While publishing videos in your Instagram Stories might seem pretty straightforward...
...there are certain things to consider before getting started.
First of all, remember Instagram Stories should be in line with your brand’s editorial strategy and that their ROI should be analyzed as well.
As a social media manager, you already know what Instagram Stories are impactful levers that are part of your brand image strategy.
To help you achieve your communication goals with Instagram Stories, we’ve gathered some best practices that will help you set yourself above the competition.
Posting Instagram Stories - Defining your objectives
As a brand, before you start posting anything on social media, remember you need to identify your key objectives. This also applies to stories--despite their ephemeral nature.
What makes stories a valuable asset is that videos are much more engaging than photos on social media:
- According to Brightcove, social videos generate 1,200% more shares than text-based and static image posts combined.
- Online video will make up 82% of internet traffic in 2021 (Cisco)
- 73% of B2B marketing specialists claim that video has a positive impact on ROI. (Tubular Insights)
This shows that videos are a great way for brands to share deeper stories and deliver their message with more impact than texts or images.
Instagram Stories can serve various objectives:
There is nothing better than videos to showcase specific products or services. Here’s some data to back this up:
- Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users. 500 million of them log in every day.
- 80% of Instagram users follow at least 1 brand on the platform.
- 60% have already discovered a new product or service through this social network.
These numbers are proof that Instagram is the ideal platform to promote your products and service with conversions in mind. Why not encourage your followers to visit your blog or online shop, or download your app? Keep an eye on your KPIs and you might get surprised.
Engaging their audience is what every brand dreams of. Instagram’s algorithm actually rewards high engagement rates with higher organic reach. And since visibility has an effect on brand awareness, which in turn impacts brand preference and therefore... sales!
You could also use Instagram Stories to talk about your brand’s history, share its values, or even just introduce your team members.
Instagram Stories are a great channel when it comes to showing what goes on behind the scenes at your company. This is helpful to build trust and turn your followers into customers.
You could show short videos of your offices and production facilities, or publish interviews of several managers as part of a series. Your prospects are going to love this!
If you are looking to engage your own team members, you could create an internal Instagram account which will help you communicate with them in a more casual but engaging way.
There are more specific objectives you can pursue with Instagram Stories, such as:
- Driving qualified traffic to your online shop, website, or app download link.
- Generating contact requests
- Generating app downloads or sign-ups to a digital service
- Improving your employer brand
- Getting more video views to increase brand awareness
💡 PlayPlay Pro Trick
Don’t forget to brand your Instagram Stories photos and videos. Even if your profile picture will appear on the top left corner of the screen, additional branding will help you stand out more.
We recommend always using similar colors, adding your logo, and sticking to similar filters or effects for each video.
By the way – if a global Instagram video strategy is what you are after, we’ve got a guide too!
Once you’ve identified your main objective, remember to keep it in mind throughout your entire creation process.
Creating Instagram Stories
Several options are available when it comes to creating videos for your Instagram Stories.
Option 1: Recording the video live for more authenticity
You can record and share a video straight through the Instagram app on your phone:
- Tap the camera icon on the top left corner of your screen or swipe right anywhere on your feed
- Tap and hold the large circle at the bottom of your screen to record. You can select a video mode here too, such as Boomerang, Superzoom, Layout, or Hands-free. You can also just write some text on a colored background.
- Tap one of the icons at the top of the screen to draw on an image, add text or stickers as well as video effects. To delete an element, simply drag and drop it to the trash bin icon at the bottom of the screen.
Once you are done, just tap on “Your story” on the bottom left corner to publish your video.
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Option 2: Sharing a video from your phone’s gallery or library for a more professional look
To share more elaborate and professional-looking videos as Instagram Stories, such as expert interviews or customer testimonials, you will need to put in a bit more work.
These types of stories involve some video editing, a soundtrack or other effects, etc.
This second option means you will need to choose a video from your phone's library or gallery:
- Start by recording your video using your phone’s camera and saving it.
- Swipe up anywhere on the screen. This will open your camera roll.
- Select the video you want to share on Instagram.
Once this is done, feel free to stop here or to add a filter to your video, draw on it, or add stickers by tapping the icons you’ll find at the top of the screen.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Trick
According to Instagram, 60% of Instagram Stories are watched with the sound on, but this doesn’t mean you should forget about those who prefer to watch them without sound.
This is why we recommend adding text-based elements such as notes or subtitles. These will help them understand your message better, especially if you are sharing an interview or if your video has a voiceover.
While we are focusing on Stories here, check out our comprehensive guide to Instagram videos to learn everything about sharing videos on your feed or IGTV.
Our tips to increase your Stories’ engagement rate
As a social media manager, you probably know everything about the features Instagram provides to help your followers engage with your content more easily. This is useful to increase the reach of your stories as well as brand awareness:
- Questions: These allow your viewers to answer a question in a few characters only.
- Polls: Get to know your audience better, for example by asking them which one of two products they prefer.
- Emoji Slider: Here, Instagram users can say how much they like something or how much they relate to your message.
- Challenges: Challenge viewers to participate in a specific challenge, often related to a cause. You could also start your own challenge and go viral!
