Social media constantly undergoes change, updates, and transformation, and Instagram is no exception. What’s useful and in trend today may become a thing of the past tomorrow since new features and tools keep getting introduced. Instagram Stories is such feature that got implemented in August 2016.
The vanishing photos and videos were first introduced by Snapchat in 2013 and have now become the newest popular tool Instagram has to offer. You might think that the disappearing nature of this feature is not useful when it comes to your online marketing strategy, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Instagram Stories are proven to drive more traffic and get businesses more followers if used in the right way, and that’s exactly why we’re here – to show you how.
Add Clickable Links
At the moment, only those accounts which are verified or have over 10.000 followers can add clickable links to their Instagram stories. This is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website, so unless you have over 10.000 followers make sure that your account is verified before proceeding.
You can do this by clicking on the chain icon in the upper right corner of your screen. Once you do that, you’ll see a new screen with an empty field where you can paste your link URL and the job is done, simple as that.
Now, in order to drive traffic, there are a few things you can do.
Firstly, you can remind your followers to swipe up in order to get to the content you’ve linked, like writing something along the lines of “Swipe up and see what you can gain by purchasing [your product]”. Feel free to be as creative as you can and make your story fun and attractive by inserting emojis, or drawing towards the icon for swiping up in order to show your followers where to actually swipe.
Secondly, you can remind your followers to tap on the “See more” text which can be found at the bottom of the screen by using the same tactics that we mentioned earlier. Lastly, the most effective way is to also include a call-to-action reminding your followers to click on “See more” or to swipe up. You can learn how to effectively do this in the next section below.
Every call-to-action’s purpose is to navigate followers into doing a specific action, whether that is going to your site, buying your product, or contacting you. It’s very important for the call-to-action to be short, direct, and simple, as well as attention-grabbing and actionable so that your followers are tempted to either click on it if you add a clickable link, or swipe up.
In order for your CTAs to be attention-grabbing, make sure to use big font that stands out. If your photo or background is comprised mostly of dark colors, make your text pop by coloring it in a lighter color, and vice versa. Another thing you can do is add shadow to your text and make it bold so that it’s more noticeable and eye-grabbing. The most striking thing to do, however, is to highlight your CTAs making them even more noticeable.
In order for your CTAs to be engaging and actionable, you need to use short and simple yet direct and persuasive language. The purpose is to peak your followers’ interest enough so that they click on the link or swipe up. For instance, you can do that by creating a sense of urgency to your CTAs. Phrases like “Only for a limited time”, “Click now”, “Only for the next 5 hours”, “Call now”, and so on, can make your followers feel as if they will miss out unless they do what your CTA directs them to do. Make your CTAs even more attractive by drawing on your photos or by adding emojis. This way they will be more personable and your followers are more likely to click and engage.
In order to drive traffic to your website and increase your sales if you’re selling a product or a service, redirect your followers directly to your website. We already explained how to add links to Instagram stories, so use this knowledge and link your CTAs directly to your website.
Tag Your Own Profile
Not every Instagram account is verified and/or has over 10.000 followers, but there’s another way for these accounts to lure followers into clicking on their website. We’re talking about tagging your own profile in your story so that instead of moving onto the next Instagram story, your followers can click on the tag and go straightaway to your profile.
Tagging is very easy, simply use the “@” sign, write the name of your account, and that’s it. This will turn your tag into a clickable link that’ll redirect users to your profile. How would this drive more traffic to your website you might wonder?
Well, one way is to use call-to-action when your latest post is about your product or service. When you publish a photo of your product or service on your Instagram account, create a story where you would write something along the lines of “New product, check it out here” and point them to your tag by drawing an arrow for example, or “Get your [name of product] today, offer ends on [date] so hurry up!”. This will encourage your followers to check out your latest post, and possibly click on the link in the description that will redirect them to your website where they can see the product or service in question. Another way is to, again, use call-to-action but only if you have the link from your website already in your bio. So, apart from inviting your followers to subscribe to your site, buy your product, or use your service, you can mention that they could do that by clicking on the link in your bio. You can say “Click on the link in bio” or “See the link in bio for more information” or something similar simply to remind your followers that the link is there.
