In August of 2016, Instagram launched its Stories feature, and by November of the following year, daily Story users topped 300 million.
And that number hasn’t stopped growing, making Instagram Stories a great way for brands to reach consumers.
However, many brands have been trying to figure out if they can carve out an audience. And even if they have an audience, will Stories work for their brand?
SPOILER: They can and they do!
Here are the top five reasons why Instagram Stories work for brands.
Getting started with Instagram Stories can be confusing, so it takes some intentional planning to use them successfully. If you’re interested in using Instagram Stories for your brand, BigWheel can help!
- Increase message frequency
Stories are great for restating a message in several different ways so your audience is more likely to see or engage with it.They’re a quick and cost-effective way to give your audience another touchpoint with your brand or product.You can use Stories to remind your followers about a special promotion you posted about several days earlier.Stories are great for users who might not have seen your original post and for users who need just one more impression to engage with you.
- Leverage Highlights to hammer down key messages
Once you post an Instagram Story, you can mark it as a Story Highlight, permanently saving your Story on Instagram’s server.Story Highlights allow you to compile past stories under one Highlight or theme. Instagram displays your Highlights below your account’s bio.These Highlights have enormous potential. From your Instagram profile, users can repost, reuse, and recycle your Stories long after their original 24-hour shelf life.For example, you can make a quick Highlight for your company’s core values, making it accessible to anyone who visits your Instagram profile.Another option is to use Highlights to feature a product line with a series of pictures or videos.The point is, Highlights are a creative way to reuse Story content and keep your key message front and center for anyone visiting your profile.
- Look authentic and fresh
Since Instagram Stories only last 24 hours, it makes them feel exclusive. Users who see the story before it disappears feel like they saw something special, something that only a select few people will see, and that makes them feel closer to the brand.91% of consumers want the brands they follow to be more authentic on social media, and Instagram Stories give brands the opportunity to show their followers behind-the-scenes content.This kind of “unfiltered” content builds trust. Going live on Instagram is an extreme version of this tactic.In the end, being an authentic brand is crucial because consumers are reluctant to form connections with brands that feel too formal and prepackaged on social media.
- Be playful and increase engagement
In addition to boosting authenticity, Stories give brands a platform to be playful and engage with their followers. Because they’re temporary, Stories can be less serious than normal posts that are going to stick around permanently.People on Instagram use social media stickers—like filters, GIFs, polls, and question prompts—all the time, and brands can use these features, too. But don’t go overboard. If it looks like you’re attempting to hack a cultural trend, your brand will stick out like a sore thumb.Using polls and question prompts are great ways for brands to get real feedback from their followers, too.
Until recently, the only way for Instagram to work as a channel to other media, like your website, was through a link in the bio.This is why the phrase “link in bio” is all too familiar to you. However, stories are now equipped with a digital marketers favorite tool: a link.Stories with CTAs like “Swipe Up to See More” or “Shop” are becoming more prevalent on Instagram, and the brands that use them are capitalizing. Big time. Using these CTAs, brands can sell products directly from Instagram, or they can direct traffic back to their websites.With its emphasis on visual storytelling, Instagram has always been a branding playground, but with Stories’s effective, versatile linking opportunities, it’s quickly becoming a branding theme park.Getting started with Instagram Stories can be confusing, so it takes some intentional planning to use them successfully. If you’re interested in using Instagram Stories for your brand, BigWheel can help!