People either love or hate Instagram stories, there’s no in-between. No matter your feelings about them, IG stories are an indispensable tool when it comes to social media branding and marketing. Just a quick look at the stats is enough to make one consider using Instagram stories for their business.
As of 2022, 58% of users say that they become more interested in a brand after seeing its IG stories. Instagram actually makes a quarter of its ad revenue worldwide through IG stories. Brands that invest in making awesome IG stories see increased traffic and customers.
Without a doubt, using Instagram Stories to promote your brand has a lot to promise. You might as well test the waters out and give it a try!
In this guide, we’ll be going over everything related to Instagram stories and how they can help you grow your business. Whatever your view on this form of a marketing plan, we’ll be sharing with you how IG stories are a valuable tool for promoting your business.
What Are Instagram Stories?
In August 2016, the Instagram platform introduced a new feature for users to share snapshots of their day and any other memorable events with followers. The posts would only last for 24 hours. Similar to Snapchat, many users initially criticized Instagram for adding this feature. In the end, though, IG stories are used across accounts for various purposes.
Although there was an adaptation period, once familiar with the new addition, many users jumped in and added images and videos to their stories for followers to see. This was all with the knowledge that it’ll disappear in a day. It also helped disperse users’ updates between posts and stories, providing multiple avenues to communicate with friends and followers alike.
Although Snapchat already offered users the same format and approach long before Instagram, it was not until IG stories emerged that many saw the convenience and fun side of this feature.
IG stories brought a whole new level of convenience and interaction to Instagram without overwhelming followers. It was also the perfect opportunity to share a more personal and engaging type of content, without the formality offered through feed posts.
Since IG stories were first launched and introduced, the feature has rapidly evolved into a lot more than just videos and random pictures. Nowadays, IG stories create the opportunity to give polls, do Q&As, add hashtags, create photo grids, add music, save key information about their business on their profile highlights, and even sell products.
Using poll stickers encourages followers to interact with your stories and promotes your products
Why Consider Instagram Stories for Business?
Without a doubt, IG stories are an easy, convenient, and rewarding way to connect with your audience and promote your brand.
Here are a few reasons why we love IG stories:
Instagram Stories are Free
Unlike many other advertising or marketing strategies, this is one of the most inexpensive and easy to test formats. There is no need to print out tons of copies of a flier or spend thousands of dollars on paid ads. Using IG stories is free! If you want, you can boost them with paid promotion—but that’s totally up to you.
IG stories follow a simple and inexpensive format, and if something goes wrong, the post will disappear within twenty-four hours. If you’re really impatient, you can delete it without money lost.
Sharing customer feedback on your story? Don’t forget to tag the product!
Existing and Continuously Growing Audience
When you decide to utilize IG stories as part of your social media efforts, you can attract an audience already familiar with products or brands like yours. This works best if you already have an account with a reliable fan base because then you don’t have to start from scratch. You can simply begin sharing IG stories with your existing followers, who will then share your business with their followers, and so on.
Overall, Instagram has millions of users—a number expected to keep growing—ready to find brands they love and build loyalty with. Make yours be one of them!
Great for Interaction and Building Trust
IG stories have become a great way to reach new customers and communicate with your audience through unique and creative means. Unlike feed posts, Instagram stories offer more room to be personal and ask your audience directly what their preferences are.
Through the use of polls, swipe-ups, and other tools, brands engage with their followers and make them feel like a part of the company.
Use polls in stories to let customers share their opinion on your products
Increased Brand Awareness and Visibility
IG stories work as the perfect medium to drive traffic to your business. Through hashtags, geotags, storytelling, sponsored posts, and so much more, you can easily reach a wider audience.
All you have to do is make it easy for your followers to share any announcements with their friends and family. Through your story, your followers can effortlessly ask questions or send reactions. Then, they can share their IG stories with other users. Aka, free advertising!
Plus, your stories can be shared on Instagram’s Explore Page. The Explore Page features posts from accounts that users may not follow but could be interesting to them. Getting your content to the Explore page helps you reach an even broader audience without any additional costs.
Choosing the right hashtag is key to getting featured on the Explore Page. Instagram will show your IG stories to users that follow the hashtags you use, both on the Explore Page and on their feeds. Make sure to look into what hashtags similar businesses use to reach your ideal audience.
Using Instagram Stories for Business
As you’ve probably realized, Instagram stories are very handy for all types of businesses, both new and established. Using this tool can lead to significant growth, regardless of a brand’s market sector or focus.
