If you believe that Instagram Stories is a feature only for the kids making a fool out of themselves, then I beg you to stop reading this article and go back to your man cave.
Instagram Stories is one of the biggest features that Instagram has launched in the past few years.
What if I told you that there are 300 million accounts using Instagram Stories everyday?
Is this a place in which you want your brand to stand out from the crowd? I bet that you do.
In this article I will show you some Instagram Stories ideas that will make you the Ninja of Instagram in your company:
- Rock the Polls
- Alignment is your best Friend
- Instagram Live
- Press & Hold
- Archive & Highlights
- Tap next to reveal
- Instagram Stories “Swipe-UP”
- Direct Message Engagement
- Share from Spotify to Instagram Stories
- The Emoji Slider Sticker
Here are a few ideas on how to use Instagram Stories to grow your brand:
How much do you engage with your followers? Do you talk with them via comments or direct message? Do they contact you and ask for your help?
Think about engagement as one of the biggest and most powerful tools in Social Media. When you engage with your followers it can boost your online presence.
This was the first word that popped in my mind when I saw this new feature from Instagram – Engagement.
You not only find your viewers’ opinion about anything you want, but you also incite them to engage with you.
What you have to know about this feature:
- You can post only one poll/story
- You can easily customize the YES/NO option to any other content: emoji, text and others
- After voting a poll you can’t change your answer!
- There is a character limit. You can post only 27 characters.
- You get full insights on who and how people answer to your poll
- There is a blue line that will help you center the poll in a place where won’t obscure the story. Think about it as an alignment option.
I’m not a designer but I know how to use tools like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and even Corel Draw. I even work for a company that is an innovator in the banner ad design field. So yes, I know a few things about rules, alignments and other things that might come in handy.
Now let’s go back to Instagram Stories. If we look at this feature from a creative point of view we can say that there are many options that can give us the opportunity to be inventive. Starting from uploading photos, videos, making boomerangs, rewinds, stop-motion and also inserting stickers, emojis and doing selfies with face filters. And let’s not forget about writing, drawing and using the color picker. So yes, there are many ways in which you can be creative on Instagram Stories.
Now think about all of these options being used in a single screen? Is this possible? For some of you, maybe, but for most of us, I don’t think so. That’s why we need to use an alignment tool that can tell us where to add these creative snackable pieces of content. That’s why I’m taking advantage of the alignment tool in Instagram Stories whenever I want to add a sticker and insert it in the middle of my screen.
Also alignment can help us place elements where they can be seen after posting the story.
For example, you don’t want your very important emoji to be shadowed by your username or chat box, right?
Instagram Stories is not only about posting 10 seconds videos or photos that will be deleted after 24 hours. If you open the Stories feature on Instagram and swipe left you will see an option that is called “Live”. This is the feature that is giving you the power of broadcasting live whatever you want.
We keep hearing “be authentic” at different conferences or read it on different blogs (I believe that I also wrote something on this topic) and with social media is even easier to be authentic then on different media, marketing or advertising platforms. So “Going Live” is something that I many brands and influencers embraced when it appeared.
What I noticed on Instagram is that the “Go Live” feature can give you the power to be on top of the Instagram feed. Which makes it just like the Featured Snippets from Google that help you get on top of search results.
Even more, Instagram has upgraded the live streaming game at the end of 2017, and now you can do an Instagram Live with a friend!
How to go live with a friend on Instagram?
Users can now invite anyone who’s watching their live to join, but only 2 people can broadcast simultaneously, through a split screen. The one who owns the broadcast can remove their guest and add someone else. Even on the Instagram Stories Feed this live will look differently because you will see 2 circles stacked on top of each other.
I strongly believe that marketers should pay attention to this feature on Instagram because it’s giving them the power to be authentic and also connect visibly with their brand fans and followers.
Let’s be honest for a few moments and admit that we screenshot some stories, right? We all knew that screenshotting on Snapchat could cause us problems, because the user was notified that someone was spying them.
But Instagram left out this feature completely and lets the users screenshot in peace.
But what if you are a marketer and you want to engage more with your followers on Instagram? Just give them something they want to use every day or want to share with someone else. Think about quality content. Even if it disappears in 24 hours, this piece of quality content can live forever only if they screenshot it and save it on their phones.
