Tricks to master Instagram’s new feature: Stories
First of all, what the heck are they?
Instagram stories are up to 10 second videos or 4 second images strung together to create personal narratives that last for a 24-hour period (kind of like Snapchat stories). Apply filters, edit details, and, unlike normal Instagram photos, add text and/or drawings to images. So what's the big deal?
With Insta-stories, we can become more intimate with our followers and deliver a more "organic" or "candid" peek into our lives. More importantly, from an engagement standpoint, stories can track and list viewers - making it easier to see who is really paying attention to your social presence.
Stories can also add a little extra oomph to your regular posts. They can help boost your impressions, too. Located at the top of the Instagram feed, stories increase your visibility (and create more clicks) - something all brands and public figures want! Check out my 5 tips below to help keep your followers coming back for more.
TIP #1 - VARYING CONTENT
The truth is that followers do not want to see the same thing again and again. Variety is the spice of life - especially on social media. Imagine if your favorite TV series had the same story every episode. Not. Cool. The same goes for your Instagram stories.
TIP #2 - ALTERNATE IMAGES AND VIDEOS
Stories don’t have to be only video - try adding in still images for emphasis of a point, or to make something easily readable. But make it interesting - incorporate color or moving emojis to grab attention (without covering up important text). Alternating mediums keeps viewers interested, informed, and entertained. Filmmakers often use establishing shots among action and dialogue, and so should your Instagram story. A beautiful still image or a simple colored background with text are both a great way to introduce your story. Use text to explain what's happening, add instructions to a craft project, or prompt a user to “swipe up”. This is important! By prompting users to swipe up, you can add access to things like web links, promo codes, or services.
TIP #3 - ADD TEXT
Adding some text can create some drama in your stories. Want to draw attention to a detail in your video? Add an arrow or use a circle. Need to share a quote? Add colorful text. Text is a great promotional tool. With text, you can draw attention to a particular product or provide an URL to purchase it.
TIP #4 - CRAFT A COHESIVE STORY
Yes, your content should vary day to day, but each story should stick to a specific theme. This helps add clarity to the overall identity of your business, brand, or narrative. Just like novels, Instagram stories should have a beginning, middle, and end. Viewers like and appreciate simplicity and a traceable plot, so don’t leave out the conclusion of your story. If you are sharing Valentine's Day crafts, don’t suddenly switch to a different image about interior design - stick with your theme for that day. Your story is a great way to offer more instruction and go further than a still image. It can also expand your narrative to include background info or add a touch of personality. A cohesive story is great for step-by-step tutorials or product test drives.
TIP #5 - TAKE YOUR FOLLOWERS BEHIND-THE-SCENES
Ever wonder what it’s like to be backstage at a concert? Or on set at your fave movie? Stories can be used as the perfect opportunity can take your followers behind the velvet curtain. Peeks BTS are a great way to engage viewers. "Exclusive" content is exciting and can also make your viewers feel extra special. Indoor cycling company Peloton does an excellent job using behind-the-scenes stories. In addition to advertising their products, Peloton often brings followers into their photo-shoots, or captures instructors hanging with each other on a day-to-day basis.