Social media came into our lives through a social platform called Six Degrees back in 1997. Currently, social media, as a whole, has become a part of our day-to-day lives.
Out of all the major social media platforms, Instagram is one of the hottest at the moment. In fact, people generally talk about how many likes they've got on their recent pictures.
Instagram is also used as a marketing, informational, and entertainment platform. A lot of brands use social media platforms to introduce their products to see how customers would respond to it.
One of the most used features that has been in the spotlight recently is the 'Instagram Story.' An Instagram story is a post that can be viewed for only 24 hours. It appears on the homepage of everyone who follows you.
Despite creating controversy for ripping off Snapchat stories, the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook has resulted in a majority of businesses adding it to their arsenal of marketing strategies.
You would be familiar with Instagram but the dynamics of stories are different. Let me guide you through seven strategies that can establish your presence in the colorful virtual world.
Create story highlights
A highlight is a small circle that appears on your screen when you go onto your account on Instagram.
Its a collection of your stories that can be used to describe who you are, to someone who is viewing your account for the first time.
Steps to make a highlight:
- Step #1: Tap on New on the left side of your screen.
- Step #2: Choose the Stories from your Archive.
- Step #3: Select a cover image for your highlight and name it.
- Step #4: It will appear below your Bio, in the same bubble like shape, just like your stories.
- Step #5: When tapped on, it will play in the form of a long story.
- Step #6: It will be visible unless you decide to delete them.
Doing so helps businesses grow, gain followers, and increase the popularity of your account. Here's how:
- It helps market your products right away: Story highlights can also be considered as an extension of their bio.
- Personalisation: Personalising your story highlights with different names gives your viewers an in depth view as to what your account is really about.
- A timeline of your brand portfolio: Adding pictures of your old events provides your viewers insight as to all the things that your company does and what you have in store for the future.
- Displays customer reviews: Just like adding short videos on to your story, you can also add these videos to your highlight. What customers have to say about your store, your business, or your employees can go a long way to help increase your business.
Instagram has another feature called 'Go live' which enables you to interact with your followers in real time.
It also helps in promoting your brand or project.
- Step #1: Tap the camera icon on the top left corner of your screen.
- Step #2: Swipe anywhere on your feed to select 'Live'.
- Step #3: Tap on 'start live video.'
- Step #4: When you are done with your live video, tap on 'end live video.
Going live on Instagram is an amazing way to help increase your brand value. Here's how:
- Increases authenticity: Live Streaming can help you increase the number of your followers since they get to know who you are and what your brand or business is about.
- Introduces your product: Live Streaming is a brilliant way to introduce your new project and see how well it would fare with your followers or potential customers.
- Get to know your followers: While doing a livestream, you get to see real-time comments that shared by your viewers. This way, you can understand what they like and it opens a platform for live interaction, which in turn, means a lot to your followers.
- Show who you are: It's a great way for your followers to get to know who you are.
- Not easily forgotten: Since the internet is a large domain, an article that you may write can go lost in all the other things based on your topic. While, a video, is not easily erasable from memory if it's appealing.
- Viewership: Since going live on instagram pushes your account to the first circle on your followers pages, it helps in increasing viewersh
Link out to your website
Even though this Instagram feature is only applicable to those who have a verified account or business accounts with more than 10,000 followers, it still holds a lot of benefits.
- Step #1: Select a picture that you would like to add to your story.
- Step #2: Tap the link icon that can be found next to the emoticon option, on the right hand side of your screen.
- Step #3: Post the picture.
Here are five reasons why it would help you sell your brand like pancakes:
- Increases hype: Adding a link onto your story help in increasing the hype for your new products.
- KPI Performance: More the number of people that see your link, the easier it is to reach your target pages.
- Increase in views: When you add a link onto your story, which can be viewed only for 24 hours, it can increase the number of people who visit your link as they know that it's only available for a short time.
- Viewership: Since there are more than 200 million people who use Instagram everyday, adding a link to your story helps in increasing the number of followers, community, and access to your website.
- Bio: Adding the link to your bio can help in increasing the viewership as well.
Insta story takeover
The concept of Instagram takeover began in 2012. Though this is a commonly used feature now, people generally don't get how it works.
An Instagram story takeover is allowing someone else to take over your feed for a day, so that they can share their content with your audience.
Almost anyone can take over your Instagram account. Though it better when the person taking over your account may be related to your industry.
For instance, if you are working in the entertainment industry; you can get a celebrity or a news anchor to take over your account.
- Super engaging: This can help you understand your clients better and see what it is that they like and keep their views in mind for the next project.
- Creates a unique perspective: Instagram takeovers provide your followers to view something that you don't post generally, making it interesting and thereby increasing viewership and followers.
- Increases followers: If an influencer does an Instagram takeover, this can help in increasing the number of people who follow you, knowing that the influencer is affiliated to your brand.
- Increases viewership: Since an Instagram takeover is something that you don't generally do on your Instagram, it's something new for your followers, which is why they will tune in more.
