For socially-engaged businesses, Instagram Stories provides a box-fresh vehicle for promoting your brand, your products, your services. Get it right and you can engender your followers with an extra dollop of affinity with your brand – building loyalty and, ultimately, encouraging future sales.
What is Instagram Stories?
Quick recap. Instagram Stories sees the Facebook-backed photo giant taking on Snapchat. It allows users to collate pictures and video footage into short slideshows, which can be overlaid with text, graphics and emojis.
This message will self-destruct – Instagram goes ephemeral
Once you have uploaded a ‘Story’, your content will disappear after 24 hours. So while the photos and videos you publish to your profile will forever be found by anyone willing to look for them, your Stories are ephemeral and only visible for a limited time. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. That gives you an opportunity to be more playful and informal with your marketing content – should you wish to be.
Here are eight ideas for using Instagram Stories to promote your business.
1. Take your followers behind the scenes
You might be surprised how interested people are when it comes to peeping behind the curtain. In an age where consumers are sceptical of traditional marketing, there’s an honesty about peeling your layers off and taking your audience behind the scenes. That might be a glimpse of your office gym, a look at the nuts and bolts of your production line or a time-lapse view of your stand going up at an industry event. Make your followers feel like insiders.
2. Product demonstrations and guides
A little quirkiness can go a long way when it comes to memorable marketing. The temporary nature of Instagram Stories gives you an opportunity to showcase your products in a different light.
3. Teasers of new products
Launching a new product soon? Tease it with a Story and let your biggest followers spread the word on your behalf. Build the buzz. Feed the hype machine. Give away one or two things about a killer new feature.
4. Promote your next big event
Holding a webinar? Hosting a conference? Inviting your customers for a networking event? Then people need to know about it. Instagram Stories gives you a platform for getting the message across loud and clear. No fuss, no frills. Just avoid being too salesy. After all, you want people to engage with your future Stories; and they won’t if they expect a sales pitch.
5. Live blog your event
So you’ve decided to hold a seminar on the history of the hemline (or whatever your area of expertise is). Add to the sense of occasion and engage non-attendees by taking them behind the scenes. Sure, it might be too late to add to the audience tally, but there’s nothing like giving people a little FOMO to encourage sign-ups next time you are promoting an event.
6. Flash sales and limited offers
Want to know a great way to reward your followers? Platform-specific flash sales on your products. Announcing too-good-to-miss offers via your Stories encourages your followers to pay razor-sharp attention to the content you publish. Just don’t overdo it.
7. Q&A sessions
A slick edit of a 10-minute Q&A with your CEO adds the human touch to your business. You could cut in some shots of your products or services to make sure the brand message hits home.
News spreads like wildfire across social media. Huge plumes of social commentary erupt around the latest stories in no time. Be part of the conversation. Consider one of the biggest stories of the day and find a way to relate it to your product. React to industry developments. Done properly this type of guerrilla marketing can transform your audience engagement.
Over to you!
Instagram Stories gives you a fresh way to reach out to your followers, build loyalty and raze the traditional boundaries between business and customer. The key, as ever, is to keep your content audience-focused. Stay engaging. Provide value. And try to refrain from publishing too frequently.What to Post on Instagram Stories for Business
Like with YouZon Review, if you’re using Instagram Stories for business, it’s good to post a mix of fun, lighthearted content and promotional content.
Instagram Stories is a pretty relaxed place in general, and the quality standards are a lot lower than they are for regular posts.
So don’t be afraid of posting something goofy: a short video of your office dog or a picture of your team out for post-work drinks!
The great thing about Instagram Stories is that because they’ve created so many cool tools, the world is really your oyster. You can get as creative as you like with your stories — and there are a ton of great examples out there!
The same is true for promotional content on Instagram Stories. It’s easy to create promotional stories that are also fun and lighthearted. And there are a ton of creative ways to use Instagram stories for business.
That being said, when it comes to promotional content on Instagram Stories, there are a few things you can do to get the most bang for Social Auto Poster Review:Use Location and Hashtag Stickers to Increase Your Discoverability
When Instagram first introduced stickers to Instagram Stories last December, they were more fun than useful.
Since that time, Instagram has added a ton of new functionalities to stickers, including the ability to see location-based stories on the Explore page, and, most recently, the ability to search for stories by location and hashtag.
These features have made a huge difference. Whereas at first you could only share Instagram Stories with your own followers, stories are now searchable by location and hashtag, meaning anyone can see your stories now!
