Ready, Set, and Engage in CRE with Instagram Stories
By Sarah Malcolm, COO of The Content Funnel
New research on Instagram Stories reveals how we can use the feature more effectively. Over 400 million people use Instagram Stories on a daily basis, so you definitely want to take a look at this feature. Yes, even commercial real estate brands can use this content type to engage their followers. We’ve read the report and found important discoveries for CRE professionals to use to boost their Stories engagement.
What is Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories is a copycat feature from Snapchat. A story disappears from your Instagram Feed after 24 hours. However, you can keep the Story if you add it as a highlight. Stories are also automatically saved in a Stories Archive.
Instagram Stories Features
One of the benefits of Stories is it appears in the top row on your follower’s feed. This presents your content to the audience right away. You can add text and drawings to the photos and videos, just like Snapchat. Instagram Stories are searchable by hashtag, making your post more discoverable by new users.
Optimize Stories for CRE
Buffer and Delmondo teamed up to conduct the most in-depth report on Instagram Stories performance since its 2016 launch. They analyzed around 15,000 Stories from the world’s top 200 brands to find best practices and performance benchmarks. We trolled through the report to find key insights for CRE users looking at Instagram Stories.
#1. The optimal posting length is 1-7 stories.
That seems like a large spread. The survey team came up with this number based on completion rate, or how many times a Story was watched from the first frame all the way to the last frame. After seven stories, the completion rate dropped under 70 percent. However, the study found there is little difference in the completion rate for stories between 12-20 frames as 1-7.
View this posting length metric as a guide. The adage “no two brands are alike” comes into play here, which is probably why the spread is so large. Experiment with different story lengths to see what works best for your brand. The story content may play a role in how many frames you create.
#2. For better engagement, post outside work hours.
The Buffer team summarized the finding like this: “It’s important to note here that this is more of a guide than a hard limit on the best time to post to Instagram Stories.”
If you’re working with Stories, and want to increase your engagement, timing is everything. When will your audience be most likely to view that content you worked hard to create? Think about when people are likely to check their Instagrams: in the morning before work, lunch hour, and in the evenings. When you see what Delmondo and Buffer found, it makes sense. The optimal posting times in EST were:
4 am — 6 am
8 am — 10 am
12 pm — 2 pm
8 pm — 10 pm
Play around with these time frames or look at your existing Instagram Analytics to see when your consumers are on the platform.
#3. The completion rate for our industry niche.
The report broke the accounts they analyzed into industry verticals. CRE best falls into the “brand” vertical, which is for consumer-related products or service-oriented brands.
Inside this vertical, the researchers found the completion rate increased 12 percent over a year. At the same time, accounts posted slightly fewer Stories content, on average.
Keep in mind all the studied verticals saw a 65 percent or greater average completion rate with Instagram Stories. Delmondo found most people exited the Story on the first or last frame, so you’ll want a killer hook to start and finish.
#4. Posting Rate by Month
How often should you post using Instagram Stories? The world’s leading brands averaged 10.4 stories per month. For the “brand” vertical, the average was at 8.7 per month. That equates to 2-3 stories a week.
Using Instagram Stories
Armed with this information, how can you use Instagram Stories to promote your commercial real estate or related service? If you’re using Instagram–or social media at all–you’re probably already doing the basic work. Social is about putting your best foot forward, and you’ll want to do this with Stories.
Have an active Instagram feed? Use the same type of content for your Story. Those drone videos and photos easily become Instagram Stories. Turn a photo montage from your last conference into a Story. Conduct interviews with clients or industry leaders.
Since Instagram Stories are still relatively new and underutilized in CRE, don’t be afraid to experiment. Post consistently, monitor your engagement and vary your story frame length. See what happens. You might be pleasantly surprised.