What is Instagram Stories and How Can Your Business Maximize This Feature?
Updated: Aug 5, 2018
Since its launch, Instagram has easily become one of the top three social media platforms being used today. As of June 2018, Instagram has garnered a following of 1 billion users, which is why it’s no wonder that you may be thinking about using it for your business. And rightfully so! According to Instagram, 80% of their users follow a business on their accounts, 60% of which only hear about the brand through the platform.
To be able to get the most of Instagram for your business, you would have to utilize its most used feature – Instagram Stories.
What is Instagram Stories?
Instagram Stories allow users to post images or graphics for 6 seconds and videos for up to 15 seconds, which is only visible for 24 hours. After that, it is automatically deleted. That is unless you add it to you Highlights, but that’s another topic for another day. Instagram Stories has approximately 300 million daily active users. It is becoming, if not already, the content of choice as opposed to scrolling down the newsfeed.
So what is the appeal?
Firstly, Instagram Stories allow you to engage with your audience through polls, Q&As, and direct messages. This transforms your followers from a spectator role to an interactive one.
Secondly, Instagram actually encourages the use of Stories for a number of reasons. One is that they can run ads in between Stories. Another is that it has helped increase the amount of time that people spend on the app. Most importantly, through content that includes behind-the-scenes posts of a brand they are following, your audience will feel like they are getting to know the brand more on a more personal level.
How can you create to captivate?
1. Know your purpose
In one of my recent blog posts, I wrote that it all begins with a plan. You have to know what you are setting out to do before you do it. Is your objective to inform, provoke, or engage? Having this thought process before anything else allows you to develop a strategy that is right for your business objectives. In other words, this will set the tone to your Instagram Stories
2. Create a balance between business and personal
A good balance between business and personal gives a little more life to your Stories. “Personal” could be anywhere from boomerangs of company activities, live vlogs of an event, or photos of you and your family. As a small business, this personal touch plays a big part on how your audience will perceive your brand. If that isn’t reason enough, keep in mind that 46% of followers will unfollow a profile that produces too much self-promotional content.
3. Drive Interaction
The feature within a feature – Emoji sliders, polls and questions. Instagram Stories has built-in features that allow you to interact with your audience. Maximize your impact by not only bringing your followers to see your content but to engage as well. Provoking their thoughts through these features gets them to really think about your post, creating a more lasting impression.
4. Use appropriate captioning
Knowing that 85% of Facebook videos are watched with the sound off, we can make an assumption that the number is not far off from that of Instagram Stories. That said, if you want to make sure you capture every follower the watches your Stories, you may want to consider adding captions. The good thing is, Instagram offers lots of tools you can use to get creative.
5. Add up the seconds
Although Instagram Stories only last a few seconds, 15 or 20 of them published consecutively amounts to a lot. Add up the seconds of your posts and think, “Are my viewers going to watch 2 to 3 minutes of content?” The last thing you would want is to lose the attention of your audience because this may give them the impression that your Stories demand too much time, causing them to unfollow you. Tyler J. McCall sums this up in six sweet words: “Never let the dashes turn to dots.”
Having gone through ways on how to use your Instagram Stories to benefit your business, there is one more important point to be made – direct your attention to your direct messages. All of this effort is to capture your audience. What good would it be if you are not there to respond when they reach out to converse?
If you'd like to find out more information about Instagram Stories and how to utilize it for your business, or if you'd just like to speak with an expert, feel free to contact me.