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Instagram Stories can be a significant growth mechanism for your brand if used frequently and adequately.Since the release of Stories in 2016, it's cultural ubiquity has been unparalleled. With over 500 million active daily users, Stories is currently the most popular aspect of Instagram. And there's every expectation that the number above will increase significantly in 2020.Stories are no longer viewed as the place where you stash content that didn't quite meet the aesthetic requirement of your grid. In contrast, it's actually where your must engaging content should live.Sharing compelling Stories open your brand up to organic dialogue with your audience. There's connectivity through Instagram Stories that doesn't exist in the very public space where we leave grid comments.Narrowing in on that closeness with your audience is essential in 2020. Here are a few ways to maximize that engagement with Instagram Stories:
Leverage All Instagram Stories Tools
Of all the paramount themes driving successful brands on Stories, the simplest one is to use all the tools at your disposal.If your business has over 10K followers, rely on the ever-important Swipe-Up feature. If that's not an option, be sure to share critical information and brand learnings through your link in bio.If you have a Business Instagram Account, there's a huge opportunity to maximize the use of Shoppable Stickers. These product stickers are a great way to drive engagement and, potentially, sales. Many of your favorite brands are always using Shoppable Stickers to their advantage. (Read more: How to use IG Stickers)Glossier does this exceptionally well. They typically take 1-7 Story frames to carve out a narrative for each product or outreach initiative. They make great use of photos or videos and add captions to provide thoughtful insight to each post. Glossier also saves and categorizes specific Stories Highlights, so those learnings are always available.
Run an Instagram Stories Ad/Takeover
You may hit a wall with the reach of your Instagram following. When that takes place, considering running a Stories ad.Kenshoo reported that ad spends on Instagram Stories are up 53% annually. This is an effective and relatively inexpensive way to burst past your audience echo chamber. You'll want to thoughtfully strategize exactly how this ad should impact your existing followers and the new audience you hope to grab hold of. Make sure a clear goal is in mind and that there's a call to action for viewers to follow. (Read more: A Complete Guide to Instagram Ads)Another great way to funnel new engagement through your Stories is with a takeover. By working with an influencer or brand partner, you'll open yourself up to their audience and drive new business back to your brand. As with Stories ads, make sure you have a clear goal in mind for your takeovers. Be intentional with the language. Make sure that your influencer or brand partner is calling out to your brand and its importance. With these tips, you'll be on your way to creating better sponsored Stories or Stories ads to generate more engagement and drive results. If you haven't already, download PLANOLY StoriesEdit, our APP for templates. StoriesEdit makes it easy to create Stories with beautifully designed templates for photos, videos, quotes, and more!
Create Stories Highlights
Story Highlights are a great way to ensure that viewers always have access to your best work and important product-related education.When you have high performing content, be sure to create a Stories Highlight for those who may not have experienced it live. This evergreen content will serve you well in the future when existing customers need a refresher, and new adopters are looking to champion you.Skincare brand, Drunk Elephant, has a series of engaging and educational Highlights designed to engage with its audience. For example, they have a Highlight dedicated to discussing the shelf life of their products.In an effort to modernize antiquated Web 2.0 functions of old, Drunk Elephant is effectively taking what would be the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page on their website and categorizing those very same questions within their Stories Highlights.Strategize on how your brand can best utilize Stories Highlights as Drunk Elephant has. Maybe you can create an entirely new way we view Highlights!
Create Special Announcements & Teasers
Lastly, Stories should generate excitement for your brand. A great way to leverage Stories is to gauge interest in new products, tease upcoming collaborations, or share urgent news about your brand.For example, at PLANOLY, we're extremely proud of the level of Instagram insights and metrics provided by PLANOLYAnalyze, our web dashboard. We wanted to give users a taste of what to expect, so we teased a few details of the web dashboard on Stories to start a dialogue.Continue to use Stories to direct your audience to new product rollouts and brand storytelling opportunities. Then, use our PLANOLY Analyze feature to track your completion rate, impressions, reach, replies, and more. Understanding your audience's behavior will dictate strategy more than anything.Instagram Stories can have an immense impact on your brand's growth. Figure out what works and begin putting those best practices in place today.