4 Ways To Use Instagram Stories for Your Business
About a year ago, Instagram introduced Stories, a new feature that would bring a whole new way of sharing content to the app we’ve known and loved since 2010.
When Instagram first launched 7 years ago, it was an app that made your phone snapshots look like professional photography thanks to its filters and other editing tools.
Because now everyone with a smart phone could partake in beautiful photography, it quickly gained popularity.
It didn’t take long for brands to figure out that this grid was an amazing way to connect with existing and potential customers.
And so, the Instagram Grid was king of content on the app. Until now.
In this post, I will explain what stories are and how you can use them to grow your following and your business.
If you feel like you need step up your story & live streaming game, I’m holding a live master class on September 27th at 11 AM Eastern Time.
If you can’t make it live, don’t worry. I email everyone who pre-registers a replay of the class so you can watch at your leisure and as many times as you want. Click below to register.
Instagram is now 3 apps in 1
Instagram + Snapchat + Facebook Live.
This is the punch that Instagram is currently packing. All the features of your favorite apps in one place. No wonder it boasts 600 million active monthly users.
The static grid is still very important in Instagram, but it is no longer the king of content. More content is being created now than ever before. People are keeping up with their grid, sharing stories and going live. All in one app.
Here are a few benefits of partaking in stories & live streaming:
- Doing stories helps you engage further with your existing followers
- It increases your exposure within the app – resulting in more followers
- It helps you pop up more often in someone’s feed
- Live video is currently the biggest shift in social media. People want to see real and unedited content.
If you’d like to know more about how stories & live streaming can increase your visibility on the app, sign up for our live master class by clicking here.
So, what are stories?
Stories are 10-second videos or photos that are shared in chronological order by tapping on your profile picture. These never make it to your feed, and you can post as many as you want without worrying about spamming your followers.
When a user has a new story, their profile image shows an Instagram-colored ring around it. When you tap on it, you will see the content in full screen and you can fast forward or go back by tapping to the left or the right of your screen.
Stories always show up at the very top of your newsfeed, with the order apparently being based on the algorithm.
This means you will probably see stories of accounts you follow closely as the first in the queue and those you don’t, far off to very end.
If you are picky about the content you share on your feed and are trying to keep a certain aesthetic, stories are great to share everything else you that doesn’t fit your theme.
Stories stay visible on your account for 24 hours, after that they disappear forever.
You will be able to see what stories you have shared in your account insights, however. You can also save the stories to your phone at any time and even share them on your feed.
The very fun thing about stories is that you can get very creative. The app has a big array of seasonal and permanent stickers and even brushes you can use to pimp up your content.
You can even add existing pictures from you camera roll by opening up the camera and swiping up or tapping on the little photo icon on the low left hand corner.
Check out this video if you don’t know how to do that.
How can you use stories for your brand?
You can use stories in many ways for your business. We will go over this in depth in the webinar. I will even show you how to create amazingly beautiful graphics with little graphic design knowledge.
1. To make announcements
This is an example of how I use stories in my business. I wanted to advertise my upcoming webinar, so I made this quick image letting people know to sign up through the link in my bio.
The image in the background is one I found on a background app for free. It is already cropped to fit a phone screen, so all you do is add it to your stories (check the video tutorial if you don’t know how to do it) and then add text.
The 24 hr disappearance of the stories is perfect to market your flash sales, too.
NOTE: If you have more than 10k followers, Instagram gives you additional features like the “swipe up.” I could tell my followers to swipe up from this and take them to the registration page for my webinar.
2. To show a different side of you & your brand
I love it when people share things about their life on their Instagram. It makes us feel more connected to what they are like and what they are doing at that moment.
You can use stories to share just about anything you want – and the best part is it doesn’t have to be business related.
You can share a short video of your vacation at the beach, a cute picture of your puppy, your groceries…the possibilities are endless.
3. To interact with others
Did you know you can tag others in your stories?
When you do, the person will get a direct message telling them that you have tagged them in a story and a preview of it.
When you tag someone, users can tap on the underlined username and they are taken to the person’s account. This is especially useful if you want to give someone a shoutout or thank someone for something.
4. To promote your recent posts
Jenna Kutcher is a master at this.
Some people think of Instagram as microblogging, and this is something I agree with.
A picture doesn’t stand alone. Instead, it is accompanied by a thoughtful caption, where you either share content that is either valuable or relatable. This really helps grow your following, as your followers start to see that you put effort into all of your posts.
Promoting your recent posts on your stories is clever, especially if you insert some element of curiosity into it, like Jenna does.
She knows that any double tap or comment will help that post rank higher in the algorithm and therefore help her get more followers. Simply put: if more people see it, the more likely she is to get new followers.
Alright, these are just a few of the things you can do with stories.
How do you do your stories?
If you’d like to step up your story & live streaming game, sign up for our live master class September 27th @11 AM Eastern Time.