Authentic Online Marketing

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Authentic Online Marketing with Ruthie Gray
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Ep 17: How to use Reels and stories for your brand

Ever wonder how to use reels and stories for your brand? Today we’ll cover Instagram reels, stories, live video, & what to share in each.

*This episode contains either affiliate links or links to my products. Should you choose to purchase, the show will go on! Woo hoo!


Sign up for the 7-Day Instagram Story Challenge

Listen to Ep. 36: How to do a group Reels Collaboration

Listen to Ep. 63: Leveraging 2023 Instagram Trends

Listen to Ep. 30: 2 Easy ways to repurpose stories to Reels

If you’re new to stories and want to start reaching your target followers, then you’ll want to take my seven day story challenge.

How to Explode Engagement on Instagram Episode #11

Ep 11: 3 Proven ways to explode engagement on Instagram (and stop hearing crickets)

How to maintain consistent story posting

Q:  Having trouble with consistency, losing momentum when I doubt, pushing through and starting again.  

A. Here’s the thing about how to use reels and stories – you don’t have to be rigid or have a certain kind of strategy at the beginning, especially.

Start sharing your life. Think of a few things that you can share in stories:

morning coffee
ground coffee beans every morning
morning walk
Flowers and foliage
porch swing
Your life
Nothing uncomfortable or too private
See Episode #11 on Exploding Engagement in stories
Use Engagement Stickers, quizzes, questions, etc.
2-3 stories per day; 1-3 frames (beginning, middle, and end)

So just get in the habit of sharing your life, not tons and not anything that you wouldn’t be comfortable with sharing, but share your life and then start using what I advised in podcast 11 about exploding engagement in stories is to use stickers three times a week, like poll stickers, like polls or questions or quizzes, ask questions, make it about them.

Start sharing even if it’s only one clip a day, just do one clip a day. Wow. And people start to really relate to you. My best advice is to do two to three stories a day.

How long should a story be?

Really a story is one to three frames. Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end,  and don’t forget that you can share your feed posts to stories as well. And then expand on it. So if your feed post is a quote, then talk more about the quote, like show your face for a minute or have your camera turned around on your subject.

Flowers or something while you talk or whatever, maybe it’s a book. So it really doesn’t have to be hard. We just need to start being consistent. And Pat  from breakthrough homeschooling. She said, consistency is tough. There’s a life thing that gets in the way. So,  life does get in the way, but y’all.

Think about it, you know, that I just lost my dad in July for six weeks. I was in and out of hospitals, but sharing stories; pictures of my needle point, pictures of the hospital. And actually talking sometimes about what was going on and people were invested in that story because I was sharing my life.

So many people thanked me for being transparent. They said, “thank you for sharing with your Insta fam”, . And so those are just practical, easy ways. If life gets in the way, share the life, that’s in the way. That’s the way to do it. Just start making it a priority.

And, everybody has to start at ground zero. Everybody has to start somewhere. So you just start, you know, you just start and then you be consistent.

Just take off in stories and just start sharing your life sharing everyday stuff. 

How to use reels and stories (and why)
Q: What’s the point of 15 second reels?

More discoverability
More relatability
Use to entertain, educate, or encourage
Use as an announcement

Reels are only 15 seconds.
3 components in stories:

1) Story, which is taped video or it can just be as stale, stagnant picture

If you video in that story, it can only be 15 seconds.

2) Live video lives in stories

if you go on live, make it 15 to 30 minutes

Turn into an IGTV and make a preview in feed, which I highly recommend. 

3) Reels.

If you use targeted hashtags, you could rise to the top of the feed in those hashtag hubs.

Reels are twice as long as regular photos. So if you look in explore and you see A video that is twice as long as the photos, that’s a reel, and people pay attention to those. 

I would like to challenge you to at least try it once because. You can really get some outside traffic back to your account by using reels. I highly advise it.

 How to use reels and stories for your brand

Q: How do you make a reel?

  • Tap into stories
  • Swipe right at bottom on “reel”
  • Push white circle and tape or set up timer
  • Let off button to switch positions and save till next pose
  • Share landscape or geotag 
  • Always use hashtags
  • Reels are twice as long as photos (show up better in explore)
  • Add music if desired

How to use Reels and stories for your brand

When you watch reels, you’ll notice that all of a sudden it cuts and they’re in a different position or they have different clothes on or different shoes . So you can do fun things like that. But if you’re really challenged about stuff like that, and mostly I am, just do something simple.

Once, I took it picture when we were in our camper and we were traveling and we were , near pilot mountain. In North Carolina and  there’s music that you can put to your reel if you want. And I chose a song and I just videoed that mountain and then panned over to my husband in the driver’s seat.

And I did not share the preview, in my feed, but I did use hashtags. Always, always, always use hashtags, no matter what you’re posting.  Use hashtags in reels, that’ll get you more exposure. But my best advice for reels is to just make one and tell something

  • encouraging
  • entertaining
  • educational

Use hashtags in the copy and share it to your feed because more people see them. Be sure to use hashtags; you don’t have a lot of room in reels for the copy. They’re kind of like IGTV so you just want to put the headline of your subject.

And that is our goal. So be sure if you haven’t taken my seven day Instagram story challenge, DM me, and I can send you the link or I can sign you up myself. And listen to the podcast , episode 11. It’s going to tell you what you need to know about stories.

If life gets in the way, share the life, that’s in the way.

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