Instagram stories have completely changed the way users interact with the platform, and they are helping brands achieve unorthodox engagement. A study found that 1 out of every 5 Instagram stories posted received a direct message; and that is why all businesses should use Instagram stories–to increase brand engagement and recognition.

If you’re wondering how it’s done, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll cover some of the most engaging story types and give you a few tips to make your story stand-out.

The Most Engaging Types of Instagram Stories

How-To’s

How to videos work exceptionally well with the masses. Instagram stories are a great medium for showcasing step-by-step tutorials to your followers. Since  Instagram stories work sequentially, organizations can easily walk viewers through each step. Tons of companies are creating step-by-step tutorials for things like recipes, make-up demonstrations, and tips on taking the perfect picture.

Sharing User Generated Content

Sharing user-generated content is an excellent way to get viewers engaged with your story. Nothing says brand loyalty like a customer representing your company in some way, shape, or form. Not only is user-generated content a great marketing tool, but it’s also a great way to recognize the individuals who support your companies brand and mission. Not to mention, if individuals know that they may get showcased on your page, there’s a greater likelihood they share your hashtag and interact with your content.

Behind-the-Scenes Stories

Time and time again, exclusivity has proven to be a great way to get individuals engaged. That’s why Instagram stories focused on taking viewers behind the scenes are so popular. Rest assured, behind the scenes stories don’t have to be an elaborate and intricate display; most organizations will do something like a few fun videos around the office, scenes from a conference, or clips from a community service project. Going behind the scenes can be a fun way to show viewers the more outgoing and humane side of your company.

Special Announcement

If you want followers who are frequently engaged with your profile, try posting some special announcements on your Instagram Story. Again, similar to taking viewers behind the scenes, special announcements provide your followers with a certain level of exclusivity. Furthermore, the urgency associated with special announcements add an extra layer of excitement to the equation. Special announcements can vary, some companies do flash sales, others do new product releases. Regardless, you can craft your special announcements to fit your business.

Tips and Tricks for Awesome Stories

Promote Your Story

Organizations should be working actively to drive users to their stories. After all, what good is a story if no one knows about it? A great way to increase awareness about your story is by pointing users to your story via content post, direct messages, and whatever other channels that can be utilized. You can also boost your story to get it more exposure; from our experience, virality is the best promotion, so make something worth sharing.

Provide Value  

Social media audiences are constantly seeking accounts that provide them with something special, as a result; creating value should be at the heart of all your story endeavors. Providing value looks different for everyone, but there are a few general approaches that most organizations use to provide value: entertainment, sharing useful information, and activating emotion. If you provide your followers with value, then they will come back.

Think Outside the Box

There are more than 1 billion Instagram accounts, which means that there are more than 1 billion other stories that your followers could be watching. To stay competitive, companies need to think outside the box and get creative. Approach your stories with boldness, nuance, and creativity. Not every post will be a grand slam, but every post will be a learning lesson. So try something new and don’t be afraid to learn from the process.

Plan Ahead

Not all of your stories have to be spontaneous, in fact; Instagram allows you to post pre-existing videos and photos onto your story. However, those videos and photos must’ve been created within 24 hours of being posted. To get around this rule, save the content that you’d like to post to an editing app; this allows you to strategically plan out your videos.

Tell a Story

Last but not least, tell a story. It sounds intuitive right? But you would be surprised by how many organizations merely post a plethora of random videos and photos. Organizations need to be aware of how they are structuring their stories; good stories keep the viewers wanting more and wondering what will happen next. Leverage creativity and authenticity to make the story your own.

If you haven’t realized it by now, Instagram stories are here to stay. It’s up to organizations to find new and unique ways to leverage these stories to engage their audiences. We encourage you to try out some of the methods we mention, identify what your users enjoy, and find new ways to continuously improve. Remember it’s not just about the story, it’s about how you tell it!