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There’s no doubt that social media has a growing impact on our daily lives, and that it’s here to stay. According to Statista.com, nearly 54 percent of the entire global population uses social networking sites, and that “the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 145 minutes per day.” If you factor in 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of work, then social media usage takes up roughly 30 percent of the rest of our waking lives. Talk about how it has become a part of our daily routine.

Now among the different social media websites is Instagram. Instagram was first launched in 2010 and has since proven to carve its own niche in the world wide web. It’s a mobile application that allows you to take, edit, and share photos and videos. You can follow your friends and family as well as celebrities, athletes, politicians, and even brands and organizations to keep up with their posts. You can choose to have your profile private and public, depending on who you want to share your posts with. Its newer feature, Instagram Story, launched in 2016 and stayed on the platform ever since.

What is an Instagram Story?

Instagram story, or IG story for short, is an additional feature to Instagram. It basically allows you to create and view posts for only one day. You might think that it’s similar to Snapchat because Snapchat basically offers the same thing, but over the years Instagram Story has massively grown, even surpassing Snapchat’s user reach. As a normal Instagram Story user, if you’re just checking it out, it’s a great way to see what your friends are up to on a regular basis. But as an Instagram influencer who wants to build a loyal following and even monetize Instagram, it’s much more than just keeping up to date with your loved ones.

You might also ask what is the point of Instagram Stories if there’s Instagram Feed anyway. Well, those two appear on the same app, but their functions are widely different. Instagram Feed is for photos and videos you want to keep seeing, while Instagram Story is for those you want to share right now (that you don’t want to keep on your profile for more than 24 hours).

Sometimes there can be so much pressure to craft the perfect caption for an equally perfect photo. If you’re a millennial who wants to only post the best on your profile, you’re no stranger to asking yourself or your friends if something is “IG worthy.” With Instagram Story, the pressure to capture the perfect angle is diminished, since you can choose to make it appear only temporarily. Read more to know how to leverage this powerful social media application.

Reasons Why Instagram Stories Is a Powerful Tool for Business:

We know how Instagram Story is important for those who are trying to be influencers. And if you’re also a business owner, then leveraging on Instagram Stories is a smart move as well. If we’ve piqued your interest, we’ll be discussing later how to use Instagram stories for business. For now, let’s dive into the reasons why it is a good idea.

  • Get more followers: With Instagram Story, you can upload a photo that lasts for about 6 seconds, a video that lasts for about 15 seconds, or even switch between a photo and a video. This makes for a more engaging and dynamic social media content plan that can ultimately gain your profile more followers.
  • Drive more traffic to your website: If you’re about to launch a new product, posting a teaser on Instagram Story is a great way to drive people to see what the buzz is all about. By creating Instagram Highlights to your profile, you can also consistently drive traffic back to your main website. You can also choose to go live and answer your followers’ questions during your Instagram live session, and verbally encourage viewers to visit your primary site.
  • Sell more of your product: Instagram story promotion is a huge business. While traditional marketing often uses word of mouth promotion, door-to-door, and email marketing, with Instagram Story you can promote featured products or services, promotions or coupon codes, contests, a new blog or vlog posts, testimonials, quick how-to’s, or quick snippet of advice. All these, as well as constant uploads to keep your products and services at the front of consumer’s minds, ultimately helps sell more of your goods.

How to Create an Instagram Story

  1. Open Instagram and go to your profile
  2. Tap on the plus sign on the upper right-hand side of the screen
  3. Click the Story tab
  4. Click the circular button to take a picture or hold it for a few seconds for a video
  5. Choose to post the story to all your followers or only to your close friends

How to Use Instagram Stories for Business

The correct use of Instagram Stories can get your business in front of the right people. If you want to know how to use Instagram stories, follow these steps:

  1. Use polls, emoji sliders, or question features

Social media is all about engagement and why not take full advantage of all Instagram’s features to create better content? All these can be used to really use to your brand’s benefit. Having better engagement statistics is actually going to help Instagram treat your content even better through their algorithm. Polls and single questions can help involve people in your business. It is also a good way to find out what products or services your audience would like to see more from you. Feedback is king, and you can get it with a few simple clicks and carefully thought-out questions and polls. Use their responses to better craft your business’ next offering.

  1. Use links, optimize your profile bio

If you’re checking others’ Instagram Story and you see the “swipe up” feature, know that anyone with more than 10,000 followers can put a link in their story. Since not all of us have 10,000 followers (especially for those just starting out), you can make the most of the one link you can put in your bio profile. Put a link to your business website to direct potential clients and profile visitors to know more about your product or service. You will be surprised to learn that a lot of buyers actually come from those that visit your Instagram page. You can also tag people on your Instagram Story or add relevant hashtags if one link isn’t enough.

  1. Use geolocation stickers

Sometimes when we see an incredible photo on Instagram Story, we want to know where we can buy the product or where the beautiful location actually is. By using geolocation stickers, your target market can click on them to see where your business is located. Geolocation stickers can be as broad as the city of your business, or as narrow as your actual address. Don’t forget to add a few location-based hashtags so that when people are doing local searched on a hashtag, your story can come up as well.

  1. Paid story ads

If you’ve done steps one to three but still find that it’s not as effective or not enough, you can always pay for ads to help drive traffic to your business and increase sales. If you don’t have a large following yet you want to get your business out there, don’t hesitate to use paid story ads.

You can do this by setting it up through your Facebook ads manager. You can use images or videos to tell people about your offer or what makes your product or service stand out. Photos are fine, but shooting a 15-second video explaining all the benefits of your product is a better way to capture the attention of your audience. The first few seconds count as it’s the time onlookers will evaluate whether to watch the whole video or swipe to the next story, so make the first impression count. One misconception about paid ads is that you need to shell out a lot of money, but this is not the case. You can always invest a small amount of money first to see if it’s effective before choosing to add more credits and really go full-on with the advertisement.

Pro Tip: Embed Instagram Stories on Your Strikingly Website

  1. Sign up for a free trial on Strikingly

Strikingly Sign Up

Image taken from Strikingly’s website

  1. Go to your Strikingly editor and click “Add New Section”
  2. Click the “App Store & HTML” option

Strikingly App Store

Image taken