Telling Stories: Engaging Your Audience with Instagram Stories

| By Cassidy Perkins

Whether you’re an Instagram novice or a guru, there’s no denying the rise of this intensely visual social media app in recent years. Instagram has seen massive growth in use and engagement since its introduction in 2010. Recent numbers indicate 1400% growth in just the last 5 years. The young, tech-savvy audience that popularized Instagram is demanding authentic interaction and high-quality content. And they know when you’re trying to sell them something. Research shows that Gen Y & Z seek originality and emotional connection from their peers, influencers, and brands.

instagram stories

With all social platforms, new features seem to pop up constantly, making each channel’s experience more dynamic. A hot new Instagram sharing feature is Stories, similar to the My Story feature on Snapchat. Instagram Stories are essentially snapshots of temporary content, packed with personality and authenticity, geared toward the hearts of younger audiences. Stories present a unique opportunity to share impactful real-time content in a low-effort, low-risk way. Instagram has built in editing software, complete with the tools to drive engagement: polls, Q&A, tags, website links, and more. The ease of capturing, editing, and sharing content makes the tool accessible to all brand sizes.

Below are some tips for successfully integrating Instagram Stories into your digital marketing activity.

Show some personality

The Story was created to share real-time content and is the perfect place to showcase your brand’s vibrant personality. Let your audience have a peek behind the curtain, with quirky behind-the-scenes content and humanizing day-to-day activities. Give your brand a face by featuring your team. The younger audience seeks to relate to brands on a personal level, so this type of content allows you to skip the sales pitch while still strengthening core messaging.

Encourage engagement

Instagram’s toolkit of editing features includes interactive elements that can be built into your Stories with minimal effort. Test reactions to new products by adding a poll or Q&A session. Add a running countdown to important events to drum up excitement. Link directly to your website to drive traffic. The options are endless for personalizing content and adding your brand’s signature style. All this engagement is easy, low-risk, and shows results within 24 hours.

Incorporate influencer marketing

Younger generations gravitate towards community and belonging more strongly than ever before. Influencers allow your brand to communicate core messaging from a trusted source, a voice coming from within the target demographic who cultivates this sense of community. Take advantage of this by reaching out to influencers in your target market and co-hosting giveaways or competitions for free products or services. When your audience finds this messaging organically, it feels more authentic and less like a pitch.

Especially when shifting the focus to Gen Z, it’s time to ditch the glossy, flawless advertisements in favor of colorful, relatable content. Instagram Stories allow brands to showcase personality, engage with their audiences in real time, and become a part of the community. Try adding Stories into your next digital marketing campaign.

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