Five Ways Your Business Can Use Instagram Stories

Five Ways Your Business Can Use Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories is a new feature that was launched last year, however has only become widely accessible to everyone recently. The feature which has now launched globally is essentially live broadcasting of video content from a user’s mobile device that is only available for 24 hours after posting, after which it disappears forever.

Yes, they have completely ripped off Snapchat’s core functionality and used it as a primary feature within the app! But hey, like we have seen many times before, this is what happens when you dont sell to Facebook…

However, with Instagram now being one of the largest social media platforms (600 million active users and and more than 95 million photos/videos shared per day), and continuing to grow, this new feature is set to turn up the heat in the battle for the live streaming crown.

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Instagram Stories will be competing with not only Snapchat but its parent companies Facebook Live platform, and although all these platforms share many of the same basic features, it is somewhat different, especially how Instagram has made it much easier to find new followers with its simple search and discovery. Something that Snapchat continues to struggle with which is one of the most frustrating things for many of its current users.

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For brands, Instagram is a match made in heaven! According to Ad Age, Nike received 800,000 views for an Instagram Story within the first 24 hours of the new stories feature being available. On Snapchat, Nike’s best video got 66,000 views.

While streaming, you’ll be able to see any comments or likes coming in – a great way to measure engagement, as it’s not always easy to measure, considering the video disappears after 24 hours and there is no way to look back in order to analyse, but you will still be able to use some of the various Instagram analytics tools.

Instagram Stories also provides a means of engagement with your followers and potential customers, offering the ability to use a more comprehensive message than what a single photo can provide. They can also be personalised with special filters and drawings, for example.

With this in mind we’ve put together five ways in which your business can use Stories to reach your audience on the platform with the key objective of creating fun, engaging and shareable content that provides value…

  1. Promote special offers

The very fact that Instagram Stories are uncommon at the moment, means that they have an element of popularity amongst users who are ready and waiting for fresh and unique content, delivered in a new and innovative way. Use this to your advantage and choose awesome offers to promote to your audience. Be careful not to just choose any old low-value offer, but rather something truly valuable, otherwise you risk having your posts ignored.

The great thing about the 24 hour nature of Stories, is that it creates a sense of urgency and you’re more likely to convert leads to actual purchases. Remember to refer any viewers to a link in your bio which should lead them to a landing page to redeem the offer and make the purchase. It’s very important to include a strong call to action with each offer to drive more users to your site, so don’t forget this fundamental point!

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  1. Go behind the scenes

Consider giving your followers a behind the scenes glimpse into your business. One example is to shine a spotlight onto your staff, showing your audience the people working behind the scenes in your business (as well as your appreciation of them). It provides a relaxed view into what your business is all about behind the products or services you’re offering which can go a long way in building relationships and improving engagement.

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  1. Ensure brand consistency

When doing Stories, ensure that they enhance the image of your brand, think the content through beforehand, even though you’ll be live streaming, just to check that it is going to be something you really think your audience is going to want to see.

Consider your target audience too, or those Instagram users you would like to reach. Only users who are following you will be able to see your stories, however it is possible for potential users to find you by using the Stories on Explore function, allowing them to find new Stories based on those streams related to their feed – an excellent way to improve your reach to those users in your target audience.

  1. Strike a balance

The more Stories you stream, the more possible it is that you will find yourself at the top of your followers’ feeds. However, it’s vital to strike a balance between to many and too few posts. You don’t want to annoy your audience and risk being unfollowed!

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  1. Ask your audience what they’d like to see

Roughly 70% of users are engaging on a regular basis with the brands on Instagram. This could be increased amongst your followers if you “cut to the chase” and actually ask your followers what they would like to see on your feed. Use their feedback to direct your content schedule and produce the Stories that your audience will love and be a lot more likely to engage with.

Instagram Stories offer just one more way of increasing your reach and presence within the network and making use of them will not only serve to deliver interesting and shareworthy content, it shows off your brand in a positive light, demonstrating that you’re on trend and dynamic!

Matthew Marley

Matthew Marley is a Social Media & Search Specialist from Glasgow Scotland with a passion for the web and emerging technologies.

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