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Instagram Stories are on many brands’ radar for good reason. Over 300 million view Instagram Stories every day and one-third of the most viewed Stories come from businesses. It’s no longer a question of whether you should use Stories in your Instagram strategy, but how you should do it.
- Use Story Highlights to introduce your brand: Most accounts usually rely on a short bio to make that first impression – you’ve heard a million times before how important it is to have a great Insta bio that catches the eye, quickly explains what your business does, and convinces new visitors to click that follow button. However, with the addition of the Highlights feature, the bio section is not the only place where you can tell your brand story.
- Story takeovers by another user: collaboration: A Stories takeover – an influencer of choice takes over the brand account for a day, to produce exclusive content – is a relatively new trend on Instagram. Why does a takeover work better than a standard influencer collaboration? The incentive for the influencer’s followers is different. They’re not urged to follow the brand but encouraged by the influencer to see what he or she is doing on the brand’s account. The subtle promotion is more effective if you’re looking to increase reach and drive traffic from Instagram Stories to your site or special offer.
- Polls for audience research: While polls are a great tool to engage your audience, you can also use them strategically for audience research to create better content that resonates with your followers. Instead of asking something for the pure entertainment, find out what kind of content your audience wants to see on your account. If you want them to continue to follow you, ask them what it is they want you to post about.
- Self-made GIFs, fonts and stickers: if you want to be a trendsetter, follow the steps of Gary Vaynerchuk, who constantly creates GIFs (with his own face on them, of course – personal brand alert!) that nobody else would have. Also, to stand out of the crowd, you can turn to apps like Design Kit from A Color Story, which offers 30-plus modern fonts, 120-plus designs, and a ton of stickers to help your brand be unique and, ultimately, attract more followers.
- Shoutouts to competitors: due to the unique algorithm, giving shoutouts on Stories to another user or urging your followers to follow somebody else might seem like suicide, but the truth is it builds relationships on social media – you give a shoutout to someone, hoping to get a shoutout back. Plus, it gives you free content for Stories — all it takes is a screenshot and a few words.
- Mini videos/also called ‘shorts’: a trend in the Stories arena is a sequence of seamlessly cropped videos that together present a longer film that would otherwise be impossible to post on Stories due to the 15-second restriction. You can use Storeo, a free iOS app. You can upload your long video and slice it into smaller parts, maintaining the flow and transitions as smoothly as possible.
- Unique templates: use questionnaires, quizzes and templates that provoke engagement by answering questions or creating their own unique template. When they do, reward them by sending it to your followers and cite it as a great piece of creative work. Then challenge others to match it. You automatically have motivated engagement.
To stand out in the crowded space, you need to be creative and different. With changing algorithms and fickle audiences jaded with yesterday’s approach, you need to expand your space.
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