Sign up to Amplifr and connect your Instagram profiles to see if their overall performance is meeting your expectations.
Add a Few Empty Seconds at the End
Adding a few empty seconds at the end of your Instagram stories, especially if you added clickable links or tagged your profile, will give your followers a bit of extra time if they are still in doubt whether or not to click on your CTA. If you don’t give them this extra time, they’ll simply move on to the next story and forget what they just saw. But by adding those extra seconds, they can click on the link before the ad is over and get to the content you’ve linked.
Use Instagram Stories Ads
Instagram stories ads are different from regular stories in the way that they appear between the Instagram stories and are same in the way that they look exactly like them. The beauty of these ads is that you can select the target audience you wish the ad in question to appear to and get it in front of the right people who are most likely to engage with it.
Since the ads act exactly like the other Instagram stories, disappearing after up to 15 seconds, it would be a good idea to make them as engaging as possible in order to get the best results. Let us first show you how to create them.
Instagram stories ads are as simple to create as any other Facebook or Instagram ads, simply by using the Facebook’s Ad Manager or Power Editor.
This example will be with Facebook’s Ad Manager, so open the app and click on “create ad”.
After that, you’ll be given a couple of objectives to choose from like: video views, traffic, reach, conversions, and app installs. You’ll need to define your objective, so if you want to drive more traffic you’ll naturally select “traffic” as your marketing objective.
Then, just like when creating a Facebook ad, you’ll need to select your target audience. Once you’ve selected your target audience you can customize it even further by choosing their location, age, gender, and so on.
Then you’ll need to choose the platform, which is of course Instagram, and choose stories instead of feed.
After setting up your budget and schedule, you’ll be given the option to choose either an image or a video for your story ad. If you go for a video, make sure that it’s at most 15 seconds long with a ratio of 9:16. Note that with a video you’ll only be able to create one ad, while if you choose an image you’ll be able to create up to 6 different ads.
Once you upload your image or video, you’ll be able to customize it by drawing, adding text, or inserting stickers.
After this, you’ll be given the option to add a URL from your website that will redirect your followers to that destination, so choose between your product or landing page, depending on the type of ad you’re creating. You’ll also be given the option to choose between different CTAs, like: apply now, book now, contact us, donate now, download, learn more, shop now, sign up, and a few others, so select the most relevant one.
The last step is to preview your ad and see if everything looks good and makes sense. Once you’re satisfied simply place the order and the ad will be sent for review.
You can always use the Instagram stories ads, especially when launching a new product, creating a sale or some other similar event, giving away discounts and special offers, or promoting a certain accomplishment.
More Instagram Stories As tips
- Firstly, make your ad as creative and quirky as possible. Address certain problem that your target audience has, and give them a solution by offering your product or service. Emphasise your CTA by highlighting it and making the font big and bold, add emojis, drawings, and insert any other visual add-on in order to make it more personable and relatable.
- Secondly, use video instead of an image. The reason is simple – videos are more interesting, more engaging, and will keep your followers’ interest for a longer time as opposed to an image.
- Lastly, end your ad with a solid screen. If your ad peaks your followers’ interest, they will be eager to see what comes next and will most likely not click on your CTA or swipe up since the ad will vanish once it’s done. In order to give your audience some time, simply end your ad with a solid screen so that they don’t miss the opportunity to click on your link.
Do Instagram Story Takeovers and Collaborate with Influencers
Before talking about Instagram story takeovers, let’s define what an Instagram takeover means. As the name suggests, it is taking over someone else’s account temporarily and regularly posting like it’s your own, and vice versa, someone taking over your account and regularly posting like it was theirs. This usually occurs during a short period of time, like a day or two, where you promote your account on an influencer’s profile, typically a well-known brand from your industry, and in turn grow the number of your followers while the brand or influencer promotes their content.
Now we come to Instagram stories takeovers. It’s a fairly similar concept as Instagram takeovers but much simpler. Instead of posting on another account’s profile, you appear in each other’s stories. Also, instead of logging in on their account, you simply send them the image or video you want to appear in their story, and they post it themselves and vice versa.
