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  • review rating 5  SB Digital has been a true partner in our journey to launch a new website and drive new business leads. As a growing agency, we appreciated the flexibility their month-to-month engagement offered. The team is talented, attentive and highly efficient. We definitely recommend this agency!

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  • review rating 5  Good digital marketing agencies are hard to come by. I’ve probably used at least 5 different ones for companies I’ve started or consulted for. And I really enjoyed working with the team at Silicon Beach Digital because they were very hands on and explained their strategy and executed it professionally. A lot of the times I was stuck with an agency that wasn’t transparent and then it became very difficult to try to tie into results and see the return on investment. SBDA was the complete opposite and they really work with you on a budget especially if you are a start up! I highly recommend giving them a shot!

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  • review rating 5  Our company worked with Silicon Beach for the first time recently and the experience has been extremely positive. Had never experienced such a creative approach to digital marketing before. I would highly recommend them!

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If you’re a permanent Instagram resident who spends your days outlining Insta-strategies, researching hashtags, and making content plans, time flies quickly. New features debut almost every month and discerning trends is challenging.

Instagram Stories are on many brands’ radar for good reason. Over 300 million view Instagram Stories every day and one-third of the most viewed Stories come from businesses. It’s no longer a question of whether you should use Stories in your Instagram strategy, but how you should do it.

Consider these seven fresh ideas to spice up your Stories and use them in a way your competitors haven’t yet thought of.

1. Story Highlights to introduce to your brand

When new users land on your Instagram profile, they probably don’t know who you are (yet). Most accounts usually rely on a short bio to make that first impression – you’ve heard a million times before how important it is to have a great Insta bio that catches the eye, quickly explains what your business does, and convinces new visitors to click that follow button.

However, with the addition of the Highlights feature, the bio section is not the only place where you can tell your brand story. Think of Highlights as a short trailer for your business, and it suddenly becomes a perfect opportunity to show what you’re all about and give a sense of what you offer.

2. Story takeovers by another user

Collaboration with influencers is an ever-growing Instagram trend, but many brands execute it by paying for a few sponsored posts on an influencer’s feed, crossing their fingers, and praying for a few new followers to come through the tag mention.

A Stories takeover – an influencer of choice takes over the brand account for, say, a day, to produce exclusive content – is a relatively new trend on Instagram. Why does a takeover work better than a standard influencer collaboration? The incentive for the influencer’s followers is different. They’re not urged to follow the brand but encouraged by the influencer to see what he or she is doing on the brand’s account. The subtle promotion is more effective if you’re looking to increase reach and drive traffic from Instagram Stories to your site or special offer.

3. Polls for audience research

While polls are a great tool to engage your audience, you can also use them strategically for audience research to create better content that resonates with your followers. Instead of asking something for the pure entertainment, find out what kind of content your audience wants to see on your account. For instance, if your account focuses on travel, ask about a destination you think your audience wants to see and learn if your followers are interested in it. The answer may surprise you. But either way, you’ll learn if you should share more about that destination or not.

4. Self-made GIFs, fonts, stickers

The world rejoiced when Instagram introduced GIFs in Stories, but the joy didn’t last long. After five weeks, Instagram yanked the Giphy integration due to a racist GIF that found its way into Stories. Giphy has been cleaning up its content, though, and is back on the Stories scene.

Now, if you want to be a trendsetter, follow the steps of Gary Vaynerchuk, who constantly creates GIFs (with his own face on them, of course – personal brand alert!) that nobody else would have.

5. Shoutouts to competitors

Highly competitive and the fastest growing platform, Instagram was touted as “all about community,” but the harsh reality was few people really wanted to help anybody. Brands wanting to be featured need to pay for every single mention, every single shoutout.

The widely unpopular Instagram algorithm made it tough for people to succeed and the users of Instagram united. Giving shoutouts on Stories to another user or urging your followers to follow somebody else might seem like suicide, but the truth is it builds relationships on social media – you give a shoutout to someone, hoping to get a shoutout back. Plus, it gives you free content for Stories — all it takes is a screenshot and a few words.

6.  Mini videos

One of my favorite trends in the Stories arena is a sequence of seamlessly cropped videos that together present a longer film that would otherwise be impossible to post on Stories due to the 15-second restriction.

You can use Storeo, a free iOS app. You can upload your long video and slice it into smaller parts, maintaining the flow and transitions as smoothly as possible.

7. Unique templates

Last, but not least: Use questionnaire templates. They are great for standing out from the crowd, great for engaging your audience, and great for giving followers some cool freebies. It’s quite easy to create them online (check out Easil, for instance). However, it’s even better to create custom templates – and let your followers screenshot them.