The rise of Instagram Stories a couple of years ago has caught many businesses by surprise. Although the model was completely ripped off of Snapchat, it was the photography-based social media platform owned by Facebook that has really made it take off. Fast forward to 2020, and the Stories are one of the primary features on Instagram, with hundreds of millions of users actively posting and viewing the byte-sized pieces of content.
Although it has been nearly five years since their introduction, most brands have failed to incorporate Stories into their social media marketing campaigns successfully. Around 4 million brands advertise using this feature, but most of that content seems to be cringe-worthy and gets skipped over by viewers.
This does not mean that effective marketing cannot be carried out via Stories. As long as you don’t try too hard to seem “cool” and keep the posts engaging and wholesome, chances are you’re going to capture some people’s attention.
Stories are quite unique in that they are incredibly effective in establishing a company’s public image. Think tweets, but on Instagram. If you’re trying to establish a strong presence in this particular area of social media, keep reading to learn about some of the most successful brand marketing practices on Instagram Stories.
Keep It Brief
Stories are some of the most fast-paced pieces of content on the Internet. There are a couple of reasons behind it, but the most important one is the fact that they are just really easy to skim through. Seeing a wall of text or a slow, dragged out video makes it really tempting to tap on the screen and skip onto the next Story.
The perfect Story from any brand’s point of view should be short and attention-grabbing. Ideally, you want your users to be intrigued in whatever you posted so that they hold onto the image and investigate your business’s profile.
Short and captivating Stories are particularly important for companies who use them as advertisements to reach out to potential new customers who don’t already follow their account. Instagrammers who see the “sponsored” tag on something in their Stories feed tend to skip over without even looking at the content. If you decide on paying for designated ad space on Stories, keep in mind that it takes something special to get people to notice you.
Snappy, Yet Clear
The average social media user’s (so pretty much everyone’s) attention span is short. When it comes to stories, it’s very short. This is why your videos should contain a lot of cuts and flashy imagery, preferably with a catchy soundtrack in the background. Without that, you’re running the risk of getting skipped over.
According to Facebook’s own statistics, the Stories that get the most interactions are shorter than 3 seconds, on average. That means that you need to get your message across quickly, and clearly. Including your brand’s logo at the forefront, followed by quick cuts presenting your products or the latest offers is as close to a recipe for success as it gets on Instagram. Of course, it all depends on how you get your message across.
Develop Your Brand Imagery and Unique Visual Style
Nearly everyone can recognize an ad made by Apple, even if it doesn’t include their logo or any of their products. Same goes for Google and the cartoonish, infographic-style pictures that accompany their sites and video tutorials. If you want your brand to succeed on Instagram Stories, you should come up with your own, unique style that will remain consistent across most, if not all, of your posts.
There are a couple of reasons behind the effectiveness of this strategy. First of all, it creates an association between particular imagery and your brand in the user’s minds. After seeing it a couple of times on their story feed, people will think of you whenever they come across similar visual styles. Furthermore, it creates a public image of a brand that has focus and direction, making it more trustworthy in the eyes of potential customers.
Film Vertically and Incorporate Sound
As for the technical aspects of your Stories, you should always post content that was shot vertically. No one will bother to flip their phone around into a horizontal position just to see what some brand has posted. More likely than not, the majority of people will skip ads filmed horizontally.
Secondly, try to include audio in all of your Stories, even if it’s just a basic jingle. Due to the rise of popularity of influencers who carry their message across by talking to the camera, an increasing number of people watch Stories with sound on. Silent content breaks the noisy loop and increases the likelihood of skipping.
The Importance of Casual Content
Professional infographics and expertly edited videos are important, but so are casual and impromptu videos. Posting stuff like funny office shenanigans or even memes (be careful with those, though) will add a human touch to your company’s social media image and make people more inclined to follow your profile, further increasing brand awareness.
Promoting your brand on social media, Instagram Stories in particular, requires a serious reimagining of your idea of marketing. Stuff that would normally work in TV ads or on billboards may get ruthlessly verified as outdated and lame by the online community. Keeping an open mind is key. If you’re serious about venturing out into the world of social media with your brand, be prepared to throw out your preconceived notions about effective marketing right out the door.
Written by our Freelance Team Maciej Grzymkowski
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