The use of Instagram Stories nearly doubled over the last two years and as of 2019, the feature boasts over 500 million daily active users. Instagram Stories is an optimal testing ground for brands to experiment with new content types to engage with consumers, but it remains underutilized by most legacy watch and jewelry brands.
97% of brands tracked in Gartner L2’s report on the topic posted at least one story last year—a 28% increase from 2017—though brands post infrequently, only posting stories during 32% of the tracked time period. Over half of studied brands’ Stories strategies focus on posting a high-volume of content around tentpole events, but not posting otherwise. Indie brands, on the other hand, recognize the role Stories plays in continual consumer engagement and are typically power users of the platform, posting 65% of the tracked time. Indie brand Catbird, for example, posted the most of any tracked account, and made sure to always include relevant shopping tags and swipe-ups leading directly to product pages to guide users to purchase.
Some brands are able to keep pace on Stories, with standouts Kendra Scott and IWC posting stories over 90% of the tracked time period and innovating with differentiated content and feature adoption. Kendra Scott used Stories to push followers into stores by tagging posts about new pop-up stores with location tags, countdown stickers and even utilizing live video to give a store tour. IWC used Stories for product education, creating tutorials on how to adjust watch times and dates. IWC also hosted a Q&A with a watchmaker and allowed followers to submit live inquiries with the question sticker.
Brands can leverage Instagram Stories as a way to interact with consumers more informally and provide them with more differentiated content than the highly stylized imaging that traditionally makes up brand Instagram feeds. Equally as important, brands should maintain a consistent posting strategy to continually reach and engage followers.