- Mentions: Tag business partners, the people appearing in your videos, or key influencers. Just remember that less is more!
- Countdown: Stories with countdown pop-ups are great if you’ve got an event or a launch coming up. Your followers will be able to set a reminder for the end of your countdown too.
- GIFs, Hashtags, etc.
Need more ideas regarding the kind of content you can share in your Stories? Keep reading!
Showing exclusive content
Of course, the quality of your products or services is your main selling point. Remember to showcase that in your Stories too.
You could share information on how your product is made, show the office where the magic happens or introduce team members that usually aren’t in the spotlight.
Check out this brilliant idea by Cisco: the company asked their employees around the world to record a Boomerang and shared the results on a day they called Boomerang Day:
This content is fun, engaging, and authentic, and helps boost Cisco’s employer brand.
Don’t necessarily expect people to share your stories with their friends, but they might react with an emoji or a short Direct Message.
Driving traffic to your website with Direct Messages
If you want to be even more direct, why not ask your followers to send you a Direct Message?
This is great if your account hasn’t reached 10k followers yet--which unlocks the Swipe Up feature, as you will be able to send them a clickable link directly.
Some of the ways to encourage viewers to do so could be:
- Telling them they will receive a download link for specific content (white paper or other resources)
- Sharing a special offer with them. This is great to reward users who are particularly engaged.
- Asking them for feedback on a specific product or offer.
Now that you’ve come up with a great idea, make sure you express it in a very clear way and that your text can easily be read. You could also add an arrow pointing towards the “Send message” section.
Rewarding your most loyal followers is essential and giveaways are a great way to do so. They are also useful tools that will increase your reach and engagement rate very quickly.
However, remember this means your audience will suddenly be wider. We don’t recommend hosting giveaways too regularly to avoid having a large, but unqualified audience. Don’t host more than 1 to 6 giveaways per year as this could make your brand seem cheap online.
Remember to add music, GIFs, or a Swipe Up link to encourage users to visit a specific landing page.
The 4 golden rules of Instagram Stories videos
Respect the specs
This might make making Instagram Stories videos slightly less spontaneous, but your video should absolutely be tailored for this format.
While making the video you plan on turning into a story, make sure its quality is sufficient. Record it using your phone’s camera or an actual camera as your smartphone will automatically compress your file.
These are the specs you need to respect for Instagram Stories:
- Videos should be .mp4
- They should be at least 3-second long.
- Vertical videos with a 9:16 aspect ratio should be used.
In case you are working on slightly longer content, remember Instagram will automatically chop your video clip into 15-second long individual stories. You might want to take care of that yourself to make sure no action shot is interrupted.
While Instagram has this 15 seconds limit, we think sticking to 7 to 10 seconds is more engaging.
Similarly, be sure to align any text element vertically. It would be a shame for any information to be hidden at the bottom or at the top, either by your username or the automatic reply field.
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Having posted your story doesn’t mean you can sit back and relax just yet!
Keeping an eye on its performance is essential as it will help you assess how well your strategy is working.
Instagram has got its own Insights tab within the app. This is where you’ll find more information on the most relevant KPIs, such as the number of views, engaged users, etc.
Remember a social media strategy needs to be adjusted as you go.
Post Stories regularly
Another tip we’ve got for you is that you should be publishing content regularly.
Before you start posting Instagram Stories videos, work on an editorial calendar that will help you schedule your content.
But while posting regularly is great, don’t overdo it and avoid having more than 7 Stories that are live simultaneously. This is the average number of videos that users watch before swiping left and moving on to the next Instagram account’s stories.
To keep your audience engaged and interested, you could think of a way to link your stories like a mini-series, instead of only posting standalone videos that might make people swipe left more quickly.
💡 PlayPlay Pro Trick
If you are wondering when is a good time to post Stories, what tone of voice you should use, or whether you should post more spontaneous content instead of polished, edited videos, just get into A/B testing.
By changing a specific parameter when posting, you will be able to adjust your strategy more easily.
Use Story Highlights
While Instagram Stories are meant to disappear after 24 hours, there is one way to make sure your hard work doesn’t just vanish: creating Stories Highlights.
Highlights appear at the top of your profile, right below your bio and above your own feed.
You should think of Story Highlights as a sort of trailer for your Instagram account. This feature is a creative way to express yourself, showcase your product range, generating qualified traffic or, simply, promote your brand.
Use a professional solution to create quality content
However, you might sometimes lack inspiration or need to save time when it comes to Instagram Stories videos.
While Instagram is packed with useful native features that allow you to be ultra-creative when creating content, we recommend considering using a third-party option to produce higher quality content.
A platform such as PlayPlay could come in handy here as it will help you create more polished videos easily.
PlayPlay has tons of features that were developed with Instagram Stories in mind: you can crop any video to the recommended 9:16 aspect ratio, make your video shorter so that it stays below 15 seconds, etc.
This means you can easily post optimized and professional-looking content to your stories all while letting your creativity run free. What’s more, one click is all it takes to optimize your video for any other use on social media. Just try PlayPlay for free and take a look!
That was it! You now know everything there is to know about publishing Instagram Stories videos that stand out!
Time to get working on your next viral piece of content.