The last one, frequency, measures how often you post to the platform. (You can learn more about Instagram’s metrics and how they’re calculated here).
Reach isn’t everything, but it’s the first and most basic metric Instagram provides. To be effective on the platform, you must focus on reaching as many people as possible with your content.