That’s why we recommend always using location and hashtag stickers in your stories. If you can get enough people to engage with your story, you might even end up on the Explore page.Use Links in Your Instagram Stories for Business
Instagram recently rolled out the ability to add links to Instagram Stories and it’s a pretty big deal. In fact, it’s the first time ever that users can add a link to Instagramthat isn’t the link in their bio!
It goes without saying that the ability to send your followers to specific landing pages from your stories is extremely useful. Whether that’s a product page or a new blog post, you can use this feature to drive Instagram traffic to relevant landing pages!Tag Other Accounts in Your Instagram Stories for Business
We all know how effective Instagram contests are for driving engagement and getting new followers, and with the ability to tag other accounts in Instagram Stories, there’s yet another way to drive traffic to your contests.
Tagging other accounts in your stories is also useful if you’re running a takeover or influencer campaign.Tag Businesses in Your Sponsored Instagram Stories
Speaking of influencers, Instagram’s new paid partnership feature makes it super easy to tag businesses in your sponsored Instagram Stories!
Only a handful of celebrities, influencers, and businesses have been given access to the feature so far, but an larger-scale rollout is expected in the next few months.
You can learn more about the feature and disclosure in general here.Share Polls & Emoji Sliders in Your Instagram Stories for Business
Have you ever wanted to survey your Instagram audience about their interests, likes, dislikes, and more? Well, now you can!
Instagram recently launched new interactive poll stickers on Instagram Stories which lets you ask questions and see results from your followers as they vote.
The great thing about poll stickers is that there are so many business uses!
Whether you want to collect feedback on your products, crowdsource ideas, or simply entertain your followers, poll stickers offer an entirely new way to engage with your Instagram audience!Ask Questions in Your Instagram Stories for Business
Instagram Stories just got way more interactive with the new question sticker!
Unlike poll stickers and emoji sliders, both of which allow users to “vote” on questions that you submit, when you add a question sticker to your Instagram story, others users submit questions for you to answer.
Whether you want to collect feedback on your products or crowdsource ideas, questions stickers offer an entirely new way to engage with your Instagram audience!Share Instagram Live Videos in Your Instagram Stories for Business
Prior to a recent update, Instagram Live videos could not be replayed or shared after the broadcast.
And while it created a sense of urgency for viewers to tune-in, there’s a ton of value in being able to share your live videos post-broadcast! In fact, this feature could make Instagram Live as big as Facebook Live!
Once your Instagram Live video ends, you can share a replay of it. But like other photos and videos you share to Instagram Stories, live video replays will disappear after 24 hours!Tools to Make Better Instagram Stories for Business
There’s no question that Instagram Stories is a great place to show off your business’ personality. But if you’re looking to make even better Instagram Stories for business, these four tools can help:Make Instagram Stories Longer than 15 Seconds with Storeo
Rather than recording several 15-second videos for your Instagram Stories (which can be surprisingly difficult!), Storeo lets you record or upload a single long video and then it slices it up into neat little 15-second packages for you!
Once you’ve downloaded the app, simply upload a video from your mobile device’s library or record a new one.
From there, tap “Export” to slice your video into 15-second clips. You can either upload directly to Instagram Stories from the Storeo app, or download the video and post it manually.Share GIF-like Loops on Instagram Stories with Boomerang
Instagram’s Boomerang app, introduced in 2015, snaps a handful of photos in quick succession, and then turns them into a GIF-like loop that plays forward and backward.
It’s super easy to make Boomerang’s in Instagram Stories now, but if you want to create them ahead of time (and upload to Instagram Stories later), you can use the original app.
All you need to do is tap the record button to stitch together a burst of photos to create a short animation that plays forward and backward!Create Amazing Instagram Stories for Business with Canva
Canva’s mobile app is fantastic for creating stunning social media graphics. But did you know that you can also use Canva to create amazing Instagram Stories for business?
Thanks to their library of Instagram Stories templates, Canva has become one of our favorite tools for designing unique, and eye-catching Stories!
Once you’ve downloaded the Canva mobile app, you can browse their library of professionally created templates.
Instagram Stories is quickly becoming one of the best channels to drive engagement, build brand awareness, drive traffic, and even make ecommerce sales!
If you haven’t started with Instagram Stories for business yet, hopefully this guide gives you some motivation and direction for creating your own Instagram Stories for business.
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