By Ashley Cassidy Seale, Founder and Creative Director, Ruby Social Co.
Instagram continues to dominate the social media scene by evolving its offering to remain the most relevant social network today. One of its fastest growing offerings is Instagram Stories (to give you an idea, 200 million people use the feature daily, which is 50 million more than Snapchat), allowing users to record short video clips that appear above the photo feed. While these videos used to disappear within 24 hours (a la Snapchat), users now have the option to save these videos and add them to their profile “Highlights.”
In an age of curated perfection and perhaps overly glossy content, it’s easy to understand why the on-the-fly nature of Stories has become so popular. The trend will continue to explode into this year; here are five reasons you should place a greater emphasis on Stories in 2018:
1. Stories offer more chances to be discovered by new followers
Many brands and individuals alike have noted that is increasingly difficult to grow their presence on Instagram. Due to the ongoing algorithm changes by Facebook as they continue to move towards the pay-to-play model, many users have experienced a considerable drop in the level of engagement with their content. This has been felt across the board and can be very discouraging; however, there are ways to improve the situation. While there is not an exact science of how to best improve the odds of your content being seen, regularly using Stories has been noted to help. In addition to being seen by your existing followers, Stories are also discoverable, which means that by including a hashtag and location you can be found on the Explore page by new followers.
2. Easily drive traffic to your website
If you have more than 10,000 followers and are using Instagram for Business, the company has included a helpful feature which allows you to link to outside content right within Stories. This is incredibly powerful for eliminating the barriers of traffic conversion as it allows a seamless transition from the Instagram app to your own website.
3. Provide a behind-the-scenes look and grant special access to events
Get creative with the type of content you post on Stories, and don’t be afraid to experiment. Stories allows you to provide a behind-the-scenes look at a story or bring the follower along with you to special events by reporting live from a location. While there are great ways to stylize your Stories to reflect your brand, the idea of this feature is to be a bit more authentic and less polished (believe it or not). Enhance your video by adding colours, stickers, filters and text.
4. Put a face to your team members
First and foremost, social media should be social. Stories is a great place to give your editorial staff members a (literal) voice. Pull back the curtain and consider scheduling regular “takeovers” with your various team members and have them expand on their content by adding their perspective. This can be a great strategy for humanizing your publication or adding a face to a byline, so to speak.
5. Stay top of mind
The more frequently you post on Stories, the more users engage with your videos, the further up in their feed you’ll move up. Using Stories is a great way to stay top of mind with your audience as it’s more real time than the traditional photo feed. Use the poll function and encourage your community to engage via DM (ensure your community manager is on top of this) to create a greater feeling of connection and trust. Experiment with different posting times outside of traditional business hours (i.e., evenings and weekends) to acknowledge your communities in different time zones than your own.
Ashley Cassidy Seale is a communications professional with more than a decade of public relations and marketing experience. Between her time in the agency world, helming teams and leading award-winning, national campaigns for lifestyle, fashion and beauty brands to working in-house for design houses and luxury retail, Ashley has fine-tuned a truly holistic expertise. An early adopter of social media, she harnessed her digital know-how to build an online presence under the moniker Quaintrelle, which has since evolved from a lifestyle blog to a bona fide, internationally recognized brand with workshops and events. An influencer in her own right, she launched Ruby Social Co.—a communications and content studio for clever brands—to bring this unique perspective to thoughtfully navigate her clients into the spotlight.
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