How to Build a Data-Driven Instagram Stories Strategy: Tips from Allure

[Originally published on the Dash Hudson blog.]

Last week, our head of customer success, Jenny Pratt, and Allure’s senior social media manager, Danielle Odiamar, discussed Instagram Stories strategy at Glossy’s New Face of Beauty Forum in New York City.

Their insights were too good not to share, so here we are. 💋

Pros imparting all of the knowledge.

As a social media marketer, you’re greatly aware of the importance of a well-rounded Instagram strategy (here’s a roundup of best practices if you need to brush up). Your game plan has to include a strong narrative, a branded voice, an equally relevant tone, killer quality visuals, and mastery of pretty much every tool and functionality at your business’ disposal.

Obviously, this includes understanding how to use Instagram Stories to the best of your advantage to keep your audience engaged on your brand journey. That means using them creatively, maximizing their impact with the swipe-up linkfeature, and then measuring their performance against your industry’s benchmarks.

A lot can be done with Insta Stories, and as the functionality’s user base grows, it’s more important than ever for brands to get it right with ephemeral vertical video (or IGTV, but that’s another tale for another time). Especially those operating in the beauty sector, where motion content rules the school thanks to particularly receptive audiences. Highlighter swatches are so much more alluring when they’re in action, amiright?!

So it’s no surprise that our very own DH fam member Allure is crushing the Instagram Stories game. During the Glossy Forum on the Changing Face of Beauty last week in New York city, Danielle Odiamar, the magazine’s senior social media manager, took the stage with our very own Jenny Pratt, Dash Hudson’s director of customer success, to discuss the strategies employed by Allure to help them reach Insta Story success, along with other Instagram Stories best practices that have proven to yield quite stellar results for the book’s social presence.

Here’s a recap of their presentation and the invaluable points our two bosses made. Take some notes and implement them in your own strategy, whether you’re a beauty brand or not — best practices don’t discriminate!

Building an Instagram Stories Strategy

In order to build a strong Instagram Stories strategy that will go the distance and drive engagement, brands should wrap their heads around these four pillars of best practices: informing all activity through data, remembering that each one of your story cards should contribute to the bigger story you’re setting out to tell, leveraging the right influencers and celebs, and finally, using that über valuable swipe-up tool tactically.

Let’s break those down.

1. Data-Informed Programming

Everything you plan should be based off of the data you’ve collected on your past activities. You should be looking at your averages for your taps forward, exit rates, and audience reach.

Analyze what kind of Stories are getting followers to watch the longest, what is making them leave, which type is receiving the most views, etc.

2. It’s a Package Deal

That’s right, folks. Your Stories are not just a one and done, they encompass many individual stories — which we call cards — and they’ve got to each be considered to make it onto the main stage.

Learning how to package a full and complete Instagram Story demands being able to look at story cards from a macro and micro level. This will help determine optimal length, how much text to use versus how much face time to feature, gif and music inclusions, etc. This process will help to keep exit rates at the lowest point you can get them.

3. Leverage Influencers & Celebrities

Nothing draws interest like an authority or a famous face, especially when they’re relevant and on-brand. Influencer marketing is a proven effective practice in the modern business world, and it’s a great thing to leverage for Instagram Stories.

Our human propensity for voyeurism makes us want to watch those we are fascinated with, rendering these kinds of features and takeovers ultra beneficial for brands on Instagram Stories.

4. Link Logically

That Insta Story swipe-up tool is truly a gift from the ‘Gram Gods. So much so that we’ve previously written an entire blog post about its usage and how important it is for brands to employ it.

Not only can inserting a URL in a story drive discovery and lead to sales conversions, but it’s also simply a fantastic traffic generator. Allure uses this tactic for a number or different story varieties, but the mag’s social team is also using the functionality to tease website items, and getting followers onto the site by inserting a link they can swipe up to.

For example, they teased a Queer Eye piece with a snippet on Insta Stories, which they linked to the article on site. It received 14k visits from that URL placement alone. NO BIGGIE.

Allure is one of the beauty industry’s greatest authorities. The team knew of this great responsibility to readers and took on the mission of driving higher engagement and site visits with a super robust, tactical, well-informed Instagram Stories Strategy. And they nailed it.

So follow the mag’s tips and you’ll get there too, promise.




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Dash Hudson

Dash Hudson

Visual marketing platform built for and used by the world’s most discerning brands and publishers.

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