How do you make an Instagram takeover successful? Follow the steps below:
- Sheffield Hallam University.During the month of March 2016, Sheffield Hallam University decided that they wanted to increase their number of followers on Instagram.
To do so, they contacted a selected bunch of students and asked them to take over their Instagram story. A hashtag “#SHUInsider” was used. Along with this hashtag, the selected students took over the college's Instagram story.
The college's Instagram followers rose from 2,747 to 2,833 as a result of the takeover.
- Food Republic.Before the whole concept of Instagram takeover was introduced, Food Republic asked an New York photographer, Sam Horine, to take over their story.
Since, Sam was overseas on vacation at that time, Food Republic asked him to document his journey on their story.
Doing so resulted in them gaining followers, due to the help of a celebrity.
- Sephora.Sephora is one of the most popular beauty product brand in the market. They have a wide range of products that they sell on Instagram. But this wasn't the case earlier.
During the contour month in the year 2015, Sephora asked Tamanna Roashan to take over their Instagram story. Tamanna is best known for her makeup tutorial classes, as she runs a make-up school.
Tamanna decided to do live makeup tutorials while using Sephora contour, thereby increasing the number of followers and purchases from the brand.
Another smart mover by Sephora was getting the celebrity twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to take their first selfie on Sephora's Instagram account with the hashtag “#Sephora” as the caption.
View this post on Instagram
This week, Hallam's Instagram account has been taken over by the#SHUinsiders - a team of student bloggers from the uni. Today, it's Gabriel [@gabrielchiew]. I am a postgraduate student doing Advanced Engineering. Speaking of scenery, one of the places that I like to go for hiking is Bakewell. It is a nice town for me and I like to go there and have a walk to Monsal Trail. You can rent a bicycle to see all three Monsal Trail tunnels that are really beautiful. This photo was taken at one of the footpaths on the way to the trail. The only thing I know is that I cannot stop taking photos along the way due to its stunning sceneries. #SHUinsiders #sheffieldhallam #bakewell #MonsalTrail
A post shared by Sheffield Hallam University (@sheffhallamuni) on Mar 10, 2016 at 7:35am PST
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Food Republic (@foodrepublic) on Apr 1, 2012 at 10:43am PDT
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Sephora (@sephora) on Apr 13, 2016 at 10:30am PDT
Posting on your Instagram story or having a normal post about your takeover can also help increase the number of viewers.
Throughout this article, you would have come across the term 'engagement' multiple times. That's because it is one of the most important things to do to maintain a social media account. So, how do you do it?
- Comment on your posts: Doing so helps your followers know that they are being heard and that their opinions matter. It is also a great way to get to know your followers.
- Add interesting captions to your posts: Posting a caption that catches your viewers fancy is very important as it opens many doors like asking QOTD (question of the day), OOTD (outfit of the day) and many more.
- Add hashtags in your story: Adding hashtags to your story helps in increasing the number of viewers by bringing your post, story, and account on the desired search page based on your hashtag.
- Add a poll to your story: Adding polls to your story makes it interesting for your followers to answer it. You can take a poll on how their day went or any other question that comes to your mind.
- Ask questions: Asking questions on your story or in your posts makes things more interesting for your followers as they get a platform to express their views and opinions. Making them feel heard.
Add the location of your story
Geotagging is a great way to make your Instagram story more engaging. Geotagging can make things interesting for you and your followers if you'd like.
- Step #1: Swipe right and add a new story.
- Step #2: Select a picture that you would like to add to your story.
- Step #3: Tap on the smiley sticker on the top right corner and select 'location.'
- Step #4: Customize your post.
Another way to add your location to your story is by adding a hashtag before the location. This helps in increasing the number who view your post and eventually your page up on searching the hashtag.
Adding your location tag or hashtag can help you and your customers discover new content and followers thereby, making your page a reliable source of sorts.
Doing so also provides local vendors increase their customer base and expand their business.
This is a great way to let your followers know where you got that amazing meal or coffee.
Geotagging can help in increasing your business. If the location that has been posted on your story is selected by any of your followers it can help bring in a lot of customers.
- Mini-videosAdding snippets of your video post on your story can help increase the curiosity of what your video really is.
You can use mini-videos to tell stories in bits and pieces as well.
- Hashtag stickersHashtag stickers can be used to increase the number of people who view your account, story, or post by putting your post or story into the list under the hashtag that you use.
- Funky textUsing funky text keeps things interesting for you and your followers. It can be used as an eye-catcher and attract more attention to what you would like to convey to your customers.
- Text and sticker alignmentIt's imperative that people read content on your story. This is why it's important that you align your text and stickers at the right angle, and in the correct size, to not obstruct the text and vice-versa.
- Frequent videosAdding videos frequently is like making a change. As the world is getting advanced day-by-day, people are losing patience in having to read things.
Which is why they prefer people speaking in videos, making them save on reading time. Plus, it's easier to remember things that are heard or watched compared to read.