Tips to Creating an Engaging Instagram Stories


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Instagram stories is still in its infancy with only two years of life under its belt. Since the original release in 2016, Insta stories have taken off and arguably offer a more diverse range of features than its predecessor, snapchat stories. Digital Marketers quickly adapted to the new software and have been quick to utilize the latest features for new and improved marketing tactics. If you’re planning on using Instagram stories for marketing purposes, this article will give you a kickstart. We’ll cover the ins and outs of using instagram for business marketing, key features to keep an eye on and a few examples of great insta stories.

According to Instagram’s website, 80% of active users follow at least one business on Instagram. There is no doubt that there is a line in the water. Businesses simply need to sort out how to properly bait and reel in customers.

Businesses big and small are finding new and unique ways to create a narrative within Instagram Stories. From engaging videos, photos and snapshots to question and answer formats.

Kingin It is an awesome example of small brand which creates engaging content on both their general Instagram feed and within their story content. On any given day, one might see a killer video of their top 10 moments in the Philippines, a question and answer on travel questions or a gorgeous photo of a remote location with a link to a related blog post. All in all, this brand does an excellent job of creating story content that not only works well on it’s own but that ultimately points the user to either additional content or merchandise.

In addition to their creative and engaging content, the pair are EXTREMELY interactive with their followers. It is not uncommon to see Kingin It replying to user comments directly or giving shout outs.

The same interactive principles can be seen in larger brands such as AirBNB. They often post user photos to their Insta story and tag the AirBNB user or host who took the photograph. They also often do spotlight stories on their hosts which links to related articles, websites or host locations.

Not only does this humanize the brand but it also gives potential/current hosts the incentive to grow their relationship with AirBNB. The brand communicates a sense of give and take. By participating with the brand, you may receive a spotlight, shoutout or promotion on either their story or their regular Insta feed.

In both of the above examples, there is something in it for the user and in general, there is always something else to look at. Our number one piece of advice in creating engaging Instagram story content is to make your posts a two way conversation. Giving shoutouts, linking to additional content, asking questions and taking polls is an excellent means of doing this.

The everyday user can benefit from this but it can be an effective tool for businesses especially. Whether you’re conducting a short audience survey or are wanting to get opinions on your latest design, user polls and Q/A can be extremely informative.

To help you add an extra kick to your story posts, we’ve compiled a list of features to utilize and some examples of how to use them well:

  1. Video - This speaks for itself. Many MANY brands are utilizing video. The best of the best generally shoot and edit their content before uploading but you can also record video right within Instagram.
  2. Swipe Up Feature - This feature only pertains to verified accounts or business accounts with at least 10,000 followers BUT it can be a key tool in linking to additional content such as merchandise, news articles or blog posts. We’ve seen this feature used as a key tool in generating website traffic
  3. Live Video - We generally see these types of videos have high impact when they’re short, to the point and some form of behind the scenes video or announcement. Some brands also find success in Q&A formats but those tend to get lengthy and experience viewer drop off after a while. We believe QUALITY video content is key here and highly recommend that you follow the pre shoot/edit method.
  4. Music - Instagram has recently implemented a new feature in which you can add music to your story posts. Businesses and average users alike have found that adding the perfect song can make a story 10times more engaging than a normal post. Learn more on how to add music to your story here.
  5. GIFs - Everyone loves a good gif. Although Instagram’s selection is limited, businesses often use GIFs to make their posts more relatable or humorous. You may use a GIF to add to a pun or to go along with a campaign you’re running. Charmin is notorious for using bathroom related memes and Cheerios may use a breakfast related meme. It doesn’t have to be that literal, but you get the point.
  6. Reposts - When people mention you, you immediately are given the option to repost that post. This is a great way to shout out followers and get engaged with your audience.

Everyone wants to feel special and there’s no better way of doing that then posting audience content onto their favorite brand’s story.

  1. Check Ins and Hashtags - If you’re a local based brand or a brand that goes to regular events such as trade shows, this is a great way to let audience members follow you in the real world. By checking in to locations or using hashtags, you are allowing users to be aware of your conversation and location at all times. For example: you may be attending a local event where you’ll be selling apparel. Audience members may have been previously unaware that you’d be there but they saw your check in for “Local Event Tulsa” and decided to come find you. It’s an easy means of making yourself accessible.

The formula to an effective Instagram story is a mixture of all of these elements tied in with a few bits of the brand itself. As a business, you need to ensure that you’re continually communicating your brand message while maintaining some form of entertainment or incentive for your customers. As we always say, creating any form of effective marketing strategy will ultimately come from experimentation. We hope these few tips on Insta stories have helped you a bit in coming up with some ideas.