On Instagram, “Engagement” is the name of the game.
After all, the better job you do at engaging your audience, the more likely they are to share your content with others, and possibly even become paying customers in the not-so-distant future.
Of course, actually getting your audience to engage is sometimes easier said than done, especially with so many rival accounts also trying to get the most out of Instagram.
This is most relevant with the recent introduction of Instagram Stories.
This new, Snapchat-esque feature has great potential for your marketing efforts, but how can you turn it into something that will actually connect with your target audience?
Here at Kickstagram, we’ve found five tips to help boost engagement through Instagram Stories:
1) Make it Exclusive
Exclusive content is a great way to drive follower growth and engagement.
Instagram Stories is the perfect platform for providing your audience with promotions or behind-the-scenes content they won’t find in their regular Instagram feeds or anywhere else.
Think all of this sounds a bit-far-fetched?
It’s not. In fact, Nike already used this method to reveal the University of Michigan’s new football jersey’s at the start of the 2016 college football season—check it out:
So, whether you give your users the inside scoop at a marketing event or use a Story to reveal a new contest or product, letting your audience know that interesting content is only going to be announced through this format is a sure-fire way to keep them coming back for more.
2) Get Colorful
Part of what has fueled Snapchat’s rise in popularity is how it allows users to add all kinds of text and drawings to their photos—with Instagram Stories, you can now do the exact same thing.
Adding flashy text or bright colors to your posts is a great way to make your Story more eye-popping. Even something as simple as combining polka dots with text to create thought bubbles can add a whole new level of interest to your stories.
Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to lines and dots. Instagram Stories are a perfect means through which you can release your inner artist.
With emojis, filters and other drawing tools, there’s really no limit to what you can do to make your Instagram Stories stand out—if Taco Bell can do it, so can your company.
3) Make it Timely
Another key attribute of Instagram Stories is that, like Snapchat, these posts disappear from your profile after 24 hours.
While this means that some users may never get the chance to engage with your Story, you can also use the time-sensitive nature of Stories to your advantage.
For example, you could promote a limited-time offer or a special event through a Story. This isn’t the kind of content you want being backlogged on your Instagram account, anyway.
Of course, you don’t need to limit your use of Story content to when it actually appears in your Story for the first time. True, exclusivity and timeliness can drive engagement when you first post your content, but you can also download content from your Stories for later use.
Those posts suddenly become easier to curate when you can pull from successful Story content.
4) Forget the Polish
While much of the content you produce on Instagram is carefully crafted and curated, Stories provide the perfect opportunity to demonstrate brand authenticity.
And that means throwing a lot of photography’s “best practices” out the window.
This isn’t to say you can’t make your Instagram Stories look every bit as nice as your standard Instagram posts, but you don’t always need to put the same spit-shine on your Stories that you do on regular, run-of-the-mill posts.
A spontaneous, behind-the-scenes video isn’t going to have the same professional look that normal content does, and that’s okay. Besides, Instagram Stories demonstrate your company’s personality and appeal in a far more meaningful way than meticulously planned content ever could.
Sure, targeting may not seem like the most creative marketing option for using Instagram Stories, but it’s something that elevates this feature well above Snapchat.
By targeting your Instagram Stories to a specific audience, you put your content on track to reach those who are likely to be interested in it, but aren’t yet familiar with your business’ account.
In recent months, liquor brands have been targeting their Instagram Stories to ensure that they’re viewed by those who are at least 21 years of age. By so doing, they restrict their content to only those who are able to legally buy their products.
Even though limiting the reach of your Instagram Story may seem counterintuitive, as a marketing means, it’s much more efficient, and can lead to better long-term results.
What’s Your Story?
Everyone has a story to tell, and thanks to Instagram Stories, it’s now easier than ever to share your brand’s unique story with an eager audience.
As you take full advantage of the opportunities provided by Instagram Stories, you’ll for sure take your brand’s social media engagement to greater heights.
Needless to say, we can’t wait to see what your brand’s Stories have in store for Instagram!