It can be very difficult for organisations to effectively reach and engage their followers. On average, business pages on Facebook reach just 2.6% of their followers. Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Snapchat all suffer the same fate, however, Instagram Stories via the Instagram app seems to be the exception.

It is estimated that 80% of Instagram users follow at least one business account on the channel, with 30% of users making a purchase of a product that they first saw on the Instagram app. And now with the Stories function, the app has a treasure chest of goodies available to users who frequently engage with organisations and businesses. In this blog, we will explore how organisations within the arts and culture industry can maximise the effectiveness on Instagram Stories off the back of the results from Rival IQ’s 2020 Benchmark report.

What is Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories is a feature that was first introduced on the Instagram app back in 2016. It allows the user to post numerous photos or short video clips to their ‘Story’, these can be browsed above the Instagram feed or by going onto someone’s profile and clicking their display icon. However, unless they are saved in your highlights, Stories only last for 24 hours before they are deleted. The idea of Instagram Stories is to capture genuine, in-the-moment shots, as opposed to the carefully curated content you see on the Instagram feed. As the feature has evolved, it has grown in importance for brands to effectively utilise the channel to create a narrative, tell stories and connect with consumers. With the option to edit your story through adding filters, locations, stickers and gifs, you can make your stories stand out more to your followers; you can also add polls or emoji sliders to make your stories interactive!

People use instagram stories to update their followers from anywhere in the world

Instagram Stories 2019 statistics

Rival IQ, the social media data analysts, released their 2020 Instagram Stories Benchmark report only a few days ago. As we understand, Instagram Stories have been the channel’s biggest success, with users spending ten times longer on the app since the feature’s introduction. Rival IQ’s report was both interesting and informative, with plenty of information that social media and digital marketers can take advantage of. Here are our top statistics from the report:

  • Despite the rise in brands using stories and users viewing them, Instagram posts reach far more users. However, stories are still very valuable as the repeat impressions can increase your overall engagement rating on the app. Entertain users via posts and keep them engaged via stories.
  • The average brand is posting on stories 9 times per month - however, we recommend posting on stories every day in order to maximise reach rate.
  • Shorter stories of 1-5 frames are more successful than longer stories of 5+ frames.
  • In the past year, as more people use stories, the reach rate is decreasing. Accounts with over 200,000 followers saw the largest drop in retention rate with only 14% of their followers viewing their posts and stories.
  • There has been a 47% increase in story replies in the past year, helped by the introduction of quick replies through emoji reactions when a user simply swipes up on a story. Having a clear call to action, such as a question, on your story will encourage users to reply to your story.
  • On single-story posts, the exit rate is just 8%. However, this increases the more stories you post in one day. In 2019, brands improved their exit rate on average by 20% through little improvements; such as calls to action, storytelling, linking products and using Instagram stickers like their in-built hashtags.

How the Arts and Culture industry can utilise these results

Having a strong presence on social media has been the key to unlocking and understanding consumers’ desires. Here are ways you can utilise Instagram Stories effectively for your arts and culture organisation; to drive brand awareness, engagement and even ticket sales!

1. Give backstage access to your loyal followers
Showcase snapshots or short films of the cast getting ready for a performance, or give teasers for new exhibits.

A man filming himself to post on instagram stories

2. Share and promote what your organisation has to offer
Make sure you let your followers know everything you can offer to help make their experience better. Whether that be a coffee shop, gift shop, disabled access or special tours for special occasions. This helps inspire FOMO (the fear of missing out) amongst your audience. As the posts disappear after 24 hours users will be sure they won’t want to miss anything really cool.

3. Tease announcements
Relating back to the point that stories disappear after 24 hours (unless added to highlights on your profile), this is a great opportunity to tease users with content leading up to a big event or show. Using tools such as boomerang or blurred image is just enough to make your followers curious and leave them coming back for more.

4. Over 10,000 followers? Use the swipe up tool
For accounts with over 10,000 followers, Instagram has introduced a swipe up feature in their stories which allows you to embed a link to a particular landing page. This could be a blog post, YouTube video, events page or a place to book tickets via mobile. Top tip! Make sure you give the user a clear call to action in the Stories frame to let them know why they should swipe up.

5. Encourage user-generated content
Many people are highly likely to use Instagram to talk about your organisation before, during and after their visit - but only if you encourage them to. One way to do this is by sharing visitor stories onto your own story feed. However, this can only be done if the user tags you in their stories. Think about ways you can encourage this throughout your attraction, where appropriate, whether that is through a photo opportunity or the promise of something special.

the audience love to update their instagram stories during a performance

6. Take advantage of the Polls feature
Use the polls feature to ask your audience their thoughts on an up and coming show or exhibition. Find out what they are after for a great experience with their family or friends. This is also a great feature to test any content ideas for a more permanent environment.

7. Highlight your best bits
Instagram stories introduced Story Highlights which allowed the account to save their favourite and most-watched stories into folders on their account page. This meant that people could go back and watch their favourite stories months later. Use this feature to save story content relating to different shows or exhibitions, this will give any potential visitors or customers a quick and engaging preview of the kind of experience you offer; even if it is long past the event itself.

8. Countdown stickers
There are many stickers that Instagram have created to help boost engagement on your frame. One that the arts and culture industry could make use of is the countdown feature. Have a show coming up? A promotion on ticket sales? Create a countdown clock on your stories that will help increase excitement and probability of ticket sales.

9. The only way is up!
Make sure your team are taking story content (image and video) in vertical to ensure it fits the frame. Horizontal images and video don’t gain as much traction, don’t maximise on mobile screen real estate and look lower quality to vertical frames.

10. Utilise the live streaming feature
Statistics show that up to 30% of users who watch a live stream of an event on Instagram stories are more likely to attend that same event in person. You can stream behind the scenes footage before and after shows to increase excitement and interest, and add experience to those who are in attendance at the time.

Instagram Stories lets you film live footage which is a useful tool in the arts and culture industry

Are you interested in doing more to harness social media, or even digital marketing as a whole, at your organisation? After Digital works with many organisations within the arts and culture industry on digital marketing, UX design and website development. If you are looking for more information on how we can help you, please do not hesitate to get in touch!

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