When instagram stories first started, the main consensus was confusion. 

What could it be used for, what was the reason for it and why bother posting to it? 

But as the years have gone on, instagram stories have become most people’s favourite element of Instagram.

With it’s quick and fast paced feel, the fact that the stories expire after 24 hours and the ability to link websites and products, instagram stories is a great new way to use social media marketing to boost your brand.

In this blog post we will cover:

  • – What’s the difference between stories and posts?
  • – What are the features of instagram stories?
  • – How can a brand use instagram stories to its full potential?

What’s the difference between stories and posts?

Instagram Posts

Posts are photos posted to your instagram feed and stay on there unless removed. Over time they add up to form a filled out grid on your profile. 

They are a great way to create almost a portfolio for your brand or business. People can visit it easily and get a feel for your brand. 

This is the number one way people search for brands and business nowadays, so getting your grid looking good is very important. 

Instagram Stories

Stories are posted to the story section of your feed and are photos or videos that last for 24hrs. You can post as many of these as you want per day.

They are great for sharing items that don’t need to permanently be on your feed. 

Both features can be used in varying ways, which we will go over throughout this blog post.

What are the features of instagram stories?

24 hour timescale 

The best part about instagram stories is the fact they expire 24 hours after being posted. This means you can post items on there that you don’t want permanently shown on your instagram feed.

This makes the element great for sharing other brand’s work, sharing competition promotions or sharing stories your brand has been tagged in by other people. It showcases items you want to be seen but not to have permanently on your feed. 

Reach and interaction rates

Another difference between stories and a post on instagram is the reach they get. Although posts tend to get a bigger reach due to the use of more hashtags, easier promotion and the fact they are constantly on the feed there to be liked, stories can be interactive with the use of stickers, polls and quizzes. 

Interactive features

These features on stories increase engagement over posts because your followers can interact with the story. This makes them feel that they have a say or are involved in the polls and question stickers. 

This can be a great way to also get data about your followers and their interests. You can use the stickers to get answers about future launches, competition options and the likes/dislikes of your followers to gain better insight. 

Initially you needed to reach 10,000 followers in order to add links to websites on your stories by using the swipe up feature, but now anyone can add link stickers to their Instagram stories!

This allows you to link any products you sell or websites to the stories themselves. This enables your followers to instantly purchase what you link. 

How can a brand use instagram stories to its full potential?

Firstly, it’s best to have a style ready planned for the stories that you post. The style must match your brand and be obvious that it’s your stories someone is viewing. 

The way you tap through stories means they seamlessly go through many different accounts, so you need to stand out. 

There are some brands that have specific styles for their stories so viewers know they are watching that brand’s stories without having to check the name at the top.

This can be done by using the same fonts, colours and style of imagery in your stories, of course while keeping things new and exciting. 

We’ve spoken before about brand bibles and having a consistent aesthetic, you can read more about this here. This should be a key part of your social media strategy

Popularity of Instagram stories

Since stories started, there has been a big rise in users preferring stories to scrolling through their feed. Knowing this information is a great tool. 

When it comes to things like promoting a competition that you’ve placed on your feed, it’s a good idea to also promote it on your stories. That way it gets extra coverage.

Your followers can tap through to the main feed post to enter the competition. They may not have seen it on their feed due to the algorithm or simply because they didn’t scroll far enough. This will really boost your entries to any competitions you run. 

Increasing your Instagram accounts reach

Another way to use stories while running a competition is to make sharing the competition post on stories one of the criterias for entering the comp. 

By doing this, followers have to share the main post on their stories, sending the competition out to all their followers. This means the competition will get a huge reach from being shared by all your followers and even more entries. 

For more information head to our social media marketing page and take a look at our services