In today’s day and age, social media influencers play a prominent role in defining culture and spreading awareness about different messages, trends, and products. For that reason, influencer marketing has become more valuable than ever. That being said, not all influencer marketing campaigns are created equal. Although paying influencers for feed post features is effective, here’s why Instagram Stories will take your marketing strategy to the next level.
First, Why Instagram?
For anyone living under a rock, Instagram has skyrocketed to prominence among other social media platforms since its inception, boasting a rise from only 30 million active users upon purchase by Facebook in 2012 to a whopping 1 billion active monthly users.
It is second only to Facebook as the most engaged social media network, with over 60% of users logging in to the platform daily. Instagram has a rather young demographic reach, with 75% of users aged between 18 and 24 years old. This makes it an ideal platform for digital marketing targeted to a younger audience—in fact, 90% of users are younger than 35.
To illustrate the scope of Instagram’s influence, an incredible 37% of all internet users in the U.S. have accounts on the platform. This presents an opportunity for social media marketing, with 80% of active users following at least one brand account. Most importantly, the rise of social media influencers with huge followings—in a wide variety of niches—presents an even more tantalizing opportunity to effectively reach the right audience for your product or service.
What Are Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories, commonly referred to as “Insta Stories,” is a feature on the widely popular social media site where users can capture and post media in a slideshow format. Content is only available for 24 hours after the “posting time” but can be saved and labeled onto the user’s account.
The purpose of Stories, according to its creators, is for users to be able to share more of their lives with their friends and family. It allows for users to show more content without needing to oversaturate their main page with posts. Instagram Stories allow for a more unedited posting strategy on the part of the influencer, making it an approachable content form for users to consume.
Content can be edited with the following transformative features:
- Augmented Reality (AR) Stickers
- Filters, Drawings, and Text
- Interactive stickers like question stickers, polls, and more
- Drawing Capabilities
These features turn regular posts into engaging slideshows of photos and videos, guiding followers through an exciting journey through the influencer’s day. They also provide for an ad space that is even more attractive than regular feed posts—being that it can often feel a bit more organic.
Jaw-Dropping IG Story Statistics
Instagram Stories have proven to be quite ingrained in daily user interaction, thus making them an essential resource to consider when designing your marketing strategy. Not convinced? See below.
- Huge Active Daily User Count – Every single day, more than 500 million people interact with Instagram Stories, which means a lot of eyes on your advertised influencer content.
- Young People Love It – 1 in 4 Millennials and Gen Z-ers look at Instagram Stories to discover products and services they might like. 60% of Millennials watch and post photos and videos onto IG Stories.
- Everyone is Using It – Nearly 1.7 billion accounts use Instagram Stories daily.
- Everyone is Swiping – Up to 25% of users swipe up on links in branded Instagram Stories.
- Always Posting – The average weekly posting frequency for influencers is almost 3 posts a week.
Marketing Capabilities of Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are fantastic digital marketing tools because of their extensive capabilities and unique user experience. For instance:
- Outbound Links – Adding a link to a post is now easier than ever. The “swipe up” option allows for quick and easy user engagement with sponsored products and services.
- Discoverable – Instagram Stories are discoverable to non-followers, so not only can you count on influencer followers to see your engaging content, but so will a wider audience on the app.
- Hashtag-able Content – Instagram now allows users to add hashtags to their Stories, which increases engagement because the Stories will now appear on the app once the hashtag is searched.
- Taggable Content – Influencers can also tag other users—including your business’s account—on their stories to increase recognizability and brand awareness.
- Visibility – Unlike regular posts that are subject to the Instagram algorithm for feed-discoverability, Instagram Stories are available for 24 hours and can be accessed from the top of the user interface, separate from the discovery page, for ease of access and visibility.
Benefits of Instagram Stories in Influencer Marketing
Undoubtedly, Instagram Stories are a vital component of any effective influencer marketing strategy. A story that’s well-positioned can have an unbelievable impact—especially if it goes viral (every marketer’s dream).
