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How Instagram Stories Can Grow Your Audience

Instagram is the most popular, primarily‑visual, social networking platform.

It offers a unique approach to social media marketing and continues to generate numerous financial opportunities for entrepreneurs, small business owners, medium companies, and large enterprises. It's also an excellent medium for those seeking to conduct audience outreach, build new income channels, and increase brand awareness.

The Instagram marketing style was a disrupter to the social media marketing world, which was previously associated with connecting users through text posts and links to extensive articles, reposted magazine photography, and selfie photos as part of a social website focused mainly on written content.

On the other hand, Instagram is entirely visual and more like a book or magazine dedicated to optical media. It makes adding links, descriptive text (with SEO and hashtags), and video a possibility. This platform also supplies the tools to accomplish these things, which is how its online capabilities are more interactive than other picture-posting platforms.

As an interactive platform, Instagram is structured to be watched and shown simultaneously and offers technical innovation. Instagram is for networking, and millions of users who have learned how to create an Instagram story and how to use Instagram stories have successfully communicated with audiences and created relationships with potential customers solely through the social use of design and aesthetics.

What’s an Instagram story?

An Instagram story is a step beyond normal Instagram posts, which remain on a user’s profile indefinitely (or until removed by that user). An Instagram Story might be considered a unique type of art designed to disappear after 24 hours. What type of content is this, one may wonder? What is an IG story? That would have to be up to the creator since a story is something meant to grab a viewer's attention. It can also help drive traffic to a profile or business page.

When using stories, it's helpful to tone down the more complicated statements about the entity unless they'll be made available to view for a more extended period. These stories are created for and are meant to be short. After all, they're just a fragment of the brand and its positioning, identity, content, offering, and so forth. In turn, such a story will overlap with the relevant fragment of attention span, as posts like these respond to the data pertaining to visitor behavior. And there are numerous examples of companies that have increased growth with the use of Instagram stories.

One good application of Instagram stories, which is also a technique that increases interest, is re-using previously posted content and driving traffic to that material. It's also handy for customer-generated content, such as user comments, reviews, FAQs, brief facts and tips about products, and anything else that might be considered a fragment of the content on your main page.

In the technical sense, Instagram stories will last exactly 24 hours on a profile before they are removed. As they're viewed, each story has a limit of 15 seconds.

Instagram story highlights

Instagram highlights can be saved to a profile by selecting Story Highlights, which is indicated by a plus sign, and then selecting the stories that'll be featured.

Next, edit and add text details to your highlight. Any image can be used for an Instagram highlight.

Highlights will remain on your Instagram profile until you remove them, so make sure to curate your content carefully since this is a visual extension of your brand. Ideally, you want to highlight stores that performed well with your intended audience and give them a permanent home on your account.

How to view Instagram stories

People can view Instagram stories as soon as they open the application. You'll see a bar full of circular icons containing stories from your followers below the Instagram logo and above your feed. This bar will primarily feature stories from individuals you follow, but Instagram ads will sometimes appear in between. So, if a user follows your business account, your stories will appear in the same place, allowing them to see what's happening at your business.

Once tapped, the story begins playing and will play in the order in which it was shared. Since stories are organized from oldest to newest, tap left to view older stories and tap right for more recent stories. You can also skip to a specific story.

Your stories will appear at the top of the screen in the Instagram app and will likely receive great engagement since they're the first items to be seen when opening the application.

Stories can also be viewed by visiting someone's Instagram account. Users can be certain that stories are available when they see the profile icon has a colorful ring around it.

In some instances, Instagram will provide the Swipe Up feature to those with 10K followers or more. Not only is this a great way to draw traffic, but it's also valuable for increasing engagement.

Highlights are a way to feature different aspects of a business so that your content can be viewed all the time instead of just 24 hours. Highlights allow archived stories to be grouped and shown as normal posts according to story elements.

