Instagram’s photo grid is instantly recognizable, and its look has influenced website design all over the world. But the iconic grid may no longer be Instagram’s most opportunity-rich avenue for marketers.
The social network, which reported 1 billion active monthly users in 2018, debuted its Stories feature in 2016, featuring videos and photos that stay live for 24 hours before disappearing (or being moved into a Highlight for posterity). Many social experts report that eyeballs have been migrating to the YouTube-esque, continuously programmed Stories.
But there’s a steep learning curve with Stories. We asked Erin Weinger, a Los Angeles–based digital storytelling strategist, to share her tips for crafting the best Instagram Stories.
“A lot of people get freaked out trying to think of the perfect Stories,” Weinger says. “But you can’t let ‘perfect’ get in the way of creating something that connects with your consumers. Your Stories don’t have to be epic, and they don’t have to be professionally shot. That’s one of the beautiful things about social media.”
Stories was built to showcase video captured vertically. “Horizontally shot video doesn’t fit the frame,” explains Weinger, adding that marketers should try to optimize video (and photos) for mobile. And watch your ambient light: Dim lighting looks and feels shady.
Watch the Clock
Check your analytics (aka Insights) regularly on Instagram. “They’ll tell you when your followers are looking at your feed. You can tailor your posting cadence and frequency,” Weinger says.
In 2018 Instagram reported better completion rates on videos featuring human faces. Weinger suggests jewelry retailers experiment with creating video that starts with a quick introduction (showing a face) before flipping focus to the jewels being discussed. “Consumers want to know their jewelers,” she says, “and this is a great way to begin that human connection.” Camera-shy? Rope in an extroverted staffer to be the face of your IG Stories.
Expand Your Horizons
“Get creative,” advises Weinger. “Ask a vendor to send four 15-second clips about what goes into the creation of their jewelry, then [use the clips to] create a Story.” If your shop is located next to a great bakery or bookstore, “go there and shoot 15 seconds of video for your Stories. Do things that allow shoppers to see not only what’s going on in your store but also in your community.”
Top: IG Story time with @brokenenglishjewelry and @shopesqueleto
(Jose Luis Pelaez Inc./Digitalvision/Getty)