Instagram Stories are well-known for their popularity. They're one of the platform's most popular features, with over 500 million Stories published every day. This is due to Stories' tap-friendly, timely nature, which makes them so appealing to your followers. And for brands, they're low-hanging fruit for publishing engaging content with complete creative freedom. But we understand if you're having trouble making sense of Stories. That's why we put together this guide on how to use Instagram Stories, complete with best practices and examples to help you engage your followers as soon as possible.
Instagram story, abbreviated as IG story, is a new feature on Instagram. It essentially allows you to create and view posts for one day only. You might think it's similar to Snapchat because it essentially offers the same thing, but Instagram Story has grown massively over the years, even surpassing Snapchat's user reach. If you're just checking it out as a regular Instagram Story user, it's a great way to regularly see what your friends are up to. However, as an Instagram influencer looking to build a loyal following and even monetize Instagram, it's much more than just keeping in touch with family and friends.
You might also wonder what the point of Instagram Stories is when there's Instagram Feed. They appear on the same app, but their functions are vastly different. Instagram Feed is for photos and videos that you want to see repeatedly, whereas Instagram Story is for those you want to share right now.
There can be a lot of pressure to write the perfect caption for an equally perfect photo. If you're a millennial who wants to post only the best on your profile, you're probably used to asking yourself or your friends if something is "IG worthy." The pressure to capture the perfect angle is reduced with Instagram Story because you can choose to make it appear only temporarily. Learn how to use this powerful social media application by reading on.
Why Should You use Instagram Stories?
The advantages of incorporating Stories into your content strategy, particularly for businesses, are well documented. According to recent Instagram statistics, brands account for one-third of the most-viewed Stories. Here are some of the main reasons why Stories should be a top priority for growing a company account.
1. You'll be at the Top of Your Followers' Feeds with IG Stories
This is the important one. When you post a new Instagram Story, it automatically "skips the line" in your followers' feeds. That's because the Instagram Stories feed is always visible and above the fold on the home screen. As a result, if you're consistently publishing Stories, you'll be on your customers' minds all the time. Given Instagram's ever-changing algorithm, the Stories feed is prime real estate for getting more eyes on your content without worrying about reach.
2. Storytelling is Ideal for Humanizing Your Brand
Keep in mind that most Instagram Stories, including those from brands, are spontaneous and unscripted. This is in stark contrast to the more "optimized" or sales-oriented content you might see on your main feed.
Have you ever taken a selfie with your team? Do you want to share a personal anecdote? Take a chance. Stories are an excellent place to talk to your customers like people to demonstrate your brand's voice and personality.
3. Instagram Stories Provide a Plethora of Opportunities for Interaction
The features built into Stories are ideal for brands that want to engage with their followers while having fun. Polls and quizzes are available. Stickers and music are made to order. @mentions and #hashtags The list could go on and on. With a little imagination, Stories allows you to engage followers and get them talking in just a few taps.
1. Tap the plus sign in the top-left corner of your home screen, or swipe left in your Feed. You can also access Stories quickly by swiping right from the main screen.
2. To take photos, tap the circle button at the bottom of the screen or tap and hold to record a video. You can also start a live event or a Boomerang or use the app hands-free. In a moment, I'll go over those options in greater detail. Swipe up on the screen or tap the photo icon in the lower-left corner of the screen to add photos or videos from your gallery. The app will add a date sticker to your gallery photos by default, but you can remove it. In the next section, we’ll demonstrate how to do it.
3. Edit the photos or videos with text or add a drawing as usual. There are three types of pens available when you click the pen icon. The third one transforms your sketch into a neon sign.
4. Select Done to save your Instagram story.
5. Tap the Add Your Story button to add a new story. You can also save your image or video to your phone by tapping on the Save icon. By clicking the Arrow icon, you can send your picture and your Story to your friend. Simply check the box next to Your Story and the person you want to share it with. When your friend sees the image, it will vanish.
How to Use Instagram Stories for Business?
An Instagram Story, when used correctly, can put your company in front of the right people. Follow these steps to learn how to use Instagram stories for business:
∙ Make Use of Polls, Emoji Sliders, and Question Features
Because social media is all about engagement, why not use all of Instagram's features to create better content? All of these can be used to your brand's advantage. Better engagement statistics will help Instagram treat your content better via their algorithm. People can be involved in your business by using polls and single questions. It is also an excellent way to learn what products or services your target audience would like to see more of from you. Feedback is king, and you can get it with a few simple clicks and well-planned questions and polls. Use their responses to improve your company's next offering.
∙ Make Use of Links and Optimize Your Profile Bio
If you're scrolling through other people's Instagram Story promotion and notice the "swipe up" feature, know that anyone with over 10,000 followers can include a link in their story. Because not everyone has 10,000 followers (especially those just starting out), you can make the most of the one link in your bio profile. Include a link to your company's website so that potential clients and profile visitors can learn more about your product or service. You may be surprised to learn that many of your buyers come from those who visit your Instagram page. If one link isn't enough, you can tag people or add relevant hashtags to your Instagram Story.
∙ Utilize Geolocation Stickers
When we see an amazing photo on Instagram Story, we want to know where to buy the product or where the stunning location is. Your target market can see your business by clicking on geolocation stickers. Geolocation stickers can be as broad as your company's city or as specific as your exact address. Don't forget to include a few location-based hashtags so that when people do a hashtag search, your story will appear.
∙ Paid Story Advertisements
If you've completed steps one through three and still find that your efforts aren't as effective or sufficient, you can always pay for advertisements to help drive traffic to your business and increase sales. If you don't have a large following but want to promote your business, don't be afraid to use paid story ads. You can do this by configuring it in your Facebook ads manager. You can use images or videos to inform people about your offer or highlight what makes your product or service unique. Photos are fine, but making a 15-second video explaining all of your product's benefits is a better way to capture your audience's attention. The first few seconds are crucial because viewers decide whether to watch the entire video or move on to the next Instagram story, so make the first impression count. One common misconception about paid advertisements is that you must spend a lot of money, but this is not the case. You can always start with a small amount of money to see if it works before adding more credits and going all-in on the advertisement.
Strikingly allows you to create a simple website to integrate with Instagram and other social media platforms. Strikingly allows anyone to create and launch a website on their own in a matter of hours.
1. Save/ download your Instagram story
2. Post the IG story to YouTube/Vimeo and obtain the URL
To embed a video on your website, first, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo. It is not possible to upload a video to Strikingly directly.
Sign in to your YouTube account.
Upload a video or open a previously uploaded video.
Verify that the video is set to Public or Unlisted.
Copy the URL or share the URL of the video.
Access your Vimeo account.
Upload a video or open a previously uploaded video.
Go to your website's editor and click "Add New Section."
Navigate to the "Image & Media" section, followed by the "Big Media" section
Select "EDIT" by dragging your mouse over the image
Navigate to the "VIDEO" tab.
Copy the video URL and paste it into the video URL field.
Press the "Save" button.
Are You Taking Advantage of an Instagram Story?
Without a doubt, Stories should be at the heart of your Instagram strategy. Given so much creative freedom, publishing your first Stories may necessitate some trial and error. However, by adhering to the formats and best practices outlined above, you can get started with Stories confidently. And, if you haven't already, check out our new Instagram for brands guide to ensure you're making an impression on the 'gram with your target audience.