Instagram Stories: How Brands and Influencers are Using it (And You Can Too)

06 Jul 2020 | vividreal
Instagram Stories: How Brands and Influencers are Using it (And You Can Too)

Millennials want their family, friends, colleagues, bosses to be updated with their day-to-day activities – be it personal or professional. So do marketers and influencers.

One of the best social media platforms to do this is Instagram. This is a versatile platform to promote your brand, products, and services, aiding in the increase of your conversion rate.

What if you want your posts to take another form? A form that will occupy minimal space and have the maximum impact on your audience? It looks like your wishes have been granted. But in what form, you may ask?

Instagram Stories.

It is a wonderland for marketers and influencers as you get everything you want to promote your brand on a single platform with a multitude of engaging creative elements. 

If you need help managing your social media accounts, talk to our Social Media Marketing experts today.

Now when you see big  brands and influencers out there killing it on Instagram, the big question mark in your head must point towards 

“Why and how do they do it?”

The “How” and “Why” answered

Here’s the “Why”.

Why do influencers and marketers want to utilize the features of Instagram Stories? Instagram’s potential advertising reach is 849 million users. 200 million Instagram users explore at least one business profile every day. One-third of the most viewed stories are from various businesses. These are concrete stats. Mind-boggling, aren’t they?

It should not come as a surprise that many of the e-commerce businesses take the aid of Instagram to promote themselves as well as their products and services.

Instagram Stories allow you to connect with your potential customers on a personal level. You can interact with them by having a live session, a Q&A session, taking polls, including photos and videos and many more. This kind of interaction feels more human, genuine and less professional (in a good way).

The “How” explored

How do brands and influencers use Instagram Stories?

Just knowing how to use Instagram Stories is of no use until and unless you are able to attract customers, actively engage with them and redirect them to your website. You have to know what to include, the creative elements to actively interact with your customers and how to promote your brand using the same.

So, what steps do brands and influencers take?

1. Take the aid of Instagram influencers (this applies to brands only)

Brands build positive relationships with influencers to promote their brand and products. An important note to keep in mind is that your influencers should be authentic and creative, be it micro-influencers or ones with popularity and broader reach. Before roping them in, make sure you look at their:

  • Instagram engagement
  • Quality of their followers
  • Quality of their posts’ content

You can either

  • Hire and pay them to promote your brand.
  • Give your products for free so that they promote it on their pages.
  • Provide discount codes so that their followers can utilize it.
  • Use digital tactics like providing custom URLs.

Since you roped them in to increase your ROI, analyze the fluctuations in your sales, the incoming website traffic and conversion rates.

2. Include creative and interactive elements

To actively interact and gain a response from the viewers, brands incorporate elements like

  • Quizzes regarding products and their features, Question Stickers and Polls aid in eliciting a response from the viewers. They help in understanding the thoughts of your viewers regarding your brand or business.
  • A Q & A session gives a deeper insight into your products and services.
  • Music, which makes your viewers retain their interest in viewing your present story and its successors.
  • Creative GIFs that represent aspects of a particular product. Instagram has built-in GIFs but if you want to add a personal touch, GIFs can be custom-made using other tools. 
  • Appropriate emojis to heighten the emotive senses of the viewers.
  • Hashtags and location to make it more informative.

Image Source: Clinique (Instagram)

Here, Clinique has incorporated the Q & A element to elicit responses from viewers, included a person’s face in the background and given the solution by using the “Swipe Up” feature.

Image Source: Maybelline New York (Instagram)

Maybelline has announced a live Makeup Tutorial with their own makeup experts, included a Countdown Timer and mentioned the specifics. They have kept the layout neat and highlighted the main specifics. 

3. Utilize paid apps to enhance your photos

Although Instagram has Boomerang as an app, there are many more like

  • Hype Type – this app animates typography.
  • InShot – it is a video and photo editing app.
  • Adobe Spark – it is a design app.

These apps have custom features for your stories, ranging from attractive fonts to creative overlays. Using these can make your stories stand out from those of your competitors, aiding in increased engagement.

4. Direct your viewers to your Stories

Yes, it’s a fact that Instagram Stories are gathering a fan-base. But, there are high chances that many viewers will not open your Story Feed since yours might be somewhere in the middle of the Feed line up. 

What do you do in this situation?

Point your viewers to your Stories via your page or posts. Simply add a line in your post’s content asking everyone to check out the latest updates, offers etc on your Stories.

Image Source: Clinique (Instagram)

If anyone has missed out on the opportunity to view the favourite routines by Clinique in their Stories, Clinique gives it to them by directing the viewers to their Stories feed.

By using the “Highlight” feature, you can also display Stories that you do not want to be temporary, on your profile page. Your viewers can access it on your page anytime they want to.

