Today’s businesses have realized the importance of having an online presence. Businesses both big and small have embraced digital channels bigtime. But the fact still remains that when people think of online presence, they associate it mostly with having a website. Often, other channels like social media are neglected, or even if they have a presence not much attention is given to it.
Social media has grown as an important component of any integrated digital marketing strategy. But to use any channel you need to know about it in depth. Facebook is one of the major players in social media, but Instagram’s user base is also increasing rapidly and more users prefer Instagram nowadays. So where customers are, businesses need to be there too.
What is Instagram Stories?
Instagram is a photo-sharing app used by people to share moments of their lives captured through images. This has several features and one of them is Instagram stories.
Instagram stories was launched in August 2016. Users can upload photos add filters and effects to them. The main characteristic of Stories is that it has a lifetime of only 24 hours and expires after that. You can also add videos to stories.
These special posts called Instagram stories can be quiet effective in promoting your business if used right.
Listed below are 10 Different ways of utilizing the Instagram Stories for promoting your business.
Stories can brilliantly be used to convey business announcements like the launch of a new product, the opening of a new branch, the addition of an important member of top management, and so on. Give a sneak-peak into the happenings behind the scene to create familiarity with your followers. They get to know your business better. Humanize the whole business by letting your followers know the personal side of the business.
Host a contest on your Instagram stories. Contests get great engagement. As stories are only for 24 hours, it prompts people to take action quickly. Include rules to enter like sharing an email address. Showcase a picture of the prize or giveaway. Collect all the data and pick someone from the entrants randomly. This is a very easy way businesses can receive engagement. Contests on the main feed can also be promoted on Instagram stories to prompt followers to participate. Businesses can use hashtags like #competition, #giveaway, #contest, etc. so that more people see your stories even if they don’t follow you.
The life of a regular Instagram story is only 24 hours after which it disappears. But now you can extend the life of your top stories to live permanently through Instagram Stories Highlights. Stories appear below your bio and above your feed. This is a place your followers or new visitors to your profile cannot miss. A business can share its most interesting content here. Give a preview of what your feed is all about. Showcase products, promotions, share the USP of your business, drive website traffic, and more.
If you are a business looking for ways to encourage your followers to engage with you, Instagram polls are the perfect solution. Get direct feedback from your audience by asking relevant questions. By default, you get the Yes/No options as answers to your question. But you can customize the poll response to the one you want. Polls in stories can be viewed when your viewers are going through your stories. Ask for opinions on a product or service, product features, the timing of an event, topics for blogs and many such things. Collect the data from your poll before the expiry of your story under Story analytics.
Using the questions sticker, businesses can ask their audience questions. They can also invite their followers to ask any questions. This feature creates great community interaction. Brands can show that they care about their followers’ opinions and reactions. Businesses can get valuable information about the likes and dislikes of customers and use them to create products and services and also address any concerns of their audience. You can either have an open forum or specific feedback using Questions sticker.
This is another great way to use stories to gauge your audience’s reaction. Businesses can use reaction sliders to increase engagement. People are inclined to use this fun way to show their reaction that can, in turn, indicate to Instagram that the content is interesting and relevant. Sliders are good to boost engagement.
Instagram has come up with the countdown sticker which is yet another interesting tool for businesses. Businesses can use a countdown sticker to promote product sales, competitions, events and so on. This can be used by businesses to create urgency. Users can set reminders about when the countdown’s deadline is. Businesses get this data and can gauge who in their audience has engaged with their posts. Even people who are interested might a push to make a decision, and countdown stickers can help you give that push effectively.
This feature is only available for accounts with 10,000 or more followers. Using this, you can include external links in your stories. On Instagram, you can include a functioning link only in your bio. So getting to include additional links in Instagram Stories is an advantage businesses should cash in on. The users will see a swipe up option when you include a link and swiping up will lead the users to the link within another browser on Instagram. As a business if you want to get the maximum benefit from this feature, use the text and give a clear call to action like Book Now, Start a Free Trial.
Businesses and influencers are increasingly using these story templates to promote themselves. These are pre-made templates containing text, graphics, animations that can be edited to create new stories. Story templates play a great role in promoting a brand image. By maintaining consistency in the templates concerning brand colours, fonts, and formats, it makes brand identity memorable and creates brand loyalty and recall. Another advantage is that it saves the time needed to create stories and help brands post consistently.
Promote your business Instagram stories easily by adding location stickers. Once you do this, your story gets added to a location’s stories. Even people who do not follow might get to view your story if they search for that location.
Instagram stories are a popular feature and can be used in many interesting ways to promote your business. There is nothing very technical about creating Instagram stories. Just upload your photo or video, add filters and stickers and post. Even if a visitor does not see your feed, they are bound to go through your stories. So businesses need to use this space wisely, organize your stories in categories and put your best posts out there.
Hope this article has given you new insights about Instagram Stories for your business. Use these 10 ways along with your existing strategies to promote your business effectively.