Without a doubt, if you consider yourself a business owner and aren’t tapping into IG stories, you’re missing out. You should use Instagram stories to increase engagement through creative storytelling. They will help you gain more brand awareness, which leads to more sales.
With Instagram stories you can:
Add Links to Your Stories
Not only can you add links in your IG stories to products, but you can also add hyperlinks to your blog, store, course, and/or website. Links encourage viewers to check your content out, driving more traffic to your sites. This ultimately leads to new sales. Plus, sharing content on social media connects more people to your website, which can help with SEO.
Make sure the link is visible in your story
Promote your Products
Make engaging stories and photos by adding creative and exciting content related to your products or services. You can add stickers or hashtags related to your niche to reach users outside of your follower base.
Don’t forget to link to your website when posting your products
Share Lives on IG Stories
Going live helps to connect with your audience and share exciting events or milestones. As we covered before, you can choose to go live to keep your audience up to date with the latest news about your brand, promote new products, or answer product-specific questions.
However, some followers might miss important information you share. Make sure to post a replay of your live video on your stories so that your followers can catch up on what they missed.
Create Story Highlights
You can save stories to your highlights on your profile, and they won’t disappear after 24 hours—in fact, they’ll remain linked to your profile until you choose to delete them! Usually, businesses use highlights to educate people about their brands or to answer frequently asked questions (like shipping details or return policy).
By putting important information on your highlights, your followers always have access to answers about your company. This encourages them to buy your products or services.
Followers can find your highlights under your bio
There are many benefits to merging IG stories with your brand or business. The ones we covered above barely scratch the surface. Other exciting features include countdown stickers, story ads, emoji slider stickers, etc., that create fun and innovative ways to build trust and loyalty with your audience.
As a brand, you want to encourage as much engagement as possible. Ultimately, you need to find creative ways to attract new customers and keep your followers engaged. IG stories can do just that, and so much more.
Getting More Stories Views
Now you know so much more about Instagram stories, including how to create your own. But before we let you go and venture into the thrilling world of IG stories, we have a few tips and tricks to share so you can get off to a great start and match the competition.
Nothing beats practice and hands-on experience; however, consider the following tips to avoid rookie mistakes and unnecessary hassle.
Include Trending Stickers and Locations
Tap on a sticker icon when creating your story and scroll to see which stickers are trending. Think about what stories you can create with those stickers. Adding them to your stories can help boost your views, as your stories will be displayed at the top of the stories feed.
Don’t hesitate to use the “Support small business” sticker
Adding a location is also a good way to gain more views and promote your business among local users.
Get Creative with Your Q&As
Research fun topics to ask your audience or discuss what is trending in your niche. Use Q&A, quiz stickers, and emoji bars to let customers share their opinion. This way, you can learn what viewers think about your business or industry news.
When followers regularly interact with your Instagram stories, that boosts your engagement rate. That, in turn positively affects your reach on Instagram, aka how many people see your stories.
Let customers ask you questions about upcoming events or new products
Find the Best Time to Post
In general, you want to find out the best times to post based on your audience demographics, like age, location, interest, and any other factors that affect visibility. For many, this usually looks like lunch break hours, Saturday mornings or early evenings, after work hours, etc.
Just like every brand varies and has something unique to offer, the same applies to their audience. Get to know yours by regularly checking your stories’ analytics and finding out what times your audience is the most active.
See what time your audience is the most active in your account insights
Reshare Your Followers’ Posts
You can encourage your followers to tag you in their stories through giveaways or challenges. Then you can reshare those posts and gain momentum. These not only increase your reach but also urges others to interact with your brand.
Don’t forget that sharing your customers’ feedback in your stories works as social proof that your products are worth buying.
Ask customers to tag your account in their stories so that you can reshare their posts to your IG stories
How have you been using Instagram Stories?
Stories have become a fundamental part of brands’ marketing strategies for some time now. More and more companies are using it to reach new audiences and engage with their existing customers.
If you’re a small business looking to grow your following, you can leverage this feature to reach new customers you otherwise wouldn’t be able to get a hold of through traditional marketing tactics.
If you’re already using Instagram Stories for your business, great! What’s your experience with it so far? What strategies work best? Has using it helped grow your following?
If you have no experience with Instagram Stories at all, we hope the tips above can help you get started. Have fun!