Instagram is a great platform to promote your business, build relationships with customers, increase brand awareness, and build your online reputation. One of its latest features—Instagram Stories— has recently begun to support advertising. This post will go over how Instagram Stories Advertising works, and will also provide some tips on how to use Stories to increase engagement with your current and potential customers.
Instagram Stories are like daily albums for Instagram users. Similar to Snapchat stories the user can post pictures and videos for their followers to see in one compilation. One distinguishing element of Instagram Stories is the ability to include Boomerangs. Just as with Snapchat, the content in your Instagram Story stays up for 24 hours, after which the album deletes itself and resets.
Instagram Stories are a great opportunity to put out a higher volume of content for your followers, of a more transparent and real-time nature, without cluttering up your profile feed with lower quality content.
Your business’s Instagram Story (as long as you have a public account), can be viewed when someone touches the profile photo on your account.
Instagram Stories is a great way to show the personal side of your business and create more regular engagement with your audience. However, they have also become a great way for brands to advertise their business.
Advertising on Instagram Stories is similar to typical Instagram advertising.
Just as regular ad posts are called “sponsored posts”, ads using Stories are called Sponsored Stories.
The key to getting results out of a sponsored Instagram Story is in making your brand visible. Since your viewers cannot rewind back, it’s important to make your business logo visible as soon as possible.
If you choose to sell a particular product during your sponsored Story, such as with “40% off winter clothing!” or “Free 1-Month Trial!” make sure you have that offer front and center in the advertisement. Don’t overcrowd the post.Keep it simple so someone glancing at it will know what you can offer them and what they have to do to obtain that offer.
If you don’t want to spend the money on sponsored ads for Instagram Stories, don’t worry! There are ways you can promote your business on Instagram Stories without a formal paid advertisement.
One of those ways is by tagging people or accounts who are featured in your stories. You can do this by using the “@” button then typing in the name of the account. This allows you to generate engagement for your Story, as well as let people know you have a Story up. When you tag someone in the post they get a direct message to let them know and you can tag up to 10 people allowing great business to business relationship.
Another free way to promote your business on Instagram Stories is through hashtags. Instagram just recently added the ability to use clickable hashtags and locations in Stories, as well as a Story Search feature. By putting relevant hashtags and/or locations into your Story, you can get your Story in front of more people who may be searching for your product or service. This actually gives you an advantage over sponsored Stories, which aren’t allowed in the Explore or Story Search pages.
Sponsored Stories and regular unpaid Stories will have different requirements for effectiveness. There are, however, some tips that apply to both forms of Stories advertising.
As stated above, Instagram Stories only are viewable for 24 hours. This gives you the freedom to be creative and experimental with how you promote your business. Try out new hashtags, different mixes of content (photo, video, Boomerangs), and different times of day with posting and check out the engagement on them.
You might focus your Sponsored Stories on a particular product or service, and your unpaid Stories on the people and culture behind your business. You can help customers to feel connected to your business by giving them an exclusive look into your office or adding customer-generated images into your Story.
The Instagram Stories feature is constantly evolving. Use these tips to get results from your Stories, whether paid or unpaid.