Instagram stories: become unbeatable
Previously, we wrote an article on how to boost the visibility of your business on Instagram, here, we are going to focus more on one of the flagship features of this social media: the stories. A story is an ephemeral publication that lasts only 24 hours and that fades away afterwards, except if you put it under a “Highlight”. Everyone can use them, whether you have a personal or professional account and see them, provided that your account is not private of course, in this case only your community will have the possibility to look at them. It’s been 5 years since they first appeared on Instagram, and they have grown in importance along the way. Stories are a marvellous tool for everyone who wants to create proximity with their followers and demonstrate creativity in their communication on social media.
“Not other visual format offers you the opportunity to communicate with much creativity.” (Source: emarketinglicious.fr)
Thanks to filters, GIFs and many more tools, you can give free rein to your imagination. Many functionalities are to be discovered and taken in hands such as geolocation or even the addition of music. Stories can be a precious tool for your business and so you should not neglect the impact that they can have on your communication strategy. In this article, we are going to discover why and how to use Instagram stories and review the different functionalities available.
Table of contents
1. What is an Instagram story?
In 2016, the story feature on Instagram was launched. The addition of these stories attracted more than 400,000 users in two years. This tool has become more popular than the Snapchat application, from which the creators were largely inspired in the development of this functionality. This tool aims to constitute a slideshow of several photos and/or videos that will disappear after 24 hours. These stories are very customizable and many functionalities are available to help you increase the number of views and engagement with your stories. The length of a story is from 5 to 15 seconds, depending on the content (photo or video). Once the story is posted, you can see the number of views and know who watched your story.
“500 million is the number of daily Instagram story users.” (Source: emarketinglicious.fr)
Stories are used to highlight spontaneous moments during the day. The images are not as elaborate as well as for publications in the feed, the aim being to share authentic moments. Stories help bring the company to life. They are going to reflect an image of you or the brand whilst allowing followers to know more about you. Stories are used to show your community who you are, what you do, promote a product, a website but also to partner with brands or influencers and interact with followers through quizzes and surveys.
To watch a story, you just need to click on one of the profile pictures with a coloured circle around it. You can also find stories at the top of your Instagram feed page. Only the stories of the accounts that you follow will be shown on the homepage, but you can access public account’s stories by searching for their profile.
2. The history of Instagram stories
2016 marks the launch of the Instagram story functionality. Thereafter, Instagram added extra options allowing the user to be more and more creative. In 2017, filters, stickers and tags were put in place: these options will help companies to promote and get their stories seen by a wider range of people. Since 2019, users can create their own filters with Spark AR studio. This application allows anybody to create a filter that will then be put on social media for everyone to be able to use it. Once again, this gives you a lot of freedom in terms of creativity. It is not an easy software to use but it remains rather entertaining and interesting for users and especially for brands to be able to create their own filter.
3. How to make a story?
a. Story formats
Firstly, you will take a picture, a video or choose one from your gallery. We have the “classic” functionality that allows you to take pictures or videos on your own camera. Then we have the Boomerang: this option allows you to take a video of a few seconds that repeats in a loop in GIF format. Then, we have the “hands-free” functionality that allows you to take a video without having to hold the button and the “create” option that allows you to simply write a text or draw on a background of the colour of your choice.
There is also the Layout option, with which you can create a collage of several pictures taken directly via Instagram or chosen from your gallery. Several formats and compositions are available. And finally, you have the possibility to take pictures of yourself thanks to the “multi-capture” mode, here you will take several pictures and Instagram will put them one after the other under the form of a video. It is preferable to post a portrait photo in your stories as a landscape photo risks being cropped and the results will be less aesthetic.
b. The different “decoration” options
In 2017, a big variety of filters were created and made available to users. From now on, it is also possible to add stickers and tags to your stories; you now have the possibility to add your location or even hashtags. This option will increase your number of views as Instagram users have the possibility to search for stories by location or even by hashtags. Furthermore, you can put music in the background of your story, add emojis, gifs but also surveys, countdowns and questions, which allows you to interact with your community and increase engagement on your profile which is not negligible. You can also draw in colour with different modes and add text with various fonts. You also have the possibility to identify your friends and brands on your story so that they can easily repost them to their profiles. Moreover, this allows people watching your stories to know who is on the story, which brand is also present.
