How to Use Instagram Stories for Business
Now that we’ve had some time to digest Instagram’s latest update incorporating the never-before-seen “Stories” feature showcasing 10-second Snapchats (…oh wait) of a users day, it’s time to evaluate what this really means for your business.
Taking a page (or a chapter) from Snapchat’s model, Instagram Stories allow you to connect with your users on a “real” level. Prior to this update, Instagram was primarily about highlighting the best, well-timed photos and videos of your personal life, corporate brand or favourite cat pictures. With this additional feature, you’ll now be able to connect with your Instagram followers without them having to leave the application.
The primary advantage of making use of Instagram Stories is the huge audience base that can be captured, without users having to switching applications or go through the process of adding you as a friend. It’s important to capture their attention, ensure your brand is where your audience is and incorporate your company Story into your marketing efforts.
Get The Attention of your audience
- Plan your story ahead of time
Anticipate what you will be sharing on your story allows for your audience to follow along and gauge your company culture. By planning your story in advance, you’ll be able to get creative and push out sequences of tailored, well thought out content.
Tip: Try an “Instagram Story Series” where your company sets a dedicated day and time for sharing content. By keeping it consistent, your audience will be able to anticipate when your company will post next and you’ll be able to increase
- Timing will always be everything
Since Instagram released it’s latest algorithm update switching users timeline’s from chronological order to what they think you want to see, it is a common misconception that it now doesn’t matter what time you post. Fair assumption, however timing will always be relevant as users are more likely on Instagram at 10PM as opposed to 3PM when they’re at work. The same is true for your stories – Instagram Stories expire after 24 hours, so if you are posting something you would like everyone to see – consider the timing of it.
- Share Behind-The-Scenes.
Similar to why individuals would add brands to Snapchat, Instagram Stories provide companies the opportunity to take the audience into your daily office life. Build the hype for new releases or elements of what you’re working on before it launches. Users are likely to get more excited and follow your journey, company culture, process new information, and ask questions along the way.
- Influencer takeovers and collaborations
These days social media influencers have gained immense popularity over famous celebrities. Through their videos, blogs, tweets and everything in between, influencers have been able to build a following of loyal users that hang on to their every word and recommendation. Reaching out to influencers creates the opportunity for them to mention your brand, try your products and demonstrate it to their followers. Now that their followers are informed about your products and your company, they will likely browse your Instagram feed, view your website and become followers as well.
By initiating a takeover, these influencers jump onto your Instagram account and share relevant content on your Story. On the flipside, representatives from your brand are able to login to their account, share aspects of your business and grow your following. Both of you benefit by accessing each others audience by making a guest appearance and creating a cross-promotion platform.
- Host a Contest or promotion
If one of your goals through your Instagram account is to gain a following organically, this is a great option to consider. Similarly to how users have been able to engage with their audience on Snapchat, hosting a contest or promotion on your Instagram Story is a great opportunity to grow your following and give back to your audience.
Tip: Have your audience screenshot one of your Story uploads, give them contest details (ex: repost the screenshot, tag 3 friends, follow our account, etc) and have them win the prize after 24 hours.
Part of the reason why social media is such an effective tool in your marketing campaign is the ability to engage with your customers. Whether you’re using Instagram to engage or another social medium, having the opportunity to interact directly with your potential customers is . While your business is using the Stories feature on Instagram, it gives your audience (depending on your settings) the ability to send you a message directly and create conversation surrounding the content on your Story. Reply to these messages and create conversations on potential clients Stories as well. In doing so, you’ll remain top of their mind as a brand they’ve had a good experience with.
- Use clips from your camera roll
Your brand may want to share behind the scenes footage, but not necessarily want to take create new content every time. Luckily, Instagram has incorporated a feature to upload pictures and videos that have been sitting in your Camera Roll for the past 24 hours. Tip: If you’re looking to use content that has been in your Camera Roll for more than 24 hours, screenshot it and you’ll be able to upload it again.
- See who’s checking out your story
Another feature to take advantage of is examining the users viewing your story. In doing so, you’ll be able to create conversations with those who might fit as potential leads for your sales efforts.
Finally, if you want to view Instagram Stories from your desktop, just download this Chrome extension and you’ll be able to view Stories right from your browser! Perfect for discreetly staying social at work – just don’t tell your boss we told you!