In 2016, Instagram launched ‘Stories’, a direct competitor (and virtual copy) of Snap’s ‘Stories’. The videos and photos last for 24 hours, giving brands and people the opportunity to share ‘in-the-moment’ content and engage on a new level. Although it’s harder to track your engagement on Stories than general posts, you can still view valuable stats on your content in the 24-hour period your video is uploaded.
You might be unsure if Instagram Stories is just another distraction from your already full social media schedule. But Instagram Stories could really help you connect with your followers on a personal level and pique their interest in your brand beyond just the products or services you provide.
Here are a few ways to use Instagram Stories to benefit your business (without wasting your time):
1. Show a ‘day in the life’
In a similar vein to Spell and the Gypsy Collective’s description of how Snap does wonders for their Byron-based business, customers and followers are already engaging with you because they’re interested. So why not give them an insight into your every day? You story doesn’t have to be anything over the top: you can take your followers behind the scenes of a shoot or a lunch with work colleagues. Use a combination of video or photographs, and make sure your captions are on-brand and give your followers a little detail. No-one wants to see a bunch of images or videos without context – let them in a little.
2. Use multiple images to create a how-to or mini article or recipe
It takes about four seconds to draw us into a video on making a cheese-heavy recipe, so why not emulate the same experience for your followers? Considering you spend so long creating editorial content, you could also put the information to good use on Stories: you can create a series of photos on just about any topic and it’s especially great if you want to share a recipe, at-home DIY idea or some take-away tips (just don’t forget to get your sequencing right). If you want to link people to the article, you can create an image with a call-to-action and a URL.
3. Share an event or product launch
Sometimes you’re at an event or launching a new product and want to showcase more than one perfectly curated photo in your news feed without interrupting your Instagram profile. Stories are a great way to add in just that – a story – about the event or product launch.
4. Grab a guest host
If you’re strapped for time in coming up with Stories content, invite an influencer in your industry or even one of your own team members to take over your Instagram for the day. Not only are you cleverly outsourcing your content generation, you’re also leveraging their audience and sending their followers to you. Whether they’re attending your event, using your product or just sharing their day, it’s also just a great way to keep some variety in your story.
5. Share some behind the scenes
Interview a member of your team, share outtakes from a product shoot, or take your followers on a tour of your factory. This is a great way to communicate your brand values and breathe some life into your service or product. Often customers and consumers forget there’s a face behind the brand. Showing yourself or your staff humanises your brand and also gives you the perfect outlet for telling your followers who you really are behind the scenes.
6. Ask your community
Sure, your community exists to view your content, but they’re also a captive audience upon which to do a little market research before you launch something to market. Are you trying out a new logo, or a new product? Use the ephemeral outlet of Stories to test it, by sharing multiple photos or videos and asking them their opinion. Not only does it give them a sense of buy-in to your brand, you’re not committed to putting anything permanent on your feed that you might not necessarily be implementing.
Post regularly to stay current in feeds. Social media algorithms tend to favour users who are more active and receive a lot of engagement.
Focus on content that will build brand awareness and make your followers happy. The last thing you want to do is annoy your followers, and keeping them happy is kind of the end game, isn’t it?
Remember to throw in the occasional call-to-action or special offer to keep your followers active and engaged.