A Guide To Instagram Stories

Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms, with an average of one billion worldwide users. In August 2016 they launched Instagram Stories, a feature that quickly took off, and has been gaining more and more popularity over the years. With that said, it’s a no-brainer that your business should be making use of Instagram Stories.

What Are Instagram Stories?

Instagram Stories is a feature that allows users to post content that vanishes after 24 hours of posting it - it has a similar concept of Snapchat. The photo or video can’t be viewed after 24 hours by the public, making it exclusive content for your followers who choose to view it. Instagram Stories can be seen at the top of your news feed so it won’t appear on your Instagram content grid. You can also click your profile icon, to view your own story.

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Within Instagram Stories, there are a number of features that can add to your content, such as hashtags, text, music, polls and lots more! This feature allows you to create more content without having to post it directly onto your Instagram page. You can use it to promote products, share competitions, and engage with your customers.

Tip: you can keep your stories on your profile page, if you use the highlights feature!

How to Make an Instagram Story

  1. Go onto your Instagram homepage.

  2. Click the camera icon on the top left-hand corner of your screen (above your profile picture).

  3. Tap on the circle on the bottom of the screen to take a picture, hold it down to take a video, or swipe up to share straight from your gallery.

  4. You can draw, add text or add stickers to your video or photo.

  5. When you’re happy with your content, press send to at the bottom right of your screen, and share it to your story.

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Make the Most Out of your Instagram Stories

By using the features that Instagram provides, it can add interest and excitement to your content. It’s also a great way to interact with your customers!

Polls Sticker

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To create a poll, tap on the sticker icon at the top of the screen, and select the poll sticker option. You can then write your question in the box, and add two answers that the viewers will be able to select when you have sent the poll to your story. You can keep an eye on your poll in the analytics page, tap on the eye icon and you can see who has viewed the story as well as, which option they have voted for. This is a great way to get feedback from your customers, it’s quick and effective. For example, you could ask your customers what product they want to see on offer next, what your next blog post could be, what colour the next product should be, etc...

Questions Sticker

To select this option, tap on the ‘question’ sticker. This will encourage your viewers to send you a question or reply directly to your sticker, you can share their answers by showcasing it on your story. There are plenty of ideas you can use this feature for. You could run a Q&A on your Instagram Stories and let the viewers learn more about your employees and the business. This is a great way to show your expertise for the industry you are in. Start a conversation with your followers.

Quiz Sticker

Increase engagement with your followers. The quiz sticker allows you to share trivia-style questions, and when the user clicks on an answer, they can see whether they got the question wrong or right. Write your quiz question, and come up with some answers. You can add up to four answers, or as few as two, the correct answer will be highlighted green. Are you ready to start quizzing your audience?

Music

Grab the attention of your viewers with a tune in the background of your image or video. Instagram has a variety of songs from music streaming services, such as: Spotify and SoundCloud. When you tap the music sticker, you can search for a song, or select a mood or genre, to suit your image/video. Once you’ve chosen your song, you can select which part of the song you’d like to feature on your content, but you are only allowed up to 15 seconds of the song.

GIFs

There’s no denying it, we all love a GIF - it adds a dash of entertainment to your image/video, and enhances your content. You can search through Instagrams GIF library when you click on the GIF sticker, and you can find the perfect GIF to showcase on your story. Whether you choose the comedic route or want to spice up your media, there’s a GIF for every occasion!  

Countdown

Got a special announcement, or milestone coming up? The countdown feature is the perfect sticker to count down to your announcement or milestone. Choose the countdown sticker and select a set end date and time! Viewers can turn on their reminders and share this countdown to their story, creating more exposure and build-up to the announcement.

Location

This sticker is simple, yet effective. You can show your followers where you are, by clicking the location sticker and typing in a place, for example: you could share the location of an event that you might be attending, or you could share the location of your business. It informs your followers where you are, and builds a trustworthy image for your brand. When you’ve tagged the location in your story, people can click on the location in the story and see a stream of other people who have tagged that location - this is a great idea, especially if your business has a physical location.

Hashtags

Hashtags can get your story seen by more people. Include a hashtag on your story, either use the hashtag sticker, or you can use the hashtag on your keyboard. Hashtags are usually underlined, or in their own box. Just like the location sticker, when people click on the hashtag they can see a stream of other users who have used the same hashtag. This is great if you are attending an event, and the event has its own hashtag, it creates exposure for your business, as well as interest.

How to Use Instagram Stories for your Business

Marketing your business on social media effectively is all about using your chosen social media platforms efficiently.  Each platform has its own features that you can use to maximise your marketing. So how can you use Instagram Stories to boost your business?

Promote Products

Why not take a video of your product? People love seeing products in action before they purchase an item. According to Social Media Today, 64% of consumers are more likely to purchase a product after watching a video of it online! Take a video or picture of your product, and send it to your Instagram Stories for exposure - you can even add text, hashtags and music to the video/picture to make it more exciting for the viewers.

Special Offers

Instagram Stories allows the perfect opportunity for you to promote your special offers. Stories are great because you can post lots of content without flooding your feed, and it won’t hinder the experience of viewers. You can also create a special offer graphic and send this to your story to create more awareness of the special offer, and drive traffic to your website.

Competition

Have you thought about running a social media competition? Instagram is the perfect platform to promote your competition. Use Instagram Stories for maximum impact, and create a coherent social media campaign for your competition. Using Stories can attract and boost your engagement, which makes it ideal to promote competitions alongside your competition campaign.

Lifestyle Shots

Lifestyle shots are a huge hit on Instagram, especially on Instagram Stories! Sometimes, overwhelming your audience with just product images can get old. Instead of just a white background, choose an interesting background and location to capture the eye of your audience - this can help your audience relate to the product. Make the photo unique, add a few props in the photo to give it that extra boost.

Promote Your Blogs

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Stories are a great way to summarise your blog posts in a visual form, as well as tease people with information, encouraging them to click on your blog post to read more. You can use your profile link to drive people back to the content that you are promoting. If you’ve got over 10,000 followers on Instagram, then you have a special feature, you can embed the story with a link… If you want to take this further, you could also consider running advertisements on Instagram Stories!

Instagram Stories is a feature that is forever growing and changing. There’s no question about it, it’s a great place to show off your business’ personality, as well as: driving engagement, increasing sales and building brand awareness. If you haven’t used Instagram Stories yet, hopefully, this guide will give you an insight on how to use Instagram Stories effectively for your business.



Instagram Stories is a feature that is forever growing and changing. There’s no question about it, it’s a great place to show off your business’ personality, as well as: driving engagement, increasing sales and building brand awareness. If you haven’t used Instagram Stories yet, hopefully, this guide will give you an insight on how to use Instagram Stories effectively for your business.

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AUTHOR: NICOLE FAULKNER