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How brands should be using Instagram stories

How to use Instagram stories to interact with your online community

Instagram stories might have originally emerged as a Snapchat clone in early 2016 but has fast become the go-to platform for brands to interact with their social media followers. Due to its ease of access, prime placement at the top of feeds and endless possibilities for boosting visibility and interactions, it’s no wonder over 50 per cent of brands on Instagram have posted a story in the last month (Instagram Press). Here are five ways businesses can utilise the feature to tell compelling stories.

Day in the life

Authenticity is paramount when it comes to marketing via social media, with consumers becoming wise to advertisements. Using Instagram stories to give a behind the scenes glimpse of a business helps to give a more human view. Whether sharing videos from industry events or a day in the life of the office, the less polished the better. Travel magazine Suitcase shares glimpses of shooting editorials in exotic locations, and here at 3CC we share footage from our fashion shoots that reveal our creative processes.

Turn blogs into mini stories

If a business already has great blogs or features already, they can make them work harder by introducing them on Instagram Stories. Share images and bitesize information about the article and include a call to action to a link in the bio. This helps to reach a wider audience and is particularly useful if content is topical or time sensitive as Instagram Stories only last 24 hours. The Business of Fashion this month focuses on their BOF500 print edition including an interview with model Adwoa Aboa. DIY or tutorial based blogs work particularly well as they can be broken down into step by step guides. Both Jamie Oliver and BBC Good Food share snapshots of recipe blogs, including ‘swipe up’ links to the full article.

Live events

Live events in the form of Q&A sessions, interviews or product launches are popular. If followers have Live Notifications turned on, they will receive an update when they are recording and watch in real time. Tease live video via a succession of Instagram posts in the lead up to build excitement. Apple are pioneers in this, recently revealing details about the new iphone 8 and iphone X via stories. To maximise data capture, encourage viewers to sign up for more information on your website. This helps to give your live video exclusivity, invites people to act immediately and increases leads. You can also encourage followers to submit questions for the Live Event. Ethical clothing company Everlane does just this and also includes the followers social handel when answering questions to boost customer retention and loyalty.

Guest host

Utilise influencers by allowing them take over Instagram Stories. This connects with a younger generation of users and has the added benefit of brand control. Unlike Snapchat, where influencers have to be given login details, they can simply send videos and stills to be uploaded. The most important aspect is choosing an influencer that aligns with your brand and will enable enough reach to target new customers. Natural skincare company, Frank Body found a perfect pairing in YouTube influencer and Nudestix co-founder Taylor Frankel. And Gucci has just collaborated with rapper A$AP Rocky to share videos from the brand’s SS18 show in Milan.

Provide special offers

Everyone loves a promo and by posting on Instagram Stories, the 24 hour window means that brands are more likely to see conversions due to the sense of urgency. If you’re verified, make sure to include links to the promo or sale, or alternatively direct to the link in your bio. Clothing brand Missy Empire does this particularly well, using conversational language in their discount offers such as ‘swipe gurl’ and the promo code ‘panic’ to entice followers to take action.

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