7 Ways To Improve Your Instagram Stories
This post is part of a series based on the Facebook Gather event in January 2019 which I was invited to attend. Click here to see the rest in the series or read on below for a summary of what I learnt at Instagram Story School.
One billion stories are shared every day across the Facebook family of apps. This makes stories a great place for both organic and paid promotion on Instagram. But how do you make sure your stories are working hard for your business? Here’s 7 tips for story success:
1) Capture attention quickly
Attention spans are short so you have less than 3 seconds to grab attention and avoid your story being skipped. How do you grab attention? Movement, audio (see tip 2 below) and bright colours all stand out. Video allows you to combine all three and most of use have smart phones in our pocket, making video recording easier than ever. However if you hate video or want to use still images then gifs, stickers and emojis are an easy way to draw the eye of your user.
Before you go deep on the most visually appealing and creative stories, don’t forget to make sure your brand is clear within the first 3 seconds (especially important for ads).
2) Use audio
Audio behaviour is different to the newsfeed, with 60% of stories played with the sound on, so make sure you include audio whenever possible. Handily, Instagram stories come with the option to add music tracks so this can be a fun way to get some sound on your stories.
3) Frame your story for the vertical space
Those of us who are over the age of 20 are used to consuming our content in a horizontal format – televisions, cinema screens, computer monitors etc. and traditional video making has been in this format too. But stories are consumed almost exclusively in vertical format on phones and we need to frame our story content to suit this new screen format. If you’re taking photos outside the Instagram app for use in stories, then think about how they will need to be cropped. If you’re filming, make sure your phone is in the vertical format when you hit record!
If you’ve got the luxury of a film crew and a decent budget to create some stories, you still need to be thinking native. Think about how your content is consumed, sandwiched directly between content from the friends of your followers and with your viewer holding the screen in their hand. Some of the best Instagram story campaigns from big brands have a very home made feel to them.
4) Think about your call to action
A call to action or CTA for short is telling people what you want them to do next. It’s a good idea to include a CTA in all your marketing but it’s really important on Instagram stories which don’t have any user bios or links showing. They’re also still a relatively new format, so reminding people they need to swipe up for more is often a good idea.
5) Remix your existing creative for the vertical format
In point 3 we talked about creating content designed for the vertical space. That doesn’t mean you have to ignore your existing content collateral but you will need to adapt it. There are some great apps that can help with this – keep an eye out next week for an article with more details on this!
6) Use speed
Your audience can consume content on stories faster than you think they can. Multiple scenes work better than one in a single story, especially with fast cuts. You’ll need to use an app or video editing software to create this sort of video though as it’s not possible in the native Instagram app at present.
7) Play, test and learn.
Stories are still a relatively new format so experiment. Don’t worry if you don’t have a stack of technology or a big budget to work on your content. Some of the most successful story ad campaigns for giant brands such as Budweiser beer have used home made style videos and the native Instagram features such as emojis and drawing tools to great success.
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