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Why Instagram Stories Should Be Part of Your 2018 Social Strategy

We wanted to create a space where social marketers can dig deeper into trending topics and learn a little more each week, so we decided to host a weekly Twitter chat. Last week at #SimplyChat, we discussed ways to integrate Instagram Stories into your strategy, how Stories can impact your overall Instagram strategy, what metrics to track, and ways to incorporate new Story features.

Q1: Are you planning to integrate Instagram Stories into your 2018 strategy? If so, how?

Takeaway: Instagram Stories is a great way to show the faces behind a brand, get other departments involved, learn about your target audience, and repurpose content.

  • Show the faces behind the brand: Instagram, as a platform, is a great way to do this. But with Instagram Stories, you won’t have to worry about messing with your curated profile. You can interview people from other departments. For example, if you have a product launch coming up, interviewing people who were a part of building the product would be a good way to get your target audience excited about the launch.
  • Get other departments involved: Along with showing the faces behind the brand, doing Instagram Stories takeovers is a great way to let other departments participate in the platform and get excited about social.

For example, our sales team has a contest coming up. One of the team members will be doing an Instagram takeover explaining what it is and how it works. This story will be a great look at what it’s like to be on our sales team. It also shows prospects the faces of people they would be talking to. With our Instagram Stories data, I’ll be able to share with sales team members how their Stories did in comparison to previous Instagram Stories. This will stoke competitive fires and give the sales team a new way to relate to prospects.

  • Learn about your target audience: Let’s say that you want to tell your Instagram followers that you have a webinar coming up. You post a picture on Instagram. It doesn’t get as much engagement as your other posts. Is this because your Instagram followers don’t care to learn about webinars on Instagram? Or is it the topic of this webinar that they don’t care for? Promoting your webinar on Instagram Stories with the same messaging as the feed post can help answer these questions. If the same information is well-received on Instagram Stories, you will have learned that information regarding webinars is best distributed on Instagram through Stories. If it is not well-received on Instagram Stories, you will have learned that Instagram isn’t the channel to share webinars.

For example, during our Instagram Stories 101 webinar, we showed some behind-the-scenes footage.

  • Repurpose content: As Maria mentioned during the chat, what you post on Instagram Stories doesn’t always have to be completely new content. Let’s say you have a piece of content that did really well on another platform. You can recreate the content and share it with your Instagram followers.

For example, we have a 30-Day Social Marketing Transformation Plan guide. I can repurpose this guide into Instagram Stories by following the guide’s day-by-day instructions, explaining the tasks I do and how doing them affects my social media strategy.

Q2: What do use you Instagram for? Do you use it to show your company culture, promote your products, or both? Will this change in 2018?

Takeaway: Instagram Stories is a good A/B testing method to inform the content you push out. For example, if your B2C brand uses Instagram to promote products, you can use Instagram Stories to figure out if your audience cares about the way your product is created. If you post an Instagram Story that shows the process of a product being created and it does well, you might consider promoting your products by sharing this “behind-the-scenes” content on your main Instagram feed.

Q3: Which metrics do you track for Instagram Stories?

Takeaway: We track exits, tap-forwards, and tap-backs. Looking at these metrics on a higher level, exits and tap-forwards can indicate that your viewers aren’t relating to your Stories. And tap-backs can mean your viewers are interested or your stories were too short. But let’s take a deeper dive into what these metrics are and what they mean for social marketers.

  • An exit is when a viewer leaves your story by swiping up. The reason this metric is important is that each Instagram Story you create has a beginning, middle, and end, and your audience won’t get the full effect of a message if they haven’t watched the whole thing. If you see an increase in exits in the middle of the story, it could indicate that the length of your Instagram Story doesn’t resonate with your audience.
  • A tap-forward is when a user taps the screen to skip ahead. This metric can mean that your Instagram Story is too long. The positive thing about a tap-forward is that it indicates that your audience still wants to see how your story ends. If you see an increase in tap-forwards, think about lowering the number of episodes you use to share your message.
  • A tap-back is when a user taps the screen to rewatch an episode. This metric can either mean that your audience enjoyed your Story and wanted to watch it again, or that they didn’t completely understand your Story because you went too quickly. To find which of these is true, play around with the length of your entire story and length of each episode. If you increase the length of the story and still see many tap-backs, it can indicate that your audience enjoyed that story. In this case, you’ll want to create more content similar to it. If you increase the length of each episode and see a decrease in tap-backs, it can indicate that you were going too quickly.

Q4: What’s your favorite Instagram Story feature and why?

Takeaway: This will obviously be different for every person and every brand, but understanding why other people favor one feature over another can help you improve your strategy. For example, Cheval likes using the locations feature to promote businesses. If I were managing an influencer program for a company with brick-and-mortar stores, the program would include having influencers using the location feature.

If you like what you read here and want to be a part of the conversation, we’d love to have you join our next chat in January! Until then, check out our Creative Booster Kit below for a head start. 

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Laurie Anne Nilo

I'm the Social Media Manager here at Simply Measured. I love all things wellness, coffee, watercolor, and travel.

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