Instagram released Stories in August 2016, and since then, the feature’s popularity has skyrocketed. There are currently over 800 million active monthly users on Instagram all with the ability to utilize Instagram Stories. Businesses have recognized the power of Instagram as 70.7% of US businesses were using Instagram in 2017 and 80% of users follow at least one business. Sounds like the perfect recipe for businesses to connect with their audience right? Wrong. Many businesses aren’t harnessing the full power of Instagram Stories. Get a pen and paper handy, because we’re about to school you on how to use Instagram Stories for your brand the right away.
Authenticity is in Instagram Stories’ nature. It’s your chance to be in the moment and give your audience a peek inside the inner workings of your business. The content on Instagram Stories doesn’t have to be as well thought out as that on your profile. Keep it spontaneous so your audience is interested and comes back for more.
In order to get your followers to come back, you have to give them value. Your followers don’t want to see what your employees have for lunch every day, they want to see:
- Behind the Scenes
Give your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your business. Unbox a new product, show off your office culture, or give a sneak peek of something new coming. Knowing they can get an exclusive look behind the scenes will get them hooked.
If you’re running a contest, promote it! Stories are a great way to keep your contest top of mind to your followers. Countdown the days left to enter the contest to build anticipation and get more entries.
From little to big, make company announcements to keep your followers in the loop. Store hours changed? Upcoming event? Add it to your Stories! Your followers will appreciate the news and keep coming back for the latest updates.
- Live Videos
Go live on your Story to directly engage with your audience. When you post a Live Story, your followers can choose if they want to be notified so they can join in and interact. Live Stories are beneficial for Q&As, how-tos, or event broadcasts.
Tag, Text, and Tada
Now that you’ve got valuable content to post, it’s time to add the finishing touches. If the Story is taken at a specific location, add the proper geotag. If there are people or another business featured in the Story, tag them.
A recent update released new fonts, so get creative with text to explain what’s going on or to ask a question that encourages engagement.
Take it one step further and use stickers, filters, and GIFs. There are so many to choose from and they change with the seasons and holidays. This is where you can get creative and truly let your brand’s personality shine.
End the Story with a call to action. Get straight to it and make the point of the post clear. Whether it’s a new product, blog post, or event, make sure your audience doesn’t have to think twice. To further engage with your audience, try asking a question, taking a poll, or guiding the user to a link if your account has that ability.
To stay near the top of your followers’ feed, you have to post consistent, valuable content. Only posting one or two Stories a week will get your business forgotten fast, so staying on top of posting is key. For example, if you’re at an event, post 8-10 Stories so your followers get a feel for what it’s like actually being there.
You can now highlight old Stories on your profile and place them into categories. For example, if your company recently attended a conference, you can create a category with the name of the conference and select all of the Stories that were taken during the event to put into the category. Then, followers that may have missed the Stories can see them anytime they go to your profile.
If your business has some extra room in the budget, take advantage of Story Ads. The ads automatically play between a user’s Story feed, making them useful to get extra eyes on your content. Check out SproutSocial’s best practices for Story Ads.
Last but not least, stay current! Instagram is always rolling out new updates, so it’s important to keep up with the latest features. For example, you can now share other users’ Instagram posts to your Story and add GIFs. Your savvy followers will already be on top of these new features, so you better be too!
It’s safe to say that Instagram Stories are not going anywhere anytime soon. They provide a powerful new platform to reach and engage your audience. It’s time for your business to jump on the Instagram Stories bandwagon with the simple tips above! What’s your favourite feature of Instagram Stories?