It seems that social media platforms are constantly coming out with new features that their top users can’t get enough of. These features also provide new opportunities for businesses to reach their audiences and engage with them in fun, unique ways. Instagram Stories is just one example of an underutilized feature that businesses should be using to their advantage. However, many people aren’t sure how to go about using Instagram Stories to boost business and help bring positive attention and increased awareness to their brand. That’s where we come in!
Here’s everything you need to know to get started using Instagram Stories for your business:
How to Use Instagram Stories
If you use Instagram, you’ve probably noticed the “Stories” section that appears at the top of the app:
Click on a Story, and you’re taken to a series of short videos shared by the account holder. But Stories are not just for individuals to create! Designing engaging Instagram Stories for your business is a great way to gain more visibility on the platform.
Instagram is constantly updating its app, and it can be tough to keep up and remain in-the-know about all the features. Here’s a brief overview of how to use Instagram Stories:
- You can launch stories by swiping right from the main Instagram screen, or by clicking the camera button.
- If you use Snapchat, then Stories will look familiar. Just tap the circle button to take a photo, or press and hold to record a video.
- Alternatively, you can also upload photos and videos from your gallery. Just tap the photo icon that appears on the left side of your screen.
- Once you’ve selected the photo or video you want, you can edit it by adding text or drawings. There are different kinds of pens and editing features you can use to customize your Story.
- When you’re finished editing, simply tap Done. Next click the Add Your Story button to share it with your audience.
But that’s just one part of your Story. People and brands who use this feature create a series of short clips that play in sequence and disappear after 24-hours. To add to your story, just keep following the steps above and it will automatically appear with the other clips from the day.
Tips for Creating Great Instagram Stories for Your Brand
Instagram Stories has lots of cool features that can help you create engaging content. Here’s a few quick tips for creating Stories that catch people’s attention.
1. Create Boomerangs
Boomerangs are short videos that play backward and forward. They’re a great content type if you’re capturing something really interesting that people want to see on repeat. Instagram allows you to create and upload Boomerangs right to your Story.
To create a Boomerang, swipe right from your Instagram feed. Then below the record button, you’ll see an option to toggle over to Boomerang mode.
2. Stream Live Events
Stories has an option to create live videos as well, much like Facebook Live. This is a great feature for businesses that are trying to create an authentic relationship with their audiences. Once you open your Stories camera, you’ll see an option to record live. Once you start, a Live tag will appear over your Instagram Stories bubble to let people know that you’re recording live. Instagram may also notify some of your followers directly.
If you create a great live video, then you can press the Share button and share it to your story for the next 24 hours, just like a regular video.
3. Use Links
If you have a business Instagram account with more than 10 thousand followers, then you get access to extra features that can help you drive traffic from your Instagram Stories. One of them is the ability to include links in your Stories. When someone views your Story and swipes up, it will redirect them wherever your link goes.
So you can redirect your audiences to specific landing pages, incorporating Stories directly into your sales funnel.
4. Share Polls
Another cool feature of Instagram Stories is the ability to share polls with your audience. This is a great way to engage followers as well as learn more about them.
To do a poll, create a story post and then tap the Sticker icon at the top of the Story screen. You’ll see an option to create a Poll sticker. Click that, then follow the instructions to create a poll to go with your story.
Polls can inform your audience, build suspense, or help you understand more about them:
You can also ask your audience to comment to get even more feedback:
5. Tag Other Accounts
Tagging other accounts is a great way to encourage more engagement from your Instagram Stories. This is a great feature to use when you’re collaborating with influencers or other businesses on a social media campaign.
Whenever you mention someone in your story, they’ll receive a private message notifying them. So it’s an easy way to capture the attention of your brand advocates and influencers.
6. Be a Friend
Instagram users love to watch Stories their friends post of their experiences and new things they’re trying out. If your goal is to build a relationship with your audience on social media, then blending in with the rest of their friends is a great strategy to take.
Glossier is an example of a brand that does this well. They like to demo their products with real people and offer makeup advice:
They also avoid using fancy graphics or professional photography with their Stories to make them feel like posts from a friend, not a brand.
7. Engage Your Brand Advocates
People follow your brand on Instagram because they like you and your products. Instagram Stories are a great opportunity to engage them and turn them into brand advocates. For example, you can use Stories to announce a special promotion or giveaway.
Pacific Northwest Wonderland does this with their sticker promotions:
Keep Up With the Trends
Instagram Stories is a powerful tool for brands who want to reach, engage, and drive conversions from their audience. But the platform is constantly changing. New features are always coming out that change the ways you can interact with your audience. Keep up with the latest features and trends in how people are using Instagram Stories and you’ll ensure your brand is always ahead of the curve.