This collaboration is very similar to having a guest on your YouTube video or a guest singer on your album for example. Any person with a certain influence in your industry can effectively contribute in enlarging your audience by endorsing you and/or your company. In return, they expand their audience as well by acquiring new demographics, so it’s a win for both parties.
Instagram stories, as opposed to Instagram posts, are supposed to be more authentic and relatable to the audience in question. For example, a regular selfie would be better than a high-quality photoshopped image.
According to this, it would be a good idea for an employee of your company to expose some moment from his or hers day-to-day life. Or maybe a happy customer to showcase how they use your product or service. Another way to go about this is to promote your product or service in the stories of influencers from your industry.
Let’s say that you sell cosmetic products. By collaborating with beauty studios, you can promote your products in their stories. This way, you will not only drive traffic to your site by linking it in the story, but also acquire new followers and expand your audience while the collaborator in question will give their followers added value and can in turn promote their services in your stories as well. As we previously mentioned, this type of collaboration is successful for both parties and it’s a great way to not only drive traffic, but also raise awareness of your brand.
How to Get in Touch with Potential Collaborators
The following are the main types of collaborators you can do an Instagram story takeover with:
- Employees or colleagues from your company;
- Happy customers;
- Influencers or brands from your industry. So, how do you get in touch with potential collaborators? First of all, decide who you want your next collaborator to be.
If it’s your employees or colleagues, you can simply explain them the importance of Instagram stories takeovers for driving traffic, promoting your product (s) or service (s), and raising awareness of your brand. Tell them to have fun and show the behind-the-scenes of your company while connecting with your followers on a more personal level. By doing this your customers can see your company in a different light, since the content is from your employees or colleagues’ perspective, and connect with your brand even further.
If you decide to promote your product or service through the stories of your faithful customers, then simply contact and explain your purpose to those who you see as potential collaborators. In order to motivate them, you can offer some free stuff or suggest that you’d tag their profile in one of your stories. This way you can showcase your product or service in action and gain new followers and potential customers.
Lastly, going for influencers or brands is the most effective way in which you can expose your brand and acquire new audience. The reason is simple – already proven influencers and brands have devoted followers and can serve as a reliable endorsement of your brand. In turn, your followers will see that the brand or influencer trusts your product or service and are more likely to turn from followers to customers. Note that you may need a certain budget for this, especially if it’s a well-known brand or influencer with a large number of followers.
Once you’ve chosen your potential collaborator (s), you’ll need to think about a couple of things in order for everything to go smoothly and efficiently.
Firstly, think about how long you would want for the Instagram stories takeover to last. Whether you want to do only one story or do the takeover for a whole day with a couple of stories throughout, make sure that you are on the same page with your collaborator.
What about content? Would you want it to be a product review, a promotion of a special event, maybe some tips that the audience in question would find valuable, or give a total freedom to your collaborator? It’s best to state your requirements in advance so there’s no confusion later on.
Lastly, talk about what hashtags to use and what links to include. Obviously, you’d want to have your website linked, so think carefully about the hashtags since that’s another way in which your brand can be discovered.
Use Instagram Stories Highlights
Instagram Stories Highlights is the biggest update Instagram has made in 2017. Until the introduction of this update, your followers were only able to see your story by doing one of the following things: click on it at the top of their feed, or go to your profile and click on your profile photo. Also, the stories only lasted for 24 hours after which they were permanently gone.
Sign up to Amplifr and connect your Instagram profiles to compare your Stories performance with that of regular posts.
Well, since December 2017, not all stories must vanish forever without a trace thanks to the new Stories Archive Feature which automatically archives all of your Instagram stories into one place. In order for this to work though, it’s important that you have the auto-archiving feature on, so if you plan to highlight some of your stories this step is super-important.
Instagram Stories Highlights get plenty of exposure since their place is at the top of your profile, or to be more precise, in the space between your bio and your posts. Since these highlights take such a prominent place on your profile, it would be a great idea to utilize their power in order to drive more traffic to your site.
How Exactly do Instagram Stories Highlights Increase your Website Traffic?
First of all, it’s all about links. As an Instagram user, you probably know that you are only allowed to incorporate one link in your bio. This means that each visitor or follower has access to only one link when on your profile which most commonly is either a blog post or a product page.
