How to Make the Most of Instagram Stories & Reels For Your Business

 

Oct 27, 2020 | Marketing, Social Media, Strategy

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Maybe you’ve been wondering how to effectively use Instagram Stories for a while, and now you’re overwhelmed with the newest Instagram feature, Reels. 🥴

Maybe you have no idea what types of content are better suited for each different feature on the platform. Why should your brand care about them? And, most important, how can you take advantage of these features to grow your business?

You’re definitely not alone! And we’re here to help. Let’s start from the beginning…

What Is an Instagram Story?

A Story is mobile content shared in vertical orientation that’s only visible for 24 hours once posted (unless it’s made into a Highlight). Stories formats include: photo, video, boomerang, text, GIFs, and livestream. You can then add filters, polls, sliders, stickers, GIFs, and text to make your Story stand out!

Why Use Stories?

The biggest positives of using Stories are:

  1. They’re given the highest priority spot when a user opens Instagram. Before a user ever scrolls, they have the option to view Stories, and many users watch Stories before ever scrolling down their feed.
  2. Stories are a full-screen format which allows for a distraction-free viewing experience. It’s a chance for your brand to take up a user’s entire screen, which is rare on social media.

F8 is an annual conference held by Facebook, intended for developers and entrepreneurs who build products and services around the website. According to a presentation from Facebook at F82019:

  • 56% of people say they use Stories on three or more platforms at least 1 time/week, and 57% agree that Stories make them feel part of a larger community.
  • 1 in 2 people surveyed say they have visited a website—and 31% have gone to a store—to buy a product/service as a result of having seen it in Stories.

What Makes a Great Instagram Story?

Here are some tips for making great Stories directly from Facebook also shared at F8 2019:

  1. Get Creative – creativity can make or break your Stories.
  2. Use high-resolution Visuals – 56% of a brand’s sales lift can be attributed to the quality of the creative.
  3. Feel the Need for Speed – Capitalizing on quick, dynamic content allows brands to meet users’ expectations and sustain their attention. Think “burst mode” rather than “long take.”
  4. Keep it Vertical – Creating your content in a vertical format makes the most of the screen real estate you have available.
  5. Use Clear CTAs – As much as possible, give a Call to Action. The more clear it is, the higher the chance that you get the response you want.
  6. Test and Learn – Stories are a great chance for a free focus group. If you’re not yet seeing the results you expect, it’s definitely worth trying different things and switching it up to understand which stimuli your audience best responds to. Use Story Polls and Question Boxes to ask them what they want to see more of!

What are Reels?

Reels is Instagram’s latest feature that launched at the start of August 2020 to compete with the highly popular TikTok app. Instagram users can now create bite-sized videos sharing tips, inspiration, or light-hearted content.
What Should You Share in Reels?

Your Reels content doesn’t have to be brand new. You can use existing content from your blog, podcast, and social channels and simply adjust it to work well on Reels.

  1. Educational Content – Do you share informational or educational content in the captions of your main Instagram feed posts? Great. And if you’re not, you definitely should!😉 Just take those points, condense them into bullets, and share them on a fun video!
  2. Behind-The-Scenes – Is your team working on a fun project? Doing a team-building exercise? Watering your office plants? These are all fun things to share in short BTS videos.
  3. Your Brand Differentiators – What makes your company unique? What sets you apart? Share that with your following in an engaging video!

Conclusion

Stories are tested and here to stay, while Reels are super fresh. The jury’s out on whether or not Reels are around for the long haul, but brands that invest in this trend will definitely reap the rewards in the algorithm! 💯

But hey, don’t feel like you have to do it all. If the only time you can commit to Instagram is by posting regularly in your main feed, do that and do it well! If you have 3 minutes to film a quick “Hello!” on your Stories weekly or snap a pic of some new products when they come in, that’s great, too!

However, if you know you want to utilize these features to grow your brand awareness and your bottom line, but you don’t have the time to commit to it, a social media marketing company or freelancer can be a great asset for you!