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5 Important Things to Remember When Using Instagram Stories

Did you know that over 400 million people view Instagram Stories every day? It’s a great way to add personality to your account. Although there’s now IGTV to contend with, Instagram Stories are less daunting to produce, as each clip is up to 15 seconds and only stays live for 24 hours (unless you’ve added it to your Highlights).

The Snapchat-like feature was introduced almost two years ago and remains an easy way to build a connection with your audience. Stories sit above the main feed, so you’re encouraged to keep playing it on a loop.

Don’t underestimate the value of posting these short clips and playing around with the different components. Here’s a few important points to remember when using Instagram Stories and clever tweaks you can make to your strategy:

The first frame is the most important.

If you’re posting a series of Stories, then most will decline in viewers. This could be down for a number of reasons. Perhaps the person got distracted, quit the app or even accidentally swiped onto the next account.

It’s critical to land your key message at the beginning. Include any links or brand deliverables in your first frame to capture as many eyeballs as possible and give your content the best chance of performing well.

Monitor the effects of cross-promotion

Is directing followers to your “link in bio” actually working? Google Analytics has all the answers. Head to Acquisition > Social > Overview, then view the full report to see how many visitors are coming from your bio link or Instagram Stories.

Experiment with calls to action in captions and use annotations on Google Analytics to track whenever you implement a new strategy. Your followers may prefer to click through to a blog post on a Sunday, so it may be worth doing a weekly recap and sharing double the amount of content.

Look at your impressions, reach and taps backward

Reach is the number of unique users who have viewed your story and impressions is the number of times it has been viewed. A high number of impressions or taps backward means that your content was engaging enough to re-watch.

What kind of Stories are grabbing more attention? Create more of this kind of content. Note the times and days where content seems to have a higher reach and when sharing may not be as successful.

Improve your aesthetics with apps

Have you noticed the video collages and fancy effects popping up on Stories? Apps such as Unfold, Over and Videoleap are great for getting creative with different elements and fonts. It’s handy if you don’t want to post too many Stories (just layer them into one clip) or need areas of negative space for placing text. 60% of Stories are viewed without sound, so subtitles are necessary for reaching as many people as possible.

Be mindful that different devices will crop your Stories. An IPhone X is narrower than the IPhone 8 for example, so avoid placing links and text too close to the edges of the screen. Not only will they not be seen, but they could also make viewers accidentally swipe to the next frame.

Use new features creatively

It’s tempting to dive straight in when new features like Instagram Story Questions come along, but be patient. Research, brainstorm and consider the best ways you can add value to your audience.

It may be better to tailor these features for when you’re covering specific topics or experiences, like travel or you’re a special occasion. Ask for tips when you arrive in a new location, or ask a question on the last day to see whether you’ve inspired people to visit. This is a great way to gather different kinds of engagement for brand collaborations or even get feedback that can be used in your media kit.
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