5. Use striking visual and textual content

More than long texts, people are attracted to appealing visual content. Since you only have a limited amount of time to engage your viewer in your Stories, you have to ensure that you make them compelling.

  • Use bright colours in your fonts, against a light background. This will make the content pop.
  • Put a photo of a person to establish an emotional and human connection.
  • Include unique, short-length and relevant content.
  • Use fonts which are easier to read and comprehend. Also, make sure you highlight the main points using different fonts and colours than the rest of the content.

Image Source: Clinique (Instagram)

Clinique is promoting their range of foundation products by asking their own employees to test the products, introducing them to the viewers by including their name and picture. It establishes a human connection. This is a brilliant move on their part.

Your points and messages should be easily and clearly conveyed to the audience. Make this process as easy and efficient as possible for the viewer.

6. Display an Ad

Using Instagram’s highly targeted ad platform via Stories to your advantage is a tactful strategy which should be adopted by all businesses and brands. It allows brands to use 10 photos or videos with a full-screen format. 

There are certain Instagram ad specifications to look after, in case you want to use a Story-based ad.

  • Use minimal overlay text on images and videos.
  • Full-screen size of your photos (1200 x 628 pixels is recommended) with high resolution.
  • As most Story ads are viewed without audio, ensure you are not relying only on audio to convey your message.
  • If you have more than 10,000 followers on Instagram, you can use the “Swipe-up” feature, which will directly take your viewers to your website.

Story ads can work wonders for your brand’s success. Knowing your target audience and viewership, plus adhering to the correct specifications is half the game. The rest depends on your level of execution of these elements.

7. Make special announcements and host contests

Suspense has always been an integral part of a person’s psychology to evoke their intrigue. 

Instagram users thrive on this, and you can use it to your advantage. Use content which gives a sneak-peek into that special announcement. Emojis, GIFs, labels act as the perfect tool to aid in making these announcements seem more suspense-filled.

Image Source: Maybelline New York (Instagram)

Maybelline is asking viewers to send in their entries in a contest organized by them. They have provided an incentive as well, along with the specifics. This ensures that their handle gets retagged in every single one of the entries, broadening their engagement reach with followers of the viewers.

Contests are a great way of engaging with the viewers. Right from announcing the contest to the countdown to the opening (yes, there’s a Countdown feature included) and finally announcing the winners, Stories are perfect to keep the viewer actively engaged.

8. Provide limited-time offers, deals and promos

Using Stories as a platform to showcase offers and deals on products, items on sale and advertising promos is a fool-proof method to engage viewers. They would not want to miss out on a golden opportunity to buy your products on sale. 

Image Source: Sephora (Instagram)

Here, Sephora provides discount coupons on different dates to various categories of users, along with the discount code. Beauty enthusiasts would not want to miss out on such an opportunity. Sephora knows their target audience and is tactfully executing the strategy.

Thus, they will keep themselves updated by viewing your Story feed on a regular basis.

9. Give access to behind-the-scenes

By giving a sneak-peek into “behind-the-scenes”, you are able to impart a sense of involvement to your viewers. This also lets you inform your customers about most of the steps involved, for example, going live at an event organized by your company.

Image Source: kaybykatrina (Instagram)

In the above pictures, kaybykatrina is giving the viewers an insight into their production process by sharing photos and videos of the manufacturing unit. This provides transparency and credibility to the brand, which makes the consumers trust the brand and its products.

You do not have to dedicate separate space on your Post Feed to these aspects. Instagram Stories act as an efficient platform to engage with your viewers on this basis.

10. Share and tag User-Generated Content

You certainly do not want to waste the opportunity to re-post those photos and videos in which your followers have tagged your brand. Sharing these shows the popularity of your brand and its products, encouraging others to try your products and avail the benefits of your services.

Additionally, you should tag these followers in your shared photos. They should know that you appreciate their efforts.

11. Give step-by-step tutorials

Since Instagram Stories follow a sequential format, you can easily give a step-by-step tutorial. It can include anything from cooking recipes to using features on a phone.

They are quite informative and educational in nature and piques the interest of your viewers.

Image Source: Clinique (Instagram)

Clinique provides a step-by-step tutorial of using one of their products, along with giving a few Pro Tips. The layout is not clustered, gives the right amount of information and is appealing.

Useful, ain’t it?

Instagram has proved to be one of the best when it comes to social media marketing. The scope of engagement with your current customers as well as potential customers increases ten-fold. The reason is very simple.

Almost everyone uses Instagram nowadays. There’s no denying that.

Using a format like Instagram Stories will definitely help you to gain a larger viewership and in turn, get increased traffic and sales on your website. Moreover, they are absolutely fun to work on. 

Don’t let the opportunity of utilizing this amazing feature go down the drain. Use it right away and see the magic unfold.

And if you come across any problems, our team of Social Media Marketing geniuses will be glad to resolve them for you.


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