Amp Up Your Instagram Marketing With Stories

The Data-Driven Marketer

Check out the latest in our Data-Driven Marketer Webinar Series with Convince & Convert’s Lauren Teague. We talked about all things marketing with Stories, plus took Q&A from our live listeners.

You’ll walk away with a better understanding of how you can utilize Stories in your social media marketing, plus take away the biggest wins and losses from our experience with Stories from clients and case studies.

See all our insights on: 

We also talked about the Instagram Stories stats every marketer needs for 2019 from our Instagram Stories Benchmark Report, best practices for Stories Highlights, and tons more.

 

The Data-Driven Marketers Webinar Series is an ongoing program at Rival IQ. You can check out past and upcoming interviews and discussions in the DDM Webinar page.

If you have more questions, reach out to us on Twitter or via email!

 

In the meantime, here’s a synopsis of the interview with social media expert Lauren Teague, including all her insights into marketing with Instagram Stories.

 

“She is someone who describes herself as a digital native.  She’s a social media expert. She’s a digital marketer. She consults with a variety of brands all based on her expertise of working directly in social media.” – Seth Bridges, introducing Lauren

 

Key takeaways from our interview about Instagram Stories

 

Instagram Stories are a great way to connect with your audience on a more personal and immediate level than static posts on your social feeds. From our 2018 Instagram Stories Benchmark Report, it’s clear that Stories also take a large time investment to be successful (see: retention is the single largest measure of Instagram Story success. Make sure your first frame hooks your viewers, and then from there, the sky’s the limit: don’t be afraid to post as many frames of quality content as you have on hand).

 

With this in mind, and the average engagement rate on Instagram as a whole is 1.60%, the highest average of the “Big 3” social platforms. There’s definitely opportunity with Stories, but it’s important that you consider your audience before investing the time, resources, and energy into cultivating a successful Instagram Stories strategy.

 

Lauren wighs in: For anybody who is in charge of social media, whether they are just in charge of publishing, monitoring, or really at the top level thinking about strategy and how to communicate to your audience it’s really about first who you are trying to reach and how they consume content.

 

As is typical with any new marketing platform or campaign, it’s vital to know your demographic before you dive headfirst into a new channel. However, where a two or three-week test can usually point you in the right direction on other social platforms, Instagram Stories requires an important piece of “audience participation” which requires both expectation from your audience and engaging content over time. In this sense, it’s better to get an idea of what your competition is doing before you jump into the strategy since you won’t want to pull the rug out from under your demographic expecting Stories later on.

 

On Instagram, unique content is vital to set yourself apart

 

In the interview, Lauren brings up a unique perspective on her own Instagram usage. Stating that brands who do it right are the ones whose Stories you go and look for rather than stumble upon. In the future, once this platform is more saturated,

It’s going to be important to have a strong username and a strong presence branding-wise because people are going to have to find you. Actually, purposely look for you in social media rather than rely on the algorithms.  So we’re only going to know 10 account names that we’re going to go look for their content.

 

Don’t forget, Facebook is looming over the Instagram Stories playbook

 

Speaking of algorithms, it’s important to remember that Facebook owns the Instagram platform. It’s no question that the recent Facebook UI changes that tend toward their own version of Stories, which have been slowly rolling out since 2017, are a play to capitalize on the success of Instagram and Snapchat’s story features. Given the popularity of these story features, Lauren surmises that,

 

I would not be surprised to see a complete redesign of both the Instagram layout and the Facebook layout once they decide to make Stories the main focus.

 

Along the same vein, authenticity in your Stories content has never been more crucial. With so many accounts to choose from and only so many free hours in the day, unique and compelling content that’s individualized to a platform is one of the keys to finding story success,

 

I don’t really love that Instagram Stories can immediately go to Facebook Stories for the same reason.  I understand it’s an easy way to get your content in there but I don’t think it’s the right play for audiences.

 

When you should be posting your Instagram Stories

 

In the latter half of our interview, Lauren makes excellent points about the opportunities for heavier engagement and retention provided with Instagram Stories. There’s a reason the “instant” is still present in this brand name, and our gut reaction as consumers is to post things in our Stories as they happen. Lauren, however, has a different tactic:

 

Time of day content is like the newsroom

 

You have 3 chances every day, morning, noon, and night, to make an impression with your Instagram story. Lauren suggests a foolproof strategy is to download your Stories to your camera roll (with locations, timestamps, weather, etc.) and upload multiple frames all at once. This way, your full Instagram story can get its fair shake in one of the 3 best times to post.

 

Why Instagram Stories matter at all (don’t we have enough to do already?)

 

For brands, whether it’s your brand or a client, the biggest question is, is this worth my time? Just like any social media activity tracking and attribution is key to measuring your time and money investment into Instagram as a marketing strategy. Measuring the reach, interaction, and retention of your Instagram Stories means you can shift your strategy as needed. For Lauren, the key is to advance her audience to the next stage of the funnel, not necessarily click away from the platform (not a likely occurrence in Instagram Stories).

 

If I’m thinking about whose in my audience, if you get that scale from audience to customer to advocate to fan, I’m using Instagram Stories to cultivate advocates into fans or customers into advocates… I’m not really using it to sell a product or get them to a specific landing page.

 

As far as tools go, the nod toward authenticity isn’t going anywhere. Given the ad hoc nature of Instagram Stories, even if you are bulk-uploading the day of, schedulers aren’t likely to be successful. This authenticity is a huge part of what makes Stories resonate, especially with a younger audience.

 

I don’t think there is a Stories scheduler probably on the horizon even, although people would like to see it.  I think that goes back to it’s still organic and we‘re still figuring it out. It’s still more of an organic than a produced channel. If you really want to be scheduling, run an ads campaign.
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That’s the beauty of Instagram Stories, really. If you’re not seeing a point in time of your funnel that a story would advance your lead (from advocates, to fans, to customers) you can always test out Stories as a top-of-funnel ad platform. This can take away the time investment of building up your organic reach and give you the eyes on your Story.

 

Of course, attribution is still possible after the fact, especially with advanced social analytics tools like Rival IQ’s Instagram Insights which track the success of your Stories and help you to get the full picture.

 

There are tons more insights into Instagram Stories in the video above, but this synopsis gives a high-level overview of excellent advice coming from social media industry expert, Lauren Teauge. The bottom line is, there’s a right way, time, and point to investing your team’s resources into Instagram Stories. The bright side is that the creative options and opportunity for a fully engaged audience are there and ready for the taking.

Want more insights into Instagram Stories? Check out our full rundown of data in the Instagram Stories Benchmark Report.

Seth Bridges

Hey there, I'm Seth, one of the co-founders of Rival IQ, where I stay busy working on product design and marketing! When I'm not working, I'm probably playing with my sons. Follow me on Twitter for rantings and opinions on all the things.

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