By Ian Marker, Account Associate
If you’ve read my last blog, Instagram: What’s in Your Branding Toolbox?, you know an Instagram page is a great place for a business to express its brand using pictures to convey an identity. Strategic planning and focus is involved when trying to curate the perfect-looking page for your brand. But life isn’t perfect and, to be frank, social media thrives on instantaneous moments, not the curated ones. So, we have to ask ourselves: how do we balance the planned, on-brand posts with the spur-of-the-moment and awesome visuals you also want to show your following? Cue Instagram Stories.
The best way to think of Instagram Stories is like a broad-based photo and video scroll, very similar to Snapchat. The big difference with Instagram Stories is that its audience is comprised of the followers you have worked so hard to gain. It’s built right into the Instagram app and the stories of the people you follow populate right at the top of the app when you open it. As of November 2017, Instagram Stories has 300 million daily active users, so there is no shortage of people to view your story.
Stories are the best place to put the instant moments you want to share with your audience, without the stress of making a full-blown post. Let’s say your restaurant or bar has a special band playing tonight. That’s the perfect opportunity to post a short clip of the band playing their hit track. The basics are easy to master and can get you posting your first story in minutes!
Now that you know the basics, there are a few business-related bonuses you can add to Stories to boost your viewership. By swiping up after a photo or video is captured we are able to access a panel of tools to add interest to our Stories.
- Use locations, #hashtags and @mentions in the text of a story to poke or reach more people. Hopefully by now, we understand how to use mentions and hashtags (if not see this article) across different social media platforms. We can type a #hashtag or @Mention just like we would in a regular Instagram post.
- Story Polls: You can allow your viewers to choose between two different options on any question you ask. You can make these funny or use them for research to better your Stories. Your account could ask “Do you like seeing live entertainment on Tuesdays?” and viewers choose between “Yes! We love it!” or “Nah, show us something else.” Your analytics will show you what the percentage of the vote is and who voted for what categories. Polls can be a very fun way to interact with your audience while getting valuable feedback from your audience. Something that isn’t always easy on social media!
- Swipe up! One last business feature that can help call your viewers to action are “swipe up” links. These little links can directly relay your viewers to the content in your story. If you’re taking a video of the band playing in your bar, you can link the band’s webpage. All web actions happen inside the Instagram app, so it won’t push you out to your web browser, much like a Twitter link. There’s a catch. In order to get this feature, you have to have more than 10,000 followers.
Overall, Instagram Stories can be a really useful tool to up your business’s Instagram game. Increasing engagement with useful and fun features makes your audience enjoy your content and gives you better ways to get creative on social media. If you have any questions or wonder if making Instagram Stories is right for your business, contact us and we’re more than happy to help take your social media skills to the next level.