instagram

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.

insta stories 1.png

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.

insta stories 2.png

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

insta stories 3.png

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

insta stories 4.png

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.

LIKE THIS BLOG? WHY NOT FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

nicole.jpg

AUTHOR: NICOLE FAULKNER

How to gain Instagram followers

One of the questions we are asked frequently is, "How do I boost my followers on Instagram quickly?" We have decided to answer it in this blog post once and for all. Here are our top tips on running your Instagram account.

instagram.gif

Instagram has changed a lot in recent years with their algorithms, aesthetics, and features, in order to have any success on Instagram, you need to be exploiting all of the resources that you have at your disposal:

  1. Instagram Stories
  2. Highlights
  3. Follow Hashtags
  4. Collections
  5. Hashtags and Profile Links in Bio
  6. Archive posts
  7. Instagram Live
  8. Polls
  9. Posting multiple Photos or Videos

(If you are unsure what any of these features do, just click on them to get a brilliant explanation)

You have all of these amazing tools to use - and so much more - but we need to go through some steps to get your content looking great.

use stories to your advantage.gif

Use stories to your advantage

 

If you want to keep your profile predominately business orientated, you can use your Instagram stories to show more of your business' personality. Instagram stories are an important part of keeping your brand in your follower's minds. The reason for this is that stories sit at the top of the home feed which is a brilliant opportunity to always be in a prominent position on your followers home feed. 

Tagging the location of your stories is a good idea, as this will broaden your audience and potentially enourage new people to follow you. 

You could use the superzoom feature (shown above) to highlight your favourite moments in work, to create buzz about new products or to just be a little bit more light-hearted.

Maintaining a light-hearted element to your business will help people to stay interested. The presence you create online is just as important as the information that you share. You could have the best product or service in the world but if your social campaign has no enthusiasm behind it, it will just flop and be forgotten about. 

Insta Stories Made Easy!
Still struggling to get your head around Instagram stories?

 

Another important new feature for Instagram is Highlights. It is now possible to archive your stories into public folders that are sat on your profile. This creates an album that can be viewed at any time. We recommend creating custom highlight covers like this:

Image found on Plannthat.com

Image found on Plannthat.com

This simple change to your stories will help your whole account look a lot more professional and may even entice more people to follow you. 

Be content full.gif

Be Content-Full

No, this section is not just about what makes you happy. Unless creating great content makes you happy?

Producing attractive, relevant and interesting content regularly is the basis for a successful Instagram campaign. You will know if the content you are producing is relevant if can stand against the following criteria:

  1. Is it attractive? 
  2. Is it meaningful? (Does it mean anything to anyone else other than you?)
  3. Is it for my audience? 
  4. Is it fit for purpose? (Does it meet your brand value and principles?)

If you can honestly answer "Yes" to these basic questions about any content you create for Instagram, it should be relevant to your Instagram. Looking to up your Instagram post game? Check out Chloe's 5 tips for creating engaging social media posts!

Even though Instagram is an image based platform, words are still extremely important. Using hashtags creatively will push your content towards people who want to see it. For example, most people who have an interest in sport will follow sport related hashtags. If your business is in that industry, it will help your content to use the hashtag #Sport. It is also useful to note that you should use a mixture of relevant, trending and niche hashtags together in a post for maximum impact. To get some more understanding of how to hashtags effectively, check out our hashtag rules

Top tip: Always post your hashtags with the post, do not post them as a comment. This is because by the time you post the hashtags in a comment, your image will be lower down the running order in the Instagram algorithm. 

find your followers.gif

Find your followers

You cannot just sit back on your laurels and expect people to just follow you, you need to do the instigating. Instagram has put all of the tools to do this at your disposal, the new feature to follow hashtags has made finding your audience a whole lot easier. Just follow the hashtags that are relevant to your business and the whole world will be open to you:

Found on Instagram.com

Found on Instagram.com

When you begin to search through these hashtags, you will start to find other accounts that would be interested in your service. Once you find these accounts, leave some meaningful comments, like some of their pictures and follow them. This small act of kindness will usually result in a follow.

You can use a similar method where you follow the followers of accounts similar to yours. Typically, if someone is following an industry-specific account, they are likely to follow back other accounts in that specific industry. These are methods that work and have created success time and time again for us.

Top tip: Don't forget you can promote posts from your Instagram account to gain profile visits. This works directly through the Instagram platform and can lead to more followers. 

Stop hunting for likes.gif

Stop Hunting for Likes

Even though likes are important, you shouldn't make that your only goal. You may look at other people who have fewer followers than you but have loads of likes. You may also see the same vice versa. This is because they see engagement as more important, the more someone engages with a post the more they will do more than just like it. Make your focus posting great quality content that is relevant to your brand. If you also look for ways to start conversations with your followers, this will prove to be invaluable to your business.

Don't be fooled by people trying to sell you likes or new followers. If an account with 3 posts, 2 followers and following 7,340 (We're stereotyping here) messages you offering you a way to gain thousands of followers, the likelihood is that it's a scam. Whether they are looking to do you a free service or a monthly plan basis, buy followers or likes is not recommended. Not only could they be trying to steal your money, they could also be compromising your account or using click farms to boost your following. Not only that but the new followers you will gain will never engage with you and it could cause your Instagram account to be banned. 

If you do want to speed up the rate at which you gain engagement, you could try systems like Social Drift, which use bots to engage with a targeted audience. This is proven to steadily increase followers, but it is a grey area. The audience you will attract with this method will be engaged, it is like a human constantly using Instagram each hour to engage with a target list of profiles. This method may not be safe - use at your own risk!

 

Avoid Click Farms!
Want to learn more about why click farms are bad?

 

It is impossible to build a genuine customer base from fake followers. This will only bring your business into disrepute so we would strongly advise against using any services like this. 

meaningful conversations.gif

Make conversations meaningful again

When you receive a genuine comment, how does it make you feel? Good, right? Now imagine how someone in your industry would react if you left a positive comment on their post. This simple idea of making conversations great again can actually help you to gain real followers.

Asking people about their businesses, congratulating them on an achievement or just telling someone they did a "great post!" could really boost morale and will boost positive engagement. Like with any conversation, it is rude to just ignore someone - without good reason, of course -  so it is important that you keep on to of the comments and replies you receive. 

Here is the real secret to gaining Instagram followers that everyone wants to hide from you: Hard-work! This includes:

  • Liking other peoples posts.
  • Commenting on other peoples posts.
  • Regularly posting brilliant content to your profile.
  • Posting stories.
  • Following other accounts that either match your targeted customer base or that align with your interests. 

Putting in the time to make meaningful conversation or create engaging posts all takes time and hard work. There is no substitute for Instagram success other than hard work. If you are willing to put in the work then Instagram will serve you well. However, if you are unsure how to balance all of this, why not trust a social media agency like us. We know what it takes to create a successful organically grown Instagram campaign. 

Like this blog? Why not follow us on Social Media?

Don't forget to leave a comment below, we would love to hear from you.


4.jpg

Author: Darius Smith