Telling a Story on Instagram
Everyone likes a good story, whether fiction or non-fiction. To tell a story is an art. If you think anyone can tell a story just as good, you are gravely mistaken.
Scavenge through your mind and try to recall the best stories you have ever heard. Was it just the words or was it also the way it was told that made you remember it?
Think about Instagram stories as a more engaging storytelling platform. It’s not all that different. These stories have a lifespan of 24 hours so you need to tell a new and engaging story every time. Nobody wants to listen to the same story twice.
Story is a very engaging feature added by Instagram in August 2016.
To build an interesting and fun story, Instagram offers multiple features :
- Normal where you can click a picture or long press the circular button for a video. It even gives options to add filters to your content.
- Live lets you interact with your audience in real time. You can speak to them, they can react and comment and ask questions all in the very same moment. Talk about fan mail!
- With text you can post some story, quote or thought. Feel free to get creative with this one.
- Boomerang plays the recorded actions on loop, playing it forward, backward, forward and so on. (Just try it once, you’ll see what we mean)
- Superzoom is a very dramatic kind of feature that three-step zooms in on the subject. It also offers multiple themed filters to add more fun.
- Rewind plays the video backwards.
- Hands-free lets you record a 15 second video without having to press down the button continuously.
The stories that are thus created, last for 24 hours, which is good news, as you can tell a new story every time. Instagram usually sends out a notification to your followers saying some version of, “xyx added to their stories”, so you do not have to worry about whether people will find out about your latest post.
You can also save some of your stories as highlights that pin to your profile. Every time someone visits your profile, they will have access to them.
To compare between Instagram feed and Instagram stories, stories only last for 24 hours, they are more about the present moment (but not always) and they are more engaging with the use of many interactive features (we’ll discuss these in a moment).
Instagram Feed on the other hand, for someone who follows say a thousand profiles, might never be able to go through his entire feed every day and miss out on a lot of posts.
So, using stories along with the feed can be a good way to increase your chances of getting noticed.
You don’t only have to choose between the many features for the kind of (picture, video, text, boomerang, etc.) story you want to tell. Instagram also gives multiple other interactive options to choose from, that help your audience do more than just watch. They also engage in your story.
In order to help your audience engage in your story, try and use the interactive features creatively. To use these interactive features, swipe up after taking a picture. A panel with stickers and emojis will open up.
Let them ask a question or you ask something from them. Remember, the important thing is that you converse and not so much as to what you converse. Keep making a presence and give people scope to engage with your brand.
Polling is an easy way to involve people. It doesn’t need a lot of effort, all that your audience needs to do is click on one of the two options. Tea or coffee, black or purple, Facebook or Instagram, Venice or Paris – just keep them involved.
Have a sale coming up? A product launch? Fix a date for an important announcement. Set the countdown and create some curiosity amongst people. Get noticed and make an impression.
Hashtags and Mentions
Stories can also be found through hashtags. If somebody follows the hashtag #fashionblog, and you tag your story as #fashionblog, it will show in their feed and also on Instagram search results. Go ahead and use appropriate hashtags in your story. Try to limit at one hashtag per story.
When you are building a story, make sure you cover it from all angles. In which place is the story set (location tags), who are the main characters (mentions) and the keywords that explain what the story is about (hashtags).
Giving a complete picture communicates better and has much more to relate to.
Using Instagram Stories as a part of your marketing strategy
Marketing is all about trying new things and keeping up with the trending. Strategies that involve creative use of available tools to spread the word and create awareness have proven to be good marketing strategies.
Let’s take a look at some of the creative uses of Instagram Stories.
Going by the possibility that at any given point a person has a couple 100 new posts showing up in their feed, the chances of your post showing up in the top 50, might be thin. So trying to spread the word in as many ways as possible might expand your reach and increase your chances of getting noticed.
Create a story about your latest post so people know to look for it.
A link icon adds up on your story screen once you have 10k+ followers. It lets you add a link of a video or a web page for your audience you access directly without having to hunt for it in your bio or on Google.
Profiles like GoPro are usually handed over from one professional to another. Every time an account is taken over by someone else, the language of the posts slightly changes and the audiences start to wonder, why. It is a good idea to put up multiple reminders about the account takeover initially, so people have more than 24 hours to get themselves acquainted.
Instagram has made it very economical and easy to promote a story. You can choose the age group of your audience, their demographics, budget and the number of days for which you want to run the promotion.
Just make sure to make it easy for your audience to spot you and your post from the lot. Either by a name, logo, brand tone or else. The things that we talked about in one of our previous blogs (7 ways to build a brand on Instagram) can come in very handy here.
The next time you are creating an Instagram story for your brand, try to keep in mind the key reasons for a brand to use social media as a part of marketing strategy.
- to create awareness
- spread the word faster and farther in minimum budget
- increase engagement
- create a reputation
(Just in case you are new with Instagram stories) To create a story,
1) Go to your home page
2) Long press the icon on the top left, that has the ‘+’ button.
3) Click on add to your story
Once you click on add to your story, multiple options open up – you could go to the gallery and upload a picture/ video that is already saved on your device or you could use multiple features offered by Instagram to create engaging content.
P.S. Also keep a track of your stories performance using Inclick to get unparalleled insights. To post is not enough, you also need to evaluate the ROI to understand the results of your efforts.
All the best!
If you have any queries, let us know in the comments below.