The concept of Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are vertical fullscreen content with a short lifespan of 24 hours. This content format supports images or videos (up to 60 seconds in length) that appear on your profile as a colorful ring around the profile image and in a row at the top of your feed next to other followers who have uploaded Stories.
Stories offer various features to help users make communication with followers even more meaningful and easier. What is more, the platform gives its users an opportunity to check out the list of people who have watched your Stories when using the app on their phone. Analyzing content performance and involvement has never been easier.
It has become one of the main reasons why people love Stories: create and watch them daily. In fact, Insta Stories grew 15x faster than feed-based content and the community of viewers has grown to 500 million monthly active users in 2 years.
The brief history of Instagram Stories
The idea of posting ephemeral content that disappears from feeds and profiles wasn’t created by Instagram. Snapchat released its Story format in 2015 and people quickly loved it.
Back in 2016, when Instagram saw the growing popularity of short-lived content on Snapchat, the platform designed its version of Stories and rolled it out in August.
Simply put, Instagram created a similar feature to Snapchat and added more features to it. It quickly became popular among its audience and marketers started investing time and effort into making content that vanishes.
Why do marketers invest in Instagram Stories?
At first blush, Instagram Stories aren’t the best content format for marketing objectives. With a short lifespan of 24 hours, it simply doesn’t make sense to invest time and effort into content that disappears.
However, Stories are on the rise and it hints to marketers at their potential. Here are five main reasons why marketers see potential in using Stories:
- Beat an Instagram algorithm: Although Instagram pushes content from friends and family, Stories help to beat an algorithm and get in front of your target audience. With a lifespan of 24 hours, Stories create a sense of urgency that encourages users to watch ephemeral content first. What is more, Stories appear on a separate feed.
- Be authentic and real: Customers crave authenticity. When you take your phone and create a story on the go, it looks natural and appealing. Plus, Stories don’t clog the main feed up with content, so this content format is perfect for brands that want to take users behind the scenes and be authentic without bothering about the design of their IG feed.
- Achieve business goals: Whether you want to boost brand awareness, generate leads on Instagram, or drive sales, Instagram Stories have business-specific features that allow businesses to achieve their goals with the help of ephemeral content.
- Analyze audience’s preferences: Instagram Stories have analytic tools that allow creators to see how viewers interact with content and therefore understand their preferences better. Again, it happens fast as Stories are short-formed content.
- Reach a wider audience of potential customers: Not only your followers or profile visitors can see Instagram Stories. When using the right features like hashtags or geotags, companies get an opportunity to deliver their Stories to a wider audience of people who have an interest in specific topics or locations. It results in more Instagram Story views and helps to turn viewers into followers.
Key Instagram Story features
Instagram knows about the popularity of its Story content and the platform sees that interactive Stories get better results, so it constantly rolls out various features to make Instagram Stories creative, engaging, and interesting.
Here are the key Instagram Story features:
- Shoppable stickers
- Instagram story link
- Automatic caption sticker
- Support small business sticker
- Donation sticker
- Quiz sticker
- Question sticker
- Poll sticker
- Emoji slider
- Music sticker
- Candid Stories feature
Tips for creating stunning Instagram Stories
Invest in eye-catching design: As a photo-sharing app, Instagram attracts visual learners who perceive visual information better. Plus, the number of Stories is growing daily, so companies should have an eye-catching design to stand out from the crowd. One of the proven ways to do it is to rely on ready-to-use templates, customize them, and therefore brand your Instagram stories with ease.
Experiment with the video format: Stories can be either images or videos, but many users are afraid of uploading less polished videos even though they can drive results. In the last few years, video content has become one of the preferred forms as it engages and educates in a fun way. To create Instagram Stories that increase views, it’s important to experiment with videos.
Include interactive elements: Instagrammers show interest in brand communication, so using the right Insta Story features like the poll/emoji/question stickers can encourage a conversation with your company. What is more, people love sharing their thoughts, so these interactive elements help to drive engagement, too.
Ask Instagram influencers for help: People pay attention to peer recommendations, so you can work with Instagram influencers and ask them to tell followers about your business in Stories. Then, you can repost these Stories to your account and use this content as social proof. Whether you work with celebrities or nano-influencers, there’s a great way to bring your Stories to the next level and increase brand loyalty.