Maybe you’ve been wondering how to effectively use Instagram Stories for a while, and now you’re overwhelmed with the newest Instagram feature, Reels. ????
Maybe you have no idea what types of content are better suited for each different feature on the platform. Why should your brand care about them? And, most important, how can you take advantage of these features to grow your business?
You’re definitely not alone! And we’re here to help. Let’s start from the beginning…
What Is an Instagram Story?
A Story is mobile content shared in vertical orientation that’s only visible for 24 hours once posted (unless it’s made into a Highlight). Stories formats include: photo, video, boomerang, text, GIFs, and livestream. You can then add filters, polls, sliders, stickers, GIFs, and text to make your Story stand out!
Why Use Stories?
The biggest positives of using Stories are:
- They’re given the highest priority spot when a user opens Instagram. Before a user ever scrolls, they have the option to view Stories, and many users watch Stories before ever scrolling down their feed.
- Stories are a full-screen format which allows for a distraction-free viewing experience. It’s a chance for your brand to take up a user’s entire screen, which is rare on social media.
F8 is an annual conference held by Facebook, intended for developers and entrepreneurs who build products and services around the website. According to a presentation from Facebook at F82019:
- 56% of people say they use Stories on three or more platforms at least 1 time/week, and 57% agree that Stories make them feel part of a larger community.
- 1 in 2 people surveyed say they have visited a website—and 31% have gone to a store—to buy a product/service as a result of having seen it in Stories.
What Makes a Great Instagram Story?
Here are some tips for making great Stories directly from Facebook also shared at F8 2019:
- Get Creative – creativity can make or break your Stories.
- Use high-resolution Visuals – 56% of a brand’s sales lift can be attributed to the quality of the creative.
- Feel the Need for Speed – Capitalizing on quick, dynamic content allows brands to meet users’ expectations and sustain their attention. Think “burst mode” rather than “long take.”
- Keep it Vertical – Creating your content in a vertical format makes the most of the screen real estate you have available.
- Use Clear CTAs – As much as possible, give a Call to Action. The more clear it is, the higher the chance that you get the response you want.
- Test and Learn – Stories are a great chance for a free focus group. If you’re not yet seeing the results you expect, it’s definitely worth trying different things and switching it up to understand which stimuli your audience best responds to. Use Story Polls and Question Boxes to ask them what they want to see more of!
What are Reels?
Reels is Instagram’s latest feature that launched at the start of August 2020 to compete with the highly popular TikTok app. Instagram users can now create bite-sized videos sharing tips, inspiration, or light-hearted content.
What Should You Share in Reels?
Your Reels content doesn’t have to be brand new. You can use existing content from your blog, podcast, and social channels and simply adjust it to work well on Reels.
- Educational Content – Do you share informational or educational content in the captions of your main Instagram feed posts? Great. And if you’re not, you definitely should!???? Just take those points, condense them into bullets, and share them on a fun video!
- Behind-The-Scenes – Is your team working on a fun project? Doing a team-building exercise? Watering your office plants? These are all fun things to share in short BTS videos.
- Your Brand Differentiators – What makes your company unique? What sets you apart? Share that with your following in an engaging video!
Stories are tested and here to stay, while Reels are super fresh. The jury’s out on whether or not Reels are around for the long haul, but brands that invest in this trend will definitely reap the rewards in the algorithm! ????
But hey, don’t feel like you have to do it all. If the only time you can commit to Instagram is by posting regularly in your main feed, do that and do it well! If you have 3 minutes to film a quick “Hello!” on your Stories weekly or snap a pic of some new products when they come in, that’s great, too!
However, if you know you want to utilize these features to grow your brand awareness and your bottom line, but you don’t have the time to commit to it, a social media marketing company or freelancer can be a great asset for you!
There’s no denying that website homepage content is extremely important for every single business. In fact, your site’s content is one of the main factors that can impact conversions drastically.
