instagram stories section on a smartphone

Avoid These 5 Mistakes in Your Instagram Stories

By: Molly Crockett, Social Media Strategist

June 29, 2020

When Instagram Stories launched in 2016, there were brands that quickly developed a game plan for the feature; others hit the ground running without a strategy in place. Which brings me to the first of my five top mistakes brands make on Instagram Stories—skipping the planning phase.

Skipping the Mission Plan

You’ve heard it a million times before: Fail to plan and you plan to fail. By not knowing what you want to achieve with Instagram Stories—or how the feature can help you achieve that goal—you risk damaging your brand’s reputation on social.

Even if you’ve been using Instagram Stories for years, there’s no harm in blocking time out periodically to take a step back and solidify your plan before starting to post again.

Falling Off the Map

Being consistent benefits all of your communication channels, and Instagram Stories are no exception. Staying consistent keeps you front of mind for your target audience, which will come to expect your content regularly in their Stories feed. “When a customer sees [you] haven’t put up a story in a while, it repositions your brand in their mind as one that might be struggling, and that doesn’t put value into communicating with its online audience,” says marketing strategist Jay Molloy.

Blending In

Consistency of style is just as important as frequency of posts. On Instagram, your brand needs a look and voice that customers recognize. Everything you share via Instagram Stories should be instantly associated with your brand account. (And please don’t make the rookie error of believing that your logo is your brand. Instead, focus on visual and written elements like your brand’s unique color scheme and voice.)

Overstuffed Stories

I won’t sugarcoat it: There are many brands that are simply trying too hard in their Instagram Stories. Aim for an end product that appears effortless (even when Stories take significant editing and planning). Stick with Stories’ short-form format; your message should be simple and fun.

Fashion brands are often the worst offenders in terms of overstuffed Stories. Trying to cram too many looks or fashion tips into a single Story is ineffective. “Save your ideas and spread them over more, better thought-out [Stories], rather than trying to get in everything at once,” advises business writer Angie Kappa.

Too Much Text

It is all too easy to veer into the “too much text” danger zone. Take a beat before publishing to be sure it suits the visuals-first platform. The beauty of Instagram is that it is a wonderland of visual inspiration. With the notable exception of celebrity announcements, Instagram users do not want to scroll through text. (Save that written content for Twitter.)

Molly Crockett is a social media marketing writer, spreading her brand know-how and Instagram tips across the web. Molly writes for a number of sites including the Studydemic blog covering trends in education technology.

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