However, since the highlights are easily accessible and placed just below your bio, it’s as if the bio itself contains more than one link. This way you no longer have to choose between a product page, a blog post, a sign-up to your newsletter page, your YouTube channel, your other social media profiles, and so on, since you can incorporate all these and more! This may be the most important benefit of the Stories Highlights because now you can direct your visitors or followers to as much external links as you want, therefore drive more traffic through a simple tap or swipe up.
Secondly, highlights are perfect for urgent and limited content. Do you have a sale which is about to expire, an event due in 2 days, or a free samples giveaway lasting only 24 hours? This type of content can be seen by a large number of people only if it’s pinned as a highlight, so use this feature to redirect your followers to these time-sensitive links.
Lastly, highlights give you the opportunity to present your brand in the best and most creative way possible so that your visitors and followers click on your link to find out more about you. Sometimes 150 characters cannot paint a well-enough picture about your brand and business, and this is when the fun and more creative side of the highlights comes into play. You can intrigue them by teasing your new product, show them the behind-the-scenes of your company, introduce yourself in a video, let them see what makes your brand unique, and more. Don’t forget to incorporate a call-to-action with a link in each one.
How to Make the Most Out of Your Instagram Stories Highlights
One of the main purposes of the highlights is to show your uniqueness and give your followers a reason not only to value your account and brand, but to become potential customers as well. Here are some tips that can help you to make the most out of your highlights.
Promote New Products
Due to the existence of this new feature, you can leave the link from your main website in your bio while using the highlights to promote new products alongside links from the corresponding product pages. You can tease your followers by saying something about your product, while using call-to-action so they remember to swipe up and check it out. Create informative and shoppable content by showing your followers how your product is used, or maybe collaborate with an influencer to make your highlight even more valuable.
You can also offer some tips about using the product, with the option for your followers to swipe up to see more of this content. Promoting new products with the highlights has never been easier, so be as creative and as informative as you can, and more importantly, have fun.
Promote Evergreen Content
Evergreen content does not stay forever “green” if you just forget about it and never re-post it again. The same goes for Instagram stories, only they last for mere 24 hours after which are long gone, never to be seen again. Well, not anymore.
Since you have the Stories Archive feature, you can see which stories gained the most success among your followers and pin them as your highlights, especially if they have a link which will direct your followers to your website or product page. Highlighting your stories will bring them even more exposure, so if you’re just starting to use highlights, what better story to choose than that which performed great even when public for only 24 hours.
Humanize Your Brand
Humanizing your brand will make you build more trust and a better connection between your followers and customers, so highlight at least one story in which you have this approach. Humor always works, so don’t be afraid to be funny by creating an amusing and comical photo or video of yourself and/or your employees, or write a funny joke that will make your followers laugh out loud. Using everyday language is also encouraged, since you’ll seem down to earth and your content will be relatable and personal. Simply don’t be afraid to be yourself and show your fans the real, unedited you.
Give Value to Your Followers
As you might already know, one highlight can be comprised of multiple photos or videos, and this option is perfect for giving some value to your followers. By giving value, we mean offering advice, sharing tips, and giving them more information about certain topics which they find important. However, before doing this it’s important that you know who your target audience is. By knowing your target audience you can better identify their problems and in turn offer meaningful solutions. Whether you create tutorials, DIY videos, tips about using your product, you can always provide half of the content in the story, while linking the rest to your website.
More Tips About Using Instagram Stories Highlights
- Add more than one photo or video to your highlight;
- Make your titles short and sweet, our recommendation being up to 10 characters;
- Use emojis in your titles to make them more personable and fun;
- Edit the position of your image in order to create the perfect highlight thumbnail or cover photo;
- Add as many highlights to your profile as you want, the more the better.
Instagram Stories Highlights are super-important if you want to turn visitors into followers, and turn followers into customers, so use our advice and make the most out of this relatively new feature.
Share Social Proof
After talking about giving value to your followers and customers, it’s time to talk about giving some value to yourself and your brand. You can promote your brand alongside your product/service even further by sharing social proof, or great reviews written or spoken by your customers. The highlights on your profile are all about ensuring your visitors and followers that your brand is unique and your Instagram page worth following while also showing that your product or service has helped someone, meaning it will help them as well. This is where testimonials and reviews come into play.