That’s why many influencers and brands are using the “Press & Hold” function to make the people screenshot their content or just engage with it. You can write a story using Instagram Stories. Write? Yes. Write a long form content on stories.
If reading is something your followers love to do, then give this type of content for them.
How to create a “Press & Hold” content for Instagram Stories?
First you have to announce your followers that some stories will come that they need more than 10 seconds to “consume” it.
Then share the content. I recommend you to experiment with the number of “press and hold” type of content, so you can see how much is too much for them.
You can create your own visuals (I’m recommending you to use professional tools like Bannersnack or work with a designer) but make sure that you have the right Instagram Stories dimensions.
What is the best Instagram Stories size you can use for your visuals?
- 1080 x 1920 pixels.
- The aspect ratio is 9:16.
But I’m recommending you to try to fit the text in your design in the middle of the visual. It is better for the user experience and also they can engage better with it.
After this, just use the Poll option and ask them if it’s something they want to see more on your stories or not.
Using this feature will definitely help you on your way to become an Instagram Stories Ninja. Also, don’t forget to create for your instagram stories video to engage with your audience and make them part of your brand.
What if I told you that Instagram Stories don’t have to disappear after 24 hours? What if I told you that that awesome specific Instagram Stories for which you worked a lot to gain more views and engagement can live forever on your profile? Would you believe me?
Well, it seems that Instagram wants you to create awesome Stories but also to let you archive and highlight them on your profile.
So, you can create Highlights that are named collections of your past Stories. These highlights are showing up in a horizontal bar at the top of your Instagram Profile.
According to an Instagram spokesperson
“As more and more people adopt Stories, we realized that the profile has become less and less representative of you and your life. And yet the profile is one of the top destinations on Instagram – it’s a powerful space for self-expression and feeling closer to others. But up until now there was no way to keep your favorite stories or add them to your profile – we wanted to fix that.” for TechCrunch.
How to highlight Instagram Stories?
Go to your Stories and click the highlight icon. Then, select the collection in which you want to add it, or create a new collection for this specific story. It’s so simple that I bet you will use it on a regular basis, next to your daily check of emails, drinking coffee or sometimes binging next to a Netflix movie.
Now you don’t have to be afraid that the stories you want to publish will disappear after 24 hours.
You can highlight your Insta stories and save them on your profile.
I believe that the Highlight feature can help your brand show its identity to your followers beyond the bio and and Instagram Feed.
What will be revealed in your next stories? Do you have an Instagram Stories strategy?
How much to you rely your Instagram strategy on Stories?
I believe that the only person who you can truly see that he has a strategy on Stories is Gary Vaynerchuk.
I know that he has almost 40 people behind his personal brand and many of them are working to create, publish and re-publish content on Instagram, Instagram Stories, Facebook, Facebook Live, YouTube, Linkedin, Snapchat, Blog, Medium, Podcast among with content projects like #AskGaryVee, #DailyVee and other ones that I can’t remember right now.
Oh, and I almost forgot. Another brand that I follow consciously and is really constant is @Dunk. A basketball oriented Instagram account that has 2.2 Million followers and tons of Instagram content from videos, to photos and also cool stories. The guy behind this account is Eliot, a guy who worked on Gary Vaynerchuk’s Instagram account and helped Gary build his Instagram profile.
But let’s get back to our topic.
Why using the Tap Next to Reveal feature is so important for Instagram Stories?
Because with Instagram Stories people want to see something different that they see on their newsfeed. Instagram Stories are more about transparency, authenticity and also interactive posts. So how would you know what will come next? You have to announce your followers that if they want to see what is coming next in the stories they have to tap to reveal.
For example, think about a 360 panorama with all your employees in your company. What if you edit that photo, in several horizontal stories, upload it on Instagram, tag all your employees and let the ones who are following you to tap to reveal the next Story from the panorama picture.
Oh, and by the way, you can highlight this story on your Instagram Feed so it can be an “about us” page on Instagram.
Now how cool is that, right?
