Instagram Stories: engaging the audience in business correctly and effectively
The stories themselves — These are short videos intended for publication in the section of the same name. This option appeared on the Instagram social network more than 7 years ago, but even today it remains very popular. Moreover, among many bloggers there is an opinion that their subscribers react more directly to the story itself than to publications in the feed. The length of the story that can be published here — up to one minute. This means that you will be able to present a sufficient amount of information to your audience and attract their attention. Along with videos, you can also post photos in stories, which will be displayed for one minute. You can add various filters to videos or pictures, supplement them with links, text, emoji, geolocation.
Stories will be displayed to those who follow you. This is a sequence of circles that are placed above the main tape. And the more often you interact with a particular account, the closer its stories will be placed in the row of these circles. All this suggests that the use of this tool — this is an extremely useful and effective solution for all those who plan to promote their business through this social network, attract new audiences, and maintain a consistently high interest of regular subscribers.
Now let’s look in more detail at what stories are in general, and why such publications should be used by business representatives. Here are a number of recommendations that you can use to attract an audience to your business, thereby increasing its efficiency. We will also pay attention to how to ensure stable and functional work with the Instagram social network, including with multi-account.
A little more about stories
We have already said that stories — These are small videos or photos that are placed in circles above the main feed and are visible to all subscribers of the account. A distinctive feature of such content is that it remains active only for 24 hours from the moment of publication. After this, the content automatically disappears and is no longer available for viewing.
To publish a story, you must initially prepare the appropriate material. The following requirements apply to it:
- The video must be in .MP4., MOV, or .GIF format, and its permissible width — 500 pixels. The maximum possible volume — 30 MB
- Photos can be placed in 1080x1920 pixels or 9:16 format.
- Maximum possible duration of history — 1 minute.
- The period during which the material is published — 24 hours
- It is possible to place the video in a horizontal position.
If you need to save stories, you can do this through the “Eternal Links” section. You can also create separate thematic collections.
Before preparing such material, you must clearly understand what main task you are setting for yourself. So, here you can publish the most relevant or, conversely, everyday information on behalf of your business. This is something that will make communication with your audience more interactive, increase their level of engagement, without overloading the main feed. Moreover, stories can increase the value of posted content for subscribers and encourage them to regularly review the published material. For accounts with over 10,000 subscribers, it is possible to add active links to stories. And also a similar publication — This is your chance to list your account in the “Recommended” block, which will significantly increase the number of views, and at the same time will help increase the number of subscribers and effectively promote your business as a whole.
The main thing – create material that can truly interest your target audience. This includes high-quality photos and videos, interesting posts, and material that is useful to the audience. Attention is also paid to the design of the content, a posting schedule is developed in detail, etc.
In fact, the creation and publication of stores — this is not as simple a process as it might seem at first glance. And in order for your idea to fully justify itself in practice, provide the expected influx of new users, and ensure the retention of the existing audience, it would not be a bad idea to take advantage of the recommendations of experts.
Rules and tips for engaging in Instagram business through stories
Over the years of existence of such a tool as stories on Instagram, trends and recommendations have changed several times. But despite this, this tool can rightfully be called a unique channel for communication with the user audience. The fact is that live communication — This is what really attracts attention, makes you feel inspired by the idea itself, which will ultimately have a positive impact on the efficiency of doing business. Everything here is clear and logical, since people like to take part in the development of a particular brand. It’s interesting to get, so to speak, into the “behind the scenes” of all processes. That is why creating stories should be one of the mandatory stages in the strategic planning of your business development.
For your idea to fully justify itself in practice, you need to approach its implementation as competently as possible. And the following recommendations will help you with this:
- Using a business approach.
- Communication support.
- Regular publication.
- Adding a link.
- Creating an album of Eternal Stories.
- Picture quality assessment.
- Using hashtags.
- Statistics tracking.
Let's look at all these points in more detail, and also provide a number of additional tips that will also have a positive impact on creating high-quality stories that your audience will definitely appreciate.
Using business approaches in stories
If you analyze the modern behavior of the user audience, you will notice that many of them view stories without even going to their profile. This means that here you need to place the information that you would like to attract the attention of your audience and interest them. The proposed material itself should be varied and interesting. So, along with providing this or that information, you can add polls and quizzes to your stories. Add a box so people can answer your questions right away. This will create the necessary interactivity: this is something that cannot be provided in a profile. That is, stories – this is what not only allows people to see your content, but also ensures a high level of communication. All this will have a positive impact on business development.
