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How to use Instagram Stories for your business

16th November 2016

InstagramWe introduced you to Instagram Stories a few weeks ago in a previous blog, and now we want to look at how you can use stories as an addition to your digital marketing. Are you already using stories? Or have you put it off, because you’re not sure how you can make it sit with your ongoing strategy?

For those of you who aren’t aware of what stories are, they give you an opportunity to snapshot 24 hours of your business. Using images and video you can snap away to give your followers a more detailed insight into what you do. With Instagram newsfeeds becoming a lot more curated and cohesive, stories allows you to break the mould. But how can this benefit your business and increase your following? Well, here are a few ways that you can use them…

Behind the scenes

Your audience want to see what is going on where you work. Giving them a behind the scenes tour helps them understand what makes the business tick, and also gives an insight into how you work as an organisation. You can even profile your staff or employees by doing stories on each individual. Seeing how you work or the company in action can help your audience get a better feel of your business as a whole.

Showcase a new product

You can give sneak peeks into a new product line, or a new design you are working on for a client. By feeding your audience little hints as to what you are up to, it will keep them hooked and wanting to see more. It also helps them see what is involved in the production process, and makes the product or design more credible because you can show its origin.

Special offers

Stories work great for limited special offers, because they are only live for 24 hours. So if you have a discount code you want to promote, by keeping it very limited you will gain more of a buzz around it. You can of course promote the discount on other channels, but they may have to watch your story to get the discount code, for example. Or, you can encourage your users to direct message you from the story to obtain the code. It has to be something they really do want to take advantage of, to really encourage them to click through.

Takeovers

We have read a lot recently about social takeovers – where one account takes over another for a limited period. This works great for accounts that are linked in one way or another, or can compliment each other. You can encourage a different market by promoting who will be managing your account. To see stories through another’s eyes would be a great addition – but keep it linked with your brand and what you stand for. We have seen examples of health food bloggers taking over gym accounts to promote healthy eating alongside the exercise, for example. By collaborating with similar accounts you can really boost your following. Again, by having a limited time frame with your story makes it even more appealing to watch.

Tips & Advice

We talk of tips and tricks being one of the best forms of content you can produce. Your audience want to know ‘how to’ do something – this is one of the biggest searches online. If you can show them a ‘how to’ in a short story format then this will really help build your following. Even better, give snippets of advice within your stories and your place as an expert will be even more concrete.

Interviews

Interviews don’t have to be long and drawn out – you can do a shout out for questions from your audience beforehand and then answer them in a story – either through video format or text. Stories are very flexible in how you can share content, and you can keep adding to it if you get more questions. Try and encourage your followers to give their thoughts to your stories as they are broadcast, this would have to be through direct messaging as stories don’t give you the option of commenting or liking, but adding DM to your content strategy helps give you another line of communication.

These are just a few ways of using stories, you may have a host of other ideas? We’d love to hear them!