Instagram stories are a stellar way for businesses to interact with their consumers.
How are we so sure?
We won’t bore with detailed Instagram story analytics but we will tell you this:
More than 500 million people use Instagram stories every day.
Yes, you read that right.
These are the people you have the potential to reach.
And if you manage to reach even a minute fraction of this number, you have won at the game.
But if that’s not enough to convince you, here are a few other reasons that will.
What is the Purpose of Instagram Stories?
You must’ve asked yourself this question at some point if you are new to Instagram marketing.
Why does my business need Instagram stories?
Aren’t the posts on my feed enough?
Why should I invest time and effort into yet another realm of social media – and Instagram – in particular?
We tell you why below:
One of the main reasons for the use of social media in general is to interact with one’s consumers and have open two-way communication with them.
Instagram stories let you involve your audience in a way few other tools do.
From inviting their opinion to encouraging them to share problems, solutions, experiences, and views; from introducing offers to making exciting announcements; you can keep your audience fully engaged.
Ability to Reach a Wider Demographic
Whether you use hashtags to reach people on the basis of interest or location tags to reach a particular geographical demographic, you can reach an audience beyond just your dedicated followers.
This is true for Instagram marketing in general, and stories in particular.
Limited Time Posts
There are times when you need to post about something that won’t hold true in the long term.
An example is a one-day discount, for example, or participation in a challenge that is truly valid for only a day (the following story was posted on July 29th).
Things that are temporary or sudden don’t really have a place on your Insta feed – you’re much better off sharing them on stories.
A Space for Informal Interaction
If you look at Instagram stories by businesses on the platform, or even the examples we will share in this blog post, you will notice a common trend: stories are quite informal.
Whereas a lot of thought and effort goes into making regular posts for Instagram, stories are different.
While they do require planning and creativity, no one is expecting mad photography or copywriting skills in a story, among other things. The tone and style are much more conversational.
You can quite literally post about anything on Instagram stories.
Want to post an image? Great! Got a video or GIF instead? That works too!
Want to post about a promotion, an announcement, a challenge, a BTS shoot, a product, anything under the sun? You choose what you talk about and how.
While some kinds of posts will perform better than others, you can play around with multiple types and see what works for you.
Traffic to Your Site
When businesses put a new blog post up on their website, they post about it in their stories – you must have noticed this.
They do this so people will be intrigued and visit the site.
By “Swiping up” in this case:
Whether you are promoting a product, introducing a discount, or launching a CSR campaign, you can turn your Instagram story views into website visits.
Now that you know why your business needs to make stories a part of its Instagram marketing strategy, let’s discuss some Instagram stories ideas!
How to Ace Instagram Stories
Stickers are a great way to engage your audience.
Because they are a lot more interactive than simple image and video posts you can put up in your Instagram feed.
And the best part? You can add them to both image and video stories.
How do you add stickers? Simply click on the Stickers icon once you have taken or uploaded a photo or video to Stories.
So, what are some kinds of stickers and how can you use them for your business effectively? We discuss a few of them with you here.
Let’s dive right into it.
Poll Stickers are just what the name implies: Polls.
You can ask a question about the brand, product, service, or something completely random, and give the consumer two options to choose from.
This engages the audience and also brings them back later because they want to view the results of the poll.
Take a look at this Poll in CLUSE’s stories. They carried out a poll to see which of the two watches that they were soon launching their consumers would go for.
In this way, they would find out what their customers were leaning towards, while engaging them and making them feel valued at the same time.
Social media challenges are all the rage nowadays – especially now because people are stuck at home due to COVID-19.
Instagram story challenges are no different.
You can record your challenge and put it up on your story with the challenge sticker.
Take the Squat Challenge, for example.
If you own a gym, you can take part in the squat challenge and put it up in your stories, adding the challenge sticker and tagging other people too.
These stickers allow you to ask your consumers Instagram story questions and get responses from them (which you can then respond to as well).
And it’s just as it sounds – there are a million directions you can take with this!
- Ask consumers about their opinions on a product.
- Share a problem and seek advice.
- Encourage your customers to ask questions you can help them with.
- The list can go on.
What all these options basically do is get your audience involved in a one-on-one conversation about something meaningful.
Here’s an example:
Cultivate What Matters, a company that is all about goal planning and achieving big things, asked people to share their goals/struggles.
When someone responded with a concern, they contributed a very helpful tip so they could get things in order.
Emoji Slider Stickers
These kinds of stickers allow your users to respond to your questions on a scale.
They are similar to the question and poll stickers in that they encourage consumers to interact with the post.
Unlike the poll stickers, however, the user gets to answer with a bunch of options on a scale (e.g., selecting how much they like a particular perfume scent, from not at all to quite a bit).
