Tell the Story of Your Business with Instagram Stories

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Last week it was Instagram Stories’ 2nd birthday – hip hip, hooray! 🎉 While this funky feature has only been part of Instagram for the last 24 months, it has rapidly evolved from a simple photo and video sharing tool to a business marketing dreamboat, creating an overall experience that’s fun, refreshing, and personal. Let us tell you a little bit about why Instagram Stories is hella great for your small business.

ONCE UPON A TIME...

In much the same way Apple has adopted and built upon the tools and tech of other companies to make a more intuitive and engaging product, Instagram modelled their Stories feature on Snapchat’s blink-and-you’ll-miss it pics and vids. Then they took it further, first by extending the time frame that images and videos could be viewed to 24 hours, adding more fun and expressive features along the way that would see it blow up – in the best possible way.

Since the launch of Instagram Stories in 2016, the social media platform now has more than 400 million daily active Stories users per month – and 100 million more Instagram users overall since the feature’s inception two years ago. Couple this with the ability to draw and type text, add gifs and hashtags, create fun boomerangs and rewind videos, and use information-gathering tools like the poll sticker, emoji slider and questions sticker and you have an incredibly enticing marketing platform for businesses looking to get their brands and products to a wider audience.

DISCOVER THE MAGIC

Posting multiple photos a day used to be the norm. Now, it can be considered a bit spammy. Stories, on the other hand, are limitless and, in our opinion, lots more fun. Here are four accounts that we think are doing a fab job.

@saltywings

The Salty Wings team take shots that make us crave adventure. The next question is: how? Their Stories take their audience behind the scenes, showing off what it takes to capture those epic shots and, we’ve gotta say, it’s flipping cool. They allow the audience to come along for the ride through these dreamy landscapes and, in a way, be involved in the creative process.

How you can replicate this: Show off what you’re doing to bring your product to life. This might mean showing off aspects of the creative process or capturing the grunt work. It’s also a great opportunity to interact with your audience about what they’re liking, what they’d like to see more of or know about using polls and emoji sliders so you can continue to grow your product and brand.

@triangl

This brand does more than sell swimwear, it sells a lifestyle. One can’t help imagining walking along a tropical beach or plunging into Tiffany-blue waters, skin bronzed by the sun and not a care in the world when wearing Triangl swimwear (ahem, guilty). The Stories also include geotags – paradise really does have an address – and the #trianglgirls hashtag, which both not only make the product easy to discover via the search tab, it also allows the Triangl team to find and feature everyday girls wearing their product alongside their regular models.

How you can replicate this: Set the scene. Think about where your product belongs and what people would be doing with it. Then come up with a hashtag for your product and pop it onto each Story you post. From here you’ll not only be able to see who’s purchasing your product, but you’ll also be able to feature them.

@gotoskincare

We hate to bang on about Go-To Skincare again so soon – we’re not obsessed, we swear (we so are) – but their Stories are so gosh darn good. Our favourite thing about Go-To’s stories – aside from sharing user reviews lifted straight from Instagram, the behind-the-scenes fun, and hella good info about how to use the products, all presented in the brand’s signature peach pink and white – is the brand’s transparency about what is in its products. The skincare market is saturated with products and potions promising dewy, glowing skin, but not all are created equal. Go-To knows this and invites its audience to ask all kinds of questions about its products using the sticker button and then shares the answers via Stories, complete with nice product shots.

How you can replicate this: Engage with your audience and ask them to ask YOU questions about your brand using the question sticker. It’s a great way to answer general queries to a wide audience while also building a positive rapport with them, showing people that you take the time to ensure they know what they’re getting.

@bonobos

This menswear brand not only has some hella funky threads (we are in lurrrve), once they’ve finished showing off the kinds of clothing they offer they also encourage people to check them out beyond their Stories with a fun call to action and a link to the website. This gets their audience directly from Stories to their website with a simple swipe.

How you can replicate this: Take a photo or video, then add your relevant link to your Story using the link symbol. A little arrow pointing upwards will appear at the bottom, just add a little note telling your audience to Swipe Up!

THE FINAL CHAPTER 🙌

Once you’ve done a slew of research on the ways businesses are using Instagram Stories to engage with their audience, it’s time to get stuck into creating your own. Not sure where to start? Consider these next three tips as a checklist for crafting grow-your-business worthy Stories.

  1. Use all the tags: just like when you post an image to your account, adding geotags and hashtags to your Stories will ensure they’re optimised to be viewed by more people – even more so now with the ability to follow hashtags.

  2. Get all up in the analytics: Posting your Story is one thing, making sure people are actually seeing it is a whole other thing. The good news is that once posted, your Story is live for 24 hours, so you don’t have to focus too hard on timing, however there it doesn’t hurt to use a little intuition coupled with investigating your analytics. Firstly, think about the type of product you have and when people would be likely be thinking about it. For example, if your product is about food, meal times and weekends would be a good place to start. If it’s clothing, early morning and after work when people are relaxing. After a few trials, check your analytics to see what’s working best. You’ll find these in the hamburger menu in the top-left corner (a small column of three lines) under ‘Insights’, and then ‘Content’. Here you’ll be able to see things like impressions, reach, if people are going forwards or backwards to review your story or simply exiting the story.

  3. What to post?: Let us break it down for you. SO. MANY. THINGS. Product images, behind-the-scenes video, fun boomerangs, stickers and gifs – the list goes on. Be creative and have fun, and don’t be afraid to experiment a little, either. Play around with these features and get a feel for what suits you and your business.

Tell us, how do you use Instagram stories for your business? What works, what doesn't?

You’ll find out how to use Instagram Stories, and more, at our workshops.

Grace DormanComment