How to use Instagram Stories for Your Business

Instagram Stories is a rival feature that Instagram introduced in the fall of 2016 to keep its audience engaged, interested in the app and stop people from moving over to SnapChat, which has been attracting the younger audience with the appeal of in the moment, fun and no commitment type of post. SnapChat has been slowly growing in popularity among Instagram users, and Instagram needed to get creative in order to stay competitive.

The result: Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories are photos and short videos that are not part of your Instagram feed unless you choose them to be. Like Snaps, they are supposed to be in the moment happenings that you can share with your audience which last just 24 hours.

Since its launch, Instagram has been beefing up the features: there are filters to use to make your photos fun, you can write a message on the photo or video and tag another Instagram account.

THE NUMBER ONE REASON TO USE INSTAGRAM STORIES

Instagram Stories show up at the top of the feed as you open the app. This prime position gives them priority and visibility unlike the image posts in your feed.

You will notice Instagram stories from accounts that you may not see a post from as you stroll down the app.

They are visible to anyone who comes across your profile and can show up when people search the app too.

They are short and to the point. They are meant to be used as instances that maybe do not fit into your Instagram aesthetic but are part of your brand and your marketing strategy.

HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM STORIES FOR BUSINESS

First and foremost, use Instagram Stories feature to enhance your brand, meaning use it strategically and with intent.

Create them with the same care as any other social media post. The message should matter and be interesting for the audience to keep watching and return to watch future stories.

If your account gets discovered because of an Instagram Story, it should be compelling enough for the viewer to click to your profile and follow your account!

Here are just three examples of how you can incorporate Instagram Stories in your marketing:

How you work

Allowing a sneak peek at your creative process or showing your business ‘secrets’ is a way to humanize your brand and to show some of your brand’s personality.

Maintain professionalism by carefully creating the scene that you want to share.

Tease a promotion

Because Instagram stories are short and time-bound, they only last 24 hours, they can be a powerful way to keep the momentum going for a promotion or a special offer.

You can create excitement about an event, a sale or a program that you are offering.

Mini tutorial

Stitching a series of short videos to tell a story or offer a mini tutorial can be a challenge, but it can be done!
The key is to make the series short in order to keep your audience engaged.

HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM STORY

If you have never created an Instagram Story, follow these basic steps to make your very first one.

  1. Tap the camera icon at the top left-hand corner of your screen.
  2. Press the large round button at the bottom center, or take a video by pressing down on the button.
    TIP — switch between front and back facing camera using the two arrows icon and add or remove flash by clicking the flashlight icon.
  3. After you take the photo, it’s time for some pizazz. The editing tools allow you to add art, doodle, add color filter or text to your story.
  4. You are done! Press the circled + button to publish your story.

You can save the image or video to your phone, send a direct message and of course post as your story.

Your story will appear at the top of your followers feeds and be visible on your profile page by tapping your profile picture.

To view your story, click on your profile image. This is where you can delete your story, save it as a post and see who has viewed it.

If you’d like your story to be private or limit who can see it, go to “Story Settings” found in your profile under Options. There you can choose to block your story from certain individuals and restrict who can send a reply to your story.

WHAT ENTREPRENEURS LIKE YOU NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT INSTAGRAM STORIES

If you are using Instagram as a marketing tool to grow your brand awareness and build a following, Instagram stories can be an interesting addition to get to your goal.

Aside from the “how to”, make your stories branded and fun. They are a clever way to create new and unique experiences for your audience.

Be strategic and always remember to bring value. People will not want to watch your stories if what you share is not helping them or giving them a reason to like you more.

YOUR TURN

Are you going to give Instagram Stories a try? Video is becoming a mainstream way for a brand to share their content and to stand out from others. Instagram stories could be your way to test the waters and also get used to being in front of the camera.

I hope that you found this article helpful.

All the best and see you next time!

Anna

P.S. I share a weekly marketing, social media or branding prompt to get your business moving along. I would love to see you there, you can join here.