If you are all set to engage your users through social media, one thing that you should definitely learn is how to use stories on Instagram.
Not convinced? You will be once you go through these "Instagram for business" facts…
- There are more than 300 million accounts using Instagram stories across the world. 80% of these follow at least one business on Instagram.
- There are 25 million businesses on the Instagram site. 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one of these business profiles every day.
- At least 50% of the businesses on Instagram publish at least one story every month. 1/3rd of the most-viewed stories on Instagram come from these businesses. At least one of every five of these stories, end up getting direct messages from their viewers.
- Over 250 million people across the world happen to watch and even create Instagram stories for business every day.
- 96% businesses that belong to the fashion industry or business make use of Instagram.
As stated by Neil Patel, ‘Instagram Stories’ will also continue to dominate in the market.
Hopper, a travel app, harnessed the power of Instagram Stories successfully. Through creative and engaging Instagram story ideas, this fastest growing app managed to reach out to 7.5 million North American travel enthusiasts (mostly millennials) and persuaded most of them to download and use their app to book their flights.
There was at least a 67% increase in app installs with the booking rates rising up to a whopping 80%.
Isn’t that awesome? Here is another case…
A unique fashion brand called D. Franklin used Instagram stories to reach out to the millennials in Spain.
Apart from their product details, their ads also featured some cool typography. Not only did they manage to get a 2.3x higher return on their ad spends, they also lowered their cost per purchase by 21%.
So, would you still give up this incredible chance of connecting with your target audience through Instagram?
If yes, you may want to do some research on the popularity and reach of this platform. In case your answer is ‘No’, here is your way to learn how to use Instagram stories to your advantage and why Instagram Stories need to be a part of your Instagram marketing strategy.
1. Use Stories to ‘Highlight’ Your Instagram Profile
Instagram stories ideas can enhance the aesthetics of your Instagram profile, giving it a personality of its own. They can help you promote your products and even reach out to a new audience.
Beyond Yoga, a Yoga apparel brand recently came up with an entire Instagram story featuring women getting through her workout in their supply and durable yoga gear. You can create such stories too.
In fact, you can now create permanent collections of your Instagram Stories by using the “Instagram Stories Highlights” feature. This feature is becoming one of the hot favorites of brands on Instagram since it makes their stories live on their Instagram profiles.
It is like creating a movie trailer for your Instagram feed to show off your products, drive traffic to your website or even Instagram market your business.
Here is what you need to do to add a story to your highlight:
- Go to your Instagram profile and tap the button that you see below Stories Highlights.
- Now tap again to select the stories that you wish to add to your highlights.
- Tap Next
- Put up a cover photo and type in a story name for your highlight. Now tap Add.
Any time you wish to add or remove photos or videos from your highlight, all you need to do is tap on “Edit Highlight.”
2. Go behind the scene
One of the Instagram story best practices is to add in some behind the scene pictures and videos to your Instagram stories.
While it is easy to hire a graphic designer, who can make things look amazing using Adobe Photoshop, it is not always advisable. In fact, your consumers may have a problem relating to such stylized imagery.
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During one of its fashion shoots, Nordstrom Rack, the fashion retailer brand, decided to take its followers behind the scenes through Instagram stories.
Not only did this give the followers of Nordstrom Rack, a sneak peek into its latest fashions, it made them feel as though they were seated in the front row of this exclusive runway show. It brought about an unvarnished, approachable side of the brand that its followers never knew of.
So next time you have a company event try and capture a few behind-the-scenes moments to add them to your Instagram stories.
3. Make the most of the polls
Another feature that Instagram launched recently is to enable the users to add interactive polls to their Instagram Stories.
In a frictionless and fun way, these polls can help you engage your audience and get their opinions on just about any topic of your choice.
For all, you know these polls can also help you make informed business decisions while saving a lot of time and money.
Here are a few steps you need to follow to include a poll in your Instagram stories ideas:
- Tap on the Sticker Icon on top of your Story Screen and Tap on the Poll Sticker option.
- You will get an option to add your poll question, along with a “Yes/No” poll box. Enter the question that you want to ask your target audience.
