Did you know that almost 80% of our conversations are driven by stories? In fact, marketers have been creating narratives for decades with this statistic in mind. Knowing this, when Instagram debuted their “Instagram Story” feature, there was no doubt that this would be an effective new marketing tool on a previously distinguished and growing platform. But why tell stories and why post Instagram Stories? Keep on reading to learn more about how these answers and other tips can help you turn a profit by making these simple marketing efforts.
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Why Tell Stories?
According to anthropologists, storytelling is central to human existence. The symbiotic exchange between a speaker and listener is a habit we develop as an infant. Storytelling is prevalent in all cultures because it’s an urge found in our brain, not just a tendency we develop. When it comes to the way we think, we are constantly developing visual patterns. For instance, what does your house look like? Your family? As it turns out, we don’t just form patterns in what we can see, but the sounds we hear, too.
When visualizing something, we try to uncover the pattern as to find meaning in what we’re witnessing. Storytelling mimics this behavior, too. When you listen to someone recall what they have experienced, your brain begins to look for the recognizable patterns it can take away and ascribe meaning to. Essentially, storytelling is so powerful because, as humans, we are constantly striving to discover the meaning of things as we never cease to continue learning.
With This in Mind..
How important it is to know that you can lead the conversation between you and your prospects by creating a persona for your business or personal brand. By taking proactive marketing steps and predicting how they’ll be perceived, you aren’t just telling useless stories. You’re taking control of your own success by ensuring that you distribute the information you want to share by not allowing outsiders the opportunity to tarnish your image by telling your story for you.
What are Instagram Stories?
Simply put, Instagram stories allow users to post image and video content to their “story” to update their followers on what they’re doing in a quick slideshow format that can be overlayed with text, graphics and emojis. Much like Snapchat’s similar feature, Instagram stories are only visible for a 24 hour period. This marks them different from traditional Instagram posts. Additionally, an Instagram story is shared in a different segment of the app in a much more casual setting. One’s story will not be saved to their grid-like profile, but can be viewed by Instagram’s 100 million daily active users. These posts are also sized in a vertical format to fill the entirety of a phone screen, unlike a square post with a caption trailing beneath.
Where do I Find Instagram Stories?
As I mentioned, one of the biggest factors to set apart Instagram stories from Instagram posts is the location of the two. You can find Instagram posts by scrolling through a feed of images and videos posted by those you follow on your homepage. To find Instagram stories, view those posted by others by clicking the circles at the top of this newsfeed. One of the coolest features about Instagram stories is that the order in which they are displayed corresponds with a user’s interests. Your story will be displayed as the first story in user’s lists who have engaged with your content frequently thanks to Instagram’s algorithm. We’ll get into this later, but this can be a huge advantage when marketing yourself on this platform!
How do I use Instagram Stories?
The best part about posting to your Instagram is that it is, well, YOUR story! Use this helpful tool and it’s various features to distribute information you’d like to share to your followers. Whether you’re focused on emphasizing your branding campaign, giving a behind-the-scenes tour of your office, or sharing the date of an upcoming event, there’s a way for you to do so with this tool.
You may be surprised at what your audience is interested in watching. Your daily routine may seem ordinary for you, but fascinating to your followers. As digital marketing gains momentum, consumers are looking for genuine storylines they can connect with. This is the perfect place to take your followers behind the scenes! Do you have a new product coming out? Tease your audience with content available only for 24-hours. If you have an online store, this is a great place to share a coupon code or host a flash sale. Overall, get creative to capture the attention of users and make them loyal leads for your business!
How to Post an Instagram Story
Now that we’ve gone over why to post a story and how to view others, it is time to share one of your own! To create an Instagram story, follow these simple steps:
- Click the camera icon in the top left of your screen or swipe right from anywhere in your home feed.
- To take a photo, select the circle at the bottom of the screen. To take a video, tap and hold this button. If you’d like to share an image or video saved to your phone’s library, swipe up anywhere on this screen. Pro Tip: Make sure this content is vertical so that it takes up as much screen room as possible.
- Once your content is uploaded, play with the features Instagram offers to personalize your post. (We’ll dive into this further in the next section).
- When your post is ready, tap on “Your Story” in the bottom left corner and to share it for 24 hours!
Exploring Different Features
Once you have captured or uploaded the content you’d like to share in your story, you have many features to choose from to personalize your content, including:
- The type of content you share: While we discussed sharing traditional images and videos above, Instagram offers other fun ways to shoot your story. When accessing the camera feature, play around with the different formats of content at the bottom of your screen, such as live video, boomerang, superzoom, rewind, hands-free and stop motion.
- Hashtags: To add a hashtag to your story, select the smiley face option in the right hand corner and select the “#Hashtag” option. Type what you’d like to tag and attract new followers!
- Location: Want to share your location? Click the “Location” feature in the drop down menu to tag local places available.
- Mention: Want to mention another user or account? Select the “Mention” option from the same menu to tag someone’s username following the “@” symbol.
- GIFs: Spice up your story by searching for relevant GIFs in this section by looking up themes or emotions that correspond with your message. Find something fun to overlay that reaches your target demographic.
- Music: Does your story need a song? Search in the “Music” area to find a tune that works for you! Instagram makes it easy by letting you search by what’s popular, your mood or a certain genre.
- Poll: Should you offer a certain product in red or blue? If you have a question you’d like to ask your audience, create a poll by selecting the “poll” feature from the menu and creating two options for followers to vote on.
- Ratings: Instead of having followers answer a poll, you can ask them to answer your question by offering a ratings scale! Select the option with the “heart-eyes” emoji on a line and type your question in so your followers can slide the emoji based on how they’re feeling. You can even change the emoji!
- Questions: Instead of asking your followers questions, allow them to ask you by selecting the “Questions” feature. After selecting the sticker, post it so that followers can lead your Q&A and let you know what they’re interested in.
After posting an Instagram story, you can access your page’s “Insights” to see how each of your stories compare. Unfortunately, this feature is only available if your account is a business page. If it is, you can analyze performance with two metrics: reach and impressions. Better understand your followers and their interests by posting more!
Reach is the number of people who view your story. Impressions are how many times your story was viewed. Only two people may have viewed your post, but one of those people may have watched your story three times. In this scenario, your reach would be two people with five impressions. Typically, stories have higher impressions and lower reach numbers, but this information is relative to the size of your following. The more followers you have, the lower your engagement and reach rate will be due to the nature of the platform.
To increase your reach, make sure to post frequently and include geotags, hashtags and mentions in your stories. For impressions, make sure what you’re posting is interesting and high-quality. Get creative! How can you make people want to watch your posts again? These are all things to take in consideration when reviewing story analytics.
Interested in learning more about how social media can work for you?
Check out our other Hyperchat Social blog posts for more must-know information!