Facebook Live, Snapchat, Instagram – it can feel overwhelming with all of the new channels and features of social media. Which one should you use, what works best, how do you make this work for your business, etc. Well, if you’ve thought about implementing Instagram Stories for your business, now is the time.
Instagram first introduced Instagram Stories in August of 2016. Since then they’ve updated and changed quite a bit, and as a marketer or a brand, it can seem overwhelming, pointless and, in all honesty, a little boring. In this blog post we break down the whats, hows and whys of Instagram Stories to show you that when done right, Instagram Stories can work hard for your brand while being anything but boring.
Let’s start with why – why you, as a brand or a marketer or small business owner, should be using Instagram Stories. The answer: Sheer numbers. 200 million people use Instagram Stories on a daily basis. Ok, good, but how do I get my content in front of those 200 million people? We’ll get to that.
Instagram stories works very similar to Snapchat stories. You can use filters, drawings, stickers, etc., and after 24 hours, the story is gone. Instagram wants to allow you to show moments from your day, not just your carefully thought-out content, in a slideshow at the top of your followers’ Instagram feed. Again, great, but how is that different than posting photos?
What makes Instagram different than Snapchat? Instagram Stories is designed to not only be a feature that consumers will enjoy but to be another business tool for brands and marketers. They’ve included several key features that are game changers compared to Snapchat, as well as their own typical posting feature.
No Share Restrictions
Instagram Stories have no share restrictions as compared to your regular Instagram posting function. There are no penalties, no algorithms (yet) to keep your content away from your followers or potential followers. You can post one photo to your story, or 25, though we wouldn’t suggest that you post 25.
Instagram Stories also recognizes hashtags, meaning that you can take a picture, type a hashtag to be included with that picture, and Instagram users who search that hashtag will see your story, just like your regular Instagram content. They’ve also integrated stickers, including geostickers that mark the location of where you were when you uploaded to your story. These are also searchable, opening your content up to a whole new potential audience.
Not only are Instagram Stories searchable, but you can also use them to interact with other accounts. Similar to the hashtag feature, you can tag another account using the “@” in your Instagram Story.
Using to Your Advantage
So even though Instagram has done all this work to make you want to use their Stories feature, it can still feel a little overwhelming in taking those first steps. Here are a couple examples of how to use Instagram Stories to your brand or businesses advantage:
Behind the Scenes
Followers love to see that personal aspect of your brand. Take a quick video at after-work drinks, brainstorming on a big project or a sneak peek at an upcoming reveal.
Because Instagram displays Stories at the top of the page, it keeps your branded content at the top of the newsfeed. For now, you can work around Instagram’s algorithm to keep your content in front of your followers.
When a user comments about something they saw in your story, it comes to you as a direct message. You can have a 1:1 conversation with a consumer, making them feel like the account is genuine and that there are real people on the other side of the keyboard.
While your Instagram feed may be saved for only your best images and content, you can use Instagram Stories as a place for supplemental, timely content, without worrying about interrupting your carefully crafted flow of images.
Now you have no reason not to begin using Instagram Stories to promote your brand or company. Try some new things – get creative. There’s not a right or wrong way to go about getting started. If you still feel a little overwhelmed or still aren’t sure if Instagram is even the right channel for your business, contact our Marketing Manager Vanessa to set up a meeting. We would love to sit down and talk strategy with you.