Mention Stickers allow you to tag someone in your story.
You can use this in combination with other stickers and elements.
As a business, it allows you to easily tag other businesses, influencers you may be working with, celebrities who used and endorsed your product, and so on.
Extra Exton is an Instagram blog owned by a special needs mom to create awareness and share her life with her son who has Down Syndrome.
She shared her appreciation about a motivational workbook and tagged the author using a mention sticker.
Some other fun stickers to play around with include:
- Date stickers
- GIF stickers
- Location stickers
- Hashtag Stickers
Use a combination of these stickers in your Instagram stories strategy (and even in a single post) and figure out what works for your brand.
Rely on User-Generated Content
One of the greatest Instagram stories tricks is to use UGC, or user-generated content.
But why is user-generated content so important? Why does it work so well?
The answer to that is simple:
It shares a story, a real experience, and introduces an element of authenticity into the picture (pun intended).
See, you can highlight 10 different specifications that make your product stand out from all others in the market. But if a user posts about their experience with even two of those characteristics, that is much more real.
And you can use that to your advantage.
Whether you repost an Instagram story or a regular post by a consumer on your stories, it benefits your brand in ways you cannot imagine!
And the cherry on top? Each piece of UGC is one less post for you to create!
Employ Behind-the-scene Posts
Your brand and your consumers are a family in today’s day and age – the rigid business-customer dynamic doesn’t exist anymore.
Because your consumers treat you as an important part of their lives, they deserve to see little tidbits of life behind the scenes for your brand.
From sharing memorable throwbacks to teasers about something exciting about to be launched, you can play around with this idea and see what works best for you.
Introduce Time-Sensitive Promotions
A lot of times, your brand introduces promotions or shares news that is time-sensitive.
If this time period is very short, you won’t always post about it on your feed (or you can do both) – we talked about this above.
Sharing these updates with the consumers on stories will save you lot of hassle. You won’t have to explain to customers a month later, for example, how a certain offer was only valid for one day – the day mentioned in the post!
On stories, the post will disappear after 24 hours and there will be nothing left to be confused about.
Make Discount Announcements
If done right, Instagram stories allow you to reach an audience beyond your current following.
But do you know who follows your Instagram stories regardless?
Your loyal fan base.
And what better way to thank them than with discount offers they learn about on your story?
Reach them and others with announcements about discounts they can obtain when shopping with you.
Save Story Highlights
There are some things you want your consumers and potential customers to see the moment they land on your Instagram page.
And let’s face it – you can’t really put all that information in your bio – you’re only allowed 150 characters!
But there is a way around that – you can create story threads for such information and save them as highlights. This could include anything, from pictures of items from your newest range to delivery details and product “catalogues.”
When you do that, they will become permanently visible to the visitors of your page – directly below your bio and above your feed.
Going Live from Instagram is a brilliant way to interact with your customers in real-time.
Here are some ways in which you can use the Live functionality to benefit your business:
- Introduce your products and services in real time through first look and unboxing posts, for example.
- Take your audience behind the scenes and show them the process you follow to devise a service.
- Cover an event you are holding live.
- Conduct a session where the sole purpose is for you to interact with your customers in a fun, relaxed virtual environment.
- Invite guests onto the Live session and conduct real-time interviews.
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Quick Story Hacks
We’ve covered some really useful techniques using which you can win with Instagram stories.
Here are a few more quick pointers you really shouldn’t skip.
Add Hashtags to Your Stories
We mentioned the Hashtag sticker up top when we were discussing the use of stickers in stories.
Whether you use the Hashtag sticker in Instagram stories or in your feed, you’re essentially bringing together people who have similar interests to each other. And to you, of course!
And that is what will help you build/strengthen your community.
Lead More People to Your Feed from Stories
Your feed is crucial for longer term posts. And as with any social media marketing material, you want to bring as much attention to it as possible.
And one way to lead people to the posts is through stories.
The concept here is the same as leading people to your website, YouTube channel, or other desired location.
Use Links in Instagram Stories
We talked about leading people to your website from the stories. But that’s not the only destination you can aim for.
Buzzfeed Tasty, for example, puts a teaser of a cooking video in its Instagram stories and adds a “Swipe Up” option. Once you swipe up, you’re led to the complete video on YouTube.
Tasty isn’t alone is doing this – many brands use this tactic.
And you should too.
Are You Ready to Up Your Game with Instagram Stories?
Our job was to give you ideas on how you can leave other businesses behind when it comes to Instagram stories.
Now the ball’s in your court.
A sincere piece of advice: leverage the power of Instagram stories because guess what? Your competitors already are.