There’s no doubt that influencer marketing via Instagram is a great way to target your audience, gain followers and convert sales, but have you ever considered whether Instagram Stories have a greater impact than the grid itself?
Out of Instagram’s 800 million users, 300 million use Instagram Stories on a daily basis (as of November 2017, so we expect that number has grown phenomenally over the course of this year.) That’s a gigantic number of people all looking for extra content than what the grid offers. Not only do Stories keep people on someone’s profile for longer but they also reach a higher percentage of people than grid content. It’s a win-win situation when brands are working with influencers – the influencer will see more reach on their posts and the brand will see more of a return on their investment.
With the main Instagram feed, users make a split second decision whether to double-tap or comment on a photo before moving on, often without even reading the caption. When viewing Stories, there is more diversity of content to see, often including video content, giving the user more of a reason to stick around, fully absorb what they see and hopefully engage with it.
There’s much more to it though, with users seeing Stories as the best way to communicate with each other, giving influencers the opportunity to create more of a rapport with their followers.
Photographer Olivia Bossert states that “Stories lead to a more personal connection, while the grid is a more inspiring place for me.” Brand collaborations with influencers work best when their followers trust their opinion and see them as a real person rather than someone with celebrity status. Sharing sponsored content through Stories feels more like a personal recommendation than an advert.
Food blogger and photographer, Kym Grimshaw agrees, stating that she always generates lots of engagement through her Stories. “If I post a Story about a hotel, for example, people will message asking questions about my stay and then let me know that they’ve booked the same place.”
The main benefit of using Stories over the main feed for marketing purposes is the functionality for influencers (those with over 10k followers) to add direct links through to a specific page on the brand’s website. There is only one link on a main Instagram profile, and brands would likely have to shell out a significant amount of money for an influencer to use that link to direct to a brand’s website over their own. Instead of relying on users to click a tag on an image and then click through to their website, brands should be focusing their energy on getting direct links from Stories. It’s quicker and easier for users, and the click-through rate is significantly higher.
For influencers, the benefits of using Stories mean that they are likely to automatically promote their sponsored content through them. Clicks through to blog posts and even reach on their latest grid images can be improved through promoting the content on their Stories. They also allow the opportunity to show behind the scenes footage, outtakes and content that doesn’t fit in with their overall grid. It’s even been suggested that if users interact with your Stories on a regular basis, the algorithm will favour you in their feeds. For an influencer to be growing their profile and increasing their engagement, they should be posting to Stories as often as possible, interacting with any messages they receive as a result.
It’s easy to extend the reach of Stories by adding location tags and hashtags which can even be hidden if they don’t want them to affect the aesthetics of their content. Using a diverse selection of photographs, text-based and video content will help to keep their audience interested and clicking through for more.
Brands should be identifying the influencers who are performing well in their Stories, looking for professional-looking content that they can tap into. Rather than simply asking for the influencer to share a photo on their main feed, brands should be asking for inclusion in Instagram Stories during negotiations, even if that means paying a higher fee for a collaboration.
Ultimately, for a successful influencer campaign, brands should be looking for more than just a singular post on Instagram. Creative story-telling, through Stories and through blogs posts, provides more depth, more opportunities for engagement and ultimately more value to the brand. Think of Instagram Stories as the trailer, an image on the grid as the movie poster, and a blog post as sitting back and watching the full film.
Words by Emma Lavelle.