So what exactly is Instagram Stories?

Have you heard everyone and every brand buzzing about what the’ve posted on their Instagram Stories? If so, I’m telling you to believe the hype. If you’re confused about what “Instagram Stories” is, to put it briefly, it’s a feature found in the Instagram app that allows you to share photos or videos with your followers in a slideshow format for 24 hours. The purpose of these stories is to provide a real-time experience to your followers outside of your usual posts.

However, you and your business can do so much more than simply share fun photos with this feature, and after reading this blog, you will know how to perfectly curate the best stories to show your brand’s audience.

What should your Instagram stories provide for you?

Sure, you could snap a picture of random things you do throughout the day, but as a business owner, you can use Instagram Stories to reach further into your consumer community and set the tone for your brand. Even though stories can seem more relaxed than actual photo posts, providing quality content within stories is still extremely important.

So what exactly defines quality Instagram Stories content? Here are a few guidelines to follow when thinking about what to post:

  • Tell a story
    • Yes, stories can be fun to post random pictures from your day, but when you’re a brand, you want to provide your consumers with so much more than that. Since Instagram Stories play in a slideshow format, you can tell a chronological story through this outlet.
    • It doesn’t have to be a long, complex storyline. It can be almost anything that happens in your office, from production to packaging, or whatever! The key is to create one cohesive “story” to keep your followers engaged.
  • Be authentic
    • Instagram stories and similar platforms are created for content that seems as though it was just captured in the moment (even if that’s not exactly the case.) Although your Instagram Stories should be engaging and thoughtful, they don’t necessarily need to be perfect. Let your quirks and personality come through, so that your brand can come off as more authentic.
  • Provide Value
    • We all know that providing education and knowledge of your business through social media is an excellent digital marketing technique. So, one of the greatest gifts of Instagram Stories is the ability to teach your followers about your product or service via story videos.
    • By informing your consumers about your product in a light-hearted, entertaining way, you are providing education while also making your followers want to keep returning to your stories. You can’t lose!
  • Be Creative
    • Your business could be following all of the above guidelines, but it will get you nowhere unless you intertwine creativity with it all. Nobody wants to see boring content in any way. This includes your followers.
    • Try doing a mix of slides with text, photos, boomerangs, drawings, videos, etc. This will keep your viewers intrigued and always guessing what will come next.

What can Instagram Stories Do?

Alongside being able to post pictures or videos in the moment, Instagram stories allows for you to post premade content. What I mean by this is that you can create advertisements, designs or pictures ahead of time, and post it at a later time that is more convenient for you. Also, Instagram Stories nows allows for you to post content created on any date, not just in the past 24 hours. So, you don’t need to stress anymore about when you are creating and posting your content.

Instagram Stories also allows for you to make any temporary moment a permanent memory. Let’s say your business has an event, and you share some moments from it to a story. With the new Instagram Highlights feature that allows you to save categorized stories, you can make these 24 hour moments permanent on your page!

Lastly, but probably most important in terms of your checkbook, your business can have a huge ROI from Instagram Stories. In a recent feature found on stories called the “Instagram Swipe,” businesses can now provide a link to their services or products directly in the story. Now you can route your followers right to your product, and see your numbers grow.

How to Creatively Plan Your Instagram Stories

Now that you know what Instagram Stories is, what kind of content to post, and what the Stories feature can do for you and your business, you’re ready to begin to plan out your stories content. Follow the tips that I’ve listed below to help you start your planning process.

  • Determine your brand voice
    • Do you know what your brand’s voice is? Is it fun and playful, quirky and hipster, articulate and clean? Whatever it may be, it’s important to establish this voice not only in your posts, but also in your Instagram Stories.
    • Your brand voice also includes the overall style and design of your posts. Establish your voice and vibe before posting to anything, so you can create cohesive and well-thought out stories.
  • Create a story
    • Once you’ve established your voice, it’s time to begin creating your Stories. If you’re hyper-organized, you can organize a storyboard in excel that lists your agenda, Instagram Story, Type of Story, and pre-made or real-time. Then you can prepare by creating all pre-made content (like text, promos, and links), so those are ready to go.
    • If you have a more go with the flow approach, you can determine what you want your Instagram story to focus on that day, and create content as you go. The important things to remember with this format is to keep your brand voice and include a mixture of videos, text, pictures, etc.
  • Decide Call-to-Actions
    • Think about what call-to-actions you will want to put in your Instagram Stories that day. What I mean by call-to-actions are promos, coupon codes, or a live-stream event. If you plan on including any of these things, make sure to create a build up to them through your content. This will give your followers a head’s up and create consumer excitement.

 

Consider a content scheduler

All of this planning and content creation may sound like a lot, and to be honest, it kind of is. However, because so many consumers are hanging out on Instagram, it’s imperative to have quality content on your page and in your Instagram Stories. An easy way to make this possible without stressing you out, is to pass the job on to a content planning and scheduling tool. That way you can insure the best stories are reaching your audience without having to check Instagram every other minute.

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