Disclaimer: This is not a tutorial on how to angle one’s phone for the perfect picture or how to up one’s Instagram game.

Introduced in 2016, Instagram Stories was seen by some as Facebook’s way of poaching users from Snapchat. This speculation was not at all surprising especially after offers to acquire the latter were turned down. This additional feature to Instagram has since become a staple feature on the application. It has face-tracking filters and a 24-hour ‘shelf-life’. Last year alone, Instagram Stories were seen more than 300 million daily active users.

With one in three Instagram users on Instagram Stories every day, brands and businesses should consider how best to connect with their audiences through and beyond these valuable yet “perishable” content. To begin with, here are some general pointers:

#1 Tell your Stories from different angles

While this feature provides opportunities for brands to connect with their target audiences, replicating content is rarely advised. A good storyteller plans the narratives and uses varied ways to communicate different messages. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to these ‘angles’. Brands and influencers commonly share behind-the-scene footages, latest campaigns, sales announcements or occasional rants. The key is to ensure your content resonates with your audience, is exciting and entertaining.

 

#2 Know your tools

Knowing what to tell is just the first step but the art of telling or the ‘How’ is equally important. When it comes to churning out content that arrests attention, one should ideally be quick but never limit oneself to the tools within the application. Fun as GIF, stickers, rewind, zoom and Boomerang may be, they may not necessarily help your content stand out. This is especially important if one is planning to advertise one’s stories. Our advice is to experiment with different third-party apps to take your Stories to the next level.

 

#3 Continuation in Instagram Stories

What happens after the 15-second video? Frequent Instagram Stories user would have noticed that verified accounts have the “Swipe Up” option for including links in their Stories, a luxury that many SMEs, micro-influencers and the masses have no access to for the time being. While this does present some added challenges to the smaller players, there are always ways to work around this problem.

Firstly, while Instagram is notorious for not allowing clickable links in post captions, every account gets to insert one clickable URL in the profile bio. In addition, if you’re a business or thinking of one day monetising your account, consider switching to a business profile to make it easier for your audience to reach you.

Nonetheless, forging meaningful and sustainable relationships with the audience is more than making it convenient but taking the initiative to engage in dialogues. This involves answering queries and replying to messages from individual users. On top of managing relationships, frequent interactions also help with pushing one’s Stories to the firsts in the fan’s Storyfeed.

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