Instagram Stories was launched last summer, and it quickly rivaled Snapchat as a short-term storytelling tool. If you use Instagram, you’ve probably noticed this feature, even if you haven’t used it. Users’ stories are visible as circular icons at the top of your Instagram home screen. If you click on one, it cycles through the story posts that user has made over the last 24 hours, which can include both photos and videos. Swiping right takes you to the next person’s story.
Stories allow Instagram aficionados to post lots of content each day without spamming anyone’s feed, and they also create a seamless viewing experience. You can add pins to stories to show location, decorate them with stickers and text, and even add hashtags. Stories disappear forever after 24 hours.
Instagram Stories convey a sense of intimacy, as if you’re moving through someone’s day with them. They’re a terrific tool to help businesses cultivate relationships with customers. You’ll orient your business Instagram’s stories somewhat differently than you would if you were using a personal account, but you still want to create that sense of familiarity. Here are some ways to make Instagram Stories work for your business!
Drive Engagement with Instagram Stories
If you already use Instagram as a marketing tool, you’ll love this option! It is impossible to post links on Instagram posts. Users (including Punch Bug) typically put links in their profile and direct people there to get around this issue. But in Stories, verified users can put a “see more” link at the bottom of a post, and users can swipe up to read the content without ever leaving the app!
While you may have audience overlap between your various social media platforms, users will have different preferred apps. Even if you’re providing content that’s relevant to them, if it’s on one of their lesser-used platforms, they may forget to check. Being able to show customers content on Facebook or your blog from inside Instagram is incredibly useful.
Call To Action
You can also use the swipe up feature as a CTA. This is most effective if you keep the CTA specific. For example, a landscaping company could showcase a short video of a completed project and say “swipe up to book a consultation.” A restaurant owner could photograph a delicious meal and say “swipe up to reserve a table.” A baker might post today’s drool-worthy cookies and say “swipe up to reserve a dozen!” The more appealing your content is, the more followers are going to crave what you’re selling. So use links to give them exactly what they’re looking for.
There’s no better way to put a human face on your brand than by telling a story, and that’s where this new Instagram feature excels! Use video to show fun “behind the scenes” snippets of day-to-day business, or a special event. Post team members’ introductions, then have them make regular updates. Try using photos and videos to showcase your products or services in use. Just today, we came across a local art studio posting live videos of a class in progress—something sure to appeal to any parent who’s deciding whether to enroll their child. Using Instagram Stories to spin a yarn is a very effective way to build engagement.
Foster a personal connection with customers by providing tips related to your brand, but not specifically about your products. A teacher supply store might post seasonal content about fun back-to-school games or bulletin board ideas. A plumbing company might talk about seasonal precautions to keep pipes in good shape, or plumbing fixes easy enough to DIY. This kind of content positions you as a trusted expert people can turn to for advice.
Instagram Stories gives you the tools you need to create an organic user experience that will help build your brand, give it a personality, and ultimately sell your product. If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s time to give it a test run!