Instagram StoriesI have to admit, when Instagram Stories launched back in 2016, I viewed it with a critical eye. I saw it as nothing more than a move to regain users lost to Snapchat. In fact, many people at the time felt that Instagram Stories was a pretty blatant copy-cat move. A charge Instagram didn’t dispute.

Well it looks like Instagram rolled the marketing dice, and won! Within a year Facebook announced that Instagram Stories had surpassed Snapchat, acquiring 250 million daily active users. Not bad, if I do say so myself!

The Benefits of Using Instagram and Instagram Stories

Let’s back up a bit, and make the case for Instagram. It’s no secret that it’s a powerhouse. Recent stats tell us the photo (and video!) sharing app has over 800 MILLION monthly active users – double that of Twitter.

And consumers who use Instagram are eager to engage with businesses via the app. In 2017, “…more than 120 million users visited a website, got directions, called a business, emailed or direct messaged a business.” Ding ding ding! Potential leads and conversions, right there.

There’s also influencers to consider. When surveyed by influencer platform Zine, influencers overwhelmingly chose Instagram over other social media platforms. In fact, a whopping 80 percent gold-starred Instagram as their preferred app.

These impressive numbers should change your mind if you’re hesitant to add Instagram to your digital marketing strategy. But if you are, don’t set it and forget it. Instagram has become more than just a “photo sharing app.” Enter, Instagram Stories!

The Impact of Adding Instagram Stories to Your Digital Marketing Campaigns

Firstly, of those 800 million active monthly users, 80 percent of them say they follow at least one business on the app. And 60 percent have heard about a product and service through the platform.

Instagram Stories has made a huge impact on how those users interact on the app. Users also now stay on Instagram longer (on average, 24 to 32 minutes)

Roughly 70 percent of them watch stories with the sound on. That’s important because they have to manually toggle it on and off. Can you say active engagement! I think so!

And one in five organic stories from businesses get a direct message.

If your business is not yet using Stories, it may be time to jump on the bandwagon! But, only, of course, if it fits within your business and marketing objectives.

Tips and Tricks

Here are a few ideas to help inspire you to create and publish your company’s Instagram Stories:

  • Tell a story: Think of Stories as a virtual ‘show and tell’ about your product and services, but be sure you’re taking the user on a journey. For example, create a how-to, provide quick tips, or go behind-the-scenes of your business (#BTS). Use creative text and filters to make the story more engaging.
  • Try an Instagram Stories takeover: I’ve talked about the benefits of Instagram takeovers before, but adding Stories to the mix creates another relevant way to work with an influencer and expand your audience. Try starting out by choosing a brand ambassador, blogger or influencer to share a “day in the life” story, subtly featuring your product or service.
  • Drive website traffic with links: The ability to add links and tags is hands down one of the best features of Instagram Stories for business. With a simple swipe up, you can link users to your own hosted content … even product pages where users can make a purchase! What’s not to love about that?
  • Amp up engagement with a poll: Try asking your audience for opinions about a product or service you offer. Poll them on what topics they’d like for upcoming blogs or videos. Or ask them which social media platforms they are most active on. These are all excellent ways to engage your audience and show them their opinion matters. Bonus points for how polls help you learn more about what makes them tick.

You might be thinking, “Great, I love these ideas, but how do I actually DO an Instagram Story? What if it’s just too complicated?” I hear you! New features can be intimidating, but Instagram Stories is actually quite intuitive once you get started. I found this step-by-step article from CNET to be very helpful.

Go ahead and give Stories a try, then let me know your results.