As Instagram continues to evolve, this provides users with even more opportunities to tell fun stories and create unique content for their followers. And while many of our Best Practices articles have focused on perfecting your Instagram grid, today we're exploring the growing role Instagram Stories is now playing in social content strategies along with a few examples of brands and content creators who are doing exciting things in this space.
Ways to Utilize Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories is an integral part of your followers' overall experience while on the app. At PLANOLY, we've found it particularly useful for not only creating and amplifying the content we post on our blog but also as an educational and community-building tool. For instance, we've recently launched weekly Instagram Live sessions which enables our internal team to have virtual "face- time" with our community while discussing different brand-building topics. And while these Stories disappear within 24 hours, we've also begun utilizing Instagram's recent "Highlights" addition which enables users to archive their Instagram Stories in different folders. These are just a couple of the ways to experiment with this aspect of the Instagram experience. Below we've outlined a few examples to refer back to as you begin shaping your strategy.
"Instagram Stories is an integral part of your followers' overall experience while on the app."
Example 1: Brands
There are so many ways for brands to capitalize on Instagram Stories, and the following examples demonstrate a couple who are already leading the charge. Enter Girlboss (@girlboss). Since its inception, Girlboss has become known for its punchy tone of voice, bold visuals, and consistency regarding the type of and the amount of content they post. This has organically translated into their approach to Instagram Stories as they can provide more tailored content for Girlboss readers looking for specific kinds of articles. If you look at their Highlights, you'll see folders for topics including self-care, wellness, career, and more. In addition to this, the content itself also proves to be engaging with fun graphics and behind-the-scenes snippets from the team. Yet what's been most impressive to us is the company's ability to create branded content that is still engaging. Take their ongoing partnership with Google for example - their Instagram Stories are both eye-catching and informative demonstrating that it is possible to monetize without getting too far away from your brand voice and values. On the consumer goods side, we also find Gucci's (@gucci) content to be engaging and not overly promotional. The brand has become known for its conceptual imagery which has lent itself well to Instagram. For starters, we love Gucci's ability to build a cohesive content strategy where the Instagram grid and Instagram Stories support one another. If you look at both of these elements, Gucci's most recent Highlights often reflect what has been posted on the grid. More to the point, after perusing through each of these Highlights, you'll notice that the content not only differs from what's posted on their grid but enhances the experience even more as it runs the gamut from photos to illustrations to animations and more. With the above idea in mind, there is also a wide range of emerging brands who are transforming the important role Instagram Stories plays in one's content strategy - especially when it comes to local or niche markets. A final example that comes to mind is NYC-based cafe and wellness destination Chillhouse (@chillhouse). From their trendy branded assets to Instagram takeovers for their "SELFCHILL SUNDAY" series to product launches, the team demonstrates the enormous opportunity to not only use Instagram Stories to build awareness (both locally and globally) but also retain their existing community's interest.
Example 2: Individuals
At the other end of the spectrum, influencers and individuals from many industries are already proving to be leaders in creating engaging Instagram Stories. Perhaps the most relevant example is Pablo Rochat (@pablo.rochat). Pablo has dedicated a big part of his account to "interactive" Instagram Stories. From the 100 game to the Face Puzzle, Pablo has a variety of interactive games that users can play while on his Instagram Stories. He's even proven to monetize his content which is evidenced by the "Redbull Rally" created in partnership with Redbull. Another amazing example is Taylor Sterling (@taylorsterling). While she's the founder and Creative Director of the highly popular site Glitter Guide (@glitterguide), Taylor is also an influencer in her own right and has amassed a loyal Instagram following through her consistent and perfectly pastel content. As Instagram Stories has risen to prominence, Taylor has also capitalized on the opportunities to translate her unique point of view into this medium as well. For starters, Instagram Stories has provided another platform for her to be forward-facing (as a founder and influencer) evidenced by her videos, self- care rituals, and more. We've also come to love her lifestyle posts featuring fashion videos, found images, and more visuals that appeal to her feminine aesthetic. Coupling these elements with her use of fun pastel borders around images and videos, Taylor's approach proves that you can truly get creative in how you present (and archive) your Instagram content. To bring things full circle, there's also value in acknowledging a few up-and-comers in this space who are actively incorporating Instagram Stories into their content strategies. In the fashion and lifestyle space follow @lexitollefsen and @emilyschildt - two NYC-based creatives with a fun point of view and relatable tone of voice in their Instagram Stories content!
As you digest all of this information (and inspiration!) remember that it's important to do what's best for your brand in the long run. In addition to the examples in this article, we also recommend looking at what's relevant in your particular industry. What are brands or content creators doing with Instagram Stories? What could they be doing more of? Posing these questions will allow you to examine how you can fill the void and experiment with this new and exciting medium!