Instagram Stories are one of the fastest rising forms of marketing to date, and with Instagram’s 300 million active daily users, it’s no wonder. What better way to connect with your audience and give them current, authentic insights into who you are? Read on to find out how to utilize this feature in the best ways possible and give your business more publicity.
The Attraction of Instagram Stories
The popularity of Instagram Stories is through the roof, but what is it that makes them so appealing? Consumers like to feel included, so posting live updates keeps your audience up to date with everything that’s going on. Making your audience feel in the know creates a special bond and helps them feel attached to your business. It also makes your company come across as down to earth and personal rather than detached, improving your appearance in the public eye.
As for businesses, Instagram can provide everything you need in order to promote your business and really engage with people. So, let’s run through all the different features you should use to make the most of Instagram Stories.
#1: The Basics
Before we get into specifics, let’s run through the basics. One thing that makes Instagram Stories so appealing to businesses is that, unlike Instagram posts, your content won’t get lost in the rest of someone’s feed. All Stories appear at the top of any feed, so there’s an immediate connection between you and your audience. Since your post runs out after 24 hours, you have some leniency in what you can post – you can be more laid-back and not worry about everything being perfect, meaning you can increase the amount you post without worrying about cluttering your profile. There’s no limit on what you post, so you can put out as much or as little as you like, allowing your business to experiment and try out new ideas. You can really create intimacy with Stories too – using Stories to post business announcements, sneak-peaks or teasers for special events takes your followers behind the scenes and gives your audience a sense of exclusivity.
There are also several ways to make sure your audience doesn’t miss a thing. You can now share live videos on your story, so there’s less chance of your followers feeling left out. You can also archive your Stories by grouping them into highlights on your profile page, so people can access them based on what they’re looking for even after the 24-hour period, and it won’t clog up your main profile.
Although it can be tempting to jump into the deep end, planning your Instagram Stories is the best way of making the most of them. That doesn’t mean you can’t post an impromptu post every now and then, but having planned ones is also good for keeping your business consistent. Schedule your posts, and plan what the aim of your story is, along with how many posts (you may want to make a short storyboard). This takes a lot of work, so it may be worth sticking to just a few Stories a week if you think your time is better served elsewhere.
You may also want to look into times where users are most active to make the most impact. Make sure to post a mix of fun content alongside promotional content. Of course, you want to advertise yourself and encourage interaction with your brand, but showing your audience that you’re human and letting them connect with you is a great way to encourage interaction too. You can also access data on your Stories – if you select ‘insights’ from your profile, you should be able to view impressions, reach and other analytics for each story, meaning that you can evaluate which posts are the most successful and mold your schedule and plan around that.
There are plenty of stickers you can use in your Instagram Stories to engage with your followers.
Location: Using a location sticker shows your followers where you are at the time, meaning you can increase your discoverability and subtly advertise that you are local.
Polls: Polls are a great way of hearing what your followers think. Maybe you’re testing the waters for a new idea or want to know what your most popular product or idea is so far – just ask the audience! It’s also a good way to engage with your audience and make them feel included.
Questions: Like polls, questions are a great way for your audience to connect with you. It allows them to ask you questions (perfect for Q&As) and suggest ideas, meaning that you can really involve your audience and adapt your business to them.
Link: If you have a follower base of 10,000+, you can add links to your Stories and redirect your audience to pages – new content, your landing page, email list, your blog or even a partner page – making it easier to get traffic where you want it.
Countdown: This is a good sticker if you’re releasing a new product or have an announcement, as it will count down to the date and time, building the tension and keeping your followers excited.
Shoppable: Businesses can tag products from their platform, allowing consumers to view the name, description, price and link to that product. This makes it easy to advertise specific products and pull people in without them directly looking for it.
As with any social media platform, a big part of Instagram is advertisements. With 75% of Instagram users taking action after looking at an ad (visiting a website or buying a product), Instagram is one of the best places to advertise. You can select your Instagram Stories as your ad placement and target people based on location, demographics, interests, behavior and more. It’s a great way to make yourself known to those beyond your follower base and spread awareness of your brand.
Once you start using Instagram Stories to its full potential, it will prove itself as an invaluable marketing tool for your business. If you keep your posting consistent and ensure your audience stays engaged, you’ll soon be attracting a wider audience and setting your sights high for the future.