Never mind a royal engagement (or the increasingly erratic antics of certain world leaders) the real big news from 2017 is that Instagram Stories is everyone’s new favourite thing.
And by everyone, we very much include the brands and content creators looking to wield influence over a huge audience (over 300 million daily users of Stories so far, to be precise).
And, with 80% of all Instagram users following at least one brand – and video increasingly becoming a part of most brands campaign strategy (87% of marketers plan to use video in a campaign in 2018) – you’re probably wondering how to do better things with this brilliant little feature.
Luckily, we’ll use this blog to introduce you to some of our favourite Instagram Stories hacks and, to show these ideas in action, you can visit out Instagram page over the next few days to see each hack brought to life.
Our favourite hacks are those that use the basic functionality of Stories in imaginative ways. And there are some exciting possibilities for that pause functionality you’ve probably been overlooking.
In our own example of this we’ve used several images to create a gif (there are loads of sites, like Giphy where it’s easy to do this). Then we add text to invite users to pause the rapidly rotating images to answer a particular question – in our case, getting them to tap pause to discover who their favourite content creator is.
Getting viewers to stay tuned for the entire length of even a short video has long been a digital marketer’s headache. But we’re seeing some brands find creative ways to hook their viewers all the way to that all-important 15th second – a particular favourite being this Story from mindfulness blog Calm, that simply asked viewers to slowly breathe in and out over the course of the video.
One of the possible drawbacks of Instagram Stories was that it offered little room for genuine interaction. Well now, thanks to the new ‘polls’ sticker you can use Instagram Stories to canvas your followers’ opinions on everything from their most deeply held social views to whether they prefer dolphins or unicorns. (Oh, just remember to view the results before it vanishes in 24 hours, people can get pretty furious about stuff like ignoring a vote.)
If you have a business profile (and more than 10,000 followers) Instagram will allow you to link to another site through Stories. This is very exciting news if you want your fabulous social content to be a gateway to the content on your website. All you need to do is click on the chain-link icon in Stories and add your URL – then your followers will see a ‘find out more’ button when they view that Story (although, adding a little text to give them a nudge to swipe up is probably a good idea too).
Again, using some of the basic functionality most users take for granted, brands are creating amazing interactive content. And no example explains this hack better than this wonderful idea from Bacardi, where they used the back and forward buttons on Instagram Stories to allow viewers to play with a DJ simulator and mix their own tunes. (It also helped that it was ridiculously addictive.)
We couldn’t talk about getting the most out of Instagram Stories without mentioning some of the amazing apps that can take your Story skills to the next level.
Canva is a clever (and free) little app that gives you some powerful template, picture editing, text and filter tools that make it easier to do very exciting things with your Stories. Storeo meanwhile is essential to make matching your video clips and hitting that 15-second mark super easy.