“Since 60% of stories are watched with sound, don’t forget to also care about this aspect of your content.” (Source: Business.Instagram.com)
If you are a verified account with more than 10,000 followers, you have the possibility to add “swipe up” links to your stories. This will allow your followers to access a website directly and the person behind the account to have the possibility to promote an article, website or other more easily. It is important to have a precise style on your stories so that your follower can recognise you without having to look at the account name. Instagram stories are therefore a very precious tool for businesses that have access to swipe up.
d. Headline Stories
Instagram automatically archives your stories if you wish, but there is also the possibility to put some of them on ‘“highlights”. This means that they will stay on your profile on dedicated tabs (and will therefore not disappear after 24h). Thanks to these tabs, you also have the opportunity to organise them under different categories by giving them a name and a cover picture.
4. Why use Instagram stories?
All of the tools we have just mentioned will allow you to promote your page and increase engagement on your profile. With the addition of localisation tags and hashtags, your stories can be seen by a large number of people through a simple search.
“One in five story will receive a private message from a user.” (Source: emailmarketinglicious.fr)
Furthermore, when you are identified on a story, you have the possibility to repost it on your profile. This will therefore incite people to identify and repost stories, which will increase the number of views. Especially when brands repost stories in which their clients identify them, it creates a link with their followers. They will be led to interact more with the brand. Then, thanks to the statistics, you will be able to better understand your audience, to see which type of publication works best and which ones have had the most interactions, to eventually do this type of publication again or not.
5. The usefulness of Instagram stories for a business
“One-third of the stories with the most views were created by businesses.” (Source: Hootsuite.com)
If you are looking to create a community and interact with your followers, we invite you to read the dedicated article on our blog. On your stories, you can reveal what goes on behind the scenes of your company, present your employees and your working methods, show how your products are created and do quizzes and surveys. This type of content is of great interest to followers and provokes a feeling of closeness between the followers and the brand. They have the impression that they know the company intimately. Furthermore, interactive stickers increase engagement with the brand’s page.
“More than 50% of professional accounts have created stories in the last month.” (Source: Business.Instagram.com)
As a business, you have a professional Instagram account that allows you to see your statistics. You, therefore, have the opportunity to see how many people responded to your story, how many people visited your profile after viewing the story, the number of views and the number of people who followed you. The fact that stories only last for 24h stimulates a sense of urgency around individuals, so it is a good way to attract users’ attention.
“80% of accounts follow at least one business on Instagram.” (Source: Oberlo.fr)
The business accounts also have the possibility to promote their stories. Very easy to set up, this is the ideal opportunity to target your publication by reach, views, traffic, conversions, application installations and brand awareness. Once again, you have the means to look at the statistics of your advertisement, but you also have the possibility to consult additional indicators such as reach, impression and video indicators. You can judge for yourself whether the ad has been seen by enough people and whether or not it has worked well for your future promotions. Companies also have the possibility to make stories in partnership: either with another brand or with influencers. Partnerships will allow your business to expand its audience, get more followers but also increase its engagement rate with internet users.
To conclude, stories are a very good tool once you get the hang of them. As we have just observed, a large number of functionalities and tools are available to help you promote, highlight and increase the number of views and engagement on your Instagram profile. Once well taken in hand, this tool can be a real asset to develop the company’s presence on social media as it will help boost its visibility, awareness and potentially generate sales. Furthermore, you have the possibility to allow your creativity to take over thanks to all the functionalities that Instagram offers. The stories you post asking your community to participate through a Q&A or simply asking for their opinion, this will create a link with the brand.
Of course, this is not the only tool that will help you increase your visibility, I will let you go and read our article on how to increase your visibility on the networks. Instagram stories are a marvellous tool that allows you to showcase your business for free and make it known. With a large number of Instagram users, you will be able to get noticed and promote your business the way it should be! What about you, do you do stories for yourself or your business? What do you think of this format? We would love to hear your feedback and exchange it with you. Don’t hesitate to share and comment on this article if you found it useful and interesting!