Buffer recently conducted a huge Instagram Stories research project where they looked at 15,000 stories from 200+ brands and it got us thinking about Instagram Stories and the dos and don’ts. We looked at Buffer’s study and some other research to point you in the direction of some hints and tips.
- First of all, according to Buffer’s study, 1 to 8 stories is the optimal posting length for completion rate. That means that if you want your followers to watch all your stories, post no more than 7 within 24 hours. Obviously, this is just a guideline and it completely depends on your content but if you want something to go by, this would be good.
- They also found that the more you post, the higher your reach and impressions are. This is interesting because it is not necessarily true of the newsfeed. It is suggested that this is because of the temporary nature of Instagram stories. They are only live for 24 hours and then the space is cleared for more content to be seen.
- Other studies show that 36% of brand’s stories are product promotion and 22% are an inside look, this give you an indication of what kinds of content brands are posting on their stories. A mixture is always good so that people don’t get bored of your content and unfollow!
- With regards to links, 59% of stories by brands take the user to a shoppable page, so well over half the links attached the Instagram stories (this is possible when a page has over 10,000 followers) take them to a page that’s CTA is a purchase – clever isn’t it.
- Engagement rates on Instagram are 10x higher than they are on Facebook. This is an incredible statistic. That means that followers on Instagram are ten times more likely to engage with your content than they are on Facebook. This has probably got a lot to do with lower reach on Facebook and other algorithm factors but also suggests that people on Instagram are generally more engaged in the content they see.
- There are 400 million Instagram users watching Instagram stories daily! So, if you thought they were a waste of time – think again.
So, what should you do with your Instagram stories?
Post your best content first
People are more likely to stay watching if they are hooked from the get-go. For example you could reveal something slowly to keep people watching or make sure the first story is so captivating that people will continue to watch. Always think about what will capture the viewers attention before you start posting stories. Despite the fact that stories are often in ‘real-time’ they can also be carefully thought in advance out to capture the audience. It can be good to have a mixture of both ‘on-the-go’ content and planned content to help keep your followers engaged.
Post consistently to stories
People engage a lot with Instagram stories so now’s the time to posting regularly and experimenting. Plus, there’s no need for them to be complicated. Of course, good content always wins but the carefully curated images that you save for your feed do not necessarily need to be repeated for your stories. Simply layering text over images can be very effective and there’s lots of free online tools you can use for templates! In fact, The Guardian found that less polished videos work better on Instagram stories. And as previously stated, 22% of stories are an inside look into the brand or company – so this might be an informal tour of the office or something that doesn’t need to be a professional video.
Make sure that your stories are created to be watched vertically
92% of smartphone users watch videos on their phone vertically so you need to make sure that your content is compatible with this. If not, your completion rate is likely to be lower. In fact, it has been suggested that 2019 will be the year of vertical videos, this is largely due to the rise of stories on Instagram and other platforms such as WhatsApp. Traditional videos, and of course, YouTube videos are not watched vertically so this is quite a big shift and its important to keep up to date with this.
Lastly, make sure to analyse your own data!
There are lots of blogs, studies, and advice that suggests the ‘best time of day to post’. But, honestly, it depends on the activity of your followers. Your demographic might by international and therefore people will be active online at a huge range of times throughout the day. If you have a younger audience, their online time will be different from an older audience. Once you have 100+ followers on Instagram you can look at your follower information, this will include things like location of followers and other demographic information. You can also find out when your posts get more engagement etc. As well as Instagram’s free insights for your account you can sign up to places like Hootsuite that will give you access to more information about your statistics and engagement etc.
Still confused about Instagram stories? Try and experiment. See which content works best for your audience and your followers and don’t be afraid to try new things. Should you want any social media advice, or even management, then you can get in touch with our expert digital marketing team!