Instagram Stories have become one of the most powerful ways for brands to reach their target audience. With 500 million users using Instagram Stories every day, more businesses are taking advantage of this form of real-time content.
Posting Stories on Instagram increases brand awareness. Research from the photo and video sharing platform shows that one-third of the most-viewed Stories are from businesses. Additionally, 62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories.
Not only does Instagram Stories increase awareness, but they also drive engagement – one in five stories gets a direct message from its viewers.
Undoubtedly, businesses looking to boost their engagement rate and increase their followers should start incorporating more Stories into their Instagram content strategy. Here are some tips on how brands can create a content plan for Instagram Stories.
How to decide what to post
Before getting started, it’s crucial first to understand the goal of using Instagram Stories. Does the business want to generate more sales or brand awareness? Perhaps the focus is to promote engagement. Once brands are clear on why they’re using Instagram Stories, they’ll have an easier time creating content that drives these goals.
It can be challenging to brainstorm ideas for consistent, high-quality content. However, businesses may find it helpful to define content categories when developing a content plan.
Brands can start by coming up with ideas that fall under common content marketing goals:
- Educational – Shows their knowledge and expertise (tips, short tutorials, and research)
- Inspirational – Motivates users to take action (quotes, captivating images, and customer stories)
- Interactive – Engages the audience and encourages them to share their thoughts (quizzes, polls, and questions)
- Entertaining – Allows viewers to enjoy themselves (a look behind the scenes, memes, and nostalgia)
Brands should also consider the way they structure their Stories. Unlike regular Instagram posts in the main feed, Stories are designed to be in a sequence of multiple posts. For high-quality Stories, it’s a good idea for businesses to plan a beginning, middle, and end for their Stories.
How to decide when to post
While Instagram Stories are fun and informal, they still require time and planning. Brands should set realistic expectations based on their time, team members, and resources available when planning a schedule for their Stories.
Stories remain visible for up to 24 hours, which can ease some of the pressure of posting. It’s best that brands just getting started with Stories start small. Posting at least one to two times per day can keep the content flowing while maintaining quality. If they later find that they have more time, businesses can always increase their posting frequency.
It’s important to remember that consistency is critical, and brands should create a schedule for Stories that they can maintain.
How to automate Instagram stories
Brands often juggle multiple social media channels, and adding yet another place to post can be overwhelming. However, there are ways they can make creating and posting Instagram Stories easier.
Use templates to cut down on design
Although businesses can create Stories directly in the Instagram app, they can speed up the design process by using pre-made templates. Design tools such as Canva, Crello, and Photoshop allow brands to choose from various templates that they can personalize by swapping out images and editing the text. These templates are quick and easy to use, and brands can reuse them as often as needed.
Using similar fonts and colors for each story makes it easy to maintain a cohesive, professional brand image.
For video templates, Wave.video is a tool that allows businesses to create videos formatted for Stories quickly. The video platform offers royalty-free images, videos, and music for creating personalized videos that align with branding.
Post ahead of time with scheduling tools
Using a third-party scheduling tool can help brands visually plan and schedule Instagram Stories ahead of time. Instagram scheduling tools such as Planoly, Later, and Gain, offer the functionality for teams to collaborate, create stories, and schedule them for later.
It’s essential to keep in mind that automatic publishing for scheduled Instagram Stories is not available through the Instagram API. Instead of automatically posting on behalf of businesses, scheduling tools send notifications to brands so that they can post their previously designed Stories directly to Instagram.
Nonetheless, scheduling tools for Instagram Stories ensure a steady flow of content and help brands save time.
Engage and measure content performance
Once businesses have an Instagram Stories content plan in place, they must prioritize interacting with their audience. In addition to posting stories, they should spend time engaging with people who direct message them or respond to their questions.
It’s also vital to keep an eye on viewership trends and gauge responses to improve the content in the future. Over time, brands will learn what type of content resonates with their audience so they can create Instagram Stories that keep them coming back for more.
Adrian Fisher is the Founder and CEO of PropertySimple, a real estate technology software that allows agents to build their personal brand online.