Last week, I took a look at Instagram Stories and how you should be incorporating them into your design business’ digital marketing strategy.
Instagram Stories is essentially a mini-social media network piggybacking on Instagram. These stories feature short-form video and photo content that only has a 24-hour shelf life. After that, poof, they’re gone! This gives you a ton more room to experiment and put more interesting content on your Instagram Stories than you would your other social media.
The big question is, what should you be posting to your Instagram Stories?
What Should You Post?
As always, this is probably the hardest part. When you think about it, all stories (good and bad) have one thing in common: They take the audience on a journey, from Point A to Point B.
I’m not saying your IG Stories should always be in 3-distinct parts – though you certainly can choose to do it that way. Wouldn’t a little 3-part “cliffhanger” story posted over a few days be fun for your audience? Imagine teasing them with “Before” and “During” shots of a home, making them wonder what the “After” space gonna look like?! Or even you talking to the camera giving a great design how-to tip in a “First, Next, Last” 3-post format.
But another way of making sure you tell a story in the truest sense of the word with your IG Stories is by thinking each post through like this:
“BEFORE my audience sees this Story, they know me as ________, and so DURING this Story, I should show them ______, so that AFTER they see this Story, they see me as _______.”
Another way of planning your IG Stories strategy is to think through your Stories in groups of three, even if they don’t tell a serialized story like the examples above. For instance, if you want your audience to know how professional you are, but also that working with you is a fun experience, you can post a video of you personally inspecting a newly arrived piece of furniture at your warehouse; then one of you walking a job site with the builder, and finally one of you and your team pouring champagne and getting snacks ready for a client meeting in your offices.
Of course, IG Stories lends itself really well to giving your audience a virtual tour of your projects. It would be fun to show a 15-second video, showing off a specific room, then another 15-second video afterward walking them to the next spot, and so on. You can even intersperse these short videos with professional photos of each room so they can see them in their most perfect state!
While IG Stories are fantastic ways to build narratives and take your audience on a journey, try to keep it in the “short story” genre. 15-second videos are not conducive to grand epic videos that expound on a topic for 15 minutes. They should be quick and simple!
Take advantage of IG Stories as a way to try things out that you normally wouldn’t. Are you nervous about directly addressing your audience in a longer format like a Facebook Live? Give it a try with IG Stories, secure in the knowledge that it will be gone only 24 hours later! “Direct address” or a “talking heads” video can be a fun way to create and strengthen connections with your audience. When people can see and hear you, they feel like they know you, and that’s always a good thing for getting clients. In fact, some interior designers are so good at this that, when their clients “meet” them for the first time, they are told that they feel like they’re already friends! Win-win!
What NOT to Post on IG Stories
While IG Stories can be fantastic methods to market to your audience, the people who use them aren’t looking for “marketing.” If you tailor your content solely around an advertising mindset, chances are that your users are going to skip your Stories rather than watch and enjoy them.
This is why you may want to switch things up and make some IG Stories that aren’t about your design business at all. Instead, talk to your audience about something else. Maybe you just had a funny encounter with an old friend or ran into a past client or a favorite vendor. Or something crazy happened to you through the course of your day. If you have pets, trust me on this, SHARE VIDEOS OF THEM! People love that, and it helps create personal connections that bring people further into your world. Just don’t overdo the cute cat or playful pup posts – too much of a good thing is never good!
Don’t treat IG Stories like a passive form of media. A lot of marketing is you speaking to your audience without them being able to answer back. The trick with IG Stories is that you can and should add interactive elements like polls and questions. Ask users what design choices they prefer. Post photos of two rugs, two lamps, and two paint colors and have your users vote on which they think is best. They’ll love the chance to chime in with you!
You can also ask questions that can get direct responses from your audience. They slide the story up, and they can send you an instant message, reaching out to create an actual dialogue with you. That’s definitely something you don’t get with most static ads.
Most of all, you should be having fun with IG Stories. While it is a valuable marketing technique, it’s also something that people love playing with for fun. You should be doing the same! The reason that IG Stories are so popular is that they are a fun alternative from the old, boring newsfeed. Don’t just create stories that are copies of the same content you have on Facebook, Twitter, and your other social media channels. This isn’t the place to efficiently repurpose content. Instead, have fun being creative with your IG Stories. After all, if you aren’t having fun, your audience isn’t having fun, which means you’re missing the point and not reaping the benefits.
While there isn’t a ton of copy involved with IG Stories, the hope is that users will want to head to your website to see more of you. Once there, you need to present them with great content quality and engagement. If they check out your blog and find only lifeless, boring, or old content, they’re going to be disappointed. But if they discover your website is full of interesting, fun, and valuable content that gets them excited about you and your work, you might just have a new client!
If you’d like to super-charge your marketing with excellent interior design copy, contact me today. Together, we can collaborate to build a website that perfectly reflects the personality and passion that you show off in your Instagram Stories! In fact, you can schedule a call with me immediately!