Your business should have continuous meaningful conversations with your online customers.
You may have even already defined your social media channels, but are you maximizing each platform?
Today, we dive into different components of Instagram stories.
Read on to learn how you can use IG story ideas to engage your audience, generate new leads, and achieve more sales.
What Is an IG Story?
Instagram stories enable users to share videos, photos, and content to their “story.”
Their followers will then be able to view this content.
But if the profile is public, non-followers can also access the story in this time window.
The process and concept are like a regular Instagram post.
The difference is that IG stories are only available to the viewers for 24 hours.
An account with a recent story post will have a gradient, darker border around the user’s profile picture.
All your followers will be able to view the story in the regular feed or by navigating to your specific profile.
Why Are Instagram Stories Important?
There are several reasons why you or your business should use Instagram stories.
They help transform your content strategy.
Moreover, they allow you to connect with and understand your target audience.
Publishing regular posts on Instagram will only go so far.
With stories, you can unlock another communication channel with your loyal fans.
According to Meta, over 500 million accounts use daily Instagram stories.
As such, you don’t want to lag behind your competition.
The following are four reasons why Instagram stories are important.
When it all comes down to it, the Instagram algorithm decides how many followers will view your story.
It determines the most relevant, engaging, and new content for each individual follower.
Then, it positions the post toward the forefront of their feed.
When you are a business, you do not need to reach every follower.
But, the Instagram story can help you reach the people who buy your products and services.
Instagram stories help you achieve this goal if you do the following:
- Ensure your stories have a defined beginning, middle, and end.
- Integrate several different video formats in your stories. For example, boomerangs, GIFs, and face filters, among others.
- Envision your story views like family or friends. Speak directly to their emotions and needs.
- Add other elements to your stories, such as music, text prompts, stickers, and more.
You may already have excellent engagement with your existing audience.
But IG stories open doors to new ways of lead generation.
A story will allow you to publish your advertising copy, photos, and pictures like a standard post.
Notably, you can include a “swipe up” feature on the story that will take your followers or viewers to a landing page.
From here, you can guide them toward a call to action, such as purchasing a product or entering an email.
Interact With Instagram Users
Instagram stories provide another way for interaction.
They yield a direct response from a broad range of your followers.
This is particularly true when direct messaging or posting comments isn’t ideal.
As such, Instagram stories are a critical feedback mechanism.
By posting polls and other content, you can learn about your customers’ preferences.
That way, you can further improve your products, services, or website.
Related: How to create a poll on Facebook
Opportunity To Advertise
Instagram stories are another way to showcase your products, services, or company updates.
Your story will show at the top of the user’s feed, making it more visible than a regular post.
There are many ways you can use the 24-hour duration of stories to your advantage.
You can use it to announce upcoming sales, store hours, and any real-time updates.
Do IG Stories Increase Followers?
There are several ways that consistent Instagram stories can increase your follower count.
Among others, the explorer page, reshares, location tags, hashtags, and more.
When you post stories daily, the story could show up in two places: at the top of your feed and on the explore page.
The explorer page is a public page within Instagram where people who do not follow you can see your stories.
The more stories you post, the more likely they will appear on the explore page.
Thus, you will gain more followers.
You can also gain exposure and new followers through reshares.
When you tag another account in your story, the post will show in that user’s direct messages.
The account then has the choice to reshare your post to their story.
If you partner with other businesses or users, you can secure some of their followers as your own.
If your account tags a location in the “stickers,” your post will show in the story of the specific location.
For example, you can tag the location when on a business trip to a conference.
Much like the explorer page, anybody on Instagram can see your story.
How To Use Instagram Stories To Promote Your Business
We explained the basic concepts of Instagram stories and why they are essential.
But what are some specific, actionable strategies you can start implementing today?
Below are the most effective ways to promote your business through Instagram stories.
Promote Discounts and Giveaways
The Instagram story is the perfect way to let your followers know you are running a sale or a giveaway.
The 10-15 seconds that your story plays will entice your followers to visit your store.
If you have over 10,000 followers, you can insert a link that takes your followers to the website.
Once you upload or create your picture, photo, or visual content, you must add the call to action.
This phrase will guide customers toward acting on a decision.
Here are some call-to-action phrases you can use:
- Get 25% off today!
- Shop now!
- See new summer styles!
Conduct Market Research
Nothing boosts engagement more like a poll.
This story idea only takes five seconds for a follower to vote on a poll.