But still, you should not forget that behind a beautiful picture there should always be a basic business idea. You are not creating ordinary content, but material that should contribute to the development of your company. Business stories have 3 key differences compared to personal publications:
- The focus is not on the visual, but on the key idea. That is, in your stories you must clearly understand to whom and what idea you would like to convey. And only on its basis do you create material, and not vice versa.
- Each new story — This is part of the whole story, and not a publication taken out of context. In addition, it will require the same promotion as regular posts. The goal is clear: the more people see your publication, the greater the number of orders for goods or services will be placed on your website, in direct messages, in your profile.
- Develop a separate content plan for stories. Most likely, your main publications and the material posted in stories will overlap, because the work is being carried out in the same direction. But still, you should have 2 separate content plans for both options.
This all means that you should approach working with stories with the same responsibility and diligence as you do for one of your main publications in the feed.
Keep in touch with your audience
In order to inform your subscribers important news, conduct surveys, provide information about new products or services stories — this is one of the best solutions. If you maintain communication with your audience, you will show your interest not only in selling goods or services, but also in regular communication. So, you can not only offer your products or services, but also ask the audience which of your products interested them the most. Find out what they would like to improve in the products themselves or in the service.
That is, try to ask questions and attract expert opinions. Template stories, even the most beautifully and professionally made ones — This is something that not every user is surprised by. And don't forget that people don't want to feel deceived. Therefore, you need to maintain communication with them constantly. If you have already started a story, then be sure to bring it to its logical conclusion. Asked to ask questions – provide answers to them. In addition, try to give the most reliable and truthful information, whatever it may be. There is no need to embellish the products or services being promoted, because the person who purchases them will still see both strengths and weaknesses. Tell it like it is, explain the shortcomings, give recommendations that will help eliminate them or at least minimize them.
Also, when building communications, try to avoid standard answer options like “yes” or "no". Try to choose more detailed and original signatures, perhaps more lifelike and funny. This is what will cause additional positive reactions among subscribers and a desire to make contact.
And remember: after 24 hours your history will be deleted. This means that you must definitely record the results. You can also use the additional “Ask me a question” form. In this case, all messages that users sent to you will be available for viewing even after deletion.
That is, communication with the audience through stories — This is a kind of analogue of a heading, an answer to a question that is provided on many sites. That is, by maintaining communication with your subscribers, you will be able to find out what exactly interests them, as well as give competent answers to these questions.
Make publications regular
One of the most important tasks when creating stories for every business — try to stay at the beginning of a series of publications. This is what will allow your content to be seen by as many users as possible. That is why it is worth making your publications as regular as possible. But it’s important not to overdo it, because otherwise people will simply lose interest in your content if there is too much of it. It is optimal to post 3-4 stories daily. This will allow you to maintain interest and remain in the first positions of the series without boring readers.
It is also important to remember here that all your stories should be directly related to the topic of the business profile. You can’t get by with the banal memes that are widely posted on social networks today. From them you won’t get the desired targeted actions — questions, orders, direct messages, sales, increasing business profitability in general. That is, you need to find a clear line between ordinary communication with the audience and commercial one. Too many simple stories will reduce engagement — people will simply scroll through your posts and move on. But maximum concentration on the product or service being sold will also get boring for the audience very quickly. Your publications should reflect the missions and values of the business, the tasks that it faces.
It is optimal to combine different types of content in your stories, which will allow you to retain the attention of your audience for a fairly long period of time. And to implement all this as competently as possible, develop a separate content plan especially for stories. When creating it, consider the following points:
- Portrait of the target audience. You must clearly understand who you are targeting. This way you will deliver the content to those people for whom it is relevant, thereby excluding third-party audiences.
- The main idea that you want to convey to users with your publication. This could be an introduction to the range of products, a new product that you are introducing to the market, or a current promotion. It will also be useful to reveal production secrets from time to time, showing the competitive advantages of your product.
- The targeted action that you expect from people. This could be an answer to a question, sending a request on maternity leave, interest in a product or service, a desire to get acquainted with the full range of the catalog, etc.
