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Instagram Stories Strategy: Tips for Building Engaging Story Content

Hélène Heath
July 27, 2018
Last Updated On
April 19, 2024
makeup products

As a social media marketer, you're greatly aware of the importance of a well-rounded Instagram strategy. Your game plan has to include a strong narrative, a branded voice, an equally relevant tone, quality visuals, and mastery of every tool and functionality at your business' disposal.

This includes understanding how to use Instagram Stories to the best of your advantage to keep your audience engaged on your brand journey. Your Instagram story strategy should include using the stories feature creatively, maximizing their impact with the swipe-up link feature, and then measuring their performance against your industry's benchmarks.

A lot can be done with Insta Stories. As the functionality's user base grows, it's more important than ever for brands to get it right with short-form videos. Especially those operating in the beauty sector, where motion content dominates thanks to particularly receptive audiences. Highlight swatches are so much more alluring when they're in action.

Why Use Instagram Stories for Marketing?

Instagram Stories are a great way for your brand to connect with your audience and show them a more authentic side of your business. Building a strong social media community is crucial for long-term success on social media, and with the help of Instagram Stories, you can establish a strong Instagram community that is both loyal and engaged. 

Let’s learn about the most significant benefits of using Instagram Stories to ensure your brand takes advantage of everything IG Stories have to offer. 

Reach More People

When it comes to Instagram Stories, you are more likely to get a higher reach than you would through regular posts. Every time you post an Instagram story, it will appear at the top of your follower's feed page which makes your stories harder to miss. On top of this, your story can have multiple posts on it at once, meaning each story you post will reach many more people. Be sure to post Instagram Stories very frequently (without being spammy), to stay on your follower's Instagram as much as you can. Don't forget, Instagram Stories only last 24 hours, so remember to have your stories planned and ready to post for when the previous ones expire. Try out tools that allow you to schedule your Instagram content in advance to save time in your work day. 

Interact With Your Followers

Instagram Stories have many features built in for you to interact with your audience. Not only does interacting with your audience increase your Instagram engagements, but it also allows you to get more personal with your customers. Using Instagram Stories features such as polls or Q&A lets you learn about your audience and lets your audience learn about your brand. Interacting with your followers is the very first step to creating a loyal social media community that knows and loves your brand.

Promote Your Website

The best strategies use Instagram Stories as a tool for driving traffic to your website. Instagram Stories allow you to share easy, clickable links whenever you want. You can also utilize the swipe-up feature to guide people to your site. If you're featuring your brand's products/services on your IG stories, link them to your site so that your followers can check them out in more depth. You can also link your blog posts, case studies, and more to lead your followers to your site. Be sure to link your site in your stories as much as possible to maximize traffic to your website.

Try out Dash Hudson’s LikeShop link in bio tool to seamlessly direct your audience to your site.

Run Instagram Stories Ad Campaigns

Run advertisement campaigns with the help of Instagram Stories to generate more leads and drive sales. The key to including stories in your ad campaigns is to make sure your stories don't seem too promotional. Stories are meant to be informal and authentic, so make sure that when you're running ad campaigns via stories that you are maintaining your brand's style and keeping your content as natural as possible. Create Instagram Stories ads that convert and promote your brand in the best way possible.

Boost Engagement

Instagram Stories are the best way to increase engagement on your social channels because of their fun and interactive features that keeps your social media communities engaged. Learn how e-commerce leader REVOLVE used our Instagram Stories insights tool to measure and keep up with their story performance.

Tips for Creating an Instagram Stories Strategy to Boost Engagement

To build a strong Instagram Stories strategy that will go the distance and drive engagement, brands should wrap their heads around these four pillars of best practices:

  • Informing all activity through data
  • Remembering that each one of your story cards should contribute to the bigger story you're setting out to tell
  • Leveraging the right influencers and celebs
  • And finally, using that valuable swipe-up tool tactically.

Let's break those down.

Instagram stories best practices infographic

1. Data-Informed Programming for Instagram Stories

Everything you plan should be based on the data you've collected on your past Instagram Stories activities. You should be looking at the performance of your posts, looking at averages for your taps forward, exit rates, and audience reach.

Analyze what kind of Insta Stories are getting followers to watch the longest, what is making them leave, which type is receiving the most views, etc. Plan to create more content that engages followers (this stuff they like), and cut down on the content that has low engagement and high exit rates (the stuff they don't like).

