20 Oct How Brands Can Use Instagram Stories to Increase User Engagement
These days, Instagram has an ever-growing array of Stories features for users to choose from. Marketers shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with all of the creative avenues, as Stories are an effective way to engage with followers. Making use of Stories also improves discoverability and can ultimately help to strengthen a social media presence. This article will highlight some of the ways brands can use Instagram Stories to increase user engagement on the platform!
Use Stickers that Encourage Interaction
Within the last year, Instagram has introduced even more Stickers—graphic elements that can be added to both photos and videos on Stories—to the roster. Where Location tags and hashtags used to be the primary interactive Stickers, now the options of “Polls,” “Questions,” and “DM Me,” can further help to encourage follower interaction.
With Polls, brands can input a question and two answers into the Sticker. Followers who view the Story can then click on the answer of their preference. Marketers will then be able to see who has responded to their poll and what the percentage for each answer is. This is a great way for brands to get feedback, whether on a product, campaign, or anything else, and gain some statistical insight.
The Questions Sticker allows for more candid responses from followers: brands can put a question of their choice, similar to Polls, but this time users will be able to write anything they want into the answers. Marketers can use Questions to ask their followers for feedback about a product or service, can conduct Q&A sessions, or even create an FAQ with this option by inviting their followers to ask questions and then answering it on the brand account.
DM Me is a Sticker that, when added to a Story, allows followers to click on the button which will open a direct message thread with your brand. Including DM Me in a Story is an easily accessible way to encourage followers to interact with a business on a one-on-one basis. However, brands who use this Sticker should ensure that they are frequently checking their direct messages and dedicating time to respond to customers.
Additionally, marketers should keep in mind that Feed posts can also be highlighted in Stories. By simply clicking the paper airplane icon on the bottom left of an Instagram post, brands can promote past Feed posts on their Stories, which can be useful for garnering attention to older posts that may not have been seen by new followers. This can help to boost engagement and interaction on existing posts.
Another great feature for marketers with more time or budget is the ability to create custom AR filters for Stories. This is an effective way to reach younger audience demographics, and brands can get creative with the filter and showcase their brand in an artistic and visually appealing way.
Make Use of Highlights
While Stories disappear after 24 hours, a great way to immortalize Story content is by creating a Highlights category, which are pinned to the top of an Instagram profile and don’t disappear after 24 hours. When creating Highlights, brands should ensure that they create clear and distinct categories for each Highlight, in order to make their profile as professional, visually clean, and accessible as possible. Highlights are an ideal way to keep Stories organized, by bringing them together into a comprehensive reel for followers to flip through.
An example of a Highlight could be a “How-To” category, wherein a brand can place Stories that offer insightful guides or instructions on how to use their product or service. Another example is an “About Us” category, which can offer followers Stories that describe the business’ values, products, and services. Brands should brainstorm which Highlight categories they want on their profile beforehand, and then craft Stories with these specific categories in mind.
Other ideas for Story content that can be created into Highlights can include behind-the-scenes, offers and promos, special announcements, and any other important information about one’s brand. All in all, Highlights are a way to give customers and prospects a snapshot of a business, which helps to garner brand awareness. With this in mind, brands should ensure that their Stories are as engaging and eye-catching as possible, which means that the creative possibilities are endless!
Another option is to make use of user-generated content. When followers tag your brand or use a branded hashtag that a business has created, many businesses share these users’ posts in their own Stories. Sharing customer’s content can help to promote a brand’s products, services, and campaigns, and also help build a brand’s credibility. These Stories can then be used in a dedicated Highlight reel.
Statistics from January 2020 show that of Instagram’s 1 billion users, 500 million of these users are active on Stories on a daily basis. Therefore, it is crucial for brands to make use of Instagram Stories and all of the features it offers.
Statistics also show that brands post an average of 2.5 Stories per week. With that in mind, marketers don’t need to post every day in order to maximize on engagement with Stories! Marketers can also easily track their insights on Instagram to see which Stories perform better by analyzing its Reach (the number of unique accounts who have viewed your Story) as well as its Impressions (the number of times your Story has been viewed in total).
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic especially, where so many users are relying on the online space to stay connected with the brands they love, businesses should ensure that they are focusing on increasing user engagement on social media rather than solely focusing on driving traffic. Improving engagement and fostering a sense of community among followers is a great way to build loyalty and develop a trusting and authentic relationship with customers and prospects.
Instagram’s ever-growing roster of Stickers, GIFs, and Highlight reel options allow Stories to be a fun, insightful, and interactive experience for followers!
And if you’re interested in learning more about how you can use social media marketing to grow your brand, book a consultation with one of our experts today!Book your consultation today!