Instagram stories have been around since March 2016 and ever since then, savvy marketers have been using them to create inspiring and engaging content.
The stories feature is going from strength to strength with the number of viewers reaching four hundred million in June 2018.
The good news is that all you need to create an amazing Instagram story is a bit of imagination and the ability to put together an engaging story that grabs the attention of the audience.
Instagram Stories are not so much about conversion as they are about engaging the users.
That being said, according to recent research, 72% of respondents said they had purchased a fashion, beauty or style product after seeing an ad or story on Instagram, so this is not a marketing tool that you can easily dismiss.
Instagram Stories Engage the Audience
Stories don’t get lost in users’ news feeds like ads may.
They appear when people are checking their own stories, putting your brand right in front of potential buyers.
Stories are shared with followers and then automatically disappear off the platform after 24 hours.
This prompts the user to quickly check stories and take up opportunities, as they know that before long the story will have gone.
Instagram allows users to add text, stickers, a link or even draw on their stories giving the audience a sense of inclusion.
How the Most Successful Advertisers are Engaging their Audience
Many brands, big and small, have made excellent use of this relatively new Instagram product with some clever and some unforgettable stories.
Twitter – From One Social Media Giant to Another
It may be a bit cheeky for one social media giant to advertise on another, but Twitter is doing just that.
Twitter shares exciting news from their channel via Instagram stories.
Swipe up and you arrive at the Twitter app.
If you’re not yet a user you’ll receive a prompt to sign up.
Airbnb – Using Polls
Instagram has recently added interactive polls to their product line-up, which helps brands to engage the audience.
It also allows companies to get information from the audience, which can save time, money and effort.
Airbnb successfully made use of this feature in a series of polls that allowed them to engage with the audience, and at the same time use the information gained to tailor their future content.
It offered followers ideas about travel destinations. Each photograph included an interactive quiz. This was followed by a strong call to action.
The Airbnb account features eye-catching photography of unusual accommodation around the world.
Their Instagram story campaign has a huge following.
J Crew’s Sale – Creating FOMO
Giving away small gifts is a great way to get you more engagement.
The gifts don’t have to be worth a fortune but they must be thoughtful and must engage the imagination of the user.
Offering a reward or a discount can help you gain followers.
Limited time offers create FOMO – the dreaded ‘fear of missing out’.
J Crew used this technique when they offered only 50 pairs of rose-tinted glasses in their story ad, creating a sense of urgency.
National Geographic – By Popular Demand
National Geographic has an incredible following with 83.4 million followers at the end of 2017.
The magazine is renowned for its environmental causes and uses beautiful photography to capture moments in the wild.
Each magnificent picture carries interesting information to keep the audience engaged.
National Geographic also offers the stage to the photographers that created the pictures by allowing them to give some inside facts about their craft.
Allowing your audience behind the scenes to see the working of your operation is an excellent way to capture interest and engage your audience.
Nike – Engaging the Audience in a Design Contest
When it comes to advertising, Nike pulls out all the stops.
They recently ran a campaign in six cities around the world.
At the same time, they ran a contest for those living in the cities.
Contestants were invited to choose the best Air Max sneaker and select the best designer.
The contest was run through Instagram Stories and it attracted more than 10,000 contestants.
Noom – Using the Power of Surprise
Do the unexpected and your message will be remembered.
Surprise the audience in the first seconds of your story, and you’ll have them hooked.
This Noom story surprises with a first frame that has a woman about to smash a dozen eggs with an over-sized hammer.
Creativity will gain you followers and boost your brand, and when paired with Instagram stories can be very effective.
Daily Harvest – Short and Punchy
Daily Harvest delivers convenient frozen foods to your door.
Their Instagram story very quickly takes you through a series of alluring pictures of food in its different frozen forms.
The headlines underline the benefit of the product to the user and differentiate the products from the competitors.
Daily Harvest, while offering so much information, also manages to keep the message short and punchy.
Maybelline New York – the Power of Influencers
In promoting their new mascara, Maybelline decided to use the power of influencers.
They asked two of Instagram’s most famous makeup artists to help promote their product in stories.
Shaya Mitchell and Manny Guitterez were the influencers of choice.
The stories also appeared on YouTube and attracted millions of viewers.
The power of influencers to draw attention to your brand should not be underestimated.
The Instagram Stories Building Brands
Brands are harnessing the power of Instagram stories, captivating audiences from around the globe.
A little imagination, an appealing story, a beautiful image or some shock tactics and the audience is hooked, giving you the ability to share your brand with thousands of others.