4 Tips for Crafting Winning Instagram Stories Campaigns

By: Justin Joffe

March 1, 2018

When it comes to new features on social platforms, the difference between a toy and a tool all comes down to how you use it.

While a clumsy approach might come off as a gimmick, Holli Beckman, vice president of marketing at apartment management and development company WC Smith, and co-founder of the apartment search engine Apartminty, says that platforms like Instagram Stories have endless untapped potential to engage audiences —once you know how to optimize its features for your messaging strategy

“Engagement is still the main currency of Insta; like every social platform, there’s an expectation of immediate response to comments and questions,”  Beckman says. ” So even if you’re producing your stories before posting them, this is far from an upload-and-walk-away situation. We see the most engagement and comments the first hour after we post a story and so we focus on being available to respond to everyone during that power hour.”

Beckman shares four tips for crafting a winning Instagram Stories campaign.

Holli Beckman, Vice President of Marketing for Apartmentalist at WC Smith

Holli Beckman, Vice President of Marketing at WC Smith

Remember, it’s just that—a story. Beckman stresses her belief in making sure your content has a storytelling arc, with an intro, middle and end. Though this is nothing new in the content world, it follows a logical progression.

“Tell them what you are going to show them, show them and then tell them what to do next,” she says, adding that the biggest mistake people make with stories is forgetting to include an introduction. “When it comes to stories, people don’t know what you posted, they just know that you posted something.  If you drop them into the middle of the action without an intro, it can be disorienting.”

One easy fix for this is Instagram Stories’ new “Type Mode”, which allows users to create a title card that provides context for what their audience will be watching.

“If you prefer a bit more design,” says Beckman, “Canva for Work has awesome customizable templates for intro cards.”

Build your posting strategy around the metrics you set. “If you are using story completion as your metric,” says Beckman, “it probably makes more sense for you to post the entire story at the same time.”

That said, posting your story in real time drastically diminishes the likelihood that the majority of your audience will even watch all of it.

Nonetheless, some communicators prefer posting stories in real time because it infuses the content with a sense of authenticity. In these instances, says Beckman, placing a call to action multiple times throughout your story can optimize your chances of capturing leads and getting ROI.

Stories aren’t just for live events. Apartminty has grown adept at using Instagram Stories to promote the rest of its content, including the “Ask the Experts” series on its blog.

“The rental market can be a bit ridiculous sometimes,” she says, “so we answer the questions we get from renters: ‘What is rent control? Why won’t my landlord let me Airbnb my apartment?'”

This provides Apartminty with an easy way to engage a different audience than the typical readers of its blog, while also pushing engagement through dialogue. By letting its more ‘top of the funnel’ Instagram audience know about “Ask The Experts,” Apartminty has devised a practical, seamless strategy for converting leads into potential readers.

Get to know the tools provided so you can make the most out of them. Now that Instagram allows you to pin highlights from Stories to the top of your profile, businesses have a built-in introduction for new followers eager to learn more about who you are and what they can expect from you.

“It’s quite literally your highlight reel,” Beckman says, “so treat it accordingly.”


Follow Holli: @Apartmentalist

Follow Justin: @Joffaloff

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