Instagram Stories: The Overlooked Brand Building Tool

Facebook’s Instagram stories, with its 250 million daily active users, has recently soared well above Snap’s 166 million daily active users. There is no question that Instagram’s numbers are on an uphill trajectory.

Yet, there are still businesses missing out on the crucial brand-building opportunity of Instagram stories. This feature is understandably overlooked due to its fleeting nature of being gone after 24 hours. So, you may be wondering how, or even why, you should invest time into building these stories.

As an avid Instagram user, I follow many of my favorite companies on Instagram. At the same time, I’m also a graphic designer, who sees Instagram stories as a platform to experiment and elevate the role of branding and design in a business. Time to time, companies impress me with their novel ways they use to leverage the stories feature. Most of the stories that I’ve observed, however, fit into the three main methods that you could use to successfully engage with an audience. They are the following: telling a visual story, making use of the “swipe up option” and showing the behind-the-scenes.

Telling a visual story

Since users go from one story to the next with a simple tap, it is fun for the user when their taps are treated like flipping pages of a book. Instead of cramming all the information into one story, it is better to separate the information into separate stories chronologically to build either suspense or a narrative. This makes it participative on the user side.

This is best used when you want to:

  • Announce a new product line, partnership or sale.
  • Show the audience how they can be using your product or service
  • Have the audience participate in something, whether it be a tutorial or even a workout related to your product or service

Making use of the “swipe up” option

The “swipe up” option is only available to businesses. It is arguably the most helpful aspect of the stories feature as it allows the audience to go directly to a link. Either use the drawing tool to highlight the arrow at the bottom or spell out “swipe up for link” to create call-to-actions for the audience. Instead of making posts with “link in bio”, consider switching to using only stories to promote links that you want to highlight.

Consider using this:

  • When a new article, youtube video or blog post is published
  • After you tell a “visual story” to link to a particular product on the website

Showing the behind-the-scenes

Showing your behind-the-scenes of your company makes the company seem more reliable and relatable as the audience feels like they have a clearer image of the company. It is also the perfect opportunity to platform your employees and empower them to embody the brand.

Ideas for what you could video or photograph to show the inner-workings of your company:

  • Your employees having fun together at a company event
  • What a typical work day looks like in the office
  • A short chat or interview with one of your employees
  • A quick look at the creative procedures that your company uses

All in all, unlike typical Instagram posts, the user has a choice on whether or not to click on your story. It is important that all posts are both visually pleasing and well thought out. It is worth it to spend time on building relationships with your audience through your Instagram stories.

At the end of the day, branding takes time.

The small and steady steps of building a brand are powerful. So, don’t be afraid to be bold, creative, and full of personality in your Instagram stories.

After all, we want to see real people behind a real company.