Instagram Stories Strategy: 4 Tips for Building Engaging Story Content

Hélène Heath
July 27, 2018
Last Updated On
July 8, 2022

Last week, our head of customer success, Jenny Pratt, and Allure's senior social media manager, Danielle Odiamar, discussed Instagram Stories strategy at Glossy's New Face of Beauty Forum in New York City.

Jenny Pratt and Danielle Odiamar on stage at Glossy

Jenny Pratt and Danielle Odiamar on stage at Glossy.

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.

So it's no surprise that our very own DH fam member Allure is crushing the Instagram Stories game. During the Glossy Forum on the Changing Face of Beauty last week in New York City, Danielle Odiamar, the magazine's senior social media manager, took the stage with our very own Jenny Pratt, Dash Hudson's director of customer success. They discussed the Instagram Stories marketing strategy employed by Allure to help them reach Insta Story success, along with other Instagram Stories best practices they implement. Strategies that have proven to yield quite stellar results for Allure's social presence.

Building an Instagram Stories Marketing Strategy to Boost Engagement

In order 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 Insta 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 it's 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 truly a gift from the 'Gram Gods. So much so that we've previously written an entire blog post about its usage and how important it is for brands to employ it.

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

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.

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