According to Facebook’s Q4 recent earnings call, Instagram Stories are now being used by 500 million people daily. Ever since Instagram rolled out its version of the content format that Snapchat created, Instagram Stories have become one of the most popular features on any social media channel.

Not only are social media influencers dedicating more time to creating content via Instagram Stories, but marketers themselves are also asking influencers to create Stories on behalf of their brand. Once thought of as a campaign add-on, Stories are now slowly becoming an integral part of many brands’ marketing campaigns as they can help with creating brand awareness, encouraging engagement, and driving clicks.

In this blog post, we share six reasons why Instagram Stories should be part of your influencer marketing strategy.

1. An effective call-to-action option that can drive clicks to a URL

One of the main reasons a brand should include Instagram Stories in their influencer marketing campaigns is the call-to-action option via the ‘Swipe Up’ feature. In 2016, Instagram launched the game-changing feature, which allows users who have at least 10,000 followers and a business account, to link out to a URL of their choice.

If generating traffic to a landing page or preferred online retailer is one of the KPIs for a brand’s influencer marketing campaign, then activating influencers who have the ‘Swipe Up’ feature on Instagram Stories is a great option, especially considering the alternative.

Without the use of the ‘Swipe Up’ feature, influencers have to direct their followers to a link in their bio, which isn’t very effective as it requires influencers’ followers to take multiple steps to visit the URL the campaign is promoting. On the other hand, when an influencer includes a ‘Swipe Up,’ their followers can be taken directly to the URL within a matter of seconds by simply swiping up with their thumb. Overall, the ‘Swipe Up’ feature makes it a relatively easy and seamless process for influencers’ followers to visit a URL.

2. Analytics that offer a deeper understanding of campaign performance and help improve overall influencer marketing strategy

When working with influencers to create Stories content, a marketer will want to make sure that influencers provide a screenshot of the analytics for their content after it has been live for 24 hours.

Besides being able to see the ‘Link Clicks’ an influencer generates via the ‘Swipe Up’ feature for the brand campaign, the metrics that are available via Instagram’s ‘Insights’ tool for business accounts can be quite useful for a marketer. For Stories specifically, influencers have access to the following metrics regarding their Stories content, which can help a brand measure the success of their current campaign and provide insights regarding their overall influencer marketing strategy:

  • Views
  • Link Clicks
  • Shares
  • Replies
  • Profile visits
  • Sticker taps
  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Follows
  • Navigation (Back, Forward, Next Story, Exited)

Metrics about ‘Views’ and ‘Impressions’ are useful for helping a marketer understand the audience size of an influencer and the number of people seeing their content. Metrics such as ‘Shares,’ ‘Replies,’ and ‘Sticker Taps’ allow marketers to understand an influencer’s content performance and their audience much deeper. These metrics will also provide insight into best practices relating to the usage of Stories for a brand’s marketing strategy.

For example, if a travel brand is working with influencers to create awareness about specific locations for summer getaways, taking a look at the content and metrics that influencers provided, may allow the brand to notice that influencers who posted video content are generating more ‘Shares’ and ‘Replies’ than influencers who posted photos. From this, the brand can assume that videos are the best way to encourage engagements and shareable content for the brand on this specific platform. As a result, for the brand’s next campaign, they could direct influencers to post video content rather than photos

3. Allow for influencers to be more versatile with their content and connect with their audience

Due to the unpolished and less curated nature of Stories, influencers are much more likely to be themselves and come off as being more genuine. This allows them to connect with their followers on a more human level, which is something that is important to successful influencer marketing.

Stories enable to influencers to be versatile with their content. Whether they are unboxing a product, giving a behind-the-scenes look at an event or sharing new items, influencers have the ability to story tell more effectively than what they typically can do with feed posts. There is less of a chance of their audience getting content fatigue so they aren’t necessarily confined to a certain amount of posts. Instead, they can post as many Stories as needed to include brand messages as well as take advantage of their creativity as content creators.

Stories can also complement feed posts, strengthening the overall content that influencers create for a brand’s marketing campaigns.

4. The ability to gain consumer preferences and insights through interactive tools that influencers can use in their content

Thanks to the variety of interactive tools within Stories that promote engagement, Stories make it easy for influencers to interact and engage with their audience. Through tools like ‘Questions’ and ‘Poll’ stickers, influencers can get opinions and feedback from their followers, opening up the opportunity for a marketer to utilize influencers to conduct research with their brand’s target audience. Along with getting valuable feedback regarding the brand’s product or service, this type of informal research can save the brand time and money as much more traditional research involving consumers can be time-consuming and very expensive.

For example, a fashion brand that is engaging influencers to promote their summer line could have influencers utilize the ‘Questions’ sticker to ask their followers about what items they liked the best or the ‘Poll’ sticker to have their followers choose their favorite between two specific items or color schemes. Influencers could pass along their data to the brand, who could then analyze it and use the takeaways in the decision-making process in other areas of the brand’s business such as what specific items to put paid social behind.

5. Content that can be repurposed to help with brand credibility as well as result in cost and time savings

Instagram Stories offer marketers yet another way to repurpose influencer content. When an influencer tags a brand in their Story,  the brand will receive a notification and have the option to share the influencer’s Story as a Story on their own account by tapping the ‘Add To Story’ button as well as add additional messaging and relevant hashtags.

In addition, if a brand wants to expand the 24-hour lifespan of influencers’ Stories, they can do so by utilizing the Highlights feature, which lets users save and organize Stories so that they appear on their profile below the bio section. Regardless of what vertical a brand is in, the Highlights feature offers great versatility when it comes to repurposing content.

Imagine a tech brand is activating influencers to create Stories about a handful of new products that they’re selling. With Highlights, they could organize influencer-generated content by the products featured in them and provide those who come to the brand’s account with a quick and easy way to see content relating to products they may be interested in.

Like Instagram feed posts, repurposing Instagram Stories content helps with content creation efficiencies like cost and time savings. It also further enhances a brand’s credibility via more authentic and engaging content that resonates with their audience.

6. The ability to reach a larger audience through Instagram Story takeovers

Stories give marketers the ability to engage and activate influencers directly on their brand’s social media channel through Instagram Story takeovers.

Instagram Story Takeovers are when an influencer takes over a brand’s account from anywhere from a few hours to an entire day. In addition to influencers being a source of content creation during that time, takeovers can help a brand reach a larger audience as they are able to tap into the influencers’ following. Before taking over an account, influencers will usually notify their followers that are taking over that brand’s account for a period of time and encourage them to follow along. As a result of that, there’s the potential for their followers to become part of the brand’s followers, ultimately expanding their reach on Instagram.

Since a great deal of trust is needed from an influencer to take over a brand’s account, this influencer marketing tactic can help foster and build the relationship between the brand and the influencer, which can be valuable, especially if they’re considering working with that influencer in the long-run such as having them be one of their brand ambassadors.

Besides posting video content and photos, there is the option to have influencers go live with Instagram’s ‘Live’ video feature. Live video provides the added bonus of connecting influencers and the brand’s target market in real time, which allows influencers to answer any questions viewers have about the brand right away.  

Additionally, takeovers can also be a nice change of pace for a brand’s followers and help them stand out from other brands in their vertical that are doing influencer marketing.

With Instagram Stories part of your influencer marketing strategy, you can further increase brand awareness, repurpose engaging influencer content, and encourage your target audience to take action.