Today there are over 300 million daily users on Instagram Stories. That is an incredible amount of potential customers for your brand, and a chance to engage with a larger consumer base. Instagram launched the Stories program less than two years ago and have now become an integrated part of the Instagram experience. Instagram Stories have become a part of our daily life and are an integral part of social media branding. That being said, there are still companies who haven't started using the Stories feature to captivate their customers and fans, so we're going to tell you how to use Instagram stories properly to market your business.
Social media encourages us to put our best selves out there because what we publish usually stays on the internet forever. In this day and age there's a new breed of content available that has a 24-hour lifespan, instead of being available forever, that encourages you to share in a different way.
Disappearing photos and videos have been made available by Snapchat for some time now. Now these time-limited posts are available on Instagram in the form of Instagram Stories. Keep your followers interested by providing Stories that might be here today and gone tomorrow. Although these Stories may be short and only last a day, they will make a lasting impact on the way your brand is seen by your followers.
Instagram Stories are quickly gaining ground to keep your most loyal followers engaged while also introducing your brand to new audiences and potential customers. Stories have changed the way we use Instagram, and how we interact with the consumer base. By turning the platform into something more than just your online photo album, you can capture your follower's attention with short videos, polls, and by going live.
Instagram Stories are shown in a slideshow format and can be posted as photos or short video clips. For those brands who want the ability to save these stories for followers to view longer than the typical 24 hours, Instagram now allows users to add Highlights to their Instagram profiles. Instagram Highlights are a great way to save what is important to your business, such as blog links, sales links, and important information.
Here are three examples that your business can use on Instagram to grow your company. Instagram Stories are becoming one of the greatest ways to market and grow your brand.
How to Use Instagram Stories
- Click on the camera icon in the top left of the app, or the '+' on your profile picture.
- Tap the white circle in the middle to take a picture, hold it for a video, or tap the gallery icon in the left corner (or just swipe up) to use existing media on your phone.
- Edit your photo or video using Instagram's various editing options.
- Tap the "Your Story" button to post to your public Story, "Send to" to send it privately to your followers via a Direct Message, or "Save" to download it to your phone for later use.
Unlike the dimensions for standard square Instagram posts, Stories are shot vertically and so photos and videos should be sized accordingly at 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels tall. Anything added to your camera roll should show up when you swipe up in the Stories camera view.
Besides photos and videos, Instagram stories give you a variety of modes to create in other formats:
- Type: Text-based posts in a variety of styles against a colored background.
- Live: In the moment live streams where your audience can comment in real-time. You can post them as a Story after.
- Boomerang: Create a 1-second looping video.
- Focus: Take portraits that blur out the background and keep your subject's face in focus.
- Superzoom: Dramatically zoom in on your subject from afar, often used for a comedic effect.
- Rewind: Record a video that will play in reverse.
- Hands-free: Record a video without having to hold down the record button.
Being on Instagram as a business can really bring brand awareness like you've never seen before. Instagram has over 300 million daily users just for the Stories section--could you possibly think of another way to get your brand out there so quickly to so many people? Instagram can enable you to market and grow your business and followers like never before.
The nice thing about the Stories feature is that no one is expecting your post to be total perfection. This is especially true for a Stories post that's not going to be around after tomorrow. While Instagram photo posts require the perfect lighting, angles, and hashtags, a good story just requires a quick idea or an interesting moment, and the creativity to capture your follower's attention.
The Stories tool doesn't get the same exposure as regular Instagram posts and that makes them great for testing new ideas. If it gets a good reception, then you can consider reposting it as a permanent Instagram post or using that same idea for another one of your business' social media platforms.
Just like Snapchat, you have tools for drawing, placing stickers, experimenting with cool filters, and more. Instagram also now allows you the ability to add links to your stories. Right now this feature is only available for verified accounts. You can also direct followers to a link in your bio.
If you have more than 10K followers on Instagram and operate a business account, you are able to provide links out from your Stories. Another way to get discovered using the Stories tool is by using hashtags and geotags in your stories. Using these tools also offers your brand the chance to get into the Featured Stories for the tags you choose and will amplify your reach.
just like with Facebook, there is now a way to stream live content on Instagram via Stories! Live video can be an amazing tool for getting those new followers, engaging with your customers, and providing more information about the product or service you are offering. It gives you the option to really show the heart of your business in a unique and creative way. It also offers your brand to showcase products and features in a more casual way than the formal photos you're used to posting.
A live Instagram story can be a great tool for giving your audience a behind-the-scenes look at the way your business works, or how you make a certain product. An Instagram Story can also hold contests, show behind-the-scenes employees, and just the day-to-day life of how your business is run.
The Instagram Go Live feature allows your followers and customers to comment and engage with your video as it's streaming. Stories also allow you to connect with your audience in real time, allowing you to comment, answer questions, and respond to your followers. Using the Go Live feature to surprise your followers is also a fun way to interact with them. Sometimes, giving just a little warning ahead of time but not telling exactly what the video will feature will get your customers excited enough to come join you for the live feed.
Consider treating when you post a story or go live like a TV network with scheduled programming for the week, or even recurring "episodes" that happen on certain days. Thinking about what your followers might like to see on a weekly/daily or monthly basis can really up your brand's viewing audience. Perhaps your viewers want a DIY Wednesday or a Behind-The-Scenes Friday? Maybe each Monday is a surprise vlog episode taking them along for a ride somewhere in your company.
Testing Ideas / Polls
Do you have a burning question you want to ask your followers? Maybe you want to test out a new idea, but you're not really sure it will be a hit? Your business using Instagram Polls is the perfect solution! By creating a poll in your stories, users will interact with you, and therefore drive more traffic to your brand. You can find out what your followers want as new products, services, and if they like a new item you are thinking of releasing.
Instagram likes to have people engaging and communicating with each other, so what better way to do that than with a poll? Polls can allow you to get an accurate feel for what your followers are looking for from your business. It can let you know where your brand should be heading, and what things that your brand may need to look into changing. Polls are a great tool to really get to know your customer base.
No matter how many new social channels or features that are available, the same qualities will make your business successful. Start using the tools and getting to know them to make them work for your brand. Find a way to make the Stories, Go Live, and Poll options work for your brand. Use these tools to better market your company, hence also earning your company or brand more opportunities and more money.
Although the Stories tools are still relatively new and still evolving, they are a wonderful way to market your brand and really get into one of the newest and creative ways to be on one of the most popular social media platforms.