How to Use Facebook and Instagram Stories to Connect With Your Audience

More people than ever before (>300 million, approximately) are now using Instagram Stories Instagram’s resounding answer to Snapchat’s disappearing photo and video feature. In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg even says that Stories are set to overtake the News Feed as the primary form of social sharing. Instagram Stories can even be made to be shared in sync with Facebook Stories.

All of this is excellent news for the millions of businesses utilizing Instagram. 20% of all Stories will get a direct message – for businesses, that’s a lead.

So how can you strategize you stories so they better connect with your audience? Well, by doing what any content marketer will tell you to do – create content that is authentic and engaging, and that drives both attention and action.

Let’s see how you can go about doing that.

Use Stories to Tell a Story

Instagram Stories inherently allow users to create stories that are clear, simple and easy to understand and recall. The slideshow format of the feature lets you piece together a narrative with a clear beginning, middle and end. Businesses need to take advantage of this feature, because it will help people remember your message. A good, authentic narrative will be easy for people to connect to and remember.

Be Authentic

You don’t have to be perfectly polished and put together on Instagram Stories. In fact, it’s more important to be real and genuine – you can even let your audience catch a glimpse of the mistakes you make in order to connect with them. Your audience will appreciate your willingness to be honest with them in both message and execution.

That’s why Behind the Scenes content works so well on Instagram Stories. It allows the brand to get in touch with the audience on a deeper and more intimate level thanks to the authenticity. This intimacy and rawness is what makes content like this so compelling, rich and satisfying – it relates to the audience and makes them feel as if they’re part of the brand.

Be Creative and Provide Value

Stop a minute and think – why should an audience want to follow you? What are you giving them in return for their patronage on social media?

Audiences on social media want what audiences on any medium want – engaging information and entertainment from the brands they follow.

This means that it is your job to provide content that makes the lives of your followers easier through information, or more fun through entertainment. Your content should also be unique and creative; if your audience can get content that’s similar to yours elsewhere, they’re less likely to come to your doorstep.

Through creative content, you help your audience see things in a different way. Fortunately, Instagram Stories is absolutely packed with features that help you create creative, fun and quirky stories to share with your audience. Don’t be hesitant for fear of making mistakes – like we said, Instagram is all about realness. The more creative you are, the more value you provide for your audience, and the likelier they will be to pay attention to you.

Plan Ahead of Time

Instagram Stories is full of some great features that help businesses connect with their audiences more effectively. One of these is the feature that allows users to post existing videos and photos from the camera roll, provided that the content was created 24 hours ago. This allows you to plan your Stories instead of having to create them as you go, helping you create meaningful content more easily.

Use CTAs

instagram-stories-call-to-action social media marketing
A call to action is what lets your audience know what to do next, making it one of the most important elements of your Story. It is also, unfortunately, one of the least employed strategies on Instagram Stories.

Here’s the thing: after your viewers have seen your Story, what is it that you want them to do? Not sit around, surely. You want them to engage with your content, to share it and send you direct messages. Or you want them to make a purchase.

That’s not going to happen unless you take the step of asking for it. Either do so in the Story itself, or have the Story link to your official page where the CTA is.

BONUS: Instagram Image Guide

So how are you going to be using Instagram Stories to connect with your audience? View some of our Instagram stories >

Posted in Social Media Marketing