If you’re not familiar with utilizing the Instagram Story feature as a way to promote your business, then now is the perfect time to learn! Instagram Stories appear at the top of everyone’s feed and stay there for 24 hours, much different than your Instagram posts, which are a permanent part of your feed (unless you delete or archive them).
These Stories can be a combination of interactive (such as asking/answering questions), static posts, videos, and much, much more! Taking advantage of the Story feature is one of the best ways that you can gain brand recognition on Instagram, and convert more views to followers, and better yet, sales for your brand. Here are some of our best tips for utilizing this secret selling feature on IG (and having a little fun while you do!)
Post Multiple Times a Day
Stories allow you to raise brand awareness and share your content and products more often without leaving you that feeling that you’re “posting too much” or hijacking your followers’ feeds throughout the day.
You’ve probably heard some unofficial rule somewhere that you shouldn’t post to Instagram more than once or twice a day. True or not true (because honestly, the algorithm changes constantly), this “rule” doesn’t apply to Stories.
We typically post Stories at least 6 times each day, on average! Be sure that when you are posting, mix your content to keep it interesting.
Some of our favorite ways to use Stories include featuring our customer’s photos (be sure to give them a shout out!), talking to and with our followers, highlighting products, making special announcements, advertising promotions.. you name it. Mix up your story feed with any of the above, or some that we’ll mention below, and you’ll be sure to keep your audience captivated with what’s coming next!
Use Poll + Question Features
This has been a favorite ever since IG rolled it out! Using both the Poll and Question feature is a great way to get your audience engaged and also find out a little bit more information about them that you can use later!
You can ask your audience questions that will help gain insight as to what type of content they want to see, and what types of products they’re interested in buying! Some of our best selling products were born from these polls!
Using Polls and Questions are a great way to build relationships that go beyond selling to your audience, as it helps them gain trust and truly invest in your brand. When you’re letting them know that their opinions matter to you and that they have a say in product development, they’ll dive right in!
Take this one step further and respond to everyone who is answering your questions! Tag them in your responses; make them feel special. They will be more likely to keep watching your Stories and engage as you continue to post!
Gifs & Face Filters Give You Life!
Add some personality to your Stories! This is your chance to really show your followers who you are, and what makes you and your brand stand out! Sometimes, if you’re not careful, a natural tendency in marketing your brand falls to being “too sales-y” or sometimes stiff. You want to be as authentic and fun as possible. This makes it so that you’re relatable, and your followers and customers will feel like you’re their friend - not just someone trying to sell to them.
We loving throwing a funny GIF in our Stories to spice things up and get a laugh or two. It’s also a really nice way to compliment a customer who tagged us in their photos (which we LOVE!). Throw in a bouncing heart GIF, a shoutout, and a nice word or two, and we’ve shown how appreciative we are!
Face filters are really great if you’re going to be taking a selfie or posting a video. You are being YOU, after all, so have fun with it! Not loving the filters that Instagram has? Not a problem! You can use SnapChat or a similar app to take a photo or video with their filter, save it and upload it into your Story!
Apps to Make Your Story Look Professional and Polished
Even though you want to make your Stories fun, and you want to show personality, keep in mind you are still ultimately representing your brand, so you want to make sure that it’s still polished and professional! (Polished and professional can still be fun, though!) These are some of our favorite apps for creating a background template for your Stories!
Canva is a free online graphic design tool that you can use to create Story backgrounds or designs. You can upload your own photos straight to the app, and use different features such as icons, stickers, or text. What’s great, is that you can download the app, or use Canva from your computer. 90% of our graphic design work for all platforms (social media, newsletter, website, and ads) were created using Canva, including this hero image from our last post. If you would like to learn more about how to use Canva for your Story, check out this tutorial from Canva.
Legend is an app that lets you create video texts. There is a fee, but we recommend utilizing the free trial first so you can see how it works and if you love it before making the purchase!
Story Art is another tool where you can use for free or upgrade for premium backgrounds. They have over 100 templates to amp up your IG Stories using photos, videos, and more.
Similar to Legend, Hypertype “hypes” up your Stories with automatically styled motion typography that can be added to photos OR videos.
InShot is another app that allows you to edit photos and videos. Different features include backgrounds (blurry, multiple photos, collages), add special effects to videos such as glitch, pixels, and adjust the speed (slow or fast) of your videos!
If you have the Swipe Up feature, congrats! This is a huge accomplishment, and our best advice is to take advantage of it! (In order to have this feature, your account must have over 10k followers and be a business account).
The most effective way you can get your followers to utilize your swipe up/linking tool is to create a sense of curiosity and urgency. A LARGE portion of our traffic comes from doing this. We tend to use a solid background color, and add an intriguing sentence with a call to action to get our viewers to swipe up and go to our page. It honestly works every time! This is sometimes better than showing photos or products. Be sure that you’re including at least one of these in your daily series of story posts!
Get comfortable in front of the camera, girl! You’re gonna need it! People get really curious about who you are. They love it when they get to see a glimpse of the person behind the brand, not just in photos. This is a huge reason why videos get so many more views than sometimes a photo will.
Some of our most engaged Story clicks are videos we reposted of our customers speaking directly to their followers about our products. There’s something that is just so much more personal about someone speaking directly to you vs commenting in a photo.
We also utilize videos to show live editing sessions - which helps teach followers about the product details and how to fully take advantage of them.
There are so many fun directions you can take with video; the sky is really the limit! If you’re a blogger, do a try-on session (Hello, we all know we’ve watched these! They’re super addictive, plus it’s always great seeing how the clothes truly fit!). Do a live question/answer portion with your followers and get them engaged! Behind the scenes are always fun, too, because it gives your followers that special “VIP access” feeling to what’s going on and what’s coming!
Not ready for live sessions? Boomerangs are great ways to start. They’re fun, they’re silly, and everyone loves a good Boomerang!
Instagram Story Ads
If you’re doing any social media advertising or contemplating giving it a try, we strongly suggest you run an ad through Instagram Stories. This is one of the highest converting platforms for us in helping us to grow our business. Think of your target demographic; most of them are honestly probably using Instagram, and more people tend to watch Stories vs scroll a full feed. You want your name front and center of whatever they’re viewing.
This doesn’t have to be a major investment, either. You can experiment with your daily budget and see what engagement you get from the ads and make adjustments from there.
We’ve mentioned it a little before but repost your customer’s photos of you that they’ve tagged IN your Stories! This is a great way to highlight your amazing followers, and shows them that not only do you pay attention to what they’re posting, but that you care! Repost their photo (or add their story to yours), tag them, and give them a little shoutout!
Include Hashtags & Location
Your IG Stories aren’t just viewable to your followers. As long as your account is set to public, ANYONE can view these. Make sure you’re adding at least one (we recommend up to 10) relevant hashtags for your brand and photo IN your story, as well as a geo tag! This will make your story have a higher chance of being viewed by people who don’t already follow your account!
Ready, Set, STORY!
Instagram Stories are growing in popularity every single day, and it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss out on doing for your brand. Composing an IG story literally takes seconds to minutes, but the benefits will keep on rolling in! So go, compose your first story, and be sure to tag us when you do! You got this!