Are Instagram Stories right for your brand?

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May 15th, 2018

You might see Instagram Stories as just another social media post to add to your ever-growing list of platforms you have to post to…But Stories are a unique way to connect to your audience and have only grown in popularity since released about two years ago.

Instagram has reported that Stories have encouraged users to stay on the platform longer and visit more frequently. Users under age 25 spend more than 32 minutes per day on Instagram, while those in the older age groups spend more than 24 minutes a day on the Facebook-owned photo- and video-sharing network.

So, here are 3 questions to ask yourself and your brand before you add Stories to your social media marketing calendar.

 

1) Is my social media schedule already under control?

You’re already posting to Instagram, Facebook and maybe you also have Pinterest and SnapChat accounts that need updating. Before you add Instagram Stories, take a look at where your resources are best spent. If you don’t have a consistent presence on Instagram, then start there. Build a calendar and content strategy to deliver what will impact your audience the most. Start with posting 3-5 times a week during high traffic times, and from there reevaluate your calendar, adjust and then try a new schedule until you are getting consistent engagement with your brand in the form of likes, view and comments. With engagement built, try using Stories to create additional content for your audience to interact with.

 

2) Would longer-form content help my followers?

Inside your Instagram feed, you are limited to 15-second videos, photos and galleries. With Stories, you can share much longer video about an event you are attending, a sale that is happening, or even behind the scenes of your product. Your followers will tell you what they want…just pay attention to your comments.

Suitcase brand, Away not only uses Stories to take viewers to campaign shoots on foreign locations, but they are also using Stories to answer questions they get in their comments and reviews like, “How do I clean my suitcase?”

 

3) Do I have content for Stories?

The answer is yes! There are so many ways to create content for Stories, and you already have all the tools you need. The built-in editing, filters, text styles and drawing tools mean that everything you post can be branded inside the Instagram platform. Here are some content ideas to get you started:

–Behind-the-Scenes “BTS” posting at events and the office/on-site

–Exclusive discount codes

–Countdowns to launches

–Inspirational quotes

–Teasers for new content on other media channels

–Reposting tagged content (User Generated Content)

–Showcase products

–Create a poll

More examples of Stories content can be found here

 

And we know we said 3, but here is a bonus ultimate question:

Do I want more followers?

YES! More followers are a remarkable thing for your brand (and probably why you are here reading this blog post). Now how can Stories increase your follower count? With engaging content, you can trickle onto the Explore page of Instagram. The Explore page is crucial to gaining new followers(https://later.com/blog/how-to-get-on-instagram-explore-page/) . By creating content that your followers engage with, Instagram recognizes that people are liking the post and will suggest the Stories to people outside of your follower network. Showing at the top of the screen, the chance of engagement is high and you being reaching new people to add to your following.

 

So, are Instagram Stories right for your brand? If you have the bandwidth, add them to your social media strategy. Stories are a great opportunity to engage with your audience in a more authentic way and ultimately gain more loyal followers for your brand. And if you feel you don’t have the bandwidth, start small and post once a week to your story to see how your audience engages with them. You might just get some insight into what your audience likes that can take your strategy in an exciting and new direction!