There are a few well-meaning website homepage mistakes we see pretty often, so we wanted to tackle this on a blog to help out any small business owner who may be wondering why visitors are clicking off of their website, or maybe why they’re seeing a lot of traffic but no new business.
With homepage content, it’s important not to be overly vague and conceptual, but also not to get stuck in the minutia either. Sound complicated? It *kinda* is. But we’re here to help!
What Makes Great Homepage Content?
To have great homepage content, you’ll want a mix of higher level brand messages and actual information your audience wants to know. It’s important to not overfocus on information about your products or services, but also share different aspects of your business, like your story, your process, and what sets you apart from other companies like you.
In today’s world, good content just isn’t going to cut it. You need outstanding content to be set apart, not only with your target audience but also on search engines like Google.
So, how do you create amazing content that Google likes and your target audience loves? Let’s take a look.
1. Answer Questions & Overcome Objections
When starting a new website project, it’s important to begin with questions, then build your content around the answers. Before ever writing a single word of content, you need to ask important questions that define the basics.
For example: Who is your audience? What are the main concepts you’re trying to communicate? What do you have to offer? What makes you different from your competition? What do you want visitors to do once they’re on your website?
2. Prioritize Important Information
You should always format sections of the homepage so visitors will find and engage with the most important information first. It’s helpful to share the most pertinent content on the homepage because it saves users from potentially getting lost or disinterested before finding what they need. For example, the most important part of your homepage is what we call the “hero” section. It’s always first, and a good one always has a header that answers the who, what, and where questions.
After you ask the important questions, answer them in the different sections of your homepage! The content of your homepage serves a few important purposes. First, your homepage should introduce your service or product, answer the most important questions about your company and what you have to offer, and entice users to click further into the site.
3. Share Your Differentiators
- Share Your Story & Company Values – Why should people hire you or shop with you over an online service? Let potential customers know WHY you started your business and what the values are that make you different from big box or online services. If you make a logo, why should people use you over Fiverr? If you sell shoes, why should they shop with you instead of on Amazon? It’s because of YOU. So let them know who you are.
- Let People in on Your Process – Most people want to know what to expect going into a new work relationship or shop at a new store, so give them a little behind the scenes.
4. Give Clear Calls to Action
Do you know what you ultimately want your visitors to do after reaching your site? Do you want them to email you? Fill out a form? Call you? Once you answer this, visually highlight the most important calls-to-action for them. One way to do this is to use eye-catching colors with enough contrast to help primary buttons stand out—and place them in prominent locations where users can’t miss them. It’s important to make the path to this action very clear using obvious, clickable buttons for a smooth user flow.
5. Optimize Everything
After you write your outstanding content, you’re going to want to optimize it for the following:
- SEO – The secondary purpose for homepage content is SEO. The more information you share about what you do on the homepage, the more searchable your website is. You don’t have to input a book’s worth of content on your homepage (and you shouldn’t), but make sure you’re describing enough about your business so that search engines can get an idea of where to place you in their rankings.
- User Experience – Oftentimes when people think of optimization, they just think of SEO. While SEO is a huge part of optimization, it doesn’t just stop there. While this is an important factor of optimization, if you aren’t taking into account the actual users, your efforts will be largely wasted. As you optimize your content, make sure it is also user-friendly.
How do you do this?
- Include targeted keywords in your copy, titles, meta-descriptions, and tags
- Add clear calls to action after every blog post
- Use high-quality yet compressed images with alt descriptions
- Post new content regularly (i.e. blogs)
- Design user-friendly site navigation
A good homepage is the best first impression you can give people of your business. Think of your homepage as your modern day storefront. The more visually appealing and eye-catching it is, the more visitors will pause and really look into what you’re offering. But don’t stop there, you need to have content that is as informative and engaging as your visuals. This will not only help with SEO, but also user experience.
As always, if this feels overwhelming, or if you just simply don’t know how to write to your target audience, and you’d like someone to hash it all out with, we’d love to do that with you.