On Instagram, every user has the option of posting pictures and videos into their Story—an album that refreshes every 24 hours. While you may know that small businesses can use Instagram Stories in their marketing, you may not exactly know how. This post will provide some instruction on how to use the features within Instagram Stories, as well as some ideas on how to incorporate Stories into your marketing.
One of the many reasons for businesses to use Instagram Stories is that while the content is short lived, there are ways to maximize that content and even save it. Here are some basic functions that will enable you to make the most of your Stories content.
When posting Instagram Stories, you can use the markup feature to add filters, emojis, illustrations, and text over the photo. Use the text feature to tag other users. Simply add the @ sign in front of a user’s handle, and Instagram will then treat this like a typical tag.
Tagging your location in your Instagram Stories will enable you use them for location-based marketing purposes. To add a location, tap the square smiley face on the top right of the screen, then tap location. Choose from the list of suggested locations or type and select your location. If your business or location does not show up, it’s because you still need to add your location on Instagram.
While Instagram Stories are meant to be fleeting and time limited, there may be some videos and photos that you want to save. There are few ways to do this. The first is through manual save. If you are using an iPhone, you can save your Story from the past 24 hours to your camera roll. Do this by opening your Story and tapping on the three dots at the bottom right of your screen, and selecting “Save”.
The second way to save the content from your Stories to your camera roll is through your settings. Go to your profile, tap the settings icon on the top right, and then tap Stories Settings. You will then see an option to “Save Shared Photos” (see image). With this setting, all of your Instagram Story content will automatically save to your camera roll. You may then have more content to use later on down the line.
If there is a high-quality picture or video that you’d like to add to the album in your profile, go to that photo or video, tap the three dots on the bottom right of your screen, and tap “Share as Post” (see first image above). You can then post that picture as with regular Instagram posts, with a caption, filter, and location. Putting content out through Stories first is a great way to test it before putting it into your gallery. Saving Stories content to your profile is also a great way to repurpose content.
You may know how to use them, and you may know why to use them, but you may be stuck on ideas for creating Instagram Stories for your business. Here are some ideas to get you started with Instagram Stories.
Use Instagram Stories for marketing promotions and offers that expire in 24 hours. For example, the Story can start with a short video announcement of the sale, then include a picture of the coupon, pictures/videos of the product or service you are offering, a video clip that tells users to redeem the coupon before the Story expires, and a picture with text that tells users how to get the coupon.
Your Story can include a URL to a landing page, a video that tells users the link is in your Instagram bio, or a picture that instructs users to Direct Message you for the link. There are many ways to carry out this idea. Experiment to see what works!
Keep in mind that you cannot click through from links in Instagram comments or captions, so make it easy for users to remember or to copy and paste. Using Stories for special offers not only creates urgency to act now, but encourages users to check your Stories frequently for new promotions.
Use Instagram Stories to get more customers to your in-store promotions or sales. Pictures, videos, and customer clips posted during the event makes for great real-time marketing content that can attract more people to your sale.
Another idea for using Instagram Stories is to give a behind the scenes look at your business. You could cover a day in the life of an employee or the office, the set up before an event, or an inside look at your processes. This idea will help to enhance your relationship with your target audience. Customers enjoy seeing the people and personalities behind the business, and the transparency you show will help to build trust.
Related: Instagram Marketing for Small Business Owners
Use Instagram Stories to share quick tutorials. These could be quick in the sense that they are easy for people to digest and remember; or in the sense that they provide a glimpse at a more in-depth tutorial from your blog. Giving people a taste of the tutorial and an idea of they’ll learn from it can encourage them to view the full post.
It’s not just tutorials that you can condense into an Instagram Story for promotion. You can showcase a product or service, with a picture that provides the link to the page where they can learn more. You can take snippets from a customer testimonial or case study and direct users to the full story. Or, you could give a snapshot of what your events are like and let followers know when the next one is coming up.
Use Instagram Stories to show your products and services in action. Cover a remodeling project, demonstrate a repair, or show some before and afters. If you have a product, you could show customers how to use it or offer different or new ways to use it.
Maybe you moved into a new office, won an award, or have a new employee on board. Use Instagram Stories to keep your followers and customers in the loop. The idea is to help them feel part of the celebration and more connected to your business.
Take quick videos of your customers identifying their favorite part of your business, and create a Story out of the different responses you get. Ask your employees a question and record their answers. Or, conduct an interview with an industry leader and create a story out of some of the questions and answers.
Do you have any ideas or suggestions for using Instagram Stories? Share in the comments below!