Struggling to incorporate Instagram Stories into your business marketing? Look no further…
In a world where we instinctually reject a lot of advertising (‘Skip Ad’ on YouTube) and even pay to not be marketed to (Spotify Premium) — Instagram Stories offer a saving grace.
It’s like a conveyor belt of consumption: you get on it by innocently clicking on a photo of your friend’s dinner. Before you know it you’ve tapped through 30 people’s Instagram Stories, watched 5 adverts, swiped up to see links from influencers’ wardrobes, and you’re not sure where the last 20 minutes of your life went.
The addictive design of Instagram Stories has us stuck viewing them for longer than we ever plan to. We don’t know what’s coming up next, and it’s easy to keep clicking through rather than exiting.
I’m not basing this on my personal experience alone. Instagram Business insights show you how many people clicked forward to the next Story from yours, and how many left the conveyor belt.
Instagram Stories, therefore, lock users into watching things they didn’t even know they wanted to, which is why it’s the perfect place for businesses to be. Don’t believe us? Check out this infographic for 30 amazing business case studies!
#1 Announcements 📢
Due to the instant nature of Instagram Stories, they’re a great way to share company announcements such as new products, new staff members and general updates!
These moments are a brilliant opportunity to post behind-the-scenes footage of the company that wouldn’t necessarily earn a spot on your main profile. Your followers will feel like they’re privy to the latest info, as well as getting to know you and the business. You can add multiple photos to your Instagram Story to make it more engaging for your followers.
These personal insights could be anything from packaging a new product to playing a prank on a colleague. They will help convey the human side of your company and consequently boost brand awareness and engagement
#2 Collaborations 👥
Instagram Stories offer a great way for brands and influencers to collaborate!
You can team up with a relevant business you think your followers could benefit from getting to know, or perhaps a customer who happens to be an influencer. I’ll give you an example…
This gave both businesses some new exposure, and was generally a lot of fun to produce! Similarly, we could’ve posted a Q&A interview with Quuu, or mutually shouted out/promoted one another.
Just a heads up, some of these kinds of collaborations might be paid for, particularly if they involve influencers! Even so, there are loads of different ways you could collaborate over Instagram Story, so think about how your business could benefit from it.
#3 Story Highlights ⭐
Instagram Story Highlights have been a game-changer since they were released in December 2017.
For regular users, they act as a personal showreel of ‘best bits’. But for brands, being able to pin Stories to the top of your profile essentially acts as an extension of your bio.
As a business, you can utilize highlights to tell people who land on your page who you are, what you do, and why you do it, as well as display your product or service! Create Stories for the purpose of being Highlights, with an eye-catching cover they’ll transform your Instagram page into a brochure!
These are both great examples of companies utilizing Highlights in their Instagram marketing! They have attention-grabbing covers, and provide so much more content for users to look through, ultimately keeping people on their page for longer.
#4 Polls ⚖
Gone are the days of boring customer questionnaires, get your answers with just a tap!
Using polls in your Instagram Stories is a great way to drive interaction with your followers. You can use them for market research, customer feedback, or just to get to know your audience and have a bit of fun!
The possibilities with polls are endless, and it’s possible to think of highly relevant creative campaigns specific to your brand or target demographic!
For example, Swell (whose Instagram game is fantastic – check them out) has used polls to share important information with their audience in the form of a quiz:
We think brand client interaction on Stories is a trend that will only get bigger! As Instagram keeps releasing features to encourage real conversation and brand loyalty. Brings us on to our next suggestion…
#5 Questions ❓
The questions sticker made it possible for brands to invite their audience to ask them any burning questions, as well as ask their audience questions themselves!
This is such a great feature for building a community and encouraging customer interaction. Showing they care about their customer’s opinions, and also that they’re present to answer questions positions a brand as reliable, human, and kind — which in turn engenders customer loyalty!
Here are two different examples of how to use the questions sticker on Stories, either open forum or specific feedback:
#6 Reaction Slider 😍
A fun addition to Instagram Stories, allowing users to respond to the content of your Stories. ]
Interactions on Instagram Stories all feed back to the algorithm about how good content is and how engaged users are with it. It’s therefore a good tactic for brands to use reaction sliders to boost their engagement rate!
