Why storyboard for your Instagram stories?

Since its debut, Instagram Stories has been a place where casual content thrives. But with an audience that has grown from 100 million to 500 million daily users in less than three years, it may be a little off-putting and polished.

This is especially true for brands, as one in three most viewed stories comes from businesses. As the name suggests, Instagram Stories is a place for storytelling. Brands that specialize in the temporary, 15-second clip format know that good storytelling starts with a storyboard.

Storyboarding allows you to convey your message in the best possible way, even if you’re shooting on the go. With a storyboard, you won’t forget to include all the important details of your Story, from hashtags to logos and geotags.

When should you storyboard your Instagram Stories?

A storyboard is a frame-by-frame outline for your social narrative. A typical storyboard will consist of a series of frames (or in this case, vertical rectangles) showing the content for each post.

Another way to think of a storyboard is as a story strategy. So it’s a good practice to always have at least a rough outline for every post. Like Visme, there are many online design tools that can help with storyboarding. But really, all you need is a pen and paper or a Google sheet.

There are some situations that require an Instagram storyboard more than others. These include:

Question answer

Instagram Stories offer a great format for a Q&A, whether it’s a traditional interview or ask me anything using the question tag. A storyboard will help you decide the best way to parse questions and answers in a series of 15-second clips.

competition announcements

If you’re announcing a contest on Instagram, a storyboard will help ensure that entry requirements, requirements, and prizes are clearly communicated.

National Geographic Instagram Stories competition National Geographic Instagram Stories competition National Geographic Instagram Stories competition National Geographic Instagram Stories competition

Multi-part narratives

According to Instagram, two or more scenes are better than one. Even a single 15-second video post can contain multiple frames. And the more frames you plan to have, the more useful a storyboard will be.

Event scope

Without a game plan for event coverage, the audience’s interest may be diminished. Go to events with a strategy in mind and apply that mindset to a flexible storyboard for your event-specific stories.

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Your plan could be as simple as planning to ask different attendees a question, as Vogue did at the Met Gala.

Vogue Instagram Story for the Met Gala Vogue Instagram Story for the Met Gala Vogue Instagram Story for the Met Gala

Influencer takeovers

A storyboard can be a great collaboration tool when working with Instagram influencers. You can ask the influencer to provide an outline of the Stories content they have to offer, or you can share a storyboard as a loose template for the content you expect.

How to storyboard your Instagram Stories?

Here’s how to storyboard Instagram stories in five steps.

Step 1. Start with a concept

Decide on a concept or format for your Instagram Story before putting pen to paper. Ideally, your concept should be closely tied to at least one of your social marketing goals.

For example, Sephora’s Foundation Survey likely achieved two social goals: getting feedback from Sephora’s customers and encouraging sales of foundation products.

Instagram Story from Sephora Instagram Story from Sephora Instagram Story from Sephora

Get inspired by these brands that have mastered the art of Instagram Storytelling.

Step 2. Choose your theme and style

Stories should have a consistent look and tone. Decide what templates, fonts, and colors you plan to use so you can apply them to your storyboard.

After drawing things you can go back to this step and make some changes, but it’s good to at least start with a general theme.

This example from Bon Appetit shows that the team had a consistent template and color palette in mind for their Highly Recommend series. Templates can make it easier for viewers to follow stories and understand how to interact. Bon appetit, simple and consistent: Swipe up.

I need help? We have some free Instagram Stories templates (plus tips on how to use them).

Step 3. Storyboard your scenes

Now that you have your concept and theme, it’s time to apply them to a storyboard. Here you will fill your squares (or rectangles) one square at a time.

Whether it’s a graphic, image, poll, boomerang, or video, each frame should roughly represent the scene. Be sure to label each frame sequentially (eg Scene 1, Scene 2) to avoid confusion along the line.

Other details you might want to include under the frame are:

  • Short description: What’s going on in this framework?
  • Media: Is this a boomerang, painting or illustration?
  • Copy: The text to include. This could be a survey question, caption, or call to action.

Remember that the Instagram Stories channel is not the place for epic narratives. Completion rates are highest for 10 frames or less.

Step 4. Add the Extras

Storyboarding protects you from missing important social details. If you plan to add logos, hashtags, geotags or stickers to your story, be sure to include them in your storyboard.

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This is especially important if you work with a large team and someone else is responsible for creating or publishing the content. A good storyboard leaves little room for confusion or misinterpretation.

Step 5. Conclude with a branded call to action

Whether you swipe up, visit our profile, or buy now, plan to leave a final call to action with viewers. In fact, Instagram recommends that businesses separate their stories with the product or brand message for further reinforcement.

The first teaser for Instagram Story for Sex Education does this well, opening and closing the story with the show title and logo.

Instagram Story from Sex Education Tv Show Instagram Story from Sex Education Tv Show Instagram Story from Sex Education Tv Show

Pro tip: Make sure you archive all of your Stories so you can reference them later.

Learn the basics of creating Instagram Stories here.

Save time managing your Instagram presence by using Moyens I/O to schedule and publish posts, grow your audience, and track success with easy-to-use analytics. Try it for free today.

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