As we settle into life indoors, we’ve all seen our screen time go up. Just because we’re social distancing doesn’t mean we can’t engage online! With little else to do, we bounce around from working from home, watching Netflix, and browsing social media. As trends and challenges circulate, more people are gravitating to the interactive realm of Instagram Stories.
With 500 million users on Instagram Stories every day, more and more people are watching Instagram Stories to keep up with their friends, favorite brands, and public figures. Not surprising, considering the influx in fun content like personalized templates, quizzes, and bingo challenges.
What makes Instagram stories so popular? Beyond the sheer interactive appeal, Stories open the window into each other’s lives and build authentic connections.
Whether you are a business owner, blogger, or have a personal account, Instagram Stories are a bridge that builds a community with your peers, friends, customers, or audience.
Keep reading to learn the benefits of Instagram Stories and how this format can be used to interact with your community.
Why people love Instagram Stories
It seems like a new trend emerges every day; whether it’s a This or That GIF template, musical bingo, couples quiz, or the Who Is More filter. Stories are a personal way to share more about ourselves, from what we cook for breakfast to trying the Dalgona coffee trend to what book we’re reading.
Unlike Instagram news feed posts, which include a caption, editing, hashtags, and geotags, Stories are breezy. It’s easy to reshare them, and you can even share posts from your favourite feeds to your own stories now.
Stories are a place to be your authentic, unfiltered self. Of course, there are trends like the playful Puppy or moody Zodiac filter, but they still offer a more intimate look into your life than static Instagram posts. Just like most video content, Instagram Stories are likely so popular because people animated content, and this is the perfect medium to showcase that.
It’s clear that we love videos, but what types of Instagram Stories should you post?
Types of Stories to post
Want to share your favorite travel destinations or whether you prefer hot cocoa over coffee? There’s a template for that! Let’s look at some of the most relevant Stories formats right now.
- GIFs – These are interactive Stories where you answer questions with GIFs, like “what I’m doing right now,” and “what I wish I was doing.”
- This Or That – With this format, you circle what you prefer, i.e. hot weather vs. cold weather.
- Bingo – A popular Stories template right now in which you circle all the things you’ve done in your life, for example, if you’ve traveled to Europe, gone skydiving, or gotten a tattoo.
- Filters – Stories filters are a fun way to personalize your content. Add puppy ears, a grainy effect, or even a sun-kissed glow. There are also gaming filters like couples quizzes and questionnaires.
We’ve all seen a trend go viral, and Instagram Stories illustrate that we enjoy sharing snippets of our personal lives. But it’s not just about us, it’s about connecting deeper with our community, whether you’re a blogger, musician, small business owner or even just a personal account.When you share an Instagram Story, tag three friends to encourage them to do the same. That way, you’re not only sharing your personal experience but learning about theirs as well!
How to find Stories templates
If you’re ready to start interacting on Instagram Stories, you have several content options. Say a friend posts a Story sharing their current mood in GIFs. Usually, your friend will follow up their Story with a blank template, which you can screenshot and add your own GIFs to.
If you’re feeling creative, PosterMyWall offers free interactive Instagram Stories templates for you to play around with. Simply choose some of your faves and start sharing in seconds. Alternatively, you can build a fully personalized Story template from scratch.
Templates are especially helpful for brands and businesses looking to advertise on Instagram Stories.
Marketing with Instagram Stories
Brands and small businesses can harness Instagram Stories to interact with their community. Use Stories to highlight the personality behind your business. Share behind the scenes footage, play along with challenges to stay current, and consider advertising on Instagram Stories.
There are 1.7 billion accounts using Stories every day, and one-third of the most-viewed are posted from business accounts. That’s because people find products and brands through sponsored content.
Your business can leverage Stories to reach new customers, especially right now with everyone spending so much time on social media. Sponsor your products in Stories and include a swipe up link to your shoppable page, or share your business story with a targeted audience.
Even bloggers and influencers can benefit from sponsored content. Have a new blog post to share? A new video up on YouTube? Choose your target audience, post engaging content, and encourage a swipe up to view the latest content.
Whether you go Live for a Q & A, or share the latest challenge, be sure to utilize all of Instagram’s interactive features. Why? Because polls, countdowns, questions, and hashtags encourage your community to join in the fun.
For example, share a Travel Bingo Story and follow it up with a poll asking your followers if they’d rather visit Bali or Tahiti post-COVID. The point is to get people chiming in with their opinions and thoughts, which increases your engagement and helps you get to know your audience better.
Remember not to take it too seriously, Stories are a place to flex your brand’s personality and have fun.
Going Live in five
I can’t write a post about Instagram Stories without mentioning the wonder that is IG Live. Up until now, Instagram Live has peeled the curtain back on the inner workings of brands and businesses. Yet for the first time in social media history, Live offers what even brick and mortars can’t: an open sign.
The event and performance industries have been hit hard by Coronavirus. Musicians with booked line-ups were out of work overnight. Artists hosting events no longer had an income. Even brands dependent on foot traffic to garner sales have taken to Live as a new business stream.
Only weeks after the Coronavirus hit globally, brands, influencers, bloggers, creatives, and musicians flocked to IG Live to share performances and Q&A sessions.
You can also go Live with a friend or colleague. Instagram influencers do this all the time to get to know one another better. There’s the added benefit of cross promotion to one another’s collective audience, as seen in this IG Live collaboration featuring influencers, @iamshannonmack and @sheleamusic.
Going live is a great way to speak one on one with your audience, share an intimate performance, or create a weekly series about brand updates.
If you’re a musician, generate hype by announcing your upcoming Live performances like English artist Freya Ridings’s Lockdown Livestream.
Don’t be surprised if you notice more people tuning into your Live streams than usual. With everyone locked inside and hungry for entertainment, viewership is increasing.
The latest news to break is that Facebook is rolling out paid live streams for artists and musicians. Being that Facebook owns Instagram, it’s safe to assume IG will follow suit. This new update will offer much-needed support to musicians and artists to charge for everything from performances to courses and conferences.
Start interacting on Stories
It’s easy to see why everyone loves Stories: they are a candid window into one another’s world. Also, Stories are universally accessible to everyone — from brands to influencers to personal accounts.
In a world that doesn’t make much sense right now, people crave authenticity above all else. We are inundated with sobering news on the daily. Instagram Stories are light-hearted, fun, interactive, creative, and offer an immersive entertainment experience.
Start interacting on Stories to share a side of yourself that doesn’t show up in your news feed. If you’re nervous to get in front of the camera, remember you’re not alone, as 500 million people are posting alongside you. Time to join in on the fun!