How Brands Can Get Better Organic Visibility with Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories usage has exploded, and brick and mortar stores especially have been creating unique ways to get in on the action – incentivizing both in-store and online purchases, writes Socialbakers' Jordan Julian.
Stories have been captivating audiences across social media platforms, allowing brands and users to give their followers a glimpse into their life-moments for a limited time. Instagram Stories usage has exploded, and brick and mortar stores especially have been creating unique ways to get in on the action – incentivizing both in-store and online purchases.
The popularity of Instagram Stories has exploded since their 2016 debut. In fact, Instagram Stories growth hasn’t slowed down since – boasting 300 million daily active users as of today. Of course, it comes as no surprise that these short clips have become a social media favorite.
Brick and mortar stores have been quick to jump on the Stories trend, creating opportunities for customers to purchase products on and off the web. For example, Instagram’s “Swipe Up” option has made it easy for marketers to direct Instagram traffic to other webpages. If a customer sees a product they’re interested in, they can swipe straight to the buy page without any hassle or time wasted on searching.
Just take a look at how cosmetics brand, Lush, is taking advantage of Stories. They cleverly use the space to advertise new products that their customers may not know about. In a stream of Stories, they showcase the bath bomb experience from start to finish. Interested customers are informed during the last story that the bath bomb is only available for a limited time and are able to easily swipe-to-purchase to add a new item to their collection.
Beauty supply retailer Sally Beauty has taken a unique approach to their five seconds of fame, driving their viewers to make in-store visits. In their Story, they demonstrate the application of a new metallic lip gloss that is only available for a limited time. They smartly tag the distributor, Ardell, in their previous clips to raise awareness about the brand in case their viewers know or are interested in learning more. To direct users to their stores, Sally Beauty uses the “Swipe Up” feature to help their beauty queens find a store nearest them. By reserving high-demand products for exclusive in-store purchases, stores can attract customers to their stores which could potentially lead to other purchases.
Brands Post More Stories Than Posts
To find out how Stories stack up against organic posts Socialbakers took a look at content from more than 1,100 Instagram profiles. Our conclusions? These time-sensitive clips have BIG potential.
Interestingly, we found that the largest Instagram profiles aren’t really making the most of this new format. The relative number of posts and Stories brands are publishing are nearly even. Considering that Stories are posted countless times a day without any repercussions, we would expect that the overall share of Stories vs. posts would be more than just an 8 percent difference. Is it possible that by not embracing this new format brands are missing out on a major opportunity?
Brands Using Stories Get More Visibility
Due to the time-limited nature of Stories, brands will need to create a specific set of KPIs. Unlike posts – likes or comments shouldn’t be considered success metrics. Partly because Likes are impossible to leave within a Story and partly because clips are often too short for users to leave a comment.
So, what should brands measure when it comes to Instagram Stories? Well – reach and impressions are a huge part of it. Reach is important because it shows the unique views the Story received, compared to total impressions, which gives the overall number of how many times the Story was viewed.
According to Socialbakers data, it was clear that brands’ Stories had a tremendous impact on their overall impressions, though it’s true that posts still predominantly make up most of a brand’s reach. However, we can’t ignore that the lifecycle of a post and Story are quite different, so of course the comparison isn’t 100 percent fair.
Here we can see that posts contribute to a whopping 81 percent of a brand’s impressions while Stories account for 19 percent. Brands may be thinking that 19 percent may not be big enough to encourage them to roll up your sleeves and start posting Stories – but let’s look at the data.
For the brands analyzed, we can see that one-fourth of their impressions are solely coming from Stories. This is actually a huge chunk – especially taking into consideration that it’s purely organic – which is becoming harder and harder to achieve. With that being said, brands that are not posting Instagram Stories are getting reach from one source – posts. This means that they are missing out on a quarter of free impressions!
Organic reach is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve on social media, especially in light of algorithm changes like the recent Facebook News Feed update. More and more brands are expected to put dollars behind their content, in order to ensure that it gets seen. However, adopting new formats could be the loophole that could earn you better visibility. While reach is still possible on Facebook, marketers are now turning to Instagram to connect with their audiences.
To encourage foot traffic, brick and mortar stores should provide their audiences with an added value. This can be as simple as stocking your shelves with limited edition items that aren’t available online or offering coupons only in-store. This helps create a sense of urgency and gives customers a good reason to make the trip. There are tons of reasons why brick and mortar stores shouldn’t shy away from Instagram Stories. We’ve provided only a few, but with a little creativity, stores can easily increase visits and purchases in no time.
*Jordan Julian is a Content Marketing Specialist at Socialbakers. She graduated from Empire State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Media and Communication in 2015 and recently obtained a Master’s degree in Professional Business Communication in 2017.