Instagram has become the go-to social media channel for businesses, influencers, and individual users alike. But when we go beyond the typical photo or video shared on the feed, we have Instagram stories. And what makes these 24-hour pieces of content so compelling for marketers?

The ability to create engaging, customized stories means more eyes on your brand and generated leads. While these short videos or fun photos may seem simple, there is indeed an art and strategy to creating effective content for your Instagram stories.

It’s not enough to post a picture and hope for the best. Use the platform’s tools and features (and your stellar copywriting skills) to your best advantage.

Here, we’ll dive into tips and tricks you can incorporate into your ‘gram stories strategy to get more swipe ups and follows.

Why Are Instagram Stories Important?

Before we get into how to go about crafting the perfect Instagram story, let’s talk about why we should be creating them in the first place.

Here are five reasons to incorporate Instagram stories into your marketing strategy:

  1. Engage and interact with your audience.
  2. Diversify your content strategy.
  3. Reach more (and new!) people.
  4. Develop a fresh way to run ads.
  5. Increase brand awareness and transparency.

Instagram Story Visual Tips

Always Shoot Vertically 

Think about the layout of Instagram. While landscape photos work in the feed of the app, that’s not necessarily the case for stories. Whenever possible, shoot your photos or videos for stories vertically, so as to give your viewers the best experience when viewing your content.

Now, if you are reposting an IGTV video, it’s okay for this to be horizontal. But consider adding in the other elements that Instagram offers for their stories features (polls, questions, stickers, emojis, music, etc.).

Define Your Visual Identity 

Just as your brand should have a specific tone and style, you should also incorporate similar design and visual elements into all of your content — especially for social media.

Do you have specific brand colors? Typefaces? Include any and all graphic design elements into your core marketing materials, as well as into your social media visual language as well.

This creates a seamless experience for your audience, and makes your branded content instantly stand out. People automatically recognize brands like McDonald’s and Nike, and this is in part due to their strong visual identities.

Focus On The First Three Seconds

We only have a few short seconds to capture the attention of your viewers. The natural instinct when going through stories is to “tap, tap, tap”. Your job as a copywriter or marketer is to stop the tap.

How? Put the most interesting visual and textual elements in the first three seconds of your story. And if your story is just a photo, make sure your copy is clearly visible and easily understandable.

Instagram Stories: The Important Questions

For marketers looking to boost conversions and sales, it’s important to be tactic when it comes to Instagram stories. Posting a story with no intent or goal won’t lead to the results you’re looking for, so ask yourself these questions before posting:

  1. Is it useful? 
  2. Does it inspire urgency?
  3. Is it specific?

Instagram Story Copy Tips

Always Include A CTA

Just like with any marketing or advertising copy you create, your Instagram stories should have a strong call-to-action. And with IG, there are a few ways to go about this. You can put your CTA in your copy like you normally would, or use one of the platform’s many story features. 

For accounts with more than 10K followers, stories can include the link “Swipe Up” feature. This is an easy way to engage with your viewer and seamlessly direct them to whatever it is you’re promoting.

Or, incorporate polls, questions, and other links into your stories to top the tapping and hold the attention of your viewer. 

Whatever you choose to customize your IG stories, make sure the CTA remains clear and concise. Your followers should be able to understand the goal in just a few seconds.

Incorporate Different Fonts

Remember that there are no hard-and-fast rules about which type of font is best for any given situation, so try experimenting! But always remember to keep things within your brand’s visual identity.

Instagram stories offer a wide variety of fonts and customizable colors to choose from. Once you have your stellar copy, it’s time to make it look just as visually appealing as it is to read.

Keep It Short & Valuable

Instagram is not a long-form platform — especially stories. Because of this, it’s important to keep your copy as clear and concise as possible. Your followers won’t spend more than a couple of seconds on your story, so catch them and catch them quickly.

How do you make sure you’re maximizing the effectiveness of your stories?

Create one idea per story to maximize the amount of time you can spend on each individual shot. This will also help your followers quickly understand what’s going on in the story without having to watch for too long. 

Create Exclusivity 

You might be wondering what you can do to set your content apart from the rest. Well, a great way to do this is by creating an exclusive experience for your followers. People love having access to special deals and discounts.

And creating Instagram stories just for this purpose is a creative way to get new followers in the door and keep your existing ones happy.

Offer “Swipe Up” discounts or include special codes to take people from your story to either your account or a designated landing page. 

Invoke FOMO

FOMO, or “fear of missing out”, has long been an effective motivator for audiences or followers to take action. This tactic creates a sense of urgency, and can come in form of flash sales, exclusive content, customer testimonials, 

Words and phrases that play on FOMO:

  • Limited Time Offer
  • Finale Sale
  • Last Chance
  • Today Only

Give these a try in your story copy or in your CTA and see how it affects your swipe-up rates, follower counts, and overall conversions.

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