Five Ways to Use Instagram Stories
Instagram has become one of the fastest growing social platforms since its creation in 2010. With 800 million monthly active users, Instagram is a key marketing platform for businesses. While many businesses already have Instagram accounts and regularly post pictures and videos, an often overlooked too is Instagram Stories. Marketers should seriously consider using Instagram Stories feature to leverage their content. Here are five ways to use Instagram Stories to increase your audience and boost engagement:
1. Linking Back
Instagram’s main feature is posting images and videos on your account. Stories can be used to take people back to this content. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the Instagram algorithm can make your content less visible to your followers if you are not getting much engagement from your audience. By using your story to show that you’ve posted, your followers who watch the story can go back and show some love to your post. Not only does this garner more support for the individual post, but the more people who like your posts, the more visible it will become on the algorithm.
2. Behind the Scenes
The most basic use of stories is to show day-to-day operations. By posting “behind the scenes” content, your brand becomes more human to your followers. You can also garner interest in your different services by showing the people who provide these services. It also generates engagement, which makes you more visible on the Instagram Algorithm. An excellent example of this is the account from HubSpot called HubSpotLife. According to the bio, the whole purpose of this account is, “to make business more human. Here’s an inside look at the culture, people, and workplace making it happen.” This is not only interesting to HubSpot’s clients and potential audience, but also to the employees as well as their friends and family. The more users who view your story, the more your posted content will become visible to them. Therefore, the more you post, the more views you get. Behind-the-scenes posts are a great way to fill out your story with content.
Aside from daily activities, you can also post “insider” previews so your followers can get the full experience. If you publish a professional video, post an image or video from the filming so that you can generate interest. It also helps make the people on the camera more interesting to your audience. This leads to more engagement with the material you publish.
Polls, a recent feature, were introduced with the update to the app in October. They are used by everyone, from questions from “hot or not” to “should we sell this product?” Polls can be a great way to increase engagement and conduct market research. Increasing engagement makes your content more visible, as well as makes your followers more aware of your brand. Market research, however, is the more valuable use for polls. Rather than conducting massive surveys and focus groups, polls take only a few seconds to set up and cost no money to create. Instagram Stories are a great platform for surveys because they feel less formal and intrusive than regular surveys, plus because the only people seeing them are those actually interested in your company and content, the results are much more beneficial.
4. Product Previews
Product previews are one of the best uses of Instagram Stories. Not only can you give exclusive looks before a product is released, but you can also give demonstrations of using the product. By doing so, you are able to give an insider look at how well the product works, which means people will be more willing to purchase it without seeing it in person (i.e. more online revenue). This is one of my favorite uses for Instagram Stories because you can easily create hype around a product and get people eager to learn more by only giving out tiny glimpses or teasers. It is amazing how curiosity can be used to create engagement.
5. Share Content
Instagram Stories are a great way to share content from outside of your Instagram account. You can share influencer content, which will help you develop relationships with individuals who can help promote your work. You can also share your followers content. If a follower posts an image tagging you, you can screenshot it and post it to your story. This helps you develop better relationships with your consumers. The benefit of posting to your story is that it is temporary and doesn’t interrupt your feed of professional images on your account.
A key feature of Instagram Stories is the “Swipe Up” link. If you are a business account with over ten thousand followers, you have the ability to add the “Swipe Up” feature to your story. This will pull up a web page that you have linked to that particular story. This allows you to share your blogs, interesting news articles, or any content you find relevant to your business and industry. You can also link it to a specific product, which can lead to more page clicks and more online revenue.
Things to Avoid
Instagram Stories are a great marketing technique, but there are limitations. Never post something vital to your consumers only to your story. Stories are temporary, and vital information should be put out on multiple, permanent platforms. You also want to avoid posting to your story too much or too little. Too much, and you will annoy your followers. Too little, and your followers will be less likely to see your content.
Instagram Stories can help promote your content and lead to more growth and sales revenue. By following these tips, you can leverage your stories to benefit your sales, as well as your brand.