How to use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories for Business

by Emma Gibb

Editor’s Note: This post was originally posted in April 2017 and updated in February 2019.

More and more businesses are using Instagram as part of their social media marketing as it continues to grow in popularity (with now up to 1 billion monthly active users).  Instagram is a great way to engage with your audience and increase brand awareness.

Why Should I Be Using Instagram Stories?

It has been predicted that stories will become the primary way to share content on social media in 2019.  Stories are a great way to humanise your business by sharing behind the scenes content and the people behind the team.  You can also use them to gather customer feedback (through the question and poll stickers).

Stories appear at the top of the home page feed on mobile devices and last for 24 hours before disappearing (unless you save them in Highlights, which are visible below the bio).  You can upload a mix of photos and videos.

Using Instagram Stories can boost engagement with your Instagram page – if you’re active on Stories and engage your users, the more likely you are to appear at the top of their news feeds.

Here are 5 ways in which you could be using Stories for your business.

Behind the scenes content

Take users behind the scenes of your business or an event, perhaps using Instagram Stories to show this type of content they won’t see elsewhere on your social media channels.  Or you could show the process of how a product is created and the people involved in the various stages.  Stories is ideal for giving your audience a real glimpse into the nuts and bolts of the business and showing the personalities behind it.

A ‘day in the life’

Along a similar line you could use Instagram Stories to showcase a typical day for your business, or a day in the life of one of your employees.  Again this gives your content the personal touch.  Talking to camera, although it seems daunting, is a great way to show the people behind the business.

Your product in action

Give viewers an idea of the product in use in a series of ways/environments.  It’s a good idea to draw attention to your Stories in an Instagram post – in this case you could post a photo of the product and then direct them to Instagram Stories to see it in action.  Another popular way to showcase products is with tutorials and ‘how to’ videos.

Special promotions

Make the most of its exclusive element by offering a special promotion that is only available until the end of the 24 hour period (creating a sense of urgency).  You could also feature a special offer on the last photo or video: “Use code … to get 20% off” or direct them to a special link in your Instagram bio.  It is another incentive for users to watch your Stories.

Sneak peeks

If you are about to launch a new product or website why not give a sneak peek with a ‘coming soon!’ teaser.  Or you could announce an upcoming live video on Instagram or Facebook, perhaps with a snippet of what it will be about.  This is a good way of encouraging users to keep watching your Stories as they know they’ll be the first to hear any news.

Some tips

  • Your Story should have a thread running through all the videos and photos, tying them together.
  • There are different types of video you could try – boomerang, superzoom, hyperlapse and rewind.
  • Be creative and mix the type of content – try out the filters and sticker options, add text, drawing tools, GIFs emojis, or music.
  • Mention other accounts (just use @ and the username in your text) and they will be notified of the mention.
  • Add a location or a hashtag and you could be found by people searching for these.
  • Use vertical videos – people want to view content without having to turn their phone around.
  • Make sure you add a call to action at the end of your Story (that ties in with the content), perhaps directing users to your website/blog at the end of your story by adding text to the last video or photo (ie. ‘Find out more on our site”).

If you’re still not sure what to feature in your Stories why not ask your audience on Instagram what it is that they would like to see from you?

How are you using Instagram Stories?  Leave any comments or questions below.

More info:

https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/6-tactics-to-increase-your-instagram-stories-engagement/549080/

http://sproutsocial.com/insights/instagram-stories/

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/4-ways-to-use-instagram-stories-for-business/

http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/instagram-stories-how-to-create-engaging-stories-sue-b-zimmerman/

https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-use-instagram-stories/

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