Using Instagram Stories for Your Business

How to make the most of Instagram Stories to boost your business profile…

Photo Source: Instagram Press

Despite what you may think, Instagram Stories are not just for teens and millennials looking to post a series of their favorite selfies.  No, Instagram Stories can be so much more and an effective tool for getting your business and Instagram activity noticed.  Just a few months ago (June 2018), Instagram announced that it had reached 1 billion monthly active users, after passing 800 million in September 2017 with 500 million daily users.  What do all of those high figures mean?  It means a lot of potential views for your business services and products.

So, how do you get started?  The first step is simple – You need to establish a business account.  The next steps include gathering your high-quality images and videos that you may already be using in some of your established marketing pieces.  We could go on for days on ways to maximize your presence on Instagram, but for the purpose of this post, we are going to focus on Instagram’s feature that may look familiar if you are already working with Snapchat – Instagram Stories.

What are Instagram Stories?  It’s really quite simple.  The “Stories” feature enables you to create photo and video sequences that post just to your story and can be viewed for 24-hours.  While you may not initially understand the power of a 24-hour post, think of incentives, giveaways, company events, holidays, featured projects, product launch – the list goes on.

You can really add almost anything to your story, so it can be tempting to just click “add post to your story” on every image or video that is of interest to you – Resist the urge.  As that may be fine for a personal account, as a business, you will want to be more strategic with the content you post.  After all, it is the first thing that a viewer will see when they click on your profile.

Here are a few ways to make Instagram Stories work for your business:

Harness the Power of Brand Ambassadors – Brand ambassadors don’t have to be celebrities.  Rather, think of them as celebrities of your brand.  Real people who really use your products or live in the homes you’ve designed or built.  Encourage your employees, clients and partners to post photos related to your business and tag you.  With one click, they can be front and center on your “Story”.  You may even consider building a story around your top picks (or pics) for the week.

Give Up Control – Whether you know a social influencer, industry figurehead, well-known client, local celebrity or partnering business, any one of them may be a good contact to have conduct a social “takeover”.  Perhaps you can swap control for a day where they control your story and vice versa.  Takeovers occur when your brand allows an influencer to control content for a specified period of time, and Instagram Stories are a great place to test it and see how it can work for your business in other social arenas.  There are brands that build entire campaigns around takeovers, and it may be an option for changing things up in your Instagram Story.

Create an Actual Story – Yes, the word “story” is even in the name of the feature, but much of the content won’t actually portray a true story with a beginning, middle and end.  Creating a consistent story will take a little more thought, but using it to demonstrate a before and after project or the history of your company during an anniversary year can be a really cool and interesting way to draw in your audience.

Show the Imperfections – Many viewers prefer organic and real content, and real content isn’t perfect; as once stated by Thomas De Quincey, “Even imperfection itself may have its ideal or perfect state.”  While the photos with perfect lighting and models serve a purpose, they become less believable in large amounts.  Make sure to add a little flavor to your story by showing real photos (#nofilter) with real people, on the job and in action.  Sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes stories give viewers a feeling that they are getting exclusive information and a chance to really get to know your business.

With there being so many ways to post interesting stories to Instagram, don’t be afraid to experiment now and again.  The more fun (while staying professional) you have, the more fun the viewer will have in learning about your company.

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