Over 500 million people are using Instagram Stories every day – this is a feature of Instagram you most definitely don’t want to slack on. There is no doubt your potential customer is on Stories, but it can be hard to stand out among all the other businesses leveraging ephemeral content to tell their brand story.
So how do you stand out from the rest? Today we’re breaking down 5 Instagram Stories features and how your business can use them to add personality to your content, step up the creativity, and most importantly, increase your Instagram follower engagement.
Prefer video? Watch our video wrap-up below.
For this piece, we’ll be focusing on Instagram Stories stickers – those fun little options that really let you take your Stories game to the next level. To find the stickers, open Stories, take or upload an image and hit the square with the smiley face up top, third from the right. That’ll open up a menu with a bunch of options – although there’s around a dozen features, right now we’re going to run through Polls, Questions, Countdown, Quiz and Sliding Scale. Aside from the fact that they’re fun and bring a whole new element to your Stories, using them regularly will also increase your engagement, which is always the goal. Let’s go.
One of the original stickers that Instagram produced is the Poll option, something that we’ve seen for some time on Facebook and Twitter. It’s a simple A/B closed question and answer feature that allows brands to quickly gather follower feedback for crowd-sourced answers on things like new releases in real time. You could ask questions about colour preferences for new products, which item to release next or whether people even would purchase something you’re considering producing. It’s a super handy tool that we don’t see used enough.
In contrast to Polls, Questions let things go a little further by flexing open-ended questions on both sides. Brands can ask a more in-depth question like “What new food item would you like us to add to our menu?” and get a vast array of answers as followers aren’t restricted to just two options. This works really well for things like an AMA (Ask Me Anything), as it allows you to produce custom responses to each question. You could shoot a 15 second video in response to a follower, or post an image alongside the question and some text. Get creative with it!
The Countdown is a relatively new feature, and it’s one of the most versatile. There’s often something you need to drive traffic and attention toward, and prior to the sticker option the only way to remind folks was to bombard them with Stories updates. When you select it, you’re able to choose the date to when you’re counting down, slap it on an image or video and then you’re good to go. Your followers are able to share your countdown as well, so whether you’re counting down to going live, a product launch or even using it as a timer to promote when a sale ends, this is a great way to build excitement and a sense of urgency among your followers.
The newest sticker in the bunch, Quiz dropped a week or so before we shot the video and wrote this post, and so far, it’s been a relatively slow uptake from what we’ve seen. Essentially, it differs from Polls and Questions but allowing you to create a question with multiple choice answers, designed to test the knowledge of your followers. Why would you want to do that? Well, you might want to use it as an educational opportunity to let followers know about your products, services or even the core mission of your business; you could even use it to run a contest, with those who get all questions correct going into a draw to win a prize. It’s still early days so we’re curious to see what kinds of uses brands come up with.
Finally, we come to the Sliding Scale, one of the least useful stickers in our humble opinion. The idea is that users can slap this sticker on a Story and ask a question like “How stunning is this kitchen?”, to which users will respond via sliding an emoji up a scale to their desired level. The vast majority of people slide it all the way so it typically won’t tell you anything much about what people think of what you’re posting about, however it is a handy engagement generation tool as far as encouraging followers to get involved with your Stories.
Don’t have time to handle all of this while also running your business? Get in touch with one of our Social Media Managers so that we can help put together an Instagram strategy that’s right for you.