- Publication type. Only after you find the answers to the previous 3 points, you can think about what format you will launch the story in: video or photo, single publication or series, the need for design or maximum simplicity.
- The need to promote stories. If this is relevant to you, then there will be a number of design recommendations here. In particular, you should not add geotags or a survey to such publications.
By following these recommendations, you will be able to create material that will be positively received by the target audience, and you will see the effectiveness of it in your business in the near future.
Adding links to stories
At the beginning of the article, we already said that anyone with over 10,000 subscribers can use this option. Adding a link to stories — This is a more convenient solution than placing it in your profile link with a constant reminder that you need to go there and click. But before you use this tool, you must understand that not every Instagram user will be happy about the need to switch to another resource. It will be much more comfortable for the audience to receive the information they need directly from the profile.
A little advice: launching a link in the story for promotion under targeted advertising can have a good effect. Instagram, as well as other social networks, are constantly at the stage of development and improvement. Thus, the placement of links in stories also changes. Today it is a kind of sticker on which the user sees the domain to go to. If he trusts the resource or you, as the account owner, he will most likely follow it.
Creating the album of Eternal Stories
Stories — It's not just an entertainment element. This is something that will allow you to open up the behind-the-scenes of your business to your audience, show how work is organized, present new products that are just getting ready to be launched on the market, and introduce you to your values and initiatives.
Create an album of Eternal Stories — This is a good solution for a business that is constantly developing. With its help, you can control your publications, avoid repetitions, and build the right strategy. By and large, the album Eternal Stories — this is a kind of website section that will describe production technologies, terms of delivery and payment for goods, reviews, current prices, availability of guarantees, etc. That is, the information collected here will be useful both to you, as a business representative, and to the audience interested in your products and services.
Picture quality assessment
Instagram are quite sensitive to the content they post. So, if you shoot a close-up video, the social network will definitely rate it more highly. Most users are interested in details. They will carefully examine the image and study the text addition. That is, a person will spend more time getting acquainted with professional material, and this, in turn, will be a signal for the social network to list this story as “Recommended.”
Quality stories — this:
- natural light;
- competent and confident speech in comments;
- concise and harmonious color scheme.
To create such material, you do not have to go to a studio, but you will still have to make some efforts. Today, what works well on Instagram is not single stories, but cycles of stories dedicated to one story. Such publications will be interconnected and will attract an audience, systematically pushing people to take one or another targeted action. And don’t forget about the interactive — user interaction always gives a good result.
Use of hashtags in publications
This also applies to locations and friends. Not all account owners bother with this. They are in no hurry to spend time searching for locations, adding friends, or posting a hashtag. And this is in vain, because just one mention is enough for new users to click on it. Those who are not yet aware of your brand or profile in general. That is, one hashtag, when your story gets into the general pool, can give more than a noticeable increase in audience.
Very often, people follow a geotag only because they are interested in seeing who else visited the same place as them, who else bought the same product. Don't forget to tag those with whom and for whom you work in your stories. Accordingly, that person can add your story to himself by reposting, which in itself will expand the audience at the expense of his subscribers. The only thing is that this must be agreed upon in advance, thereby obtaining the appropriate permission. And don’t forget to add those who have tagged your post to your story in the same way. Such elementary rules of mutual politeness will give good results in practice.
In order for your work to promote your business on Instagram, including using stories, to be as effective as possible, you must have a good understanding of the preferences of your audience. To see which material is successful, which is not, which evokes responses and a desire to share, which is the opposite – negative reaction. Regular acquaintance with the statistics of each of your stories will help you understand all this. You can find such information in the appropriate section. Here you will find a summary of stories for the last 2 weeks. We would like to draw your attention to the fact that for stories there are the same templates as for regular posts on Instagram. Accordingly, the greater the number of views, the better your story will be appreciated by social network.
To increase this indicator, you can:
- publish a story with a new product;
- in the next publication, highlight some characteristic advantage of this product, ask users a question and make a reference to previous stories;
- repeat the previous paragraph several times, systematically revealing all the competitive features of your product.
