Social media content is rapidly evolving.
Back in August 2016, Instagram launched Stories to compete with Snapchat Stories. Stories were meant to help capture the daily activities of Instagram’s now more than 1 billion users worldwide, and unlike posts, Stories are short-lived–disappearing in 24 hours.
By January 2019, Instagram stories had grown in popularity to over 500 million daily active users (DAU), meaning half of Instagram’s daily users are on Stories every day. With important, interactive features and a less formal type of content, Instagram Stories have become essential for businesses that use Instagram marketing.
Here are 5 reasons you must create Instagram stories for your business:
Reason 1: Instagram Stories have interactive stickers
With Instagram Stories, you can add a sticker. Unlike Instagram posts, stickers allow users to tap and interact with your Story in creative ways. There are many types of stickers available including:
- Poll or Emoji Slider
- Current Time or Weather
As an example, suppose you are thinking about keeping your business open late one evening of the week. You wonder whether your customers would come. You can create an Instagram Story and add an emoji slider with a thumbs up emoji. Ask, “Do you want us to stay open late one evening?” Customers that see your Instagram Story can slide the emoji to the right if they like the idea, and you get feedback directly from your customers.
Reason 2: Instagram Stories are more informal than posts
There is an analogy used by Bella Vasta, a Facebook Group keynote speaker, which she uses to explain the difference between a Facebook page and a Facebook Group, and the same analogy applies to Instagram posts and Instagram Stories. Bella equates a Facebook page to the front yard of a house–formal and public. Similarly, Instagram posts have a more formal, curated look and feel.
A home’s backyard is the Facebook group – a gathering of people with something in common, informal, more personal and friendly. Likewise, Instagram Stories are the backyard–informal and personal.
The value of Instagram Stories is they give a business tremendous versatility in how it can present content with some reserved for the more formal Instagram page and other content posted in Stories. Another unique feature of Stories worth mentioning is that unlike posts, you can add to your Stories. So, if your business is attending an event, your followers can watch a Story and see new additions to the Story while you are there.
Reason 3: Instagram Story Highlights can help cultivate unique audiences
According to Instagram Business, 80% of Instagram accounts follow a brand. Not surprisingly, Instagram users look for Instagram Stories shared by their favorite brands, and Stories have a feature called Highlights – the circles that appear across the top of an Instagram page. These Highlights can be divided into content-related categories that are relevant for your business, and when Stories are added to Highlights, they do not disappear in 24 hours. One of our favorite Story Highlights categories is “Inspo” because we like to see what people in a company are reading, thinking about or doing for inspiration.
Here are some Highlights examples:
- A hair salon may highlight different haircut styles
- A retail store may highlight different seasonal clothing styles
- A blogger may highlight different blog categories
Businesses should establish relevant Highlights categories so followers can discover new content in their areas of interest. Whereas Instagram pages do not allow partitioning of content by topic, Stories do via Highlights. Using Highlights effectively will allow a brand to cultivate unique subsets of their audience based on their content preferences.
Instagram describes its stories product as a way to promote the sharing of moments that don’t meet the higher bar of a traditional Instagram post. –The Verge
Reason 4: Instagram Stories re-enforce the business brand
An Instagram Story can serve as an extension of a brand’s footprint on Instagram. As with websites or social media posts, Instagram Stories should have a hint of the company’s brand guidelines – colors, fonts, tag lines. People that see Instagram Stories should recognize familiar aspects associated with the brand. Whether it’s a cameo of everyone’s favorite furry mascot in the office or a behind-the-scenes look at the setup for an event, Instagram Stories give people a feel for the soul of the business while subtly reinforcing the brand.
Reason 5: Instagram Stories focus on moments and encourage sharing
An Instagram Story can reflect the little moments that occur throughout the day, and people love to feel part of someone’s journey. Instagram posts, on the other hand, allow businesses to build their brand’s presence in a more systematic way, include thoughtful written copy, tags, and imagery. When it comes to Instagram business pages, viewers expect a carefully curated feed that looks aesthetically pleasing.
Stories, in contrast, are spontaneous and current. The concept behind Stories is that people will want to capture moments and share them. Stories are ephemeral, and Facebook, which owns Instagram, hopes users will actively create content that is personal, relatable and captures the moment.
Great for branding, audience targeting and connecting with your tribe, Instagram Stories are a must for your social media marketing toolkit. If you’re interested in creating an Instagram Story strategy but don’t know where to start, contact us.