First of all, either contact some of your returning customers asking them to send you a short video in which they describe your product or service, or take screenshots of the reviews they left on your site or comments they left on your social media accounts. You can also post a story and say something like “Let us know how our [product/service]has changed your life”, or something along those lines. Then you can create a story which you will later highlight with multiple short videos or photos where these comments and testimonials will be displayed. Make sure that in the last slide you thank your customers for their support and include a link that will lead your followers straightaway to your website where they can check out what you offer.
The chance of them swiping up or tapping on the link will be much bigger after reading or hearing the positive reviews praising your product or service, so this is a great way to drive more traffic to your site or other social media accounts. Testimonials and reviews give your followers the confidence to become customers, and your customers the assurance to continue purchasing your product or service, so it’s a win for everyone involved.
Turn Your Blog Content into Mini-Articles
Turning your blog content into mini-articles in your stories is a great way to offer your followers value, teasing them enough so they swipe up and go directly to your website in order to see the whole thing. Instagram stories can be used both for providing your followers with content, as well as to tease them with part of the content only to redirect them to your website once their interest is peaked. You can incorporate the most interesting parts of your blog post in the story with multiple photos, using the last one to give them a clear direction of what to do next which, of course, would be to go to your website.
The mini-articles should provide useful, yet interesting information that will help your followers solve a certain problem or improve on something, like tips on how to do a certain task in an easier and a more efficient manner, DIY challenge, and so on.
For example, let’s say that your business is about beauty products and you have a blog post on your website titled “10 Tips for Younger Skin”. The best way to drive traffic to your site would be not to include all 10 tips in the story. Instead, you’d want to add 5 or 6 images in which you’ll incorporate the condensed version of the 5 or 6 tips, just enough so they are intrigued. Make these slides as interesting as possible by using the best material from your blog post as well as emojis and drawings to make them more fun. Then, use the last image to direct them to your site by writing something like “Swipe up to see the rest of this valuable advice that will make your skin look 10 years younger”, or something along those lines.
Make sure that you create a story that resonates and engages with your followers, and don’t forget to have fun while doing it!
Connect With Your Followers
Apart from providing useful information, another way in which you can give your followers value while driving traffic to your site is through contests, giveaways, and campaigns. Not only will these incentives drive traffic to your site, but they will also connect you more with your audience as well as make them talk about your brand. Posting incentives is a win both for your brand, since it will gain exposure, and your followers, since they might win something, so let’s get into it.
If you want to create a contest, you can drive more traffic to your site simply by incorporating a rule which would require your followers to enter your site. For example, the contest could be to choose a blog post from your site and write its title, alongside the title of your website in the photo description space, while choosing a photo themselves. The prizes could be then given to either the three most creative photos that somehow relate to the content of the blog post, or those who have the most likes.
Another way could be to create a giveaway, the only requirement to your followers being to answer a really short survey. This survey or questionnaire should be comprised of only a couple of questions so that it can be done quickly, otherwise if you make it long many would not bother to answer it. The questions can help you get to know your target audience better, so the survey can help you in this way as well. Post the questions in your story, tease by letting them know about the giveaway, and include a call-to-action to redirect them to your site where they’ll answer the questions.
Sign up to Amplifr and connect your Instagram profiles for analytical insights and posting time suggestions.
Of course, the contest or giveaway should be announced and promoted in your Instagram stories. Simply mention that you are starting a contest, a giveaway, or a campaign, and inform your followers to swipe up in order to read more about it. This will redirect them to your website, where the rules would be explained in more depth, so you’ll both drive traffic to your site and connect with your followers through engagement.
Since their introduction, the Instagram Stories have become a major Instagram tool for driving traffic. The ability to incorporate links makes this extremely easy, since the only thing your followers have to do in order to get to your site or product page would be to tap on it or simply swipe up.
This is why more and more businesses incorporate the Instagram stories as part of their social media marketing strategy, and you should start as well. Follow our advice if you want to receive more views and engagement from your followers, and remember, utilizing new social media options like the stories brings new marketing possibilities for your business. Therefore, use the stories, get noticed by potential customers and followers, and don’t forget to have fun while doing it!