5 Tactics for Instagram Stories

5 Tactics for Instagram Stories That Brands Can Use to Drive Engagement


Launched in August 2016, Instagram Stories will turn 5 years old this month — and the momentum the increasingly popular feature has gained since its unveiling is hard to deny. Consider these head-turning statistics from Instagram regarding its visible-for-24-hours Stories posts:

  • Half a billion people interact with Instagram Stories each day
  • Nearly 60% of surveyed Instagram users say that seeing an Instagram Story has boosted their interest in a brand or product
  • Half of surveyed Instagram users report having visited a product or service’s website after seeing the brand in Stories

Considering all of this, it’s clear that Instagram Stories offers brands a real opportunity to reach more consumers … and perhaps even turn them into paying customers. But just how can brands harness Stories to boost their business? Consider these five Instagram Stories tactics that have proven highly successful at spurring consumer interest and action:

1. Pique interest with polls

By using Instagram’s polling sticker in their ads, brands can get valuable consumer feedback regarding their products and services by posing a question along with a pair of (customizable, but typically “yes” or “no”) answer options. Perhaps even better, employing this tactic has proven to boost audience engagement. In fact, according to Instagram, 90% of beta campaigns employing the polling sticker saw an increase in 3-second video views.

There are two main reasons the polling sticker is effective at boosting engagement: First, many consumers enjoy sharing their opinions and having their voices heard. And when they do so in this scenario, they’re immediately rewarded with the chance to see the real-time polling results. Seeking consumer insights on your brand’s products and services? Consider using the polling sticker to get consumer feedback on any brand-related topic you choose, and boost user engagement in the process.

2. Tee up free

Consumers love freebies, and the short-term nature of Instagram Stories allows your brand to serve them up in limited quantities while boosting consumer engagement.

One especially powerful Instagram Stories lead-generation strategy — or brands that are able — is to offer free downloadable resources to consumers who are willing to provide their information for marketing purposes or who opt into a mailing list. Otherwise, when offering freebies to consumers via an Instagram Story, be sure to clearly explain to viewers how they can get the offered freebie. Another solid strategy for providing a route to freebie fulfillment is to employ Instagram’s “swipe up” feature — available for verified accounts and those with 10,000 or more followers — to add a link to your Instagram Story.

3. Tap into the power of prompts

Sometimes it’s helpful to nudge consumers toward performing the actions you’d like for them to complete. And by employing prompts — powerful method for doing just this in Instagram Stories — your brand can ramp up users’ engagement with your Stories posts, plus increase the time spent viewing them.

Among the prompts that can help draw viewers into your brand’s Stories posts and keep them there for the duration:

  • Hold to Read, which initially offers viewers a small amount of (ideally, enticing) copy, then asks them to hold a finger on their smartphone’s screen to see more text
  • Tap for More, a tactic that typically starts with a tile asking the viewer a question, then prompts a screen tap for the user to proceed to additional tiles with photos or videos that provide more information
  • Get Ready to, a prompt that can build user anticipation by foreshadowing an upcoming action such as taking a slide screenshot, changing their screen’s orientation or turning their sound on

4. Lift viewership by going live

For many consumers, there’s a considerable allure to live and in-the-moment content, and the Instagram Live functionality available for Instagram Stories allows brands to leverage it anytime. Further, while your brand is broadcasting live, viewers can go beyond simply watching and further engage by adding their own reactions and comments — all of which can lead to more social exposure.

The engagement-boosting ways your brand can harness the power of live broadcasts in Instagram Stories include:

  • Hosting live Q&A sessions where viewers post their questions to enhance the dialogue
  • Staging live announcements about new products or services (Consider building anticipation for these with pre-broadcast posts teasing/promoting the announcement.)
  • Broadcasting live reports from brand- or industry-relevant events
  • Giving viewers behind-the-scenes looks into your business and its methods via Instagram Live sessions

5. Promote important posts

After posting a particularly interesting or important photo or video to your brand’s Instagram feed, consider utilizing Stories to drive added traffic there. By publishing an accompanying Story, you’ll create added publicity for the original post for the following 24 hours. To do this, after posting the initial photo, click “Share,” then choose the “Add Post to Your Story” option. From there, you can enhance the post with add-ons such as additional copy, hashtags, stickers or GIFs.

Could your brand use some professional guidance on increasing engagement with its Instagram Stories posts — and all of its other social content? At The Brandon Agency, our team of certified brand strategists and data-driven marketing experts has helped clients in an array of industries boost user engagement across all the most popular social media platforms. To get started with help ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all of your marketing campaigns, contact us today.

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