How to plan an Instagram Stories campaign

Remember when, many moons ago (OK, August 2016), we awoke to the news that Instagram had launched a Snapchat-inspired ‘Stories’ feature? Instagram users were divided – some were put off by the fact Instagram had blatantly copied Snapchat – others were excited by the prospect of 24-hour dynamic content.

Contention over the new feature was short-lived, and since its launch, Instagram Stories has become extremely popular. The success of the feature has become so widespread that many brands now choose to use Instagram Stories as a platform in its own right. Now, Stories does more than host ‘takeovers’ and BTS content – it has become an integral part of many social campaigns. In fact, Instagram Stories is sometimes the only medium via which campaigns are run.

Regardless of your industry, Instagram Stories can be one of the best ways to get your message out there. And no matter your message, the best way to tell it is through careful planning. To help you get your message across, we’ve put together our top tips for planning a successful Instagram Stories campaign:

Understand your campaign

When planning a campaign on Instagram Stories, it’s important to have the particulars of your campaign fleshed out. Nothing can set you back more than getting half way through your planning, only to realise your campaign is not appropriate for achieving your objectives. So before you start, work out all the important details of your campaign – what your objectives are, the messaging, important dates, offers, etc.

Translate your campaign to Instagram Stories

Once you have the details of your campaign worked out, you need to consider how your objective will translate to your Stories. Will you have a ‘swipe-up’ to a linked landing page? Or are you looking to expand your brand awareness or increase profile visits? Whatever the goal, keep it in mind from the get-go, as it will inform the shape of your entire campaign.

Craft a visual direction

Now that you’ve locked down the details of your campaign and how it will run on Instagram Stories, it’s time to begin planning the visual direction of the campaign. Pull together a colour palette (ideally using your own brand colours), imagery inspiration, or design templates – these will form the basis of the visual direction for your campaign. If you already have a style guide for posting to social media, use this to ensure your campaign is on-brand. if you’re struggling for ideas, Canva has an extensive range of Instagram Story template sets, which are completely free! You can even try apps like Unfold, Mojo, Storyboost or Over. While some of these apps do require a monthly subscription, a few do have free templates you can use to boost your Instagram Stories game. If you’re creative and don’t mind playing around with design programs like Photoshop, there are plenty of tutorials on creative platforms like Pinterest, which can teach you to design eye-catching Stories.

Decide your Stories features

Instagram Stories features are an important part of a campaign, so it’s important to consider which ones are appropriate for you. Features can be anything, from GIFs to engagement features like countdown, polls or swipe-ups. You can even consider using themed AR filters – for instance, if you were a make-up brand releasing a new line of lipsticks, you could give your followers the opportunity to ‘try on’ different lipstick colours using a filter. If you can get your target audiences interacting with your content, the more likely they are to follow you or convert.

Storyboard your Stories campaign

Another important step in ensuring your campaign is on-brand and goes off without a hitch is storyboarding. Storyboarding is useful for working out both your visuals and the narrative of your campaign, so that the whole message is clear and achieving your brand objectives. A storyboard is an easy way to lay everything out and see how everything works together. If you want to get really detailed, you can even include notes about the copy, show your CTA, illustrate which stickers or GIFS you’ll need, and include anything else you think is necessary. This will give you a clear roadmap and through-line for your entire Instagram Stories campaign.

Create your assets

Now that everything has been properly and thoughtfully planned out, it’s time to begin curating assets for your Instagram Stories campaign. If you’re selling a physical product, this could mean taking product photography. If you’re a blogger, for example, this could mean creating digital imagery or sourcing stock photography. If you’re a sole trader providing a service, you could even take a photo of yourself so people can see the person they’ll be working with and form a connection with you. And if you’re employing a graphic designer to create your assets, make sure that you give them a clear brief. The more detailed your storyboard and the clearer the brief, the easier it will be for your graphic designer to create what you envisioned.

Create an Instagram Stories highlight

Stories have a lifetime of 24 hours, but if you want to ensure your followers are able to find content you posted on your Stories after that timeframe, create a Stories highlight! This way, users can refer to previous Stories you’ve posted online and build a greater understanding of your campaign. Plus, an Instagram Stories highlight also provides quick and easy access to your campaign if they’re visiting you’re profile.

It’s important that the key to running a successful Instagram Stories campaign – or any marketing campaign for that matter – is organisation; so always plan ahead!

Need a hand running a killer Instagram Stories campaign? Get in touch! Whatever your brand has to say with social media, at Social Weaver, we can help you tell your story.

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