I have been living on Instagram lately. If you could build a stylized Teepee, as you see in every cute Instagram children's room, and set up shop on Instagram I would be there; sipping my tea and inserting a few ungraceful yoga poses here and there. I digress. While I've been roaming the worlds of Instagram I've been picking up on a few things. This mostly comes in how people are using Instagram Stories to highlight their brands but more importantly to connect with their audience further.
As is true for everything you do, it all comes down to who your audience is and what they want to see. Knowing your ideal customer through and through will make all difference in building your presence on Instagram and helping to answer the constant questions "Is this relevant?" Don't worry dear friend, If you don't 100% know who your client is, you can download my free marketing workbook that includes a section on identifying your ideal clients. Just know that building a strong and true following is a lot harder when you are switching your content around every couple months because you don't know who you are creating it for. As someone who as recently decided to stick it out with my content strategy, I'm finally seeing the rewards.
Okay, okay, let's get on to the good stuff.
Instagram is the perfect place to tell stories (my favorite!) You start with an image that's worth a thousand words, and then you move to a well-written caption that connects with your audience a little bit deeper. But with Instagram Stories, things just got a whole lot deeper.
Stories are meant to be a fun and easy way to highlight the behind the scenes of your business, to share inside tips and tricks to the things you know the most about, and to get a little more personal and share who you are. It's also perfect to give your followers more deals and resources since only your followers (and hashtags) can see them. They have to be a committed follower to get the extra good stuff!
In creating content for my audience, I try to make at least 3 Instagram stories a day. It's a small goal but keeps things fresh and provides something new for my audience to see every day, without adding the pressure of one more thing to do. However, the days that I can create even more content that they'll want to see, is even better!
In identifying what I wanted to post, it helped to start paying attention to what I liked seeing in stories and where I found value. From there I could use other user's methods to help me curate the content my audience would like to see. I, for one, love seeing people being their true selves. Dax Shepard and Kristin Bell are two of my favorite people to watch because they are real, they show behind the scenes of their lives and families and they keep me laughing. When it comes to other business' Instagram I like to see how they style things, what a day in the life looks like, learning about deals, and most importantly getting tips - style tips, cooking tips or business tips.
In terms of execution, there were a lot of ways to go about telling stories and I'm sure there are hundreds of more ideas out there. Of course, you can just take a photo and post it, but there is so much more you can create and in that you can add more value and keep people's attention. Here are just 4 examples of how to use Instagram stories:
- Use images and videos as a background for text that inspires or educates. Save that story you're about to post and re-upload it to add more text to make your story last longer and make more of an impact. Be sure to use the different fonts and colors that Instagram offers to make it more fun. You can use their stickers, GIFs, and filters too, just make sure everything is easy to see. Less is more.
- Show off your product shots with well-designed layouts from Canva. It's free and easy to drag and drop to create your designs. I do this for all my archived Stories, and Sseko Designs is a great example of this too!
- Remeber that stories don't have to be perfect, they only last 24 hours. So don't think you're pictures have to be the best in the world or that you don't look good enough today to film yourself. Embrace using video and telling your story. Show off your face and your personality so that you're audience see's you as part of the brand. You can re-record videos as often as you like but keep in mind that nothing is every perfect. Sometimes you just need to ship it.
- Use your Instagram stories to go deeper into an issue or story you talked about earlier - in a post, a podcast, another story etc. Dax Shepard's Armchair Expert is fantastic with this, and I eat up every story that Kristin Bell posts to their stories. In Dax's first podcast he made some jokes about Michaels being a yarn store. A few weeks later Michaels mailed them a box filled with yarn as a great joke! Kristin filmed them opening the box, reading the letter and laughing along to this great gift. Having listened to the first podcast, I loved seeing this update on stories and I sent it to all my friends I knew who had listened to that episode.
All of these methods are great ways to get off the ground with creating content for your stories. Keep watching how others are doing it to get more ideas and expand your storytelling. You can also plan ahead for Instagram lives and let people know when they will happen so they can tune in. If you're just starting out, you might not get a ton of people there, but you have to start somewhere. Show up, provide great content that people can't help but fall in love with and let the masses come to you, slowly but surely.
Tell me how you're using your Instagram Stories to connect with your audience by leaving a comment below and feel free to leave your Instagram handle too so we can get some new ideas for ourselves!!!
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