How to use Instagram Stories to improve your Digital Marketing Performance
Instagram stories are best used to target followers who are in the middle of your sales funnel, rather than new users who are unfamiliar with your brand. Stories invite users who already follow you to view and engage with your content more consistently. Those who are already interested in your brand can be carried from the middle all the way to the bottom of your funnel through consistent and compelling story content.
You can post new stories daily or even multiple times per day. Because they disappear in 24 hours, stories don’t gum up your followers’ feeds the way that multiple standard social media posts shared on the same day would. It’s generally an acceptable marketing strategy for brands to post consistent and frequent stories for their followers to see throughout the day, increasing their exposure to your brand and encouraging interested prospects to swipe up and learn more.
When creating your social media stories, your content needs to be compelling enough that followers will watch to the end. Your audience will remember stories that evoke emotion or share important, easily digestible information.
You should also consider tactics that will make brief story segments valuable and memorable for your followers. Here are a few concrete ways to accomplish this.
Tips and Tricks Stories
Quick, easy-to-follow tips and tricks make great Instagram story content because they provide value to your followers. They’re also a seamless, natural opportunity for product placement, and they appeal to followers who are between the middle and bottom of your sales funnel. Customers can discover new ways to use your products or services, while prospects are presented with additional or more specific reasons to take the next step or make the purchase.
These types of stories are most effective when you use clear, simple messages and examples. Your followers are more likely to stay for quick and easy-to-digest information as opposed to text-heavy or overly-detailed story content. Understanding the concepts shared in the story shouldn’t require followers to take notes or bring in a lot of outside knowledge.
Lowe’s Home Improvement offers handy tips for their Instagram followers on many home and gardening topics. The story below introduces a new tool that people can use to help avoid under-or overwatering houseplants. Rather than focus too heavily on technical information, the story keys in on the visuals and keeps the message short and sweet. It’s not about explaining everything at this point, but rather just giving users a taste of information, letting them ultimately decide if they want to learn more.
Stories like this offer an opportunity to nurture a relationship and build trust with your followers because when executed correctly, they come across as honest and helpful.
Sharing educational Instagram stories allows you to keep rewarding consumers with great content, while also providing an opportunity to keep them moving down the funnel.
With an educational story, you can teach something basic and broad about your industry or one that your clients or customers work in. To illustrate, you might create a 15-second story that shows people new industry-specific software that can make their job or an everyday task easier. An educational story can also offer a surprising statistic about your industry, followed by a brief explanation or call to action.
Educational stories also give you space to share how-to’s that feature your products or demonstrate your brand’s knowledge or mastery of your industry. Introducing a new concept or discussing a new trend in the industry can educate followers and bolster your credibility.
As with stories that share tips and tricks, educational story content should be quick, clear, and helpful. Remember, people don’t want to sit through a lecture! Keep your educational content interesting, applicable, and on-brand, as Drybar does in this story about styling holiday hair.
Pet food company Royal Canin took advantage of National Take Your Dog to Work Day to provide educational and fun content about dogs in the workplace.
In the story below, they don’t shove their product in people’s faces, but rather talk about related content that’s of interest to their target audience.
Royal Canin’s marketing is typically fine-tuned with a whited-out background and the use of bold red. However, in this story, they offer a much more authentic experience with their brand (though they do use red and white throughout).
Lifestyle or Brand Stories
Instagram stories are also a great place to share more general lifestyle and brand content with your followers. You could post stories that show behind-the-scenes footage from your business or photo shoots, or content that features lifestyle models or influencers using your products in their daily lives.
The key to effective lifestyle or branded story content is entertaining viewers. While tips and tricks and educational videos offer valuable information, lifestyle content can offer entertainment value. You don’t always have to feel compelled to teach. Lifestyle content provides this alternative.
Consider using techniques like humour, aspirational appeal, fictional characters, or personal stories. You can surprise your followers with relevant memes or jokes that they’ll want to tell their friends about. Give viewers a sneak peek at what your team is doing to prepare for an upcoming holiday season, sale, or launch. Depending on your brand’s journey, your followers may even like to see a story about your founder or the company’s growth and development.
Creating lifestyle stories that make your followers laugh, feel nostalgic, or connect with your brand and its values will help guide them to the bottom of your sales funnel.
Footwear company Allbirds has always maintained a strong brand image. They share stories content that simply reinforces the look, feeling, and connection of the brand with their consumers.
Specs and Dimensions for Instagram Stories
Instagram allows you to post story content in 15-second chunks that disappear after 24 hours. Users tap through the queue of stories from accounts they follow rather than scrolling through typical analogue-style posts. This difference in format is often advantageous to brands because users will see a series of only your stories as opposed to a singular post as they quickly scroll through their timeline.
The dimensions of Instagram stories are different from traditional posts or ads. Instead of the classic Instagram square, stories usually take up the entire smartphone screen. This means your story’s content should be 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high, with an aspect ratio of 9:16. Keep these dimensions in mind when creating your content so your stories blend seamlessly into your audience’s story feed.
Stories serve a different purpose than traditional Instagram posts do, so you can’t simply recycle your standard Instagram posts as stories. Because of the temporary, casual nature of stories, followers generally expect to see story content that feels unedited, spontaneous, or intimate. When producing your stories, focus on capturing videos with a more natural aesthetic, as opposed to videos that appear heavily edited and highly styled. Save that content for your posts!
Max is the founder of ZBRA Marketing, a leading digital marketing agency based in Dorset,UK. With over 15 years of experience driving growth through marketing strategy, SEO, PPC and CRO, Max has worked with major global companies across diverse sectors in South America and Europe.
He takes a data-driven approach to creating tailored solutions that transform brands’ online presence and success.
Through ZBRA, Max provides strategic consulting and services including SEO, PPC, CRO and data analytics to help companies connect with their target audiences and accelerate their digital growth.