Over 300 million people use Instagram stories every day. Isn’t it about time your business made the most of Instagram’s Snapchat-inspired feature?
What is Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories allows you to post temporary photos and videos that disappear 24 hours after you’ve posted them. Much like Snapchat, photos and videos on Instagram Stories can be edited with doodles, stickers and text. Available to both personal and business accounts, this feature was launched in 2016 after Instagram’s unsuccessful purchase of its competitor, Snapchat.
10 reasons to use Stories on your Instagram business account
Instagram Stories are not just for individual users; they have huge advantages from a marketing perspective for businesses. Not convinced? You will be after reading our list of benefits!
1. Build and strengthen relationships
Instagram Stories are the perfect way to get people engaged with your brand. Any content you put on Stories is quick and easily consumable, making it more appealing for consumers to click on. By maintaining a steady presence with visual content throughout the day or week, you will build a stronger bond with your followers.
The more regular your content, the more people grow to anticipate and look forward to seeing it. Exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage that shows the people behind your brand, as well as sneak-peaks of new products and services, are a great way of rewarding your followers and strengthening brand loyalty.
Other popular options are recipes and tutorials related to your products, shoutouts to individual customers, Q&As and exclusive announcements.
2. Brand awareness
Stories are presented at the top of Instagram, meaning they’re the first thing users see when they go on the app. Remain at the front of your customer’s minds with engaging Instagram Stories that help them feel a part of your brand’s journey. Stories has increased the amount of time people spend on Instagram by 28 minutes, while over one-third of users are using Stories every day!
Remain relatable to your customers with relevant content that showcases your passion for the industry and brand. People buy from people, so remember to get your team involved! Some Stories, particularly Live footage, will give some of your followers a push notification too, therefore increasing views and brand awareness.
3. Increase followers
Instagram Stories are discoverable, which means they’re available to accounts who don’t currently follow you, making this feature an excellent avenue of finding new fans. What do we mean by “discoverable”, you ask? Select the magnifying glass icon on Instagram and you’ll notice it suggests content based on various topics you may be interested in, most of which comes from accounts you don’t currently follow. This is Instagram Discover.
Instagram also chooses Stories that users are finding particularly engaging and presents them to others in its Featured section. If your Story is entertaining enough, it will make its way on there, giving you an opportunity to tremendously boost your followership. Other useful techniques to increase your chance of discovery are including a hashtag and geotag on your Instagram Stories. To add your location to your Story, tap the Stickers button followed by ‘Location’. Select from the local suggestions or search manually for your desired location.
4. Multi-channel content. How to download your Instagram Story
Posted a fantastic Instagram Story and want to promote it across other channels? No problem. Each Instagram Story is downloadable. To save your photos and videos from your Story, tap on your Story and select “Save” after clicking “More”. You can then cross-post it to your other channels.
Instagram also lets you Highlight your Stories. Highlighting your Instagram Story will display it on your Instagram profile until you choose to remove it. You could add a Highlight that promotes a particular category of product or one that documents a recent trip you went on, for instance. ASOS, split their Highlights up via categories such as “Style Advice”, “Shopping Hacks”, “Insiders” (which consists of behind-the-scenes footage), “Activewear” and so on.
Your employees are your biggest brand advocates. A team of engaged, enthusiastic people that love your brand will always do the best work. Help them feel even more involved with your brand by letting them take control of your Instagram Stories. They’ll enjoy being at the forefront of the brand, while your customers will enjoy getting to know the people behind the business. It’s all about continuing that sense of exclusivity and loyalty with your profile.
Learn more about your online community
To see who’s watched your Story, click on it and swipe up to access the basic analytics. This is the perfect way to explore what type of people are engaging with your brand and gain an insight into the lives of those consuming your content. Check out the accounts of these people to get a better impression of your demographics. You never know, you may discover a new demographic looking for your content that you can cater your products, services and content towards.
This is also a great way to gain followers. Find people watching your Instagram Stories that don’t currently follow you, and follow them first. Doing so will remind them of the great bit of content they watched on your channel recently and there’s a high chance they’ll follow you back.
Immediacy – post on the move
Many people say they “don’t have the time” for social media marketing, and we can often sympathise with them. There’s so much fantastic content on the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that it’s understandable why MDs, owners and the like struggle to find the time to create carefully crafted content. Enter, Instagram Stories, a place that does not require masterful editing or overly clever captions.
This feature is made for immediacy – get your content up there with no hassle at all! Don’t be afraid to post on the move, this often creates some of the most engaging Stories. Got a busy day? Why not show how hard you’re working for your customers on Stories. You don’t even need to worry about “the best time to post”, because this content is visible for 24 hours!
Drive traffic – how to add a link to your Instagram Story
Viewing figures and engagement are all well and good, but we hear some of you asking: How does it make me money? Well, while brand awareness and social media engagement do contribute significantly to leads and sales, you can also direct people to your website directly from Stories, which is a HUGE benefit, given the only other place you can include a URL on Instagram is your bio.
That’s right, any Instagram account that a) Is verified, or b) Has 10,000+ followers can add a ‘swipe-up’ link to their Stories. Click the following link to discover how to post a link to your Instagram Story. Not verified and don’t have 10,000 followers? Don’t worry, you can still use your Stories to promote your products and services and direct people to click the link in your bio. Another alternative is to simply post your website on the Story; while it won’t be clickable, it will tell people where they can find you.
Anyone can request to be verified on Instagram. If you fall into one of the following categories, go into your Instagram’s settings and select “Request Verification”:
Test new ideas
As touched upon earlier, there is less pressure to come up with something extremely clever or extravagantly ‘professional’ on Instagram Stories. No, this feature is more about immediacy and exclusivity, making it the perfect place to try out new ideas for content and campaigns.
Put your ambitious new suggestion to the test by posting it on Instagram Stories. You can then get an impression of how popular this feature would be by examining how many people view and engage with the Story.
Instagram Stories provide a range of creative options for producers. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with it; test out the variety of filters and stickers, enjoy the doodle option. If you’re having fun creating the content, it’s likely that users will have fun viewing it!
Did you know… 60% of Instagram Stories are viewed with sound on? So make sure you incorporate audio into your content!
How do I post an Instagram Story?
Instagram Stories is a feature designed for maximum convenience and little effort and time. To post to your Story:
- Log into the Instagram app.
- Either swipe right on the home screen or select the camera at the top left.
- Select the type of content you’d like to post from – options include live broadcasts, boomerangs, superzooms, rewinds and much more. Our best advice would be to try out all of these – it’s great fun!
- To post a picture, tap the circle. To post a video, hold the circle down for a maximum of ten seconds.
- To post content that’s already saved on your phone, select the gallery option (right-hand-side, below the emoji button).
- Clicking on the emoji on the right allows you to pick from a variety of special effects, much like Snapchat.
- Other options on the right are switching camera (if you’re posting with a dual-camera device) and the flash.
- Once you’re happy with your content, select “Your Story” in the bottom left and voila! Your Story is published!
Instagram Story Size
Instagram Stories are displayed at 1080 x 1920 pixels. This is something worth bearing in mind when posting photos and videos to ensure your content does not appear blurred, stretched or cropped.
Instagram Stories Ads
Those of you looking to further increase your audience and brand awareness should try out Instagram Story Ads, the paid-for part of Stories. These can be created using Ads Manager in a matter of minutes.
For further guidance, explore Instagram’s Story Ads Guide.
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