Thanks to its already enormous audience of more than 500 million users, Instagram Stories has quickly become the top choice for brands to experiment with 24-hour content. Unlike Snapchat, Instagram houses a much more sophisticated advertising platform and offers brands analytics to measure the results of their efforts.

According to Instagram Advertiser statistics, 75% of Instagram users take action after looking at an Instagram advertising post, and marketers are taking notice. The number of brands using the platform is expected to rise to 70.7% this year to promote everything from products to events.

Instagram Stories

Notable brands have started using the Instagram Stories feature to some degree, but taking a look at how they’re using Stories can be challenging as the content comes with a 24-hour lifespan. Therefore, we’ve gathered some of the most exciting ways brands are using Instagram Stories to engage their followers so your brand can hop aboard the Instagram train and start creating your own Stories content right away. Let’s take a look:

1. Offer something exclusive

Instagram Stories

Stories can be a great way to showcase a special offering or sale each week and influence your followers’ purchase intent. When you create a new Story, your followers will receive an alert in their home feeds, giving you a nice way to boost awareness around a special offering and make it feel exclusive for their eyes only.

2. Invite your followers behind-the-scenes

Instagram Stories

Giving your fans a first-hand look at what goes on behind-the-scenes at your organization is one of the best ways to make them feel like they’re part of your brand’s experience. After posting a perfectly shot photo or video, offer a behind-the-scenes look via Stories to provide your followers with more context around your campaign or to give them an insider’s look at your team and the personalities behind the account. This content can often be just as valuable and engaging as the perfectly planned (and more permanent) content you are sharing.

3. Redirect viewers to your website

Instagram Stories

Using Instagram Stories, you can add a call to action to your story and invite viewers to “click the link” in your bio or “swipe” to view a product, page, video, or anything you’d like. Instagram will effortlessly redirect viewers to that content once they click. This function is one of the many reasons Instagram Stories tends to be much more brand-friendly than Snapchat.

4. Tease a Live Stream
Instagram Stories

Another creative way brands are using Stories is to tease or alert their followers about live streams taking place on other platforms, such as Facebook. Cross-promoting content via Stories is a great way to tease an event and build up anticipation and viewership for another platform where you might not have such a large following.

5. Showcase your product or service in action

Instagram Stories

Utilize the Stories feature to reveal a new product or service or show off one in action. A quick reveal is an excellent way to generate excitement around the latest version of a product or introduce a new one.

6. Invite influencers for a takeover

Instagram Stories

Working with influencers on social media is one of the best ways to connect with a younger generation of consumers. A popular way to get influencers involved with Stories is to invite them to take over your account and post content that speaks to your target audience.

Unlike a Snapchat takeover, where you actually have to hand over your account login information, you just have to ask an influencer in your space to send you photos or 10-second videos that can be uploaded directly to Instagram by your team. Takeovers are a good way to get in front of a new audience in your niche via someone else has already built up a following, and raise awareness about your brand through cross-promotion.

7. Countdowns

If you’re launching a new product or have an upcoming event, why not count down to the big day? Countdowns can build up hype around a special day and peak your followers’ interest. They’ll be eager to find out more and more, and by the time the big day rolls around, you’ll have an audience lined up and ready to participate in your event or buy your new product.

8. Share headlines or clips of your longer form content

Instagram Stories

For brands with an active blog or other longer-form content, you can entice your Instagram followers to check out your latest posts using Instagram Stories as a teaser. In your Story, you should not only tell your audience what the content is about but also give them a good reason to find out more. What value will they get out of it? What will they learn? Be sure to address these questions in the few precious seconds you have.

Utilizing Stories alongside your regular Instagram campaign can help you reach new audiences all within the same social platform. Like Snapchat, Stories are popular with younger audiences who are constantly on their phones and checking notifications so keep this in mind when brainstorming ideas.

All in all, we’ve yet to see a lot of brands take advantage of the Stories feature on Instagram, meaning there is less noise to compete with and more opportunities for your brand to get noticed. It’s the perfect place to test out new content ideas or promotions and see how things go because if an idea flops, it will simply disappear!