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There’s nothing quite like getting together with friends and reminiscing on high school stories, bad fashion days and, best of all… that night during Schoolies Week (you know the one). Then there’s those family barbeques, where your crazy uncle has one too many beers and reveals embarrassing stories about your parents—much to their terror and everyone else’s delight.

Storytelling is the essence of creativity. It’s Sunday gossip, a schoolyard rumour, or a wonderful fantasy novel that takes readers to a completely different world. Naturally, the social media sphere has capitalised on this, and now allows users to tell their day-to-day stories within their profiles.

Reading GifImage sourced from Giphy.com

Brunch updates with friends, and a #gymselfie is all well and good, but what does this mean for your business?

It’s pretty obvious that Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most influential social media platforms for both business and personal use. According to an article by TechCrunch released December 2017, Instagram announced that it now has 25 million active business profiles. 80 percent of Instagram accounts follow a business, and 200 million users visit a business profile each day.

So is this good news for your business? Playing the social media ‘game’ means staying ahead of your competitors and keeping your supporters interested (and there’s a lot of them: 500 million users on Instagram daily!). You’ve got to learn to break through the noise by engaging with your audience. How do you do this? Develop aesthetically pleasing content, interesting copy and engaging stories. Creating engaging Instagram stories is a sure-fire way to increase exposure, followers and popularity.

Here are our five tips to up your Instagram story game, whilst maximising your business presence:

1. It’s about being seen

Business, meet explore page. Explore page, meet business. This is the start of a beautiful relationship. The explore page on Instagram will be your best friend. Forget the Maldives, this is where you want to be.

According to Later, only 10 percent of your audiences are actually seeing your posts in their feeds. The Instagram algorithm has changed a lot and, as we all know, it changes frequently. Instagram is currently rewarding posts with higher engagement. This means by racking up those likes, comments, views, saves, shares, DMs and any other type of interactions your post gets, the higher the chance your post will reach extended audiences. Feeling overwhelmed yet? Because, we are.

You can now make Instagram stories part of your digital marketing strategy. When implemented effectively, the chances of audiences seeing your Instagram stories compared to your feed is much higher. This also means the more your Instagram stories are viewed by users, the better the chance your business will show up in their feeds.

You can maximise your reach and visibility by using features such as location, hashtags and mentions. These features mean you appear in stories that correlate with the location that you’ve noted or the hashtag you have mentioned, therefore meaning you can reach users that do not follow you.

 

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Image sourced from Giphy.com

2. But it’s also all in the timing

Another one of Instagram’s algorithm updates means that the best time for engagement is in those lull periods of the day. You know the ones… the 3pm mental check-out, when the “what shall I snack on?” thoughts start to creep in. We’ve all been there.

As a business, you’ll do well to post in these times. More reach means more engagement. More engagement means more followers. More followers means more chance of selling your products or services. Voilà, happy business owners all round.

Although, don’t feel too magnetised to this time structure. It’s a personalisation tool after all, so have fun with it.

Ain't nobody got time for that GifImage sourced from Giphy.com

3. Teach, don’t preach

Instagram stories last for 24 hours. You may wonder what the point of sharing a story is, especially when it’s just going to disappear that day. There’s a few reasons.

Firstly, your feed is a reflection of your brand. If you keep it sharp and fresh, you’re more likely to appeal to new and existing viewers.

By using stories, you can increase your content sharing, without clogging up your profile. It’s likely that a user may grow tired of the same marketing image you’ve posted five times today on feed, and therefore may be more inclined to unfollow your page.

Secondly, because of the fleeting nature of stories, it gives visitors a reason to continue coming back to your profile so they don’t miss anything. Use stories to educate your audience, share business updates and highlight the best things about your brand. If you can engage your audience, you can engage new users and hopefully land yourself on the ‘golden’ explore page.

Teacher GifImage sourced from Giphy.com

4. Feature this

Instagram stories have introduced some really effective features that business managers can use to increase their page engagement.

Polls: Polls allow businesses to get responses around marketing questions. You can use this feature as a focus group, or you can just keep it fun and casual.

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Highlighted Stories: While stories only last for 24 hours, Instagram users can now highlight their best stories on their Instagram profile page. This means new users can still see that same post, and enjoy it over and over again.

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Insights: Instagram Insights allow businesses to understand the analytics of their stories. This feature works on reach, impressions, tap backs, tap forwards and exits. With these analytics and insights, a business can really understand which stories are performing, what sort of people they’re reaching, and therefore can maximise their Instagram story potential.
If this jargon is confusing you, not to worry, it does take a while to get your head around everything. Check out Social Media Examiner here, as they explain all these insight features in plain English.

Insights Image

Image sourced from Issue89.com

Live videos: Imagine holding a press conference or a live FAQ session for your business? Imagine being able to actually speak with your customers and answer their questions. Instagram stories have now made this possible – you can use the ‘Live’ feature to do this. Many well-known Instagram users, for example beauty blogger, Desi Perkins, use this ‘Live’ feature to show new products in real time, answer questions and respond to comments that relate to the brand.

Live Video ImageImage sourced from Mashable.com

Encourage DM: Encouraging users to reply to your stories means you can connect with your audiences on a direct level, and personalise your brand further with followers.

DM Encourage Image

Utilising these features as a business will generate higher engagement and therefore means a much higher chance of the Instagram algorithm working in your favour.

5. Get creative

Finally, I encourage you to get creative with the many design features that stories offer. Get funky with fonts, stickers, type features and GIFs to make your posts more appealing. I particularly love the Boomerang feature, which brings an element of fun to your posts.

Apps and design programs such as Canva, Typorama and Photoshop all can be used to enhance your Instagram design*, personalise a style for content, and increase your chances for high engagement and appeal.

*Keep in mind that stories dimensions work by 1080px wide by 1920px tall to allow your image to fit to screen perfectly.

 

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Get Story-ing

Remember, Instagram is always changing. Layouts, algorithms and trends will update and I guarantee there will be a new feature next week.

Do you have any Instagram story hacks you’d like to share? Let us know, we’d love to hear them.

If you’re still confused with all the ins and outs of the Instagram world, you can get in contact with us. We create tailored social media feeds for our clients, including personalised stories. Up your Insta game with LEP Digital.

Author Elise Ives

Elise is a Digital Marketing Coordinator at LEP Digital. She holds a Bachelor of Media from the University of New South Wales. Elise has previously interned for Channel Ten and Max Media Lab. Elise loves advertising, marketing, and design. She's also a self-proclaimed Instagram addict (classic millennial, right?) and loves creating content for the fashion and cosmetic industries.

More posts by Elise Ives

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