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Entertaining, engaging, and informative Stories will produce real results.
Entertaining, engaging, and informative Stories will produce real results.

Make the most of Instagram Stories by creating a structured content plan

One of the most versatile and dynamic ways to engage with potential customers is through Instagram Stories – but it requires proper planning, writes SIMON DELL.

Instagram stories may have only been around since 2016, but in a short time they’ve gone from a fun gimmick to a powerful digital marketing tool. They can help engage with your audience and boost sales.

However, like everything, it all works better with a plan. Here’s how to create a content plan for your Instagram Stories.

Keep it on-brand

Instagram Stories give you a lot of freedom in terms of what you’re posting, and whether it be video, text or photos, you want to make sure your posts align to your brand’s unique style. If you are consistent with your themes and aesthetics, you can help build more brand awareness – that is, customers are more likely to remember you and perceive you in a positive light.

One simple first step is to think about the colours associated with your brand and incorporate this into your Instagram Stories. For example, if in-store signage is red, use that same shade of red in your Stories.

There are plenty of features you can add to Instagram Stories that invite your audience to engage with your posts, such as polls, question-and- answer boxes, emoji sliders, quizzes, and countdowns.

Consider the font style and colour, filters – stick to one or two – background colours, text blocks, and stickers. Obviously, all photos and videos will look different, but matching these other elements ensures your content looks cohesive.

Understand your goals

Before you start planning your content, think about what you are trying to achieve. Is it all about generating sales? Maybe you simply want to build brand awareness or increase your follower count – and therefore your pool of potential customers.

Once you determine what your goals are, you can start planning content. Ideally, each Story should have a single goal to avoid confusion. Bear in mind that you can work towards different goals with separate Stories, which appear at the top of your business’ Instagram profile.

Selecting a content type

There are three types of posts that can make up an Instagram Story – photo, video, or text.

Photos and text slides run for six seconds, and videos can be up to 15 seconds.

When using photos, you can add features like stickers, text, or emojis to make the post look more dynamic. You can also add videos to a photo post with certain editing apps, such as Canva and Wave.video.

Again, there’s no perfect method – just keep the content consistent, entertaining, and useful for your audience. You may prefer a four-post Story with just photos, or a six-post Story with a mix of photos, video, and text.

The only must is to ensure the call to action – that is, any invitation to interact, such as “Shop”, “Discover”, “Try”, or “Watch” – isn’t always on the last post in the Story. People’s attention will wane, and you want your key message to reach as many as possible.

Mix it up

The beauty of Instagram Stories is that you can use multiple posts and slides to tell a story.

For example, on different days of the week you could:

  • Advertise a product and direct people to visit your website
  • Share images and videos of your business’ everyday routine to show your human side
  • Provide your followers with some light-hearted entertainment
  • Share useful tips relating to your products or industry

One important point is to not focus on selling exclusively. If all your Stories advertise products and ask people to buy, they will fall flat. Remember that engaging with people is an integral step towards future sales.

There are plenty of features you can add to Instagram Stories that invite your audience to engage with your posts, such as polls, question-and-answer boxes, emoji sliders, quizzes, and countdowns.

Not only is this fun and interactive, but it also opens up a connection. Depending on your reach, you can even contact those who engage and start a conversation.

Frequency and scheduling

Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, so if you post a two-slide story in the morning, and add another two slides the next day, the first two will ‘drop off’ before the newer ones. For a full Story with an intended purpose, it’s best to post the whole thing at once.

Next, think about when your intended audience is most likely to see your Stories. After some time, you will get a feel for the time of day or night when you get the highest number of views and reactions.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to ‘schedule’ an Instagram Story through the app. However, there are separate digital tools, such as HootSuite or Later, which allow you to create and edit Instagram Stories and schedule them to be posted at a certain time.

Your content should be easy to read, enjoyable and informative. If you target each of your Stories towards a specific goal, you can quickly build your audience and turn Instagram into an easy, and very valuable, marketing tool.

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Simon Dell

Contributor •

Simon Dell is co-founder and CEO of Cemoh, a Brisbane-based firm that provides marketing staff on demand. He specialises in digital marketing and brand management. Visit: cemoh.com

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