Most of the time, brands use this feature with heart eyes, to gage how much their audience like a product. However, there are many creative ways to utilise the slider on your Instagram Stories, check out the example below from Colour Pop Cosmetics:
#7 Countdown ⏱
A recent addition to Instagram Stories, the countdown sticker is a great feature for brands to promote competitions, sales, and announcements.
Users can set reminders for the countdown deadline, and brands receive this data so they know exactly how many (and which) of their audience are most engaged!
This data is another great feature for helping build community, and we can see Instagram continuing to develop these kinds of features in 2022.
#8 Links ⛓
⚠️ Sadly, this feature is currently only available for accounts with 10k followers or more.
If you belong to that lucky group of businesses, then you get to include external links in your Instagram Stories!
As we all know, Instagram doesn’t allow functioning links anywhere but the bio (they’re trying to keep us on their app, and it’s working) so to have them in Stories is a serious bonus. The link will redirect users to a browser within Instagram, meaning when you cross off you’ll pick up right where you left off.
Make the most of this feature by including clear call to actions in your Stories: ‘SHOP SALE NOW’, ‘START FREE TRIAL’, ‘BOOK TODAY’ so people know where they’re heading when they ‘Swipe Up’.
#9 Story Templates 📋
You might have noticed an emergence of Story Templates being used by influencers and on-trend brands on Instagram Stories last year. These are nicely designed templates that can be screenshotted and completed by users, predominantly so their followers can get to know them. For example:
As you can see, these templates are branded by the influencer who designed them. When their followers screenshot them and fill them in on their own Instagram Stories, they are essentially doing their marketing for them.
There is a great opportunity for brands to get involved here! Think about your target audience and the things that they engage with. Then make a Story Template in your company branding for them to complete and share. Fill it in yourself too, as it’s a great way to give your followers some more information about your business or company culture.
#10 Location Stickers 📍
Instagram is all about community and bringing people together over shared interests. Increase the discoverability of your Instagram Stories by always tagging locations!
They will be added to that location’s official Story, and therefore people that don’t follow you will be able to watch them. Such a quick and simple trick that will get you far more impressions on your Stories.
#11 Hashtag Stickers #️⃣
Similarly, hashtags in Instagram Stories work to the same effect, meaning that your Story will be added to a larger Story compiling every Story using that hashtag (that was a mouthful).
#12 ‘New Post’ 🤳
Due to the current workings of the Instagram Algorithm, it matters how fast your Instagram posts get engagement (read more here). As a result, more and more users have begun promoting their most recent post on their Instagram Stories, usually blocking out the thumbnail to entice people to click on to their profile to see it.
Those with over 10k followers can link to the post with a CTA to ‘Swipe Up To Like’, encouraging higher and faster engagement. This trick must be working from the huge amount of accounts doing it right now, so go give it a try on your business Instagram!
#13 Contests 🎁
Got a great product or service to give away? Create a bit of buzz by hosting a contest on your brand’s Instagram Story!
The good thing with hosting competitions over Stories is that there’s only 24 hours to enter, creating a sense of urgency for your followers. Photograph or video the prize and include rules for entering, i.e ‘reply to this Story with your email address to enter’. You can then collate all the data to randomly pick a winner after the competition has ended!
You can also use Instagram Stories to promote a competition being run on your main profile! As a result of the current algorithm, many of your followers might not see a post announcing a giveaway.
Use Stories to tell your followers and push them in the right direction to enter! Using hashtags such as #giveaway, #contest and #competition will make your Story discoverable to people that don’t follow you, and therefore increase your reach!
#14 Live 📽
Instagram Live offers a great way for businesses to drive engagement! Prepare for it in advance so you can let your followers know it will be happening and promote it elsewhere.
The more viewers and engagement your Live video gets, the more likely it is to be featured in ‘Top live’ on the Explore page, so it’s good to try and get as many people tuned in as possible. This will also give you and your colleagues time to plan what you’ll be doing and saying during the live stream!
If you’re wondering what kinds of things your business could use Live for, the possibilities are endless! Many brands use Live to unveil new products or features, document events, film interviews, hold Q&As with their followers or offer limited-time discounts.
Instagram are trying to push Live to become the next big thing, so they help promote it by notifying your followers that you’ve started a live stream. Live videos also hold pride of place at the top of the Stories bar! This means your video will be the first thing people see when they get on the Story conveyor belt.