Social media experts recommend that brands post to their main feed just 2 to 3 times per week in order to maximize their reach. Posting too frequently on the grid comes with the downside that your followers will get sick of seeing your posts clog up their feeds, and Instagram’s algorithm also seems to punish accounts that overdo it.
That’s why all brands should be active on Instagram Stories, the lower-key, ephemeral counterpart to a grid post, where people tend to publish updates from events, tossed-off musings, and more. The ideal is posting to your Stories twice a day and if that sounds like a lot, aim for at least once.
For brands, however, mastering the Instagram Story can be a challenge. You want your stories to capture the sense of spontaneity that a typical user might expect, but you also need a pre-planned strategy for how you’re going to approach your Stories.
Some of the best Instagram stories offer your followers a window into spaces that they can’t be a part of. That’s why Stories are such a great place for posting clips from concerts, for instance. For brands, the closest equivalent might be to create content centered around launch events, trade shows, and other talks or panels in which employees from your brand might be participating. Many brands will post Instagram Stories from a new store opening, for example, or they might highlight clips of their CEO talking on a panel about the brand’s larger mission. Even seemingly mundane events, if captured well, can be intriguing to your average viewer: say you’re a chocolate brand attending the trade show for the candy industry. You might consider posting a series of whimsical Stories that offer a window into what a candy industry trade event looks like—who shows up, what products they are featuring, what the set design looks like, and more.
Your followers are always eager for a window into how your business—or product—works, and behind-the-scenes videos that reveal how your product is brought to life and shipped to people’s homes are always popular on Instagram and TikTok. One easy way to do this is to post Stories from within your manufacturing facility. The recycled fabrics brand Aday has a pinned Instagram story that takes viewers through its various manufacturing headquarters, including its facility in Portugal. On TikTok, Dr. Squatch has posted a number of videos walking customers through the various steps in its manufacturing process, showing in real time how its soaps go from liquid to solid. All of that would also make for excellent Instagram Story content.
If something in your story catches the eye of a potential customer, they will often take to the DMs or the comments to ask more about your product or policies. That’s why it’s essential to have a customer support team that is ready to answer customers quickly on social media. Chatdesk hires your brand’s Superfans, who are authentic lovers of your products, to answer customer questions by email, live chat, and in the comments and DMs on Instagram or TikTok.
Instagram has an entire suite of stickers that it lets you add to your stories. Stickers can be a great way to increase the exposure of your Story. The hashtag- and location-based stickers each help people in your region or people who are searching that hashtag discover your story. Other stickers promote direct interaction with an Instagram Story: a Poll Sticker lets you pose a question directly to your audience, while the Add Yours sticker helps you create a meme challenge that your followers can participate in. A bit like TikTok’s Duet feature, the Add Yours sticker brings all of the responses to one of your posts into a single location on your Story. That way, audiences who click the sticker can see how other people reacted to your Story. That allows for your Instagram Stories to build a greater sense of community.
On Instagram’s backend, there are a few tweaks you can make in order to ensure that your Story reaches more than just your immediate followers. Whenever you post a Story, you should make sure to turn on the “Allow Sharing as Message” feature in your Privacy settings (it appears under Privacy -> Story). That way, when you do make compelling content, your followers can easily DM it to their friends.
Instagram lets you pin a select few Stories to the top of your profile as part of a tool called Stories Highlights. It’s essentially a way to showcase content that you want all of your followers to see. For brands, it presents a great opportunity to create informative content that can double as a FAQs page, an About Us page, or more. The modern furniture brand, Article, for instance, uses Stories Highlights as a type of FAQs page. Visitors can click through dozens of frequently asked questions, set against the backdrop of Article furniture. The brand answers questions like “On the dining table, can you use a runner and place mats?” or “Are your tables 100% wood? Is there a warranty?” Article also has a Story Highlight called “Our Delivery,” which explains the company’s contactless delivery process.