Instagram first launched their Stories feature back in 2016 – doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun on social media!

The launch arrived at a time when Snapchat was making waves with ephemeral content; something we were all still getting used to at the time. Until Snapchat arrived, content had no time limit. Everything we posted stayed put on timelines and grids.

Instagram caused a bit of a stir when they launched Stories with many saying it will never catch on. Fast-forward to 2020, and it’s hard to imagine Instagram without them. Rather than it being an additional add-on feature, Instagram Stories has become essential. A serious player in the social media marketing world – some might say.

So, why are so many brands still resisting the urge to get on board or not using it to its full potential? There are a few reasons that spring to mind:

  1. Creating Stories adds another layer of work in a potentially already thinly run marketing department.
  2. To do it well, Stories needs regular time and investment which again may not be possible.
  3. It’s a lot of pressure for brands! Typically, Stories require less planning to be truly reactive and on-point with your content. That means less time for sign-offs and checking every detail.

The above are very real considerations for brands. However, we believe the time and effort is worth it overall. As a result of regular Stories managed by us for our clients, we’ve seen increased growth and engagement levels across the board.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why.

Less passive, more action
Scroll, scroll and scroll some more. The scrolling feed on Instagram can be very passive for users. We scroll until something catches our eye, and then scroll on some more. That, alongside Instagram’s tricky algorithm, can make it hard for brands to be seen.

Doing something as simple as sharing your posts on Stories instantly gives you more reach without much effort at all.

Also consider, that when a user does come across your content on Stories, they’re more likely to actively seek you out, and that can’t be a bad thing.

Who’s seeing your content?
As marketers we love data and knowing as much as possible about what happens to our content once we’ve put it out there.

Frustratingly, we can’t always get the detailed information we want. Especially when it comes to things like knowing who’s viewed our content.

With Stories, you can get that information. The number of views, profiles, how they reacted. It’s a true data treat!

With this information, you can keep an eye on your biggest fans and also see how and when users are dropping off from your Stories. This is usually a good indication if fans like what you’re posting or not.

Feedback doesn’t come any more direct than that.

Boosted engagements
Stories open the door to a tonne of additional engagements and interactions with your fans.

With posts on the grid, the most we can hope for is a Like, Comment or Share. Those are all good interactions too, of course, but Stories offer a few additional options; from asking questions and answering polls to quizzes and direct DM links – take your pick!

Stories are a chance for you to get to know your fans and for them to get to know you. Plus, the more they engage with you, the more likely they’ll remember you.

Insert direct links
The golden number on Instagram is 10,000 followers.

Once you’ve hit this milestone, you can share website links direct from your Stories. A much easier alternative than referring users to the link in your bio.

The click is less effort for your fans and means they’re more likely to pay a visit to your website. It also means you don’t need to update the link in your bio to relevant URLs.

To put it simply, it’s a great way to drive traffic from an already engaged audience.

Highlight your Stories
For brand’s who worry about spending time creating great content for it only to disappear in 24hrs, fear not.

With Stories Highlights, you can pin all the best Stories to your profile, meaning the time and effort never has to go to waste.

Highlights are also pretty handy for keeping key messaging and product information prominent on your profile.

Posts and Stories
Sometimes we have things to say that just don’t fit the format and aesthetic of our Instagram grid. A very real 21st-century problem for marketers.

For those such instants, consider using Stories instead or a combination of them both. The beauty of Stories is that it doesn’t always need to be 100% perfect. And it disappears within 24hrs.

Just concentrate on getting your message out there.

Tell a story
The clue is in the name. Stories were designed for telling stories. Whether you post one or a series, they’re perfect for longer content and messaging in a snappy and easy to digest format.

For this reason, they’re great for employee takeovers, behind-the-scenes, or simply telling more of your story.

Use them to show the more human side of a brand from time to time. This type of content usually results in more brand affinity from your fans overall.

Shoppable stickers
For brands who sell online, any content you share on Stories that features a product can include a shoppable sticker – handy!

This highlights the product is available to buy online and offers users a quick way to access it. You can even see who’s clicked on the sticker in your profiles’ insights.

If you’ve got Facebook shop set up with your Instagram profile attached to this page, then you’re ready to go.

It’s all about minimising those steps to purchase.

If you’re thinking about sharing Instagram Stories for your brand and need help or advice getting started, feel free to get in touch. We’re here to help and make it Brilliant!