«We created a series of contents that only exist in this format. We also share content marked by users and readers, as a form of interaction with the public»
Gilberto Scofield Jr., Business and Strategy Director at Agência Lupa (Brazil)
Stories can now be saved in “highlights” that remain available even after 24 hours, they can include interactive polls, music, geotags or stickers, and they can be used to introduce external content or to present previously published posts from the Instagram feed. The fact-checking community has quickly embraced all of these options and has started using Instagram Stories to increase audience engagement levels and as a means to reach new people.
Polls to interact
with the audience
A friendly interface
If used wisely, polls can quickly turn into actual quizzes for their audience. A common format, for instance, consists of first posting a Story with a question and a poll through which users can try and guess the correct answer, and then presenting the solution and its explanation in the following story.
Figure 1. Examples of polls in Instagram Stories – Click to enlarge
“Swipe up” to promote
personal or joint initiatives
The “blue checkmark”
Instagram accounts with more than 10k followers, and those that are verified and therefore present the “blue checkmark”, can in fact add external links in their Stories, so that when users “swipe up” on the screen they are automatically redirected to third-party content.
In this way, fact-checking outlets can redirect users from Instagram to their actual websites, present podcasts, videos or newsletters, and link other content they find relevant and want their audience to watch, listen to, or read (Figure 2).
Figure 2. Examples of stories to advertise other content – Click to enlarge
External links can also be used to inform the public about initiatives that fact-checking outlets are organizing on other platforms, or to which their journalists are participating. Facebook Lives, tv or radio appearances, and live events thus become elements that are worth being advertised through Instagram Stories.
An easy and effective routine
Thereby increasing the possibility for the content to be seen by the audience, since the same post will basically appear both in users’ feeds and in the Stories section.
This is quite an easy procedure that lets social media managers reuse the same content in different ways, and can help increase engagement levels both on Instagram and on the external website that can be linked in the Stories.
Clicks and interactions on the links can be tracked and analyzed, therefore helping social media managers to understand whether their strategy is working or whether it should be improved (Figure 3).
Figure 3. MediaWise Instagram stories – Click to enlarge
Agencia Lupa’s use of Instagram Stories
As of January 2021, its Instagram profile counts 140k followers and has published more than 2k posts.
Agência Lupa uses all of the features offered by Instagram Stories (Figure 4). It has several highlights (collections of saved Stories that do not disappear in 24 hours, which we have already briefly mentioned), routinely posts quizzes and polls to interact with its followers, and uses Stories to redirect users to other content published on different platforms.
Even though the project was launched in 2015 and Instagram Stories became available the following year, Agência Lupa didn’t start focusing on them until the beginning of 2019: «We adapted cards used in other social media to this format and we have kept publishing Stories since then», Scofield Jr. said.
A key element in Agência Lupa’s social media strategy is the creation of formats specifically designed for Instagram Stories: «We created a series of content that only exist in this format: absurd rumors, quiz, highlights of the week, or #CaiuNaRede (Figure 5), a partnership with favela’s local journalism groups, very popular in Brazil», said the Business and Strategy Director, adding: «We also share content marked by users and/or readers, as a form of interaction with the public».
To conclude, Scofield Jr. would «for sure» recommend fact-checkers who are trying to increase their audience engagement levels, to focus on Instagram Stories.