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Flavour Of The Month: Everything You Need To Know About Instagram Stories

Instagram Story Highlights are a great way to place important information front and centre on your profile…These added insights offer a holistic view into who you are, what you do and what you stand for.

Instagram is the current flavour of the week in the world of digital marketing and whether you’re active on Instagram for personal or professional reasons, you’ve likely noticed the growing influence of the ‘Stories’ feature on this platform as more and more brands tap into the potential of this new content format.

A recent report from Facebook revealed that Instagram Stories are now viewed by 500 million users per day, making this channel a prime location for engaging and connecting with your audience. Plus, with 2 million advertisers already investing in promoting their content across Instagram and Facebook Stories, if you want to harness the potential of this new format before your competitors do then you need to have an optimised strategy in place now.

Making your relationship Instagram Official

If only making an impact on Instagram was as easy as simply boosting your best image… However like any successful marketing campaign, creating an Instagram strategy that delivers results requires knowing, understanding, and wooing your audience over a period of time.

Think of your instagram page a bit like your dating profile; you should use this platform as an opportunity to showcase your best bits and highlight all of the great reasons why customers need to invest in your products over a competitors. Our client Made Clo are a great example of how harnessing Instagram can elevate your brand and push for conversions within a community of engaged users. By combining high quality product and lifestyle images with optimised paid social campaigns (that run across both Instagram feeds and Instagram stories), we have successfully pushed consistent conversions through the site and maintain a ROAS of £5+.

Another interesting report from Facebook revealed that many businesses find it difficult to initially build their audience on Instagram as users tend to be more selective regarding the pages they follow. The mentality of the average Instagram user is grounded more in curating your own feed, rather than following any and every account that you come across like you might have historically done with Facebook and Twitter.

Whilst this may make it more difficult to initially attract new followers, it places a higher value on the followers that you do generate as these have already expressed a genuine interest in your content therefore will have higher chance of converting into customers.

Telling Your Story

So how exactly do you utilise Stories? What does a successful strategy look like? And how do you measure the success of your performance?

While the old techniques of interacting with users that follow a certain hashtag and the classic ‘follow/unfollow’ approach may work to some degree, this doesn’t give you an accurate measurement of how engaged users are with your content or how they organically interact with it. However, with Instagram Stories, you can gain more insight into which of your content performs well and create an open dialogue with your followers to nurture this relationship.

The two main metrics you’ll want to look at first is the reach and impressions of your stories. Reach refers to the number of unique accounts that view each slide in your story, while the impressions refer to the total number of views on each individual story. Impressions offer you a deeper insight here and tell you when someone has watched your story more than once. If your impressions are higher than your reach, it means that your story has been viewed more than once by profiles.

Other metrics that you can analyse here is the navigation of a user when they hit your story. You will be able to see whether they tap forward, back, to the next story or exited stories entirely. Here you can more accurately assess which content performs the best depending on how people navigated away from your content. For example, if a person taps back this could show that they are rewatching your story as they are highly interested in your content and want to view it again.

Getting Engaged

Last year Instagram released an update which allowed verified profiles and business accounts with 10,000+ followers the ability to add links to their Instagram Stories, providing your followers with another route to your website by simply swiping up. While not everyone has access to this feature, it does play to the growing role that influencers on social media have when it comes to directing attention towards a product or brand, and is something to keep in mind as you grow on this platform.

It’s important to note that regardless of your current following, something that all profiles can and should do is create content that is designed to engage your customers. The data generated from this can still provide a  valuable insight into your consumers and how successful your profile is in putting them on the purchase path towards a conversion.

Interestingly, data shows that Instagram will reward accounts that successfully generate replies on their stories from their followers. If you continuously produce content that elicits a reply, or some form of engagement from your followers, that this will boost your chances of appearing at the start of their highlight feed at the top of their Instagram, meaning that you’ll be able to capture their attention before they get swept up by a competitor.

Appearing at the top of a users Instagram home feed not only keeps you at the forefront of their mind but also increases the opportunity for you to forge a deeper connection with your audience. But getting user engaged in this specific content stream requires an entirely different approach than your normal content plan…

Creating A Kick-Ass Plan Of Action

Instagram Stories are a great tool for building anticipation with your audience, if you have a new product launch coming up then this is a key platform to offer behind the scenes footage and preview images of your items before they are released to the public. This will also offer you a key insight into your followers’ initial thoughts and help you understand what type of content gets them excited for a product launch.

Maintaining your brand aesthetic is something that can be carried across to your Instagram stories by simply creating a batch of templates using your brand imagery, fonts and colours to create a seamless flow of content across social channels. As Instagram continues to invest in their Stories, new in-app features are frequently being added that allow you to add engaging extras to your content such as music, polls and gifs. These features offer your followers a new way to interact with your account and gain crucial insight into their behaviour on your page.

Story Highlights are a great way to place important information front and centre on your profile and can be broken down into categories such as Q&A’s, information about the company/team, key product facts and behind-the-scenes footage. These added insights into your company create a rich batch of content for followers to engage with and will also help to establish trust and authenticity as you are offering a holistic view into who you are, what you do and what you stand for.

Are you looking to invest in your social media strategy and utilise the growing popularity of Instagram stories? Head over to our social media marketing page and then get in touch with our expert team today!

Chris Thomas

Author

Chris Thomas

CEO & Founder

Chris has been at the forefront of eCommerce and a pioneer of online retailing since the early 00s. A 5-time Drapers Award winner, Chris has extensive experience in developing fashion brands online.

Chris founded Cake in 2016. Based in Birmingham, with offices nationwide, Cake specialises in helping fashion brands understand their market online and then helps to develop appropriate strategical direction to achieve their plan, all backed by his 20 years of operating in the retail market.