Instagram Stories started as the company’s way of competing with Snapchat by introducing a similar feature on their platform. Now, with over 500 million active Stories users daily, brands are starting to explore the feature as a means for building brand awareness.
Instagram Stories are bite-sized content pieces that do not appear on the feed and usually disappear after 24 hours, except when they are saved and featured using highlights. Thanks to many users, Stories give brands of all sizes increased visibility and a new way to engage with their audience and followers.
If you’re looking to up your brand’s social media engagement, it’s time to implement an Instagram content strategy that includes an active approach to Instagram Stories. Here are five tips for using Instagram Stories to increase brand awareness.
Five Ways to Take Advantage of Instagram Stories for Brand Awareness
1. Show, Don’t Tell
Instagram Stories is like your business’s mini television channel, and that’s what you should use it for – to show what your products, services, and brand is all about. After all, people love visual content, and Instagram makes engaging with visual content super easy, making this channel perfect for reaching your audience with your offerings.
Some of the content you can use to showcase your brand or business is to post:
- Sneak peeks- tease a product, service, or rollout.
- Behind the scenes- pull back the curtain and show your customers how your team operates.
- Product launches- when a new product is being released, the first place to take it to the masses could be on your Instagram Stories.
- Events- live blog events that your brand or business is organizing so followers can see the excitement.
- Q&A- Use the “Questions” feature in Stories to open up a Q&A with followers.
With these types of content on your Stories, you’re doing more than just posting content. You’re bringing your audience in and showing them the stuff your business is made of.
2. Save Stories as Highlights
One limitation of Instagram Stories is that they are time-restricted – each story post will disappear after 24 hours. However, highlights present a way for your followers or new audiences to have access to important Stories you shared in the past.
With highlights, you can create collections with saved Stories that talk about the same topic or are part of a theme. That way, after 24 hours, followers and new audiences who come across your profile can browse through past Stories to learn more about who you are and what you do.
Some things to save in Highlights could be new products, team bonding activities, product updates, or recipes.
3. Create Templates and Style Guides
Stories are great but getting creative, being unique, and committing consistently to a chosen theme and style will quickly set your brand apart from the rest.
To do this, Identify the type of content you want to create consistency for your brand and develop templates that you will always use for these.
- Choose a font type to be used on all of your Stories or different content types.
- Define brand colors or choose specific colors you want your brand to be associated with.
- Define the style for different content types.
- Redesign your highlight covers and instead use custom-designed icons as cover images for your highlight collections.
The other benefit of having preset templates and a style guide is that anyone on your team, internal or external, can create Stories for the brand without breaking consistency.
4. Interact with Followers and Customers
Instagram Stories aims to increase awareness and visibility. One way to speed that up is to involve your followers and customers in your Stories.
Original content is excellent, but user-generated content will score you higher relationship points with your target audience as well as increase trust and credibility in your brand. And for anyone who’s ever experienced burnout, this is a great way to avoid running out of fresh content to use for your Instagram Stories.
To interact with your followers/customers via Stories:
- Feature posts about your brand or products made by customers or followers
- Ask your customers for video testimonials that can be repurposed for use on Instagram Stories
- Give a shoutout to loyal customers and followers (make sure you tag them)
- Use the “Polls” feature so your followers can respond and use their responses or questions as content for new posts
- Run takeovers if you have an influencer associated with your brand or a super customer who would be willing to create content solely for your business
5. Employ a People-First Approach
It’s easy to get caught up in creating content that promotes your brand with your Stories, but you should stick to the people-first approach to increase brand awareness.
The people-first approach keeps you focused on content that helps and seeks to educate your followers/customers about your brand, products, and services. As a result, your content will be more of product education and customer engagement.
Use Stories to post tutorials about your products, address some frequently asked questions by your customers, and appreciate your followers and customers for sticking with your brand and engaging.
Creating people-first content will keep your followers coming back to your Stories because they get value from the content that you put up.
Use the steps above to skyrocket your brand awareness, visibility, and engagement with Instagram Stories. Be consistent with the quality and volume of your content, and watch the magic happen.
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