Why Use Instagram Stories for Your Business?
Are you wondering what all the fuss is about over Instagram Stories?
The ‘Stories’ feature was added to Instagram 2016, but since then it’s become a hugely popular and successful marketing tool for small businesses across the world. With over 50% of Instagram users watching Stories on a daily basis (that equals over 500 million daily active users!), it’s no wonder businesses are focusing on this feature heavily.
What is Instagram Stories
I almost treat it as a totally separate platform to the actual Instagram grid! Other than occasionally linking to posts from your (or someone else’s) grid, it has very little crossover with the rest of the Instagram app.
Instagram Stories are 15 second images or videos displayed in a slideshow format that shows up at the top of the Instagram feed (indicated by an account’s profile picture with a ring around it). These slides disappear after 24 hours and there are loads of different effects, filters, sticks, text and images you can add to these.
There are tonnes of creative things you can do with Instagram Story content - from finely curated and carefully created, to the more spontaneous ‘on-the-fly’ content. Go take a look on your Instagram account now and watch the Stories of accounts you follow to see how it’s done!
Further reading: Instagram Marketing for Beginners
How can it help your business?
1. Interact more personally with your audience
Whether you’re posting photos of your workspace or a video of your product in-situ, or talking face to camera and getting a human element involved, there’s no denying Instagram Stories can make your audience feel closer to you and your business.
It’s totally dependent on your business and your preferences whether you want to show up as yourself on video. For some businesses with lots of employees it may not make sense (although always a great idea to feature employees occasionally!), but if you’re a solo business owner or freelancer, and your brand is based around you - it’s so important to let people have that personal connection.
2. Improve your overall instagram engagement
Whilst Instagram’s algorithm doesn’t directly prioritise accounts who use Instagram Stories, it does prioritise accounts with great engagement (meaning if your account has a lot of engagement on it, your posts will be shown at the top of more peoples’ feeds, and it goes around in a circle like that).
Because of the many features you can add to Instagram Stories to encourage engagement (polls, questions, stickers etc.), it stands to reason that the more Stories you post and get engagement on, the more your overall account will benefit.
Further reading: How to Create an Instagram Content Plan
3. Instagram Stories are ‘Discoverable’, which could get you new followers
If you use ‘Location’ or ‘Hashtag’ stickers on your Instagram Stories, this adds your stories to those feeds just as it does when you use a hashtag or add a location on a standard Instagram post. This means your content has a higher chance of being found by people who aren’t your followers, therefore creating more brand exposure.
4. Share on-the-go insights
Instagram Stories is probably THE best place to share behind the scenes insights into your business, and for your audience to find out more about what a brand gets up to on a daily basis. It’s fun to see what peoples’ every day lives are like, or the inside look at a business’ process.
5. Get creative & Show your brand’s personality
With all the fun design features available on Instagram Stories, there’s an endless opportunity to get across your brand’s personality by using humour, a special colour palette, quirky design or through the use of gifs and templates. It’s actually a lot of fun too, and the best part is that IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT! Stories only last for 24 hours so it’s perfectly find to post things that aren’t perfectly curated.
Before you get started…
Know your target audience
Does your target audience use Instagram Stories every day? If not, perhaps you only need to consider posting a couple of times per week. If they are, it’s even more important to consider showing up daily. What types of content are they interested in? You can only know this if you have a really good idea of who you’re targeting, their likes and dislikes.
Further reading: Create a Target Customer CV
Know your goals & what you want to achieve
What do you actually want to achieve from using Instagram Stories? As a business it’s important that your Stories always have a purpose and a goal behind them, so that they don’t just become a place for you to procrastinate or feel like you’re being productive when actually you don’t know what you’re working towards. Perhaps you want to grow your Instagram following, or perhaps grow an email list, or get more traffic to your website, or build a community?
Know your brand visuals & voice
Do you have a clear guide for your brand and how to use things like text and colours when creating content? Just because Instagram Stories is more on the fly doesn’t mean it can’t be beautifully branded. In fact, it’s important so that people make the connection and remember your business.
Further reading: Do you know your brand touchpoints?
Want to learn HOW to use Instagram Stories to grow an engaged audience and get more customers?
I’m launching an online course all about instagram stories!
Learn how to get started with Insta Stories, create a strategy for using Stories as a marketing tool, uplevel your skills to make your Stories even more engaging and much much more. Sign up below to be the first to know!