This way you will not only introduce the audience to the product that you are introducing to the market, but also get a closer relationship, which will have a positive impact on the level of sales in the end. Short publications work in a similar way, the message of which is difficult to understand the first time. This keeps people coming back to them again and again, still trying to grasp the hidden essence. Examples of such stories can be games: look, find, guess, etc. But in this case, you need to find something really new and interesting, because the banal “count the number of cats in the photo” the audience is clearly tired of it.
statistics show that the best solution in practice when publishing stories — it's about maintaining a balance:
- 70% — These are personal life hacks, memes, activities, prediction horoscopes, mazes, games and other entertainment content.
- 30% — this is an open sale, including the disclosure of the benefits of the product.
But remember: even entertaining content should be somehow tied to your products. This way you can maintain the interest of your audience and make them associate with your brand even when watching jokes. From time to time, experts also recommend removing entertaining content from publications. For example, you can publish some kind of gaming activity every day for 2 weeks, and then take a break for a week, giving the audience the opportunity to rest a little and miss such materials.
Here we have collected additional recommendations that will help you work effectively and correctly with your stories on the Instagram social network:
- Create captions for your videos. The fact is that many social network users prefer to view content without sound. This is very convenient if you want to relax a little and watch something interesting during the working day or vice versa, in the evening before going to bed, in transport. That is, in conditions where the sound may disturb others and cause them dissatisfaction. That is, having at least a short caption under your video will allow the audience to understand exactly what you are talking about and, accordingly, to grasp your idea. Let us also remind you once again about the need to periodically ask questions to your subscribers, thereby provoking them to interact. This will develop trust and maintain interest.
- Always answer the questions asked. Since you encourage your audience to communicate, take enough time to provide answers to requests sent to you, including in direct messages. As the number of subscribers increases, the number of requests will also increase. You can respond to them yourself or appoint a separate person who will respond to them in a timely and competent manner. Otherwise, all your efforts to attract people will simply come to naught: ignoring them in direct messages will clearly force potential buyers to look for other solutions, and you will be left without orders.
- Be creative. The audience has already become bored with standard surveys and quizzes. Show your imagination and creativity in order to find original, unusual solutions that can engage users. Along with some useful content that you need to delve into and be aware of, you can provide people with something that will make them smile, distract them. Today, various designer games like “make a screen with a prediction”, “hold the screen to guide the ball to the goal” are quite popular. etc. Remember, the audience is more attracted to something new and interesting, so it’s worth leaving the classics for a while.
- Create a face for your brand for stories. If previously pictures and logos were mainly used to associate with a brand, today real people evoke a greater response from the audience. Therefore, make sure that your business has a face. This way, the audience will much more quickly gain confidence in your company and, accordingly, in the goods or services that you supply to the market. That is, it is important to make sure that the page is run not by a faceless company, but by a real person. And it doesn’t have to be the manager or owner of the brand. This could be a manager, an SMM specialist, or even a third party who agrees to represent your company on Instagram. Yes, this approach is somewhat more complicated than using pictures, but the return on it will be higher.
- Connect mobile proxies to work. This is the solution that will make your work with the social network more functional, convenient, and effective. With their help, you can simultaneously work with a large number of accounts and effectively promote them, including using automated actions, without fear of running into blocking or any other restrictions. You will also be able to change your geolocation to access your profiles from different countries and regions of the world and vice versa, access resources that are currently prohibited in your region. In addition, mobile proxies — this is exactly the tool that will ensure guaranteed anonymity and safety of working on the Internet in general and with social networks in particular.
As you can see, stories — This is a separate tool for developing and promoting your business on Instagram. This is not the same as regular posts in your feed, this is not what you publish on your personal account. There are some peculiarities and nuances here that must be taken into account. And then you will receive another useful and effective channel of communication with your audience, which will ultimately have a positive impact on the development of your business and increase your sales.
To summarize everything we talked about in this review, we will highlight a number of main points:
- put the main emphasis on the idea, and only then — on the visual component;
- create separate content plans for posts and stories, because these are completely different types of content;
- involve your audience in communication using surveys, games, and involving experts in consultations;
- if required, pay for the promotion of selected stories in the same way as you do with regular posts in the feed;
- combine important stories or story cycles into separate albums, use them in navigation;
- never ignore messages from subscribers in direct messages;
- add hashtags, geotags, tag users who previously tagged you, repost;
- add entertaining and gaming content to your publications;
- think about who could be the face of your brand on Instagram;
- Always monitor the success of your stories, analyze the aspects that made them so popular.
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