Instagram is invaluable as a marketing platform. It’s also exceptionally competitive. Fortunately, a lot of your competitors are going to try to rely on cheap tricks that require minimal effort, so that you can set yourself apart with the right strategies and content. Here we explain why it can be a crucial tool for your social media marketing strategy, and how to best use it to keep your audience engaged and interacting with your brand.

Why Do I Need Instagram Stories?

Why use Instagram Stories, you ask? Because users are paying attention. Case studies of Story Ads found that the campaigns increased ad recall, brand awareness, and purchase intent.

Combine this with the incredible engagement options like poll stickers and the fact that one out of five Stories results in at least one DM from a customer, and it’s clear why you can’t afford to skip over them.

Stories can help you beat declining reach. Not only are they not subject to the traditional algorithm, but they can also be found by users who aren’t even following you. This is significant and can help you connect with new potential followers.

The biggest reason why all businesses and brands need Stories is that users love them. Only a little under half of all daily users are checking Stories daily, amounting to 400 million daily active users.

Using Instagram Stories is an excellent step to getting more results and connecting with your audience on the platform, but just uploading content to the Stories feed isn’t enough on its own.

When used correctly, Stories can do so much more than improving brand awareness (which they can also rock, by the way); they can actively yield results like driving traffic, increasing brand recognition, building engagement, and more. Remember that statistic about 20% of all stories resulting in a direct message? That’s just the beginning of it.

Let’s take a look at the best 3 ways to get people interacting with your brand on Instagram Stories.

  1. Use Live Video for Increased Interaction

Engagement options have grown significantly when it comes to Stories, and many can be used to leverage social proof on the platform, too.

The first is by using live video, which is hosted through the Stories feature. As you go live, people can comment on your Story in real time. This opens up a great opportunity for Q&As and actual back-and-forth interaction with your followers. It feels transparent, and since some of your followers will even get notifications that you’ve gone live, this is a great way to get views and engagement all at once.

  1. Use Instagram Stories’ Interactive Stickers.

Every few months, Instagram is dropping new kinds of engagement-oriented stickers. Right now we have the following:

  • Polls stickers, which allow us to ask questions and give users a choice between two answers. People can click on the answer of their choice, which will be made available for viewing in real time.
  • Questions stickers, where we can ask users to ask us questions and then answer the best ones.
  • Emoji slider stickers, which allow us to ask a question that users answer by moving the emoji of your choice up and down a sliding scale.

Take advantage of these stickers to get engagement and social proof, which helps to establish trust and brand awareness.

  1. Make a Bigger Impact with Video

If you’re only using images in Stories, you’re missing out. Video can yield a ton of results in the Stories platform, even if they’re only 10 seconds long. 10 seconds of video, after all, is more likely to be watched and fully comprehended instead of 10 seconds of a single still image that users will scroll past.

Video, after all, is inherently dynamic. The movement alone captivates user attention and can get someone to pause long enough to pay attention. Stories take up a user’s entire mobile screen, that’s a big opportunity you don’t want to pass up.

One thing that you want to watch for when using video in your Stories is to not rely on sound. If users have sound enabled, after all, that’s great– but many don’t. As a result, if voiceover narration is the crucial element to your Story and you don’t have any closed captions attached, you could see significantly less impact from it than you could have otherwise.

Video can be particularly beneficial when you want to get users to “Swipe Up” to head to a landing page off-platform. The video content will give you enough time to explain where users are going and why they should take that action, increasing the likelihood that they’ll do so.

If you need help creating videos for Stories, there are a few tools that can help. These include:

  • StoriesAds, which has video templates and helps you to create edited, high-quality Stories videos for your feeds or Stories Ads in about two minutes or less.
  • Fastory, another video-creation tool for Stories that comes with customizable video templates and incredible features like animated headlines and advanced graphic effects.
  • Storyheap, which in addition to analytics, also has outstanding scheduling and creation tools for Stories. They also have fantastic templates and customizable designs that you can use on your desktop to create mind-blowing Stories that make you look like a pro.

Now, you’re all set. Using these strategies is a sure fire way to get people engaged with your brand on Instagram, and keep them sticking around. By integrating these into your social media strategy, you can ensure you’re making the most of Instagram Stories’ countless opportunities to draw in your audience and get them interacting with your brand.