How to Use Instagram Stories to Market Your Business

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By Jessica Klaus

As social media becomes the new medium of marketing, people are drawn to promotions that are more fun, authentic, and interactive. With this development, businesses in every industry are having to find new marketing strategies to engage their communities.

One of the most popular social media platforms is Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook in April 2017. With over 95 million photos uploaded daily, Instagram is undoubtedly the king of image-sharing applications all over the world.

And it has become even better! In 2016, Instagram added a new feature called Instagram Stories. This feature allows users to upload and share interesting moments through photos or videos. Various tools, in both Instagram and the app store, allow you to edit and enhance your images.

Stories are then shown in a slideshow format and are only available to view for 24 hours. For those who want the ability to save these Stories, Instagram now allows users to add Highlights to their Instagram profiles. Instagram Highlights are a great way to save important information like blog posts or upcoming events.

Why Use Instagram Stories as Part of Your Marketing Strategy

Instagram Stories were originally created for fun. However, with the new Instagram algorithm changes, businesses have begun to realize the marketing potential. While the balance of social media marketing is hard, try to think of Instagram Stories as fun! Still unsure? Check out these 10 quick facts on what Stories can do for your business:

EXPOSURE

There are over 250 million people who use and view Instagram Stories daily! Even if a fraction of Instagram users view your story, the exposure could be valuable.

BE DISCOVERED

Your Instagram Stories are discoverable, which means Instagram users who don’t yet follow you, can view your Story – leading to new followers.

QUICK & EASY

With how quick and easy Instagram Stories are, you can create attention-grabbing Stories in no time. While Stories might be easy to create, keep in mind they should still reflect your brand.

TESTING

You can use Instagram Stories as a testing ground for a marketing idea or photo campaign. If you receive positive replies, then you may consider producing the product. Alternatively, if you don’t receive the feedback you were looking for, you can continue to perfect your idea.

POLLS

Have a burning question you want to ask your audience? Using Instagram Polls is the perfect solution! By creating a Poll in your Instagram Stories, you will increase engagement, which will in return increase your profile’s reach. With the new algorithm changes, Instagram wants people engaging and communicating and what better way to do that than with a Poll!

DOWNLOAD

Did you create a Story that you love and don’t want to lose it? No worries! You can download Instagram Stories and use them again in your future content.

BRAND AWARENESS

If you continually engage your audience through Instagram Stories, they will likely keep your brand in mind. This helps bypass the issue of Instagram’s regularly changing algorithms.

TIMING

Posting too often can be annoying to your audience. But not with Instagram Stories! Because Instagram Stories are only visible for 24 hours, you don’t have to worry about what time of the day you should post them or how often you publish new Stories.

SHARING

See an Instagram Story that you want to share with a friend? Great news! Instagram now gives users the ability to send Stories to another user. This is a great way to get conversations started and find new content worth viewing.

FEATURES

Instagram Stories come with a cool pack of features to make your Stories even more interesting. You can draw doodles, write short messages, add emojis, or choose filters. TIP – Be sure to check out the different sticker options available. Depending on the day of the week, location or major holidays, the sticker options change.

Creating an Instagram Story

Making an Instagram Story is easy. To get started simply:

1. Log in to your Instagram account.
2. Tap the “plus” icon at the top left corner of your Instagram feed.
3. Take a photo or video by tapping or holding the round button at the bottom of your device’s screen.
4. Use the buttons at top right corner to add drawings, emojis, and text. Various editing tools allow you to change sizes, colors, shapes, and more.
5. You can also swipe the screen to use various filters.
6. Live videos can be taken by tapping “Live” then the “Start Live Video” button
7. Once you’re satisfied with your work, tap the “Your Story” icon so you can add it to your Story.

And that’s it! Simple, isn’t it?

Making Instagram Stories Work for You

Now that you know how to create Instagram Stories, it’s time to learn how to engage on Stories using these easy tips:

HASHTAGS

Increase your exposure by adding hashtags to your Instagram Stories. Whether you use one from your brand or from another community, hashtags are a great way to be discovered. TIP: If you want to use hashtags but don’t like the look of them on your image – hide them with a sticker! Once you have your desired hashtags listed, simply shrink down the tags and either place a sticker or text on top of them.

LOCATION TAGS

Using location tags in your posts will help you get discovered by people looking for the services offered in your specific area. You can add both hashtags and location tags by using the icons in the sticker menu.

INSTAGRAM LIVE

Augment your Stories through Instagram Live and your followers get notified whenever you start a live session. Instagram Live allows you a great level of interaction, so take advantage of this by acknowledging comments or encouraging your audience to participate.

Check out some ideas on how you can use Instagram Live to your advantage:

  • Hosting a Q&A about your business
  • Covering an event
  • Doing a how-to video
  • Live vlogging
  • Contests or giveaways

CALL TO ACTION

What do you want your viewers to do afterwards? Include a call to action like “check out more images at #yourcompany” or “try out our new #service.” Without a call to action, your audience will likely swipe to the next post.

TEMPLATES

A great way to create Stories that reflect your brand is with templates. Many graphic designers now offer Instagram Story templates, as well as businesses like Adobe Spark. Tip – Be sure to keep a lookout for Story templates, some which are free, from your favorite graphic designers on Instagram.

SWIPE UP

If you have 10,000 followers or more, you can use the swipe-up option in your Instagram Stories to add outbound links. By using this feature you can direct readers to your desired website. This is great for things like website traffic or for affiliate programs you want to sell. If you have fewer followers, simply add an outbound link to your Instagram bio.

TAG

Make your users feel valued by tagging them in your Instagram Stories. This is a great strategy if you want to let your audience view sneak peaks of your new products, promotions, services, or behind-the-scenes. Tip – Don’t be afraid to also tag businesses! By tagging brands that you use and trust, you’re creating the opportunity to make a personal connection.

LIMITED EDITION

Create a buzz by organizing a contest and inviting your audience to participate. The 24-hour window makes Instagram Stories an ideal platform to promote limited-edition freebies, contests, and discounts.

PERSONALIZED

People feel safe and more comfortable if they realize there are real humans behind something that interacts with them on social media. Make your Stories more personalized so your audience can relate to you. Take selfies and photos of your team having fun, your cute pets, trips, and even personal collections.

BUILD TRUST

Humanize your Instagram Stories by including humorous, light-hearted, or inspiring content. This content builds rapport, trust, and comfort with your audience.

FOLLOW HASHTAGS

Instagram now allows you to follow specific hashtags. This is a great new feature to engage with your community, find new influensters and is a way to get your Stories featured.

Instagram Stories show much promise, but it’ also a recent development. With the format is still evolving, and just like all things in social media, you need to have an active hand in using it so you can master these ever changing strategies. Are you already using Instagram Stories?

Sources:

http://blog.instagram.com/post/148348940287/160802-stories
https://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/why-and-how-use-instagram-stories
https://www.plannthat.com/instagram-stories/
https://www.shopify.com/blog/how-to-use-instagram-stories
https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/04/20/instagram-statistics

Jessica Klaus

Jessica joined Team Folio as their content specialist after building a photography following of over 100k readers worldwide. With her prior hands-on experience within the photography community, Jessica brings a personal touch to Folio. Outside of work you can find Jessica watching her children play sports, volunteering in her community, and watching a great Netlfix series.

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