Humans love stories … in fact according to anthropologists, story-telling is central to human existence. There is an innate need to tell, share or discover stories and use them as life lessons, as inspiration or as tools to shape and evolve a culture.

Businesses and brands of the 21st century have discovered the power of stories; they have found the golden key to a world of opportunities because now they know that stories can drive people to change their beliefs, attitudes and even lifestyles. And who have businesses got to thank for this golden key? Why, social media of course.

Instagram stories and Snapchat stories have changed the very form of storytelling, empowering brands with the ability to bring out the human side of them. In fact, we see a rapidly growing trend of brands using Instagram Stories to achieve multiple goals – from getting the audience to connect more deeply to the product, to giving them behind the scene insights, to promoting events, to community cultivation and the list goes on.

We decided to scout five brands that we think are doing a great job and share their stories here for you to learn and be inspired!

1. NASA – Going Behind the Scenes

Imagine being able to go get behind the scene stories of NASA’s exploration or its operational center? Imagine being able to get a close-up view of NASA telescopes and giant structures. Well, NASA’s Instagram stories gives you all of that, in a friendly, yet informative way. Recently, NASA’s Jupiter view predictions for May garnered 318K likes and 1,538 comments. Their behind the scene deployment of James Webb Space Telescope was another phenomenal hit with 400k likes in just ONE DAY.

Now, you may argue that it’s NASA after all and you probably can’t compete with that figure, but hey, we all got to learn from the greats right?

What’s for you to learn: With Instagram Stories, businesses can give brands behind the scene insights into the makings of a great product, a great service or probably a great adventure! Now NASA didn’t have to release a long and tedious documentary to talk about its latest discoveries or its mightiest telescopes, rather a quick and short story does the trick; not to mention it is also able to garner more interaction and more one on one connectivity that could not have been possible with a documentary.

2. Adidas Originals – Using Cultural Icons

Have a budget for creating a great video ad? Then do it like Adidas’s #Original campaign. Featuring Snoop Dogg, and other popular hip-hop icons, Adidas attempts to reflect a culture that represents the brand’s new product line. The campaign used influencer marketing in an Instagram story that connects the target audience with their culture heroes and finally with the product itself. It’s what we see as using storytelling to develop and promote a culture.

What’s for you to learn? Use cultural icons to connect with your product or service. Of course, you may not be able to afford Hollywood stars, but you can afford to collect a group of people who represent your brand culture and have them participate in your Instagram story campaign. Be creative and involve culture with social media – you never know what wonders it could do for you.

3. Moon & Lola – Turning Products into Stories

Ok, if NASA was way out of your league, then here’s a chance to learn product selling via Instagram Stories the Moon & Lola way. This brand is an inspiration for anyone who’s running a jewelry or beauty service/product business. See the way they used this funny image to talk about a sale. Some good work there right? If you follow their account, you’ll see that they’ve tried to create a story around their most popular products. It’s more like using a customer’s journey (which we study about in boring marketing classes) and turning it into a story that brings the customer up close and personal with the product.

What’s for you to learn: The art of selling through clever story-telling. You don’t have to put up annoying sales posters, neither do you have to force sell a deal. In fact, Moon and Lola is proof that you don’t have to be a global brand to derive benefits from Instagram Stories. You just have to be a good story teller and turn your customer’s journey into a great story.

4. Orangetheory – Keeping it Real & Inspiring

Fitness and well-being accounts on Instagram are plenty abound, but very few of them give a realistic view of things. They are usually aesthetically pleasant but they fail to create stories that could relate with the audience. Orangetheory makes our list because they know how to keep it real, yet inspirational and motivational. The ‘Before and After Stories,’ are not glossed up images but are actual shots of people achieving their goals. The audience no longer wants glossy and photoshopped images but real struggles that can reflect their own journey. Instagram stories can give brands the opportunity to be real and still be loved and appreciated.

What’s for you to learn:  A lot actually. For starters, if you run a wellness or fitness center, stories of your customers, your trainers or your employees can make for great motivational content. Second, if you want people to get the essence of your brand, combine stories with quotes, with live events, how-tos and other instructional content.

5. Real Simple – Because Social Media Can be Real Simple

This adage never turns old and proves itself true every single time – simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. You don’t have to turn each social media post into a work of art. Learn it from Real Simple, the people who keep their Instagram stories as simple as it can get. They post multiple quotes, mini-articles and other content material of condensed versions as Instagram Stories.

What’s for you to learn: Keeping it simple. If you take a look at Real Simple’s tutorial content, you’ll see an effective use of Instagram story to create a tutorial that is simple, yet effective and purposeful. Their memes are not offensive and yet they are funny enough and most importantly, they represent the true purpose of storytelling – entertaining your audience and either giving them a good laugh or good food for thought.

There you go folks! Five great stories to get you started. Have an interesting Instagram story to share? Let us know.

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