- You can customize poll responses by tapping in each (yes or no) box and typing in the preferred response. You can enter up to 26 characters in each option. However, there are only two response options.
- Now tap on the Done button or the checkmark in the top-right corner of your screen.
- You can place your poll sticker by dragging it around your screen. You can also increase or decrease the size of your poll sticker.
- Add it to your Instagram stories the way you would add any other post.
You can monitor your poll results by opening up post analytics. However, the poll results would be available only till the story is live. You would want to set reminders to grab your poll results before your story expires.
If you can come up with some creative Instagram story ideas, you can use polls to decide on a product that you may want to offer, select the features for your product, get the preferred timings of your audience for Instagram Live broadcasts, find out how your target audience would like to be reached, and even figure out some of the topics for your next blog post.
Airbnb came up with a professional and well-structured poll on Travel Tuesday last November to encourage its followers to pick their favorite travel destination. Using its followers’ content made it easier for Airbnb to create engaging stories on Instagram.
It is not just these polls; by using Instagram Story best practices you can run contests, promote sales or offer giveaways to your existing followers to encourage engagement and loyalty.
4. Use Instagram Stories to presell your products
You can use Instagram Stories to offer ‘pre-sales’ and create some anticipation for the products that you wish to sell.
The clothing company J.Crew added to its Instagram Stories, an exclusive pre-sale called Jane in Pink sunglasses, to tease the launch of its new rose-colored sunglasses.
The pink-themed photoshoot that featured staffers sporting the new style was an absolute treat to its Instagram followers. The brand managed to create a strong sense of urgency by making available, only 50 pairs of the new sunglasses, during this pre-sale.
5. Use links in Instagram Stories to Drive Traffic, Generate Leads, and Increase Sales
The best part of social media is the intimate connection that it allows you to form with your brand’s followers. Instagram Stories has only taken this opportunity one step further.
If you are still hunting out for the best way on how to use Instagram Stories, you could think of using some direct links. The best part is that you could even use the tagging feature along with this link.
Brunch Boys helped its verified users find restaurants where they could eat, by using the “swipe up” function along with the tagging feature.
6. Share experiences through your Instagram Stories
Any idea how GoPro managed to have 7.5 million people follow the brand on Instagram?
Have a look at their Instagram Feeds. You are in for a treat of a beautiful assortment of thrilling images of people hiking in Kilimanjaro, skydiving in Switzerland, and riding the biggest waves of Hawaii.
GoPro’s Instagram Stories are not about posting pictures from their cameras; they are about sharing the adventures that these cameras capture. Their success strategy is all about prioritizing experiences over products.
Airbnb is another brand that shares this strategy. Apart from posting quality images of breathtaking accommodations in its Instagram Stories, Airbnb uses a lot of consumer-generated content of activities that they engage in, while using Airbnb.b
Whether it is an aerial snapshot taken while paragliding or the simple interiors of a home, it is more likely to catch your eye since it comes straight from the users.
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7. Use Boomerang to enhance your Instagram Stories
Boomerang is an Instagram app that helps you create short videos using a bunch of photos played in quick succession (or loops). It looks like a flip book that goes back and forth.
Boomerang can really spice up your standard photos and videos, helping you enjoy every moment of your life. This is what you need to do to use boomerang in your Instagram Stories:
- Open Stories on Instagram. At the bottom, you will see “Normal” and “Boomerang” in Camera View
- Select “Boomerang”
- You will see a looping infinity symbol on the usual white camera button. Tap on this button to record.
- Once you are done recording, tap on the same button to stop.
- It will take a while to process, but after that, you can add your Boomerang to your story
Although relatively new, Instagram Stories have managed to achieve high user-adoption rates. Brands aren’t slow in experimenting with these either. It might take a while to get a hang of it; but once you understand how to use stories in Instagram, it can make brand marketing a whole lot of fun.
Hiren Panchal is the Co-founder and Promoter of India based Branding Company Litmus. He sharps his views with analytical mindfulness. Just as his doer attitude wins over his believer attitude with a thin line, his thought leadership aims at making leaders and not followers in his team. His creative insights have created brands worldwide and he’s commanding in the industry for +20 years.