How to Make Instagram Stories That Captivate

Instagram stories have become embedded in our daily culture, which means bland stories will no longer cut it! Learn how to make your story posts captivate.

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It is hard to remember a time when you would open up the Instagram app and didn’t immediately check the stories section, right?

Since Instagram Stories launched in August 2016, it has reported over 500 million active users every day. This not only puts it leaps and bounds ahead of Facebook Stories, but also against the platform that introduced 24 Stories as well, Snapchat.

For marketers, this means there is big pool of customers to target.

However, with this many people using the Instagram feature, it does mean that the competition will be fierce, and it takes a lot more now to grab the attention of your audience than ever before!

As the average human attention span is now believed to be eight seconds long, if you’re truly going to create an Instagram story that captivates, you’re going to have to know what you’re doing.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we can help with that. Read on to find out what kind of content you should be showcasing in your Instagram stories…

What Are Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories are an inbuilt feature on the original Instagram app, which allow a user to upload an image or 15 second video to their ‘story.’ This content can then be viewed by any of their followers for up to 24 hours, before disappearing, unless they choose to ‘highlight’ it to their profile, which will mean it remains there until they remove it.

If you want a more in-depth insight into what stories, how you use them, and what it is exactly you can do with them, check out this helpful article we put together earlier, as this article will focus on how to make the most captivating stories content possible.

Firstly, Know Your Audience

This may seem like an obvious point to make, but if you’re going to captivate your audience, it is incredibly important that you know who you’re aiming for first.

There are a number of ways you can do this, with the easiest (and perhaps most thorough) being to check the demographics of your followers. To do this, you need to have your Instagram set up as a professional profile.

This is an easy switch to make. On your profile, select the main menu icon, and select settings. And then from there, scroll down to where it says “Switch to Professional Account” and follow the on-screen instructions.

When you follow the onscreen instructions, you will notice that there are two professional accounts. There’s the creator account and the business account. The creator account is for public figures, influencers and celebrities. The business account is for brands, corporations and organisations.

Once this is done, you’ll be able to access information on everything from the gender and age of your followers, to what days of the week they are most active on the app! You can even find out what hours of the day would be best to post a story, based on when your audience is more likely to be active.

What Content Is The Most Engaging?

Now that you know who your audience is, it’ll be easier to tailor your content towards them. But if you still need a little inspiration as to what the people want to see, here are some tried-and-tested ideas.

Story Takeovers

In the age of influencer marketing, it won’t come as a surprise that one of the most effective ways to get an audience to engage with your content is to get an influencer involved!

A study by Experticity showed that up to 82% of consumers will engage with a recommendation from a micro-influencer, compared to only 73% who will take up a recommendation from an ‘average person.’ Stats like these make it easy to see why so many brands are jumping on the Influencer bandwagon.

Pair this with the fact that a micro-influencer (someone with 2,000 to 50,000 followers) will cost you a lot less than a normal influencer or a celebrity endorsement and get you a better engagement rate – you’ve got yourself a recipe for success!

But What Does A ‘Takeover’ Entail?

A story takeover essentially means that for a set period of time (whether this is 24 hours, or for a few hours while a special event is on), an influencer of your choice is posting your stories, instead of you.

The content they post will usually be predetermined beforehand, and can include anything from product reviews to ‘a day in the life,’ depending on what it is your brand does.

One example of this is the Summer Fridays Instagram takeover which featured beauty influencer @candidlyangie, who boasts over 5k followers on Instagram. The campaign featured Angie sharing her usual skincare routine — while using a number of different Summer Fridays products!

Image: Summer Fridays Instagram

Not only did this bring in an audience who already have a relationship with Angie to the Summer Fridays page, it gave all the viewers a peek at these products in action, with a glowing recommendation!

Competitions and Giveaways

Who doesn’t love a freebie, right? This is no exception when it comes to Instagram stories, making a competition or giveaway is one of the most engaging ways to use stories.

Along with being a chance to give back to your audience it is an opportunity to get them to do a little work for you! Whether it is by having them repost your brand on their own stories, or create original content that you can repost, this is truly a chance to get interactive.

If you want an example, look no further than fashion brand Missguided, who ran an Instagram stories competition to celebrate reaching 3 million followers.

Image: Missguided Facebook

The competition involved followers screenshotting their story at the right time, to catch the number three million, and sending a direct message of the picture to Missguided’s Instagram account. This helped to build a relationship between the audience and the brand, as well as building a ‘fun’ image for them!

Polls and Quizzes

If you’re not in the position to be giving things away, or bringing influencers onboard, there is still plenty you can do with Instagram stories. One of the best – and completely free – ways to get your audience engaged with your story, is through Instagram Stories’ poll and quiz feature.

When creating a story, Instagram gives you the option to add a poll sticker, which you can fill with your own text and answers. When multiples of these are used in succession, it can function as a fast and fun quiz for your followers!

Boohoo are a brand who are constantly using polls and quizzes to hype up new clothing releases or collaborations. This not only gets their audience involved with what they are doing, but serves as a promotion for new products!

Image: Boohoo Instagram

Keep It On Brand, and Original

When creating Instagram stories, the best way to ensure they are engaging is to keep them relevant for your brand!

Chances are, if you’ve gathered followers, they’re interested in the products you sell or the content you’re creating already. Therefore, straying too far from this type of content could risk you losing your followers.

It is also important to keep the content original. While taking inspiration from the examples we have given you is fine, copying it completely will put followers off! Therefore, when it comes to making your own stories, be sure to inject your own brand personality in there, and you’ll be off to a flying start!

The IIEPD provide a diverse range of CPD accredited digital marketing courses, including a course for Instagram marketing that is taught by influencers and marketing professionals.

Unlike other digital marketing training programs, IIEPD provides learners with a host of different digital marketing training resources including access to the IIEPD Influencer Affiliate Program, the IIEPD Influencer Network and subsidised digital marketing services from Pie Analysis.

For more information, get in contact with IIEPD today.

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