In "Optimize Your Instagram Account by Updating Your Profile" and "Master the Algorithm and Boost Engagement on Instagram Stories," we discussed helpful Instagram strategies that you can use in order to build or boost your Instagram profile. Now we are going to cover the best strategies for your Instagram Stories.
As always, when it comes to marketing, you need to know your goals. With that, you will be able to tell if your efforts are worth it. Take some time to figure out why you want to use Instagram as a business and then write up some goals you would have for Instagram Stories that would determine if they were a success for you. If your goal is to boost engagement, you want to see the data that shows your engagement was increased. Whatever Stories you posted during this time would be a good indication of the type of content that your users like to see.
Before you start creating your own stories using BeFunky’s Graphic Designer to customize Instagram story templates, let’s take a look at what Instagram Stories are and some tips for creating strategic stories.
What Is an Instagram Story?
Instagram Stories are where users share short formats, vertical images, and videos that disappear after 24 hours. These Stories are sized at 1080 x 1920 pixels and they are meant to be fast and memorable.
As of 2023, videos on Stories can be up to 60 seconds, and if you upload a video longer than that, it will automatically split into multiple slides.
Tips for Creating Strategic Instagram Stories
First off, knowing how Instagram’s algorithm works is key to using Instagram Stories for your profile’s advantage. In "Master the Algorithm and Boost Engagement on Instagram Stories," we learned that Instagram’s algorithm is a set of rules that rank content on the platform to correctly pair users with the kinds of content they like engaging with – and that the most important factors in the current algorithm for Instagram Stories are the information included within your stories like music and stickers, and the engagement on your story including likes, polls, and replies. So, the more followers that interact with your stories, the more likely you are to show up during their session the next time they are on Instagram. With that in mind, here are the best Instagram story strategies that are proven to get your Instagram followers to watch your Stories:
1. Create Multiple Story Slides Per Day
When a user clicks on someone’s story, once they filter through that person’s slides for the day, Instagram’s Story feature automatically introduces you to the next recent story compilation from the next account you follow. This is great because it makes it easy for you to watch all of the stories from each account you follow every day. The drawback is that while watching, there is a risk for users to click through or swipe past the accounts that they aren’t interested in or that don’t catch their attention.
Creating multiple slides is a great idea in order to slow a follower down while they are clicking through their stories. A viewer might click past the first slide that includes your link, and if you have multiple slides, you might be able to catch their attention on the third slide rather than the first or second.
2. Use Variation in Story Content
Along with creating multiple slides, you should have variation in the types of Stories you post. Not only do different users prefer different forms of content, but posting a story sequence that has a mix of photos, video, and text will create more interest while users are tapping through the slides. Some users might engage with short video clips, while others might prefer single slides with bold titles or catchy marketing taglines.
By posting a wider variety of content to your stories, you are able to communicate clearer messages to your followers. Let’s say you’re a music artist who just released an album. In the past, posting the album cover and release date might have been enough to tell your followers about the news. Now, you are able to share the album cover, add the music to the slides, and show some extra film footage that describes the album better so your followers have a good idea of what to expect and look forward to.
3. Use Stickers to Create Interaction
Instagram offers a variety of stickers that you can use in order to create more interaction. While Instagram Stories includes a swipe-up feature for business accounts with over 10k followers (which means you are able to link directly to any URL you want), Instagram Stories gives any user the ability to link to any site you want with their sticker links. These Instagram Story stickers can quickly direct your followers to a new blog post or a sale page in your online shop. This is a great strategy if you want to direct your audience to an external site that will boost your sales.
4. Use Story Highlights to Keep Stories After They Expire
Highlights are the way that you can save Instagram Stories to your profile so that they can be viewed after they are set to disappear after 24 hours. These appear underneath the bio on your Instagram profile and will stay up until you decide to delete them yourself.
5. Analyze Data to Inform Future Story Content
Instagram Insights allows you to see your profile’s analytics and your Instagram Stories performance within 14 days of posting. This is key to developing better and more strategic Instagram Stories moving forward. If you want more insight, you can use software to see in-depth Story analytics like completion rate, taps back/forward, replies, and exits.
If you are looking for ways to boost your engagement on your Instagram stories, take a look at this article. We discuss things like how to use Instagram Story sticker links, geolocations, and polls in depth.
Instagram Stories – Example Strategies
Here are some successful personalized strategies and Instagram business accounts that execute them well. Right now, the most popular types of profiles have to do with health, wealth, and fitness. Let’s take a look at the types of content these profiles are posting and what Story strategies they are implementing.
If you have a business with many members, highlight their stories and successes in your Instagram Stories. This is a great way to have your brand get personal with your followers so that they relate to you with an emotional connection. This is also a way to use the customer base you already have in order to get good content to share. People love to get featured and love to see that a company they are committed to also cares about their success.
Planet Fitness is a great example of this – as they're known for creating a judgement-free workout environment and their Instagram Stories capture this perfectly. Not only that, but by posting average people going to the gym like moms, workout buddies, and other member testimonials, they reinforce this brand narrative: inclusivity.
If you have a food-related business profile, you might want to think about implementing this strategy. You could also create a Story sequence or collage to show off upcoming recipes or blog posts on your website. You can also market any events you have that you’d like to promote like an upcoming pop-up event.
America's Test Kitchen is a website and YouTube channel that publishes recipe content. Their videos on other platforms simply show you how to make a recipe, while the content they choose to share on their Instagram Stories are mostly behind-the-scenes videos and photos of a list of ingredients to tease upcoming video releases. This profile uses their Instagram Stories in order to promote their upcoming content on other channels.
If you have a clothing brand or some other product-based business, using Instagram Stories to promote new releases is key to keeping your audience informed. For a clothing drop, you may want to link to several pieces, meaning separate slides, which is one of the tips we talked about earlier.
You can also capture videos and showcase a video slideshow like Aerie often does that showcases the different features of your clothing or close-ups of the type of fabric you’re using. This helps followers get a better idea of the quality of the product you are selling. Aerie is also committed to showcasing a variety of body types in their advertising and carries this strategy over to their Instagram Stories as well.
Start Applying Strategy to Your Instagram Stories
If you want to use Instagram stories effectively, follow these tips above in order to implement strong strategies to your Instagram Stories. Take a look at our other Instagram-related articles – including this one that goes into the top Instagram do's and don'ts, or this one for creating sharable carousel posts. When you are ready to start creating strategic Instagram Stories, head to BeFunky’s Graphic Designer to get started.