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Since the dawn of man, storytelling has been an essential component of our lives. We thrive on the stories of others, both fact and fiction. When you’re trying to build your brand and connect with a specific audience on Instagram, the use of stories can be a huge contributor to your success.
“The magical thing about storytelling is that once you start showing your followers why you’re different, you stop having to do the icky ‘selling’ thing,” says an article from the blog and Instagram presence We Are Wild Bloom. “You stop having to compete on price alone. Oh, and you build brand advocates who share stories about your brand in blog posts like this”
Storytelling can build your following and provide unparalleled connection with them, leading you to untold possibilities in the realm of Instagram. If you want to build and connect with your Instagram audience, here are a few storytelling tips to try.
Engage with Followers
One of the best ways to tell a story and promote your brand is through follower engagement. With this tool, you’re able to connect with individuals on a personal level, making them feel valued and encouraging a long-lasting relationship.
When you’re first starting out, engagement is a challenge. You don’t have a huge following, and it can be difficult to know what to say and do in order to contain your audience. Many Instagrammers choose to instantly buy Instagram followers in order to promote engagement.
Real, purchased Instagram followers will engage with your audience for you, linking them to your brand’s story and success. Individuals will feel valued and your brand will automatically grow as a result.
Build a Community
Let your unique offerings take the stage and build a community. You won’t appeal to every Instagram user on the planet, but you will appeal to those with a few key elements in common.
A great example is the New York City Public Library, which uses hashtags to create a stronger community. The account managers regularly share the history of this iconic institution. Each Monday, they use the hashtag #LetMeLibrarianThatForYou and share an old question card that was once used regularly in the library.
They also use #BookFaceFriday to generate user content. Essentially, users take a photo of their face on the cover of a book and submit it to the competition. It’s compelling, engaging, and tells millions of stories with each post.
Let Your Photography Do the Talking
People log onto Instagram in order to see gorgeous photographs and videos. They crave the connection to visual content, which gives them an escape from the oft-negative reality.
It’s not enough to post a random photo from your day. Each photo should be carefully planned so that it reflects the essence of your brand and tells a story. For example, if you’re targeting an audience of moms, you might post a story of your messy kitchen with a smiling baby in the background. This simple photo connects with the entirety of your target audience without the need to say a lot.
Make sure that your photos are high quality. Edit photos before posting if necessary and don’t be afraid to use filters. Visual appeal is everything when you’re trying to connect with your Instagram audience and let your storytelling do the talking.
Write Compelling Captions
Photographs will do most of the storytelling for you, but the right caption will drive the point home. As Neil Shea said in a Nieman Lab article, “…the app asks for a deeper consideration of photographs and the rich, nuanced ways that words and pictures work together.”
Captions need not be long to get your point across, although they certainly can be. A few well-chosen words will enhance users’ perception of the story being told and create a stronger connection with your audience. Good captions with get you engaged Instagram likes.
If you choose to do a longer caption, as many Instagrammers are now doing, make sure you break up the content into sections to make it easier to read. You might use line dividers or emojis to enhance the content.
Once your caption and photograph are working together, Shea says that it creates a compelling story that your followers can’t help but be attracted to. It’s truly what Instagram does best.
“Over time I realized that beneath the selfie surface, Instagram provided a powerful, unexpected, and mostly underutilized storytelling tool,” she says. “But those who wade in will find that storytelling on Instagram is an awesome hack: a purpose for which the thing wasn’t intended, but at which it excels.”
Use Instagram Stories
As the name suggests, Instagram Stories is one of the best ways to let storytelling epitomize your brand. It’s also one of the best ways to stand out against your competitors and be more searchable in the Instagram index.
Instagram Stories lets you get personal, showcasing a behind-the-scenes look at your life or your business. It can help inform followers on an important issue and helps you stay relevant in your industry.
It’s also a great tool for posting exclusive content. “NASA made a decision to post an exclusive image of the Pluto flyby exclusively on Instagram and managed to double its number of followers over the following six months,” Karl O’Brien of Effector explained, highlighting the power of Instagram stories for posting exclusive content. “If Instagram is where you want to focus your energies, then posting an exclusive there should boost engagement on that channel.”
Let Instagram Live Support Your Stories
Instagram Live might be an intimidating feature on the platform, but it’s an excellent tool for building an audience and connecting with followers through storytelling. Live video is recorded in real time, so there’s no way to go back and edit before it’s posted for the world to see, but this is to your advantage. It gives your followers a real, in-the-moment look at what it’s like to be you.
Followers will receive a notification when you’re live so that they can engage, but you can always upload it to your Instagram Stories for those who missed it. If you want to succeed in this endeavor, Shopify recommends:
“Remember that this is interactive, and that means regularly acknowledging comments from your live audience and inviting them to participate in some way. It might also take some time for your audience to join before you can start, so prepare for a preamble to buy yourself a few moments.”
Storytelling will be your most powerful Instagram tool—Use it wisely. The growth and connection you achieve from your stories will astound and amaze both you and your followers.
Lindsay Shearer is a Global SEO Expert, Author & Speaker. She travels all over the world coaching brands and businesses on SEO, Online Marketing, Venture Capital & Angel Investing and helping brands grow tremendously. You can check out more about her at https://lindsayshearer.com, and https://marketingfunnelbreakdown.com. Lindsay & Will Robins Co-host a Podcast called Marketing Funnel Breakdown that talks about everything SEO & Online Marketing.