Ever since Snapchat first introduced the concept, social media stories have become incredibly popular. The stories feature offers businesses an excellent opportunity to build relationships with followers, increase brand awareness, and strengthen their bottom line.
Stories empower you to engage your audience in a completely new way while having fun too. Using stories can help you encourage engagement from your Instagram followers.
Keep reading to learn:
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Instagram Stories and Why You Should Use Them
Instagram Stories empower users and businesses to post photos and videos to their profiles for a limited time. Unlike an Instagram post, stories are not shared on your profile’s feed.
Instead, Instagram Stories are viewed on the story carousel or when a user presses your profile image. However, if you want your stories to stay on your profile, you can save them using Instagram Stories Highlights.
Similar to Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories last 24 hours after they’re first shared.
Anyone on Instagram can see Instagram Stories unless your profile is private. If a user has a private profile, then only their followers can view their stories.
On your business analytics page, you’ll be able to see your Instagram Stories views and engagement.
Benefits of Instagram Stories
More than 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories each day. And the good news? In a survey done by Facebook Inc., 62% of respondents reported that Instagram Stories increased their interest in a brand or product.
So, by now you might be asking why Instagram Stories are so effective.
There are a couple reasons.
First, Instagram Stories can help you stay top of mind with your customers because you can post more frequently.
Second, the content shared on Instagram Stories is much more relaxed. In other words, it’s more authentic. And authenticity builds trust with users.
And finally, Instagram Stories include features built to increase follower engagement. For example, users can reply to stories, ask questions, or vote in polls.
The question isn’t whether or not Instagram Stories can help you promote your business. They can.
Instead, the key is finding Instagram Stories ideas that work best for your brand and your followers.
How to Share Stories on Instagram
When you’re ready to promote your brand with Instagram Stories, here’s how to do it:
- Tap the plus button on the Instagram app
- Choose whether you want to upload an image from your library or use the camera to take a photo or record a video.
- Use the icons at the top of the screen to draw, add text, or place stickers on your story.
- Share your story by tapping Your Story at the bottom-left corner of the screen.
If you want to know how to add multiple stories to Instagram, all you have to do is repeat the four steps above with new content.
Instagram Stories Best Practices
Instagram users treat stories differently than Instagram posts. As such, you’ll want to keep these best practices for Instagram Stories in mind.
How Long Are Instagram Stories?
If you use video on your Instagram Stories, then 15 seconds is the maximum length. However, videos longer than that will simply be divided into 15-second sections and uploaded in a sequence.
Likewise, images can be set to last as long as 15 seconds on your Instagram Story. You can post up to 100 clips to your Instagram Story in a 24-hour period.
However, we don’t recommend uploading more than 10 clips to your story. If your story is too long, you’ll see followers drop off.
Promoting Your Brand: Instagram Stories Ideas for Businesses
Using stories on social media creates various opportunities to promote your business. Here are some of our favorite Instagram Stories ideas to generate more results.
1. Show Your Products (or Services) in Action
Your Instagram feed is the perfect place to share professional promotional images and videos of your products. But, your followers know most of those images are staged and edited.
In contrast, Instagram Stories give you the space to show how your products look and feel in real life. There are several ways to promote your products in stories.
You can repost user-generated content from your existing customers. As an added benefit, this encourages your customers to share your products and tag you in hopes they’ll be featured in your story.
Otherwise, you can also film demos and tutorials using your products and share them with your stories.
2. Schedule Instagram Takeovers
If you want to create authentic content, sometimes it helps to lead with a person, not a brand. You can do this on Instagram by letting an individual take over your Instagram Stories for a day.
Employees are an excellent option for takeovers. They can create “day-in-the-life” content that feeds right into the behind-the-scenes feel. Otherwise, you can work with customers or influencers to help expand your reach.
For best results, create anticipation by announcing your takeover on your Instagram Stories in the days leading up to it.
3. Share Behind-the-Scenes Content
As we mentioned earlier, content on Instagram Stories has a casual feel. As a result, you can use it to build genuine relationships with followers.
Let your followers see what life is like in your office, or give them a peek into your product-making process. Behind-the-scenes content makes your followers feel like they’re a part of your brand.
4. Start a Trend With Templates
Like stickers, templates are an excellent Instagram Story idea for brands that want more engagement and awareness. Instagram Stories templates are interactive graphic stories that users can customize and repost on their own stories.
Common template types include:
Followers participate by finding the blank template in your story on your profile and then fill it out with their responses.
In effect, you can increase profile visits and have people share your content with one tool.
If you use templates for your business, follow these best practices:
5. Use Polls and Emoji Sliders to Engage Your Followers
If you want to know more about your followers, go straight to the source. Polls and emoji sliders are a fun and engaging way to learn valuable information.
You can ask silly questions like who prefers Thanksgiving or Christmas. Or, you can go further and learn about product preferences.
For example, do your followers prefer your product in black or white? Use a poll to find out. Want to know how your customers feel about a new release? Ask them to fill out an emoji slider.
Using polls and emoji sliders helps you get a big picture consensus by limiting the choices for your followers, which gives you better information.
Alternatively, polls can help you drive traffic to your website.
If you post something new on your blog, use polls to let followers guess a fact from your blog. Then, link the post in your story or your Instagram bio.
6. Encourage Questions with an “Ask Me Anything” Sticker
Getting your followers to ask you questions is an excellent way to drive your brand strategy and content marketing efforts.
Ultimately, you want to know what type of information your followers are craving from you. Instagram’s question sticker on stories is a simple and low-friction way to ask for feedback.
Followers can respond with whatever pops into their minds at the moment. No need for your customers to send an email or submit a question form.
Make sure you have a plan to answer the questions you receive. If you’re adjusting your content strategy, you can turn responses into blog posts, infographics, or videos.
Otherwise, if you’re sharing information about your brand, then simply reply to the questions in another Instagram story. Re-posting questions with your response lets your followers know they can expect a response from you.
Final Thoughts: Creative Instagram Stories to Promote Your Business
When businesses have entire social media strategies, it can be difficult to remember that social media was invented to connect people. Tools like Instagram Stories can help you get back to building genuine relationships with your followers.
Like any other social media tool or platform, stories make up one part of the big picture. However, the best Instagram Stories ideas can boost your brand awareness and your sales.
To learn more about social media scheduling and analytics, check out Fanbooster.