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How to: Add Value to Your Instagram Stories

Every post shared on Instagram should add value to someone, somehow. We explore how meaningful content can result in a more engaged audience.

Facebook recently altered its algorithm to favour content that sparks meaningful interactions amongst its users, and as a result, has changed the ways that brands, marketeers and social media managers approach the platform. From increasing shareability via direct messages to captivating followers through carefully crafted copy, a number of these new tactics can easily be transferred to your Instagram Stories strategy to create posts that are so much more than a nice brand image.

A term that gets thrown around a lot on Instagram is 'storytelling', there's no one right way to tell a story on social media but Instagram Stories provide the perfect outlet for this. Through a series of frames, you can successfully take followers on a journey and produce content with a clear beginning, middle and end. Ideally content will encourage an 'emotional' reaction from followers, for example, this could be something as simple as a user seeing a product on an influencer and then being compelled to reply, share or even shop as a result. According to Sprout Social, 83% of users discover new products and services on Instagram.

When planning Stories, the key is to inspire followers while providing them with useful information - this can range from personal opinions about a product to general advice and trend-led tips. Below, we outline some of the best ways to educate your followers and increase the value of brand imagery and posts.

Link-Based Content

Including outbound links to blog content, articles of interest and website landing pages is an easy win. As part of their ongoing content strategy, END Clothing publishes regular interview content with tastemakers, models, influencers and actors on-site and then shares them via Stories. These stylish, multi-frame posts drive traffic to site and spotlight key products. The subject of the interview is tagged in the post to increase shareability and users are encouraged to 'swipe up' to see more. Some brands might not have the resources for monthly, on-site, content creation, but product edits can be just as engaging.

Re-Share User Generated Content

Sharing a UGC round up on Stories is a smart way to engage an audience, make them feel valued and spotlight key products. It is the most authentic form of content creation and if worn by people who encapsulate the brand, will help to boost desirability. UGC has a proven track record of converting followers into buyers and the best part is, it's totally free for brands to use! Introduce a weekly UGC round-up and explain how followers can share and tag to be featured.

Product Reviews

There's no better advocate for a brand than their customers - stylishly designed stories with useful insights about how products fit, feel and function provide users with invaluable and honest feedback that could lead them to make a purchase. A great example of a brand that does this well is Glossier. The millennial favourite shares screenshots of customer reviews and neatly houses them in a highlight at the top of their profile, for easy viewing. Users can read what customers have to say about a number of the brand's most popular products, including Boy Brow, Cloud Paint and Futuredew, all of which are categorised by item along with their star rating. The addition of playful copy at the time of posting lends a humorous touch and compels the viewer to read the customer review.

Native Functionality

Tools such as Polls, the Reaction Slider and Questions are just as useful for followers as they are for brands. Asking followers to vote for their favourite products provides helpful insights, while weekly segments such as 'Ask a Stylist' allows users to answer questions and share responses in realtime.

Tips & Advice

This can be done through videos, GIFS or a series of stills. Simply pick a topic that relates to your brand and create a series of Stories that feature help and advice. Styling tips can provide an opportunity to cross-promote other products, whilst partnering with an expert or an influencer can lead to audience sharing and increased traffic and engagement. The White Company routinely shares sleeping tips on its Instagram Stories, whilst simultaneously linking to its range of bedding and candles. Take inspiration from TWC and keep visuals simple, informative and stylised. The key is to seamlessly link between the advice being shared and your key product offering.

Stories Highlights

Make Instagram Stories Highlights so much more than a place to spotlight evergreen content. Instead, use them as a space to educate and inform followers about everything from frequently asked questions and styling tips, to tutorials and product reviews. Key influencer and press coverage, as well as product-related information, should live here too.

Words by Daniel Flay


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