Since they first appeared on the app in 2016, Instagram Stories have grown significantly in popularity. What many thought to be a “copycat” of Snapchat has now become a highly valuable resource for influencers looking to make an impact and spread the word about their businesses.
Recipe accounts, for example, have used stories to create step-by-step meals in real time; politicians share video clips from rallies; and musicians drop hints about upcoming albums. The beauty of this platform is that, like Snapchat, images and videos will disappear after a certain amount of time unless you save them to your page. And, unlike Facebook Live, you have the ability to edit your post before it goes live.
There are plenty of ways to make Instagram Stories work for your business—you just have to practice implementing them into your current social media strategy.
Can any of your Instagram posts be replaced by stories?
This is a good question to ask yourself if you aren’t getting much engagement on your posts. A real estate agent, for instance, could benefit from posting a house tour to their story instead of a generic photo of a listing to their page. Stories are more interactive, and content that encourages participation is better suited for them.
Ask for audience participation.
Another great way to utilize Instagram Stories is to interact with your audience directly in real time. You can encourage people to ask you questions using the “Ask Me a Question” feature—simply by taking or uploading a photo and adding the question sticker. This can be a great opportunity for businesses to give an inside look at who they are. You can also have your audience vote on a particular topic or deliver their opinion on an image through a slide bar.
Showcase your expertise.
Instagram stories were practically made for tutorials, and if part of your business is helping people with a particular task or showing people how to do something, Instagram Stories are a great way to show off your skills. A local auto body shop could show people how to test the traction of their tires, and an HVAC company could give a demo on routine filter cleanings. Just keep in mind that it’s best to keep the total length of your story to no more than a few minutes, otherwise people will trail off.
Put a face to your brand.
This doesn’t mean that a specific point person has to appear on all of your Stories—but you should make sure that all of the content you share on your Stories is consistent with your brand. You could consider posting a daily or weekly series that is specific to your industry, such a as a weekly real estate round up that features market updates. No matter what you decide to post, it’s imperative that it’s relevant to your audience and something they will come to expect from your account.
Instagram stories can be an intimidating part of the social media marketing process, but only if you don’t know how to best utilize them. Take these tips, and practice implementing them into your strategy. You may be surprised at the amount of engagement you receive.