Data-Informed Programming for Insta Stories infographic

2. How to Post Instagram Stories: It's a Package Deal

Your Stories are not just a one and done, they encompass many individual stories—which we call cards—and they've got to each be considered to make it onto the main stage.

Learning how to package a full and complete Instagram Story demands being able to look at story cards from a macro and micro level. This will help determine optimal length, how much text to use versus how much face time to feature, gif and music inclusions, etc. This process will help to keep exit rates at the lowest point you can get them.

Snapshot of Dash Hudson platform Instagram story section

3. Leverage Instagram Influencers & Celebrities

Nothing draws interest like an authority or a famous face, especially when they're relevant and on-brand. Influencer marketing is a proven effective practice in the modern business world, and Influencer relationships are a great thing to leverage for Instagram Stories.

Our human propensity for voyeurism makes us want to watch those we are fascinated with, rendering these kinds of features and takeovers ultra beneficial for brands on Instagram Stories.

instagram influencers take over strategy for instagram stories

4. Add Links to Your Instagram Stories

That Insta Story swipe-up tool is easy to use, and important it is for brands to employ.

Not only can inserting a URL in a story drive discovery and lead to sales conversions, but it's also simply a fantastic traffic generator. Allure uses this tactic for a number of different story varieties, but the mag's social team is also using the functionality to tease website items, and get followers onto the site by inserting a link they can swipe up on.

For example, they teased a Queer Eye piece with a snippet on Insta Stories, which they linked to the article on-site. It received 14k visits from that URL placement alone.

examples of adding Links to Your Instagram Stories
driving site traffic via instagram stories Queer Eye example infographic

5. Post Consistently

In order to get the most out of Instagram Stories, you should ensure that you are posting consistently. The more you post, the more engagements you will get. Posting a couple of stories every day to stay active on your follower's feeds will ensure that you stay on their minds and get a steady amount of engagements on your Instagram every day.

Allure is one of the beauty industry's greatest authorities. The team knew of this great responsibility to readers and took on the mission of driving higher engagement and site visits with a super robust, tactical, well-informed Instagram Stories marketing strategy. And they nailed it.

Instagram Stories Insights by Dash Hudson

Dash Hudson is the perfect tool for your brand to track the performance of your Instagram Stories. Post and schedule Instagram Stories, track how your strategy is performing, what kind of story content drives the most link clicks, and more. You can also segment your content by type, campaign, or aesthetic to find out what your audience likes best. Use Instagram Insights to ensure you're giving your audience what they want to see with every single post.


What makes a successful Instagram Story?

The best way to have successful Instagram Stories is to get to know your target audience. Stories are meant to be interactive and engaging for your audience, so learn what it is your followers like to see, and what they typically engage with. If you don't know where to start on this, try competitive benchmarking to learn what your competitors are doing for their audience.

Is there an algorithm for Instagram Stories?

Instagram prioritizes stories based on engagements. Accounts that typically get higher engagements (profile visits, comments, likes, interactions, and more) on their Stories will be placed higher on the stories section of the feed page. Learn more about how Instagram algorithms work in 2022 to maximize your Instagram performance.

What content is best for Instagram Stories?

The best kind of content to post on Instagram Stories is trendy content. Since it only has a 24-hour period on the social channel, posting content that is relevant at the time its posted is best. On top of this, posting content that is interactive by using Instagram Stories features like polls will perform best and get high engagement. Consider doing a story that's both trendy and interactive!

How to change Story background color?

To change your Instagram Story background, follow these steps: 

  • Select the photo or video you wish to publish.
  • In the editing window, tap the background of your Story.

Instagram has also released an option to edit your Story background using AI. To adjust your background on an iPhone or Android device, follow these steps:

  • In the editing window, select the 'stars' icon in the top-right corner.
  • Select 'Backdrop'.
  • Tap the areas of your photo you wish to edit — you can also deselect here.
  • Using English, write a prompt for your background. For example, 'turn the selected areas into a starry night'.
  • If you'd like to see another background option, tap the circular arrow icon to create a new background. You can also change your prompt by clicking the prompt at the bottom of the screen and typing something new.
  • When you're satisfied, select 'Your Story' in the bottom-left corner.
  • The prompt you use will be included in your Story as a sticker. You can leave it, readjust or drag and drop in the trashcan icon to remove entirely.

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