Since Instagram stories may become highlights at some point, saving them is a good idea. Consider using Instagram's archive function if you forget to save your stories. This feature can be turned on or off by going to your settings and selecting the privacy tab. You'll then tap Save Story to Archive. Items that were deleted prior to the 24-hour story window won't be archived.

You can see who has viewed your stories by swiping up on your image or video. Story visitors and visitor counts can be observed for 48 more hours by clicking the Seen By button.

How can Instagram stories help your business?

Businesses that enjoy the idea of social media advertising as opposed to the more aggressive, direct approaches, such as pop-ups and commercials, will be the best candidates for advertising through Instagram marketing. This way, products and services can be interwoven into daily communications and social interactions between people in a setting where consumers may be more receptive to marketing messages.

Influencers, for example, sell products, but it's normally done with a topic that viewers are particularly interested in. And considering some of the stats pertaining to influencers on Instagram, collaborations with such entities could be valuable.

Instagram is one of the most visited applications in the world and hosts billions of visitors per month. As such, the social media platform is especially important for businesses targeting Gen Z customers since it's a popular social networking platform within this segment.

In addition to helping you reach your target audience, Instagram offers several advantages. Here are a few benefits to keep in mind as you consider using this social media platform.

Benefits of Instagram: Grow brand awareness, Drive traffic to your site, Play to our shorter attention spans

Grow brand awareness

Due to the rapid growth Instagram has encountered with its followers around the world, the application is an ideal platform for increasing brand awareness. Moreover, because of the nature of the content on Instagram, it's an indicator of the specific type of interactivity and entertainment viewers seek.

Ultimately, it's a platform where visitors are often receptive to a multitude of ideas and suggestions as they feast their eyes on various images. This allows brands and businesses to implement creative strategies when illustrating who and what they are as a company and demonstrating how their products or service can become intrinsic to their viewers' lives. It’s also an opportunity to show how products are not only beneficial but how that advantage can extend to every area in which they face problems.

Other imagery simply relates the brand to the good things in life, constructing mental associations. Brand awareness can also be created through the community concept of Instagram, where following and interacting with other influencers and companies encourage additional ways the product or service can be advertised.

Drive traffic to your site

Links are usually a good way to drive traffic to a website. In fact, Instagram reports that 50% of users have visited a website to make a purchase after seeing a product or service in an Insta story.

Instagram accounts that have been verified are allowed to add links using the swipe up feature. This prevents users from leaving the app while still being directed to the desired page. If you can't add links to your IG stories, don't worry. You can include links in your profile bio.

According to Instagram, 50% of the users they surveyed have visited a website to make a purchase after seeing the product/service in a story.

Instagram stories will expose your content to your followers. You can also increase your reach by taking advantage of hashtags and using the location button in your stories.

Here are a few other recommendations to drive traffic with Instagram stories:

  • Add links to highlights and place them permanently on the profile page once 24 hours have passed.
  • Partner with Instagram content creators with the swipe up feature so that they'll add your links to their stories.
  • Take advantage of some of the internal features Instagram has to offer, such as Instagram Shop, action buttons, swipe up, and Instagram stories ads, which are a proven, fast-track method of driving traffic.

Play to our shorter attention spans

Besides the competition companies and brands face in terms of products, services, and talents online, businesses are also competing for the attention of their audience as they're saturated with different types of content on the busy platform.

There's undoubtedly a great deal of media and multiple ways to view content due to the popularity of mobile, portable computing, television/film viewing, wearable technology, books, magazines, newspapers, and so forth. There may be few moments, if any, when an individual isn't exposed to media as they actively engage with various devices throughout the day.

Luckily, Instagram stories allow users to quickly view the content you have to offer. Since stories are only 15 seconds long, individuals don't have to spend a lot of time consuming this form of media.

However, this can pose a significant challenge for marketers since the typical attention span of consumers is so short. This makes it important to present engaging content containing text and visuals that are clear and can be read fast.