Some additional benefits include but are not limited to:
More Digestible Content
Short-form video content and a slideshow presentation style make IG Stories a highly consumable form of content for customers to engage with. IG Stories have a more casual and less-curated feel, making them more relatable to users, which fosters authenticity.
The interactive and creative customization features that come with IG Stories—and that are missing in regular posts—allow influencers to customize their stories with location tags, filters, music, and more. These added features allow influencers to skillfully accommodate their posts to shifting trends in social media and pop culture.
Although in-feed IG posts have the benefit of permanence, they can be quite costly, sometimes soaring past hundreds and thousands of dollars per post (grade-A influencers). Stories are often much cheaper than their static counterparts.
In other words, you can get 5-7 stories for about the same price as 1 permanent in-feed post. This is due to lower production costs and hours worked by the influencer.
Swipe Up Call to Action
For in-feed posts, the call to action typically occurs in the description, which is inherently secondary to the photo itself. In IG Stories, the call to action is on the post itself, as a “swipe up” feature that allows viewers to literally swipe up to learn more about your business.
Static posts are fantastic for brand awareness. But the swipe up CTA is an extremely effective way to drive potential customers to the platform. A simple swipe up on a post they’re already looking at will direct them exactly to your landing page.
No Likes, No Worries
A recent update on Instagram has stirred quite a commotion within the industry; a new version of the app no longer allows users to see likes on posts of the people they follow. Now, digital marketers can no longer observe engagement and impressions on static posts—making it difficult to create visibility around their impact.
With stories, this problem is mitigated due to the direct line of sight you have on their engagement (polls, questions answered, swipe ups, and so forth). Now, unlike with static and expensive in-feed posts, you can effectively measure the progress of your paid content on an influencer’s IG story.
Tips on Influencer Marketing with IG Stories
Sure, IG Stories can be a surefire way to drive website visits, sales, and brand awareness, but they’re only going to be successful if your influencer communicates your message well.
In order to effectively gain user trust and drive interaction, influencer posts should fulfill the following criteria, detailed in the CPC Strategy’s Influencer Marketing Report:
- The influencer is transparent that their post is paid content
- The influencer can effectively answer their followers’ questions about the product
- The influencer has to show knowledge in the field
- The post should explicitly show that the influencer personally uses the product
Over the past few years, more and more social media users are turning to “micro-influencers” for recommendations on products and services to try out. As a recap:
- Mega Influencers: Celebrities with followings above 1M.
- Macro Influencers: Professional content creators with a following between 10K and 999K.
- Micro-Influencers: “Regular people” with a following of 10K and under who have a strong relationship with their fanbase. By far, these influencers have the most untapped potential—with 30.5% of consumers valuing trustworthiness over follower count, their niche appeal is ideal for targeted brand deals.
The allure of micro-influencers for social media marketing is that they have increased trust with their audience—with 82% of consumers saying they’d follow micro-influencer recommendations because of their relatability—and boast high user engagement on top of being extremely affordable comparatively (macro and mega influencers can be quite costly).
Off You Go!
So long as you remember that trust is everything, venture into the influencer marketing frontier and know that, despite what anyone says, the key to a successful campaign is identifying the perfect followers and creating engaging content. And one of the best ways to do that is by using Instagram Stories rather than in-feed posts.
WhatIs.com. Instagram Stories. https://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/Instagram-stories
Plann. Instagram Stories – How to Use Them and Why It Matters. https://www.plannthat.com/instagram-stories/
99Firms.com. 21+ Incredible Instagram Stories Stats to Know in 2019. https://99firms.com/blog/instagram-stories-statistics/
Brandwatch. 49 Incredible Instagram Statistics. https://www.brandwatch.com/blog/instagram-stats/
The 2018 Influencer Marketing Report. https://learn.cpcstrategy.com/rs/006-GWW-889/images/2018%20Influencer%20Marketing%20v3.pdf