social media marketing

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

Freshen Up Your Social Media: Try these ideas!

We understand that keeping your social media fresh and trendy can be tough, especially when social media is always changing and growing. Social Sidekick has got your back! Let the experts of social media give you a helping hand on how to freshen up your social media accounts.

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Behind The Scenes

People love to know what goes on behind a business, and sharing a photo of your work-space can give your social media a more personal touch. Sharing a photo not only allows people to know more about what happens behind the scenes, but it also improves the trust between you and your customers. Rich media often gets more attention than a post without it - a picture is perfect for your social media. It’s simple, easy and only takes a few seconds to do! This idea is great for Facebook and Instagram.

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Frequently Asked Questions

As a business, you probably receive quite a few questions every single day. It’s time to make your life a little bit easier, instead of repeating yourself and wasting important minutes: post it on social media! Millions of people are active on social media, according to statista, 42 million people are social media users. So there’s a very high chance that your customers are on social media! It’s a quick and effective way to answer your most frequent questions.

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Introduce your team

Put the people who make your business at the front of your social media page! Introduce your newest employee, oldest employee, or all of your employees. We often forget that employees are what makes a business, so it’s their time to shine! Create a more personal connection with your customers, by letting them see the people who power your business. You could also create an album on your Facebook page called “meet the team” and post a picture of your employees with a short description with something about them (you can get really creative with that idea).

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Throwback Thursday

Get stuck in with the trendy hashtags! If you’ve got a picture from a few months or years ago; Throwback Thursday provides the perfect opportunity to share it again! We highly recommend that you try this one on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags: #ThrowbackThursday and #TBT. These hashtags are very popular and will help boost the number of impressions it will receive. It’s also a great way to connect with your new followers! You could also post a picture of a past event, past projects, and previous milestones/awards.

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Talk about events

Is your business attending an event? Shout it from the rooftops on social media. Get involved with other people who might be attending the same event: share/retweet similar posts, engage with people who are also attending the event, and you could also post an image with information about the event. It’s also crucial to find out if the event has a particular hashtag or social media handle that you can use on social media, to get the best results for your post - the event’s social media page might even share your post, which is great exposure for your business! This is an easy way to increase the number of impressions on your post, and you may even get more engagement on the post!


These are only a few ideas of thousands, so sign up with Social Sidekick today and let the experts handle your social media accounts!

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AUTHOR: NICOLE FAULKNER

5 ways to build your brand on social media!

Making your brand stand out from the rest isn’t as easy as it used to be. There are some key points to consider when you're building an authentic brand.

A strong brand on social media means that your business is easily recognised by your audience. Since the digital world has taken over, businesses can now reach across the globe to find new customers, followers and gain a bigger social standing. There are hundreds of businesses that are offering the same services as you. That’s why we came up with 5 tips to help you develop a solid, unique brand that will stand out from the crowd.

You can even check out the live video with did on this topic:

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Show your true colours

Firstly, you need to choose a colour pallet. Your chosen colours need to be consistent throughout all of your networking pages, including your website. Doing this will help your new customers to recognise your brand and old customers feel safe and secure with your brand.

Top tip: We recommend producing brand guidelines to keep you on track. Communicate your brand guidelines to everyone involved with your marketing to keep everything consistent.

Make Your Voice Heard

Find your voice and make it heard. Create a persona for your business. Look at your social media strategy and figure out how you want to portray your voice to represent your company the best. Your voice should come across everytime you post or engage on social media. It should also represent your company culture, which basically means what it is that your company stands for. You need to think carefully about how you want your audience to view you, as they will only see whatever you show them.

Using your brand voice is a step in the right direction, but it's almost pointless doing so if you're not engaging with relevant pages and posting a mixture of promotional and social posts. Your audience will lose interest and engagement if you only post relating to your products and services. Mixing it up with more social posts such as competitions, polls, retweets and national events will keep your audience engaged. Take a look at the big brand names and see what they are posting and engagement they are getting. This should help you to figure out what direction you should start in with regards to posting.

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Build Influencer Relationships

Building relationships with key influencers can help your business in many ways. Influencers that are authentic, active, engaging and show leadership, give you a clear guideline on how you want your company to be seen. This will also give you tips and pointers on what the businesses are missing and potentially gives you a hole to fill in the authenticity market.

Your social media profiles should all correspond with each other, having the same profile and cover photo. This keeps your branding consistent which is one of the most important things to do when branding on social media. The networks that you use should align with your strategic goals. This is because there are some networks that work better for certain businesses. Different demographics use different networking sites, so dependant on your target market, you may get better engagement from particular networks also.

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Let’s Get Visual

Visual posts are proven to get more engagement than regular posts. In fact, we are incredible at remembering pictures. Hear a piece of information, and three days later you'll remember 10% of it. Add a picture and you'll remember 65%. You can make use of relevant images and videos to promote your business, sites such as Pexels and Unsplash give you free stock photos. These can be used and can also be edited to create your own posts that are unique to your company. Creating templates with your business's logo will keep your posts consistent at the same time as giving you subtle advertising on every post, whether it's promoting a product or service or not.

Share Your Story

A true, authentic story behind your company, with evidence of a passion driven startup is how to gain trust amongst your customers. In recent years, the most successful brands are those who have an authentic story for their authentic brand. Levi Strauss has recently been ranked as the ‘most trustworthy’ brand amongst young people. Levi’s is a great example of an authentic company. If you take a look at their website, you can read their story which is a great example of how you should aim to tell your own story. Your story needs to include how the idea of your business first came about, and what you did to get where you are today. It is important to show off how hard you worked to get where you are, and how successful you have now become. Customers no longer just want to buy a product, then want to buy into an authentic brand, with quality products.


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AUTHOR : TILLY GOULD