Next to Facebook, Instagram is the most popular platform for marketers to use to build their personal brand. Users want to engage with brands in a personal way, and Instagram and it’s many features make this easy.
Instagram is one of the best places for you to promote brand engagement with your users, with easy commenting, liking, and video features. However, the feature that will allow you to engage best with your followers is Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories makes it so easy for marketers to engage with users, humanize their brands, create leads, and generate customers on the platform. It’s also very popular with users—Instagram has said that 1 in 3 of its most-viewed Instagram Stories come from businesses.
In this article, I’ll be going all the ways you can use Instagram Stories to better engage your audience and move them through your sales funnel, turning followers into customers.
Instagram Stories give marketers a variety of ways to facilitate easy interaction
While Instagram Stories offers many ways in which you can engage your followers, you need to first be able to grow your following so you’re putting out content that is actually going to be seen.
Part of the reason why your audience will be interested in following you on Instagram is because there is more compulsion than ever from customers to engage with brands in a personal way. Instagram has many features that allow new customers or followers to easily find your brand and engage.
Geographical location tagging, hashtags, polls, gifs, stickers, and more, all foster this more personal relationship between brand and customer, and features such as hashtags and geotagging make it easy for users to find you based on location and interest.
Instagram is always updating and adding new features, and building tools directly into the platform that enhances the visual experience and encourages users to connect and interact with the brand.
Here’s a rundown of some of the most effective features on Instagram Stories to increase engagement with your followers.
Polls – With Instagram Stories, you can create a poll about anything you want—whether it’s a silly question about a trending topic, or something regarding what your followers want to see from you. This provides a direct way for you to get that feedback from fans while making your audience feel like your brand is empowering them to speak about what they want.
Instagram Takeovers – This is a great way to grow your audience and network with other influencers in your niche. Host Instagram takeovers with other Instagram influencers, where an influencer takes over your account for a day or your brand can take over their account for the day. This is a great way to get in front of a new audience—the influencer will drive their audience to your account, or you’ll be introduced to their audience when you take over their account.
Swipe Up – The “Swipe Up” feature allows brands to add links to pictures and videos that they share on Instagram Stories. Similar to Snapchat, this feature makes it simple to move a prospect through the sales funnel directly from Instagram, and gives you control over where you want to lead your followers when they click out of the platform. All that a user has to do is swipe up with their finger.
Linking Content – Brands can share a relevant photo or video with Instagram Stories and link it to any piece of content. This offers similar benefits to the Swipe Up feature, as you can hook the user in on Instagram Stories and directly drive them to anything you want—a blog, a page on your website, a YouTube video, an e-book, and more! The most valuable features that Instagram Stories offers marketers is the ability to include a link that brings users directly to the purchase page of a product. This feature eliminates the need to visit a company’s website, find the item you saw on Instagram, and then make a purchase. The customer will never click out of your brand or service, and the convenience will encourage engagement.
Influencer Promotions – Instagram is so effective for marketers because it offers so many possibilities for networking with other brands and personalities in your niche. Build relationships with Instagram Influencers and brand ambassadors by offering them a free or discounted product to promote with Instagram Stories and in their feed. This will help you grow your followers and increase engagement.
Questions – Similar to the polls feature, this tool allows you to ask your audience a question that they can respond to with an answer on the Instagram Story.
All of these tools make it so much easier for users to engage with you—and that means you need to be ready for this increased engagement. Increased engagement can lead to more brand awareness, increased conversions, leads, and sales—so long as you stay on top of engagement and providing great service. Be prepared for a huge influx in direct messages (DMs) and have systems in place to respond promptly.
The increase in DMs is because all Instagram Stories that do not include links will include a message bar at the bottom. This enables viewers to more easily DM the brand, which is great for engagement!
Your followers will be able to see that you’ve updated your Stories by the appearance of a colored ring around your profile picture, letting them know there is new content to check out. You can also take advantage of the Stories Highlights feature to display stories at the top of your profile. This way, you can categorize products or services together so followers can more easily and quickly find the content they’re interested in.
Ads on IG Stories
Instagram Stories is also a great platform for launching ad campaigns. Instagram uses Facebook’s advertising system, which means you have access to all of the same helpful audience targeting features.
You can target ads based on an audience’s interests, behaviors, demographics, language, location, and more, so ensure that your ads are being seen by the people who will actually be interested in what you’re selling or providing.
Brands can choose whether they want their ad to run on Instagram Stories, in the Instagram feed, or on Facebook. And just like Facebook, Instagram ad features are always improving and updating. In fact, it was recently announced that Instagram would support Instagram Stories ads in full-screen format.
This update allows business to go into Ads Manager and upload a photo or video to Instagram Stories that will take up more screen space on cell phones. This will make your ad pop more, making a greater impression on mobile users who are constantly scrolling through endless content. This full-screen format also allows businesses to include links that users can view by swiping up on their phones.
You can also include calls to action (CTA) with Instagram Stories that caters to mobile users. CTAs that are made specifically for mobile devices—Apply Now, Book Now, Contact Us, Download, Shop Now, Watch More, are just a few—encourage your followers and hold their attention.
Measure and Analyze Results
Like any great social media marketing platform, Instagram Stories allows you to measure and analyze your results.
With Instagram Stories Analytics, you can see view counts and other relevant key performance metrics about the stories you’ve posted.
Instagram has built-in analytics tools. It gets more insight on the number of impressions, reach, views, and other metrics connected to your posts. With this information, you can see what works and what doesn’t, and use that information to improve your content strategies.
Be sure to utilize tracking URLs, custom coupon codes, and lead/customer sourcing. It determines how your use of Instagram Stories is impacting your overall marketing strategy and goals.
So many brands are already seeing the success that Instagram Stories can bring. Constantly update your Stories with short videos, behind-the-scenes picture, and other content that directly engages your audience. It will showcase your brand better.
Instagram Stories is a great way to cement your voice and personality through quick bursts. It allows you to hold the attention of busy mobile users who are used to scrolling through tons of content. Instagram Stories is constantly being updated with cool new features and tools that can help you connect with consumers, grow your followers, and build your brand.
If you want to learn more about how you can utilize various social media platforms to build your brand, then enroll in our Personal Branding & Influencer Marketing online course today!