Alternate Studios | Instagram Stories
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The Low-down on Instagram Stories

Everyone in the digital marketing game knows that in the fast-paced world we live in, people don’t have time to read anymore. Social media is turning into a visual based network, and as content creators, it’s important to keep up with new tools to engage your audience. An exciting new platform to do this is through Instagram stories.

Structurally, they have a strong resemblance to Snapchat stories. There is a 24 hour time limit and content can be enhanced with effects and filters. However, while the main purpose behind Snapchat is to share photos and videos that automatically expire after a few seconds, Instagram stories can be used to engage customers with a more complete message of a brand.

With the abundance and clutter of companies competing for our attention, smart marketers are all too familiar with the need to connect, build communities and position themselves as part of our lives. So how can a small business effectively utilize Instagram stories as part of their digital marketing strategy? Here are a couple just to name a few. Posting too much can often detract Instagram users. Admit it. We’ve all unfollowed someone because we just couldn’t handle the influx of post, after post, after post. Instagram Stories allows companies limit their content, but also ensure that feeds remain prime. Furthermore, the new feature provides an avenue for marketers to be creative. With the integration of boomerangs and art, the ability to generate unique Stories are endless. Want to create more personal experiences with your audience? Share behind- the- scenes videos. Why not show off the amazing décor at the office?

Perhaps one of the most common use of Instagram stories is to give a behind the scenes peek of day-to-day routines. While feeds tend to be highly polished, stories can be used to share real-life content. By sharing footage of an average day in the office, up and coming products, or step by step tutorials, this feature can be used to introduce the people behind the brand and their personalities. This makes companies more relatable and more likely to resonate with followers.

Another fun way to use Instagram Stories is with a takeover. This involves taking over another Instagram account, or having another person or business take over your account, generally for a 24-hour period. Not only does this help diversify content, but is a fun collaborative tool that is mutually beneficial for both parties as each party is promoting the other to their existing audience. This is also a great way to get your audience involved by asking an existing follower to act as a brand ambassador to show how they use your product.

At the end of the day, the main purpose behind digital marketing is to have a clear call to action and Instagram stories are no different. They can be used to advertise special promotions only available through that channel. The layout can be used to it’s advantage to create a series of photos or videos featuring products on different people, environments, angles, followed by a promo code. Furthermore by announcing that the offer expires at the end of the 24 hour story period, it creates a sense of urgency for customers and can be a potential sales driver.

This is a great example of a well planned Instagram story taken from @wellmadeclothes_. They are sharing and promoting a new product, there is a clear progression of the story, the style fits the aesthetic of the retailer, and ends with a clear call to action.

On a final note, it is important that Instagram stories are consistent and match the branding of their Instagram feed. Smart content creators fit stories into the expectations of their existing audience and community, and use them to express a more complete ethos of the brand. Much like the actual Instagram gallery, stories should also be well composed, engaging and encourage followers to stop and take notice of your content.

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