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Does your association or organization use Instagram to build your brand and engage with your audience? If you do, are Instagram Stories part of your social media strategy?

If they’re not already, they should be. 

The fleeting nature of Instagram Stories means this content format is less refined and curated, and more unfiltered and raw, allowing followers a more personal glimpse into your organization, helping to humanize your brand and generate more brand loyalty.

Benefits of Instagram Stories

Drive engagement: A wonderful benefit of Instagram Stories is that they drive strong engagement and help your organization achieve greater visibility. Because of their fixed position atop of followers’ feeds, there’s less algorithmic competition for reach and impressions within the feed. Plus, loyal followers are notified when you publish a new Story, immediately leading viewers to your content.

Test content: Stories are also a great way to vet content. If a Story does well and generates strong engagement, you can repurpose it as a post on your grid. If a Story falls flat, just let it expire 24 hours later — no need to add it to the grid.

Drive traffic: If your organization has more than 10,000 followers, you’re eligible for the “swipe up” feature, which allows you to share links via Stories that users can access by simply swiping up. This makes it easy to drive traffic to your landing pages, lead magnets, and website. 

Let’s take a look at a few creative examples of brands using Instagram stories.

6 engaging ways to use Instagram Stories

1. Elicit meaningful feedback — and engage.

Check out this brilliant use of the slider feature on Instagram Stories:

This local newspaper, the Florida Times-Union, uses the slider to ask their audience questions with options for viewers to mark different responses that align with the slider position. The newspaper’s social media staff then follows up with respondents individually based on how they reacted to the slider. This is an excellent and innovative way to increase engagement and build deeper relationships within the community.

2. Test new products, services, and features by polling followers.

Are you considering developing a new product or feature? Use Instagram’s Poll function within Stories to create polls to find out which options your followers prefer, or how they feel about a particular topic. Associations can easily create polls asking their followers how they feel about: 

  • More virtual events vs. more in-person events
  • Conference themes
  • Conference session topics
  • Most valuable member benefits
  • Issues affecting members’ workplaces
  • Anything you can think of!

See this insightful poll from Harvard Business School:

3. Host an “ask me anything” using the question feature on Instagram Stories

Have the president or another leader of your association host an “ask me anything” using Questions and a selfie video on Instagram Stories. Create a Story early in the day and allow responses to trickle in, then share the questions you received with your responses. Check out how the Human Rights Campaign hosted an ask-me-anything about anti-LGBTQ bills in state legislatures:

4. Crowd-source your content creation

Want to create meaningful content for your association’s blog or resource library? Get immediate feedback straight from your ideal audience! Use the Questions feature to ask a pointed question or fill-in-the-blank response. As your audience responds, you can use the information you collect to guide the content you create. Here are a few examples from Unicef:

5. Create screenshot-able content made for reposting

Create worksheets or “this or that” polls that followers can screenshot, fill in with their experiences and insights, then repost on their own stories. These are great for brand awareness because your post becomes visible to all of the followers of anyone who participates. Here’s an example from Voices of Youth:

6. Use Stories to gamify education

The Quiz feature in Instagram Stories lets users choose an answer to a multiple-choice question. You can use this to create simple trivia-like quizzes, or you can use it to create activities. See this example of how the American Lung Association used the Quiz function to teach parents about youth vaping:

We’re only scratching the surface here on all of the creative ways your association or member-based organizations can take advantage of Instagram Stories. Stories are easy, versatile, and great for engaging your audience. We can’t wait to see how your association adopts innovative uses of these features!

Emily Herrington
Post by Emily Herrington
July 7, 2021
Emily Herrington is a New Orleans-based digital marketer specializing in SEO, content, and pay-per-click advertising. She can usually be found at her desk obsessing over data and rankings, or in the kitchen covered in flour.