They are an excellent way for people to provide an opinion.
Furthermore, they provide your business with actionable results.
You can use poll “stickers” within the interface to post.
You can type a question and then list out two answers.
Users will only need to click their response to engage with your page.
As the poll stays live for 24 hours, you will see the percentage distribution.
Host Instagram Live
Going “live” on your Instagram is the perfect way to interact with your followers and fans in real-time.
Instagram live does not derive from the Instagram story feature.
Instead, you select it from the regular “post” button.
When your business goes live, followers can tune in at any time.
Followers can comment and engage with the story as it goes on.
As the account owner, you can see these comments come through.
You can then address them through the life story.
Instagram live adds a valuable “live news” aspect to your business.
This can help boost your brand storytelling.
IG Story Ideas
Knowing the power of Instagram stories is the first step to success.
The second step is planning what type of stories you want to publish.
Below are eight creative ways to engage your followers.
They will also help you elevate brand awareness and drive more sales.
Instagram stories allow you to pin a previous post to the story.
The viewers or followers can click on the post within the story.
This will redirect them to the original post.
Promoting posts is an excellent way to showcase memories involving your business.
This strategy works well for highlighting various things.
For example, product launches, promotions, or key company milestones.
If your brand has a website or blog, the Instagram story is the perfect place to showcase past blog posts.
Your blog is another versatile lead generation tool.
It can collect emails, provide affiliate marketing revenue, and elevate brand awareness.
You can publish the story by attaching an image snippet of the blog post, including a link for people to follow.
Do a Countdown Story to a New Release
Instagram stories also have a sticker option for countdowns.
You can input the end date and time, and then the Instagram story will be the live countdown.
This Instagram content strategy is perfect for a store opening.
Moreover, it is ideal for a product or a promotion launch and any other new releases.
Make a Sneak Peek
Because the Instagram story is temporary, it is an ideal opportunity to give a “sneak peek.”
You can post a 10-second video that shows an upcoming product or service in action.
This will leave the followers craving more information.
Ask for Feedback
Customer feedback is critical for continuous improvement.
Luckily for you, Instagram stories allow you to post polls to your followers.
You can type out a custom question, set up the answers, and allow the followers to vote.
Seeing the final tallies and percentages can give you vital insights.
You can learn what products to showcase more or what type of promotions to launch.
Introduce Your Team
A company or brand is only as good as its people.
You can use IG stories to showcase your team, who they are, and what motivates them.
Just make sure your employees are comfortable with it beforehand.
Every team member has a story and reasons for why they work for the brand.
Use the story to post “about me” snippets, video introductions, or other fun facts.
Social proof is an effective way to earn trust from your followers.
Posting a snippet of a quote from a satisfied customer will go a long way.
Reflect on customers or clients you had a positive, productive relationship with.
Their kind words can influence your followers to learn more about your brand.
This can also lead to better engagement with your products and services.
An Instagram takeover is when an employee, brand ambassador, or company leader “takes over” the social media account for the day.
They can post a “day in the life” to give followers a “behind the scenes” look at your company.
The person can also do selfie videos, discuss company announcements, and more.
When you integrate a hashtag into an Instagram story, it can go in the text, sticker, or location tag.
You can also style the hashtag, much like you do with stickers and text.
Below are some helpful hashtag tips to re-energize your Instagram story!
- Location tags operate the same as hashtags, so you can attach them to a video or image to show up on a location’s story.
- Add a branded hashtag to your story, which will increase awareness and engagement.
- Use the same hashtags as your target audience. Research to see what your followers or ideal user are saying. And then keep it consistent with how you hashtag.
- Take note of your industry-relevant hashtags that have the most posts, and then join the party.
How To Schedule Story Posts To Publish Automatically
Instagram story posting can be a lifesaver when you wear a lot of different hats for your business.
You can schedule your posts to publish through Facebook’s Creator Studio.
Using the Creator Studio is easy:
- First, you will have to link your Instagram account to your Creator Studio account.
- Develop your Instagram story.
- Add any relevant info you wish, such as IG hashtags, caption, and the location.
- Click on “Schedule” to choose the time and date for your post.
As you can see, the opportunities are endless with Instagram stories.
Before you start exploring Instagram stories, it is critical to define your goals.
Instagram stories help boost awareness, gain followers, drive revenue, and gain customer feedback.
Furthermore, they create excitement about your brand.
Get creative and use Instagram stories to transform your brand storytelling.