It's also a good idea to include offers and a call-to-action so that the Instagram story viewer won't be tempted to seek answers to their questions elsewhere and are likely to convert into a customer.

Drawbacks of using Instagram stories for marketing

Social media isn't always the best way to generate brand interest, growth, or traffic. And certain entities, especially small businesses with limited budgets, must decide if advertising on Instagram is worthy of the company's time and resources. Depending on the size and industry the company is involved in, other marketing channels might provide a better audience for utilizing advertising resources that are sometimes scarce and restricted.

Here are a few compelling statistics from the Mayoros Agency:

  • 48% of traffic is organic, meaning it comes from search engines.
  • 24% is paid, so an ad is placed for a specific search engine query.
  • 19% is direct; visitors who know of your business by other means and have typed in the address directly in their web browser.
  • 6% is from referral traffic and derived from link-building strategies used on other websites.
  • 3% of website traffic comes from social media.

Such figures are certainly worth considering when deciding if using social media is the best option.

Many experts state that most traffic originates with search engines, which deliver half of all traffic to websites. And sometimes, networking a brand and products on a social media platform is more beneficial to the social networking site rather than to the proprietor of that company. This is because social media viewers are likely to remain at least one step away from coming into direct contact with whatever you're trying to sell.

How to create an Instagram story

Using stories on Instagram is straightforward for those familiar with the platform. However, the process may seem intimidating if you're utilizing Insta stories for the first time.

Here's how to post a story on Instagram:

  • Open the Instagram app on your mobile device, such as your smartphone or tablet.
  • Find your circular icon with the plus sign located under the Instagram logo.
  • Select a visual file (photo or video) from your camera roll. You can also capture brand-new content to share. If you use your device's camera, you can enhance the image with live filters.
  • Edit your picture or video with music, text, GIFs, polls, and more.

And you're done! Make sure to play around with Instagram stories to familiarize yourself with the tool.

Tips on creating Instagram stories for your business

Businesses can post all types of content, including stories about office culture, innovative products, and more. Companies using Instagram stories can also share newsworthy events, such as the acquisition of their organization or a brand collaboration, promote seasonal deals, show how products are used, and so forth.

Regardless of the content you're creating, here are a few tips that can help captivate users.

  • Ensure your Instagram story dimensions are correct. Properly formatting your photos or videos for Instagram stories can ensure you publish high-quality content.
  • Go live. Going live on your Instagram story lets you chat with your audience in real time.
  • Leverage ads. Ads enable your brand to target users with content they actually want to see, increasing the likelihood of a purchase.
Elevate your Instagram stories with stickers and filters
  • Elevate your stories with stickers and filters. Instagram provides different types of dynamic stickers that can make stories more fun. Stickers and filters are a great way to enhance your stories and show off how creative your company is. For example, product stickers make it easy to include a link to your story.
  • Utilize polls and questions. Hosting an Instagram story poll and questions encourage users to engage with your brand. They also make it easier to obtain feedback from your Instagram followers.

Keep your audience engaged

Instagram helps many businesses, brands, and individuals to open up new doors of creative and entrepreneurial expression, allowing them to expand, communicate, and engage with a broader, more diverse audience. Therefore, it can be a very constructive way of discovering new avenues of traffic and building customer relationships with the billions of users found on such platforms.

Depending on the data one subscribes to in regard to marketing traffic and potential revenue streams, customer contact seems inevitable. Any number of these billions of users who utilize Instagram every month may eventually encounter an Instagram Story or hashtag ad that's been sent out, which means that companies would be wise to make their profiles available there.

With Mailchimp, you can take your social media content to the next level. Our assortment of social media management tools allows you to build your following and reach the best audience for your brand. Plus, you can track valuable metrics in an easy-to-read dashboard and ensure your strategies are effective. Schedule Instagram posts ahead of time to share content frequently and consistently, automatically publish content on the app, or run targeted ads using our specialized tools.

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