Hello there, silent watchers! Oh sorry, maybe that’s just me… I am, of course, strictly talking about Instagram Stories, the feature that has replaced YouTube for me, in terms of falling down the rabbit hole of procrastination and coming to, several hours later, wondering what on earth happened and who on earth I am.

With all this watching, I’ve picked up a few things that mark a stand out Instagram Story – the ones that actually had me engaged, rather than mindlessly flicking. Here are a few of my thoughts on Instagram’s increasingly popular feature and four ways to create a stand out Instagram Story so you can ensure you are using it to its fullest potential.

Instagram stories – should your brand bother?

In a word: YES. As of June 2018, Instagram Stories had more than twice as many daily users as Snapchat’s service – 400 million to 191 million – and with the release of a new feature which allows you to add music to your stories, Instagram show no signs of taking their foot off the gas.

However, even if the thought of such a huge audience has you salivating, remember the age-old mantra of content marketing – keep connection, not conversion at the forefront of your mind. This is especially important when it comes to creating a stand out Instagram Story and essential for offering customers the package they look to Stories for – a raw, authentic glimpse behind the polished gallery.

Without the pressure of creating a perfect post that won’t drive you mad every time you look at it lingering in your gallery – stories only last for 24 hours, unless you choose to save them as a ‘highlight’ – it’s the ideal place to showcase an unvarnished glimpse at the reality behind the brand. Don’t let the opportunity go to waste.

How to create a stand out Instagram Story

  1. Get interactive

There’s no better way to engage your audience than by making your stories interactive. You could take a leaf from Nike’s book with a contest – their international competition to design the new Air Max shoes gave loyal followers a chance to get involved in the production process – or make like e-commerce brand MeUndies and start a relevant conversation like their #MePlusWe empowerment hashtag.

You could even design a virtual focus group for real-time feedback from followers about products or gather research on the reception of potential new launches. The transient nature of Stories encourages customers to express their opinion quickly, if they have one; if they sit on it, they might miss the boat.

  1. Reveal the real ‘you’

A glimpse behind the scenes of your business and a peek at the faces that make up your firm were made for some Instagram Story action! Use both photographs and videos to walk followers through a ‘day in the life’ of your brand and capture all the spontaneous action, as and when it occurs. Videos featured on Stories shouldn’t be planned to within an inch of their lives, just little snippets that allow followers to see through your eyes and intimately experience the trials and tribulations that go on behind the scenes.

  1. Educate with a slideshow

We all know the pain of slaving away over a red-hot blog post only for it to fall under the radar due to a silly mistake like posting it at the wrong time. But you shouldn’t allow all that effort to go to waste. Instagram Stories is an effective platform for re-purposing your editorial content and sharing it in a bite-sized, digestible format. By condensing your best or most helpful blog posts into a simple collection of slides, you can deliver valuable content to your audience while giving an extra nudge to head over to your website for the more detailed version of events.

  1. Try an Instagram takeover

If you’re feeling like your current stories could do with a shake up, consider an Instagram takeover or brand collaboration and gain a fresh perspective (and hopefully a fresh audience!). Activewear brand Outdoor Voices is an old hand at the takeover technique, allowing everyone from pro surfers to joggers in the park to take the reins on occasion and demonstrate the breadth of the brand’s community.

You could stage an Instagram Stories takeover that captures your products in action, takes your followers along to an industry event, or features a Q&A with an influencer or brand that matches your values. When it comes to creating a unique experience for your audience, the world is your oyster on Stories.

To get your content marketing reaping the benefits your business deserve, contact M2 Bespoke today. Our friendly team of strategists, writers and designers are waiting for your call.

Photo credit: SOUTHERNTraveler / Shutterstock.com

Ben Hollom

August 2, 2018