08 Mar How to Use Instagram Stories to Boost Engagement
On International Women’s Day, we’re supporting other women-owned businesses by highlighting a guest blog post from ENVI Marketing, owned and run by a fellow female entrepreneur and agency owner, Ashley Evans.
Ashley is the owner of ENVI Marketing, a social media marketing agency that specializes in connecting small business owners with their target audience. Since ENVI Marketing’s inception in January 2017, Ashley has provided her clients with impeccable social media management, content creation, and campaign strategy – while maintaining unparalleled client support. Today, Ashley will be writing about how you can leverage Instagram Stories to connect with your target audience.
Originally introduced by Snapchat in 2013, ephemeral content (content that expires) has revolutionized the way we use social media. When you log into Instagram, what’s the first thing you do? Since August 2016, the answer has probably shifted from “scroll through my feed” to “watch my friends Instagram stories.” Ephemeral content appeals to a person’s fear of missing out, or FOMO, increasing the likelihood that the viewer will act on or engage with the content during its short shelf life. With over 500 million active daily users, Instagram Stories have become integral to a well-rounded social media strategy. With a few tricks, you can ensure that your Instagram stories increase your visibility and create a dialogue with your audience.
Before crafting any content, I recommend defining your target audience(s). Your target audience is the demographic of people that will be most interested in your product or service. By identifying your target audience, you can better approach your current and future customers needs and desires through effective content creation. Start reaching the right people with ENVI’s free target audience worksheet.
Highlight Your Strengths
Story Highlights are often ignored, but when used correctly can introduce you to your audience before they even look at your feed. I always recommend creating an ‘About’ Highlight. This Highlight should inform viewers of your who, what, and why. At ENVI, we used our ‘About’ Highlight to touch on each of those things, as well as our specialties. Some other useful Highlights include services, team, events, workshops and more. The possibilities are truly endless depending on your industry and offerings.
The following stickers can increase visibility by introducing you to new audiences byway of explore pages and custom Stories. When possible, utilize the following stickers whenever possible.
Location – The location sticker allows the user to tag their physical location in their story and should always be utilized. The location stickers help to show your followers where you are. When done correctly, you can be featured on the explore page – increasing your visibility and showing your brand to an entirely new audience.
Hashtag – In addition to their own explore page, hashtags with enough popularity have stories. You’ll want to confirm that your chosen hashtag has a custom story beforehand.
Mention – If you’re at an event, or with another person, make sure to tag or mention them. The other account might repost your story, opening you up to their audience.
Engage With Your Audience
Social media is a community building tool. If all social platforms were to disappear, would your audience follow you? By engaging with your audience, you create a community that becomes invested in your brand. The following stickers open a dialogue for this meaningful connection.
Poll – The poll sticker allows you to ask your audience valuable questions. Ask them what they’d like to see in the future, have them help you decide on workshop topics, blog posts, or event locations. The poll sticker has limitless possibilities that you can tap into.
Question – The question sticker is particularly beneficial for questions that require personalized responses. Here you can ask for recommendations or garner insight into your audiences pain points. This sticker is most popularly used by influencers for Q&A sessions. As a brand, you can use this format to differentiate yourself from your competitors. Don’t be afraid to be human.
Countdown – Ariana Grande, the queen of social media marketing and pop music, was one of the first to utilize the countdown sticker in anticipation for her album ‘Thank U, Next.’ Countdown followers opt-in to alerts, building anticipation for whatever you’re teasing.
Slider – Think of the slider as a “scale of 1-to-10” sticker. This sticker won’t provide you with as much insight as poll or question but can be useful in its own right. Try it next time you’re trying to determine your audience’s opinion on something that’s outside the bounds of what poll or question can offer.
Don’t Forget The Aesthetic
The following stickers won’t directly increase your visibility, but they will add that extra oomph to a piece of content to engage your target audience.
GIF – Everyone loves a GIF. Be aware that GIFs can cause the rest of your content to appear pixelated.
Music – Who doesn’t like music? But don’t forget, not everyone likes that “sound on” life.
Time – Use to show how productive and superior you are to those who wake up after 8 a.m.
Temperature – A great way to make people jealous of your tropical vacation in Hawaii.
Instagram stories are the new standard. Use this information to reach your target audience and cultivate meaningful conversation. If you need help, we’re here for you.