Instagram Stories was launched in 2016 and since then have become one of the most popular features of the social media platform.
Stories are pictures or videos that are viewed one after another in a stream at the top of the Instagram screen and they disappear after 24 hours. At first, you might think this is an unnecessary feature, best suited to a younger audience. But businesses can successfully use Instagram Stories in their marketing plan to improve their engagement. Here are five benefits to using Stories:
1. Real Time Marketing
Because Stories disappear within 24 hours, they are an excellent medium for real time marketing. Post live during an event or conference to encourage attendance, create networking opportunities, or add value for those who weren’t able to attend.
2. Diversity Your Marketing Approach
The introduction of stories changed the way some people use Instagram. Instead of scrolling through a feed, they may watch Stories one after another. So if your posts aren’t getting noticed in the feed, you have a second way of reaching your audience through Stories. You can even share your posts in your Stories to create another opportunity to capture your followers’ attention.
3. Show Your Fun Side
Because of the casual, real-time nature of Instagram Stories, you can let loose a little more and have fun with your Instagram marketing. This is a great place to show behind-the-scenes content, company culture, or to recognize employee achievements.
A note of warning: Be judicious in your use of gifs and emojis. Too many flashing gifs or cartoons can make your company appear unprofessional.
4. Encourage Audience Participation
Stories offer features such as polls, question boxes, and multiple choice quizes which provide opportunities to interact with your followers. Who can resist clicking on a poll question? Beyond making this fun for your audience and getting them engaged, these features can be helpful feedback for client research.
Since your poll will last for 24 hours with your Story, don’t forget to share the results with your followers after it ends.
5. Create Evergreen Content
Your expired Stories can be saved to a Highlight at the top of your Instagram profile creating evergreen content.
Goldman Sachs uses videos within Story Highlights to educate their audience, to highlight their intern program, and much more.
Since several Highlights can be created, categorize content and create a cover for each category by publishing a story with text in it. This takes some forethought since highlights are organized chronologically, i.e. a cover must be created and posted to the story, before the content.
For example, architecture firm Sasaki Design has created Highlights around their events and company culture. It’s clear that they have planned content because each highlight cover photo has the title of the album.
If done well, professional service firms can successfully use Instagram’s Story feature to engage audiences and create evergreen content.