Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms. With 64% of users in between 18 and 34, this has become a great platform for any brands or marketers addressing that audience. Instagram is also a great place for businesses as 80% of Instagram users follow a business account.
There is a lot for brands and marketers to learn about Instagram. For example, they’ll want to find out which hashtags to use for the most engagement or how to present their business on Instagram. They’ll also likely want to reach the 18 to 34 demographic. One of the features that has become so popular is the feature known as Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories are like Snapchats in that they disappear after 24 hours. They’re also ridiculously addictive. Each day, over 500 million people use them, according to Instagram, and 70% of Instagram users watch Stories daily. One third of the stories viewed are from businesses.
These statistics are great for businesses. You can place ads directly in an Instagram Story. 96% of marketers that were surveyed in 2018 planned to use Instagram Stories for ads in the next six months. Businesses are beginning to see the potential Instagram Stories can offer because in July of 2017, over 50% of businesses on Instagram produced an Instagram Story.
When it comes to social media management, there are endless possibilities for creativity. You don’t just have to use Instagram Stories for ads for your business. There are a lot of ways you can use them to build your brand.
Announce new products
Instagram stories are very instant so it’s a good place for business announcements. This is a great way to announce a new product or service, a new staff member, or a general update. Stories are also a great place to post behind-the-scenes information that your followers otherwise might not see. And the fact that they disappear in 24 hours creates urgency and scarcity. These behind-the-scenes moments could be anything from playing a prank on one of your co-workers to packaging a new product.
These types of announcements may not look as good in your actual feed. Accounts with over 10k followers can also put links directly in their Instagram Stories. You can also share your News Feed posts in Stories, which means more people will see them, but more about that later.
Conduct a poll
One of the features of Instagram Stories is the ability to take a poll. You can get answers from your customers or followers with just a tap. Polls are also a great way to encourage engagement. You can use them for actual market research or just for fun. There are so many possibilities.
This is one of the ways that brands can interact with their customers. It’s predicted that brand-customer interactions are only going to get bigger. It’s a good way to build some brand loyalty as well.
Use hashtag stickers
Hashtag stickers in Instagram Stories work in a similar way to hashtags in regular posts. If your Story uses a particular hashtag, for example, it will be added to a larger conversation of posts who all use that hashtag. This is a great way for your Instagram to be discovered by other users.
Just like with regular posts, you can do research using sites like HashAtIt to see what the most popular hashtags are in your niche. Add these hashtags to your posts and Stories to get discovered and contribute to a larger conversation.
Collaborate with other brands or influencers
Instagram Stories give you a great place to collaborate with other brands or influencers. You could take over an influencer’s Instagram for the day or an influencer could take over your Instagram for the day. You could find a related brand that your followers or customers would benefit from and post collaborative posts with them. The possibilities are endless.
Instagram Stories are a perfect place to collaborate, though, because they will disappear after 24 hours. So the taking over of your Instagram or someone else’s really will be temporary. It may not look as cohesive to have someone else take over your actual Instagram feed, which is why Instagram Stories are excellent for collaboration. If you do work with influencers, however, keep in mind that you may have to pay them.
In Instagram Stories, there is a feature that allows you to ask your followers direct questions. This is another way to encourage interaction between your customers/followers and you. It shows the customer that you care about their opinion.
Like the polls, you can use the questions to conduct market research or get specific feedback. Or they can just be fun questions where followers can leave fun answers. There are many ways to use this feature on Instagram Stories.
Use a countdown
This is a more recent feature to Instagram Stories. The countdown sticker is a nice way for brands to promote sales, announcements, or competitions. Users are able to set a reminder for the countdown deadline, and the brands will receive this data so they can get a sense of how many audience members are engaged. This is excellent data for brands to have.
Users are also able to share these events with their friends, which makes it a great feature if you are trying to spread the word about a contest or event. This feature can be used in many different ways for many different reasons.
Use reaction sliders
Like polls and questions, this is another feature of Instagram Stories that allows customers/followers to interact with your business. The most people that interact with your Stories, the more they will be shown to other people.
The most popular way for businesses to use this feature is to use the heart slider to gage how much your customers like your latest product. There are a ton of other creative ways to go about using the reaction slider on your Stories, however.
Run a contest
People love to have the chance to win something and contests are a great way to promote your brand. You can get users to follow you on Instagram, share your Stories on their Stories, and like your posts for entry into the contest.
Hosting a competition or contest in Instagram Stories is also a good idea because followers will only have 24 hours to participate in the contest. This creates a sense of scarcity and urgency for your customers, which will get them to act in a quick manner.
Stream an event live
One of the best ways for brands to use Instagram Stories is through Instagram Live. This allows you to stream live events and drive engagement. You want to make sure you announce this in advance so your followers will know it’s happening and promote it.
If your live video gets a lot of views, it may be featured in “Top live” on the Explore page, which is a great way to get discovered by random users on Instagram. Not sure what kind of live events to stream? Try using live videos to promote new products and services or conduct interviews with influencers in your niche.
Use story highlights
Story highlights have changed the game since they were released in December 2017. They allow you to display stories after 24 hours. So you can take the best stories and make them sort of an extension of your bio. You can utilize the highlights section to grab the attention of people who end up on your page. You can use this section to show people who you are and what you do as a brand.
If you want to use the Story highlights, you should keep this in mind when creating your Stories. You can create Stories specifically with the Story highlights in mind. You want to make them eye catching so they will make people pay attention.
Promote new posts
You want your regular Instagram posts to get a lot of engagement within the first few minutes you post them. Fortunately, you can promote new posts right in your Instagram Stories as I have already touched on. This is becoming more and more popular for brands. If you have over 10k followers, you’ll be able to ask users to swipe up to like your post.
These are just some of the ways you and your business can use Instagram Stories to engage your followers and promote your business. There is such a huge audience of people viewing Instagram Stories every single day. It wouldn’t be smart to miss out on that. You’ll want to use this amazing platform to showcase your products and services as well as who you are as a business and brand.
Sara Crawford is a digital content strategist for WT Digital Agency and an author from Atlanta, Georgia. She has written novels, produced her own plays, and performed as a singer/songwriter. She is passionate about the act of creation, and she adores the written word.