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Instagram stories may have only been around since 2016, but in a short time they’ve gone from a fun gimmick to a powerful digital marketing tool. They can help engage with your audience and boost sales, but like everything, it all works better with a plan. Here’s how to create an Instagram stories content plan.
Keep Your Style On-Brand
Instagram stories give you a lot of freedom in terms of what you’re posting. Whether it be video, text or photos, you’ll want to make sure they align to your brand’s unique style. Think about the colours and style associated with your brand, and incorporate this into your Instagram stories. If you’re consistent with your themes and style, it helps to build brand awareness.
Consider how you can best keep your stories in line with your branding through:
- Font style
- Font colour
- Background colours
Obviously all photos and videos will look different, but the text blocks, stickers and fonts you add can consistently match your brand.
Understand Your Goals
Before you even start planning your actual content, think about what you’re trying to achieve. Is it all about generating sales? Maybe you just want to build brand awareness. You could just be trying to increase your follower count by providing entertaining stories.
Once you determine what your goals are, you can start planning individual content accordingly. Ideally, each story should have a single goal, because you don’t want to confuse your audience.
Bear in mind however, this is all about content planning. You don’t need to limit yourself, because depending on your intended frequency of posts, you can work towards several goals, as long as you’re using separate stories.
Frequency and Scheduling
Firstly, it’s important to remember that Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours. If you post, for example, a 2-slide story in the morning, and add another two slides in the afternoon, the first two will drop off before the newer ones. For a full story with an intended purpose, it’s best to post the whole thing at once.
Think about when your audience is most likely to see your stories. There’s no right or wrong answer here, but after a while you’ll get a feel for when you get the most engagement.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to ‘schedule’ an Instagram story as such, however there are tools out there which allow you to create a story on your desktop and then be reminded to post it at a certain time. So, you’ll need a bit of time management for best effect.
Plan the Type of Content You Will Use
There are three types of posts that can make up an Instagram story:
Photos and text slides will run for 6 seconds, and videos can be up to 15 seconds. When using photos, you can add plenty of features like stickers, text, emojis and more. Videos can also be added to, but you may need to use editing software to do this. It’s worth looking around because there are plenty of video and photo editing apps that allow you to easily create more engaging Instagram story posts, such as Canva and Wave.video.
Again, there’s no perfect method here. Just keep it consistent to your brand, entertaining, and useful for your audience. You may prefer a 4-post story with just photos, or a 6-post story with a mix of all three. Just make sure any Call to Action you use isn’t always on the last post. People’s attention will start to wane, and you want your key message to reach as many people as possible.
Mix Up Your Content
The beauty of Instagram stories is you’re using multiple posts or slides. They’re designed to tell a story. For example, on different days of the week you could:
- Advertise a product and direct people to visit your website
- Share images and videos of your business to show your human side
- Provide your followers with some light-hearted entertainment
- Engage people with polls, Q&A sessions, or fun competitions
- Share useful tips relating to your products or industry
One important point is to not just focus on selling. If all of your stories are just advertising products and asking people to buy, they will start to fall flat. That’s why it’s important to provide a variety of content and keep people engaged.
Optimise for Engagement
There are plenty of features you can add to Instagram stories that help boost engagement. Some examples are:
- Questions (with an answer box)
- Emoji sliders
All of these are asking your audience to engage with your post. Not only is it fun and interactive for them, but it also opens up a connection. Depending on your reach, you can even contact those who engage and start a conversation. It doesn’t always need to be about selling, but engaging with people is an integral step towards future sales.
Instagram stories are all about entertaining and engaging with your audience. So, keep your content easy to read, enjoyable and informative. If you target each of your stories towards a specific goal, you can quickly build your audience and turn Instagram into an easy, and very valuable, marketing tool.