Instagram and Facebook stories are time eaters. Unless you are doing something interesting with them you risk getting nothing in return.
But there is value in creating good stories. Your audience will be less inclined to swipe onto the next story which means you’ll build stronger connections with them. They will spend time with you, making it more likely that they will buy from you and tell others what you do.
But how do you create good stories?
There’s no magic involved just a bit of practice and planning. And I know the word planning sounds kinda wrong when we’re talking about Instagram or Facebook stories. After all, these are supposed to be candid moments right? How can you plan to be candid and off the cuff?
Not all stories take hardcore planning but there’s no harm thinking them through before diving in. That way you’ll know that you’re creating something valuable every time.
This is part 3 in a series on creating better Instagram & Facebook stories:
Part 1: Instagram Story Etiquette – The Ethics And The Honour
Part 2: How To Use Instagram Superzoom To Add Emphasis To Your Story
Part 3: Stop The Swipe: 6 Steps To Creating Instagram Stories Your Audience Will Watch To The End
Part 4: 7 Instagram Story Tools That Give You Added Sparkle
Part 5: How To Add Stories To Your Facebook Business Page- And A Fix
Part 6: Instagram Story Highlights – The Best Way To Tell Your Followers Who You Are?
How to plan Instagram stories
1. Content goalsThe best stories are fun because they feature an entertaining person, share useful information or are inspiring.Click To Tweet
There’s a significant time investment involved in creating Instagram stories. If you are going to lavish that time make sure it’s not wasted. Think of stories like you would any other content. What is the key message you want to get across? What value is in it for you or your audience?
- Do you want people to get to know you and your brand?
- Do you want to teach your audience something?
- Do you want to establish your expertise?
- Do you want to answer common customer questions?
- Do you want to entertain your audience?
If you are a blogger or vlogger look back on your previous content for inspiration.
The best stories are fun because they feature an entertaining person, share useful information or are inspiring.
The ones that cause an instant swipe are self-indulgent or self-promotional. Of course, you’ll want to share promotional or sales content sometimes. As long as it’s part of a mixed content strategy it will still work.
Find out more about building a balanced content strategy here.
Once you know what you want to get from your stories you’ll find it easier to create them. Are you ready for the next step?
The day before I left for Social Media Marketing World (SMMW) I spent my time watching an entire series of Line Of Duty on Netflix. I had lots of work to do and I had to pack but I just couldn’t stop watching. It’s the Netflix effect.
To keep viewers watching we need to Netflix up our stories and one way to do that is to think storytelling.
With the Line of Duty experience fresh in my mind, I went to Social Media Marketing World with a plan. A story that I was sure would keep people interested.
Here’s the result:
People kept watching to see how I got on with my challenge. Would I get my daily 5 points or would I crash and burn? Some even sent recommendations by direct message.
That story was watched by more people all the way through than any of my more off the cuff ones.
Storyboarding, that’s a bit OTT for Instagram stories isn’t’ it?
Maybe not. Stories are visual so it makes sense to use a visual tool to plan them. You don’t have to storyboard every story but from time to time you might want to create something a bit different or complex. That’s where it becomes a powerful tool.
Use storyboards to help you think visually. Instead of speaking into the camera, is there a visual element you can add that will tell your story?
Map out the elements, video clips, stills, text and even stickers on your storyboard. You’ll find that this process makes it quicker and easier to create your complex stories.
Here’s a story I storyboarded before posting to Instagram. It took longer than my regular content to create but to date, it’s still my most viewed story.
4. What tools will you use
I may get a little overexcited about the built-in Instagram tools. Superzoom, Boomerang, Rewind, Stop-Motion all enhance stories in a way that would have been ridiculously hard back when I started making videos in the 90s.
You can also add filters, stickers and more to your stories. Use them well and you’ll add impact.
Think out how you use these elements in advance or you could end up overusing them which destroys the effect they have on your viewer.
5. Don’t forget off the cuff moments
Just because you’ve planned out your story don’t let that plan crush the off the cuff moments. Don’t miss an important occasion because you are tied to your plan.
As long as you don’t go too far off track people will keep watching.
If you have an Instagram business account you can see which stories were most popular. Which got the most views and which inspired the most messages?
You’ll soon discover the types of story that your audience likes so you can create more.
If you haven’t’ converted to a business account yet keep a record of your impressions and messages, a story with a lot of messages will usually be the one that performs the best.
Do you plan your stories in advance? Do you use tools or do you keep your plans in your head? Leave me a comment below.
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