Now that you know how to make a story on Instagram that will grow your brand, let’s move to another point you want to know about:
I heard many digital marketers saying that Instagram Stories is only a tool for branding and or just to be cool as a brand. Well, if you see it from that angle, I don’t blame you. I always try to look deeper and see every feature Instagram is launching from another perspective. Sometimes I get in that zone when I feel like an Instagram advocate and try to make the people around me understand the power of Instagram or why we need to focus on the platforms that are on the rise now.
Who thought back in the day that Google Search will be a blast today in online advertising? Who thought that blogging will be something that you need to use if you want to get more traffic? Who thought that content marketing will be a billion dollar industry?
I also believe that Instagram Stories is more than just some random feature you can use whenever you’re reminded of it.
Think about the power of Instagram Ad Stories. The first type of full screen ad from Facebook. In the beginning it was a good exercise to grow your brand awareness using Instagram Ad Stories but now you can get more of it. You can get web traffic, leads and also more engagement.
But what about the Instagram Stories Swipe Up function?
If you have over 10.000 followers you can add a link to the Stories and make your followers swipe up if they want to get further access to your content, or to make them read your new article on your blog.
First, build your community and grow so you can add the Swipe-up feature to your Instagram Stories. Build it organically. Don’t buy followers. Don’t buy fake followers. When you buy fake followers you won’t see any results from your Swipe-up function. You won’t see any web traffic to your blog post. You will just lie to yourself (and honest followers).
Grow organic. Create quality content.
Engage with your community.
Move to the next level of you Instagram when you have enough followers that will give you the chance to include organic links on your Instagram Stories.
Did you know that Direct Message is important for your Instagram strategy if you want to be on top of your users timeline? Because the new algorithm is based “On the People You Care About”
So what are the signals that indicate these interests?
- People whose content you love
- People you talk with on direct message
- People you search for
- People you know in real life (I don’t know what this really means but I believe is something related to tags, facebook and other metrics only Instagram understands)
People you Direct Message will help you become a Ninja. Think about how much value you can have if you make the ones that are following your Stories interact with them.
Think about how much value you can get from only talking to your followers, asking them if they like your content or not and what you can do for them.
Let me explain why I believe DM is an important feature on Instagram Stories.
Not only that is helping you with your algorithm but it is also a huge CTA in your Stories. Just go on a random story and look at it closely. You will see some actions you can take. Some of them will give you the possibility to swipe-up and others to “Send message” by clicking on the chat icon or sending a photo or video privately. But can you see how big this CTA at the bottom of the stories is. The chat box is something that Instagram uses to tell us that we need to use it more often if we want to gain more from this platform.
Think about engagement as an important metric for your Instagram Strategy.
I believe that it must be in top 3 metrics you have to follow, next to web traffic and conversion.
You can have an awesome public engagement with likes and comments and you can also have an awesome private engagement with Direct Messages. The great thing about DMs is that you can talk with a group or you can talk with an individual.
Now can you see why DM is important for Instagram Stories?
Who said that Instagram is only about photos and videos? Well, with this new feature you can say that Instagram is also about audio and music. Or at least they seem to be going to conquer this new type of content also.
Instagram partnered with Spotify and now you can share stickers of songs, playlists or albums directly on Instagram Story.
All you have to do to use this feature is to tap the “Share” button in Spotify, and the content is moved directly into the Instagram camera. After doing that, you can edit and add it to Insta Story or send it directly to a friend via DM.
Do you want to interact more with your followers? Or maybe you want to know a more transparent and accurate answer for a story you published on Instagram Story? This emoji slider allows users to ask their followers “how much” instead of just picking between 2 options. And to be more visual, you can add an emoji to also add context to the question.
To add an emoji slider sticker to your Instagram Story you have to choose it from the sticker tray (this is the place where you can find stickers like Location, Poll, Gif and others), after you uploaded or took a photo/video or a boomerang. Then, place the sticker, write your question and choose the emoji you’d like to use.
That’s an interesting strategy on how to engage more with your audience.
Instagram Stories will play an important role for Instagram and I believe many marketers and social media marketers will be more involved in creating a strategy that will gain them better results through this feature.
Here are the Instagram Stories tips you have to try out right now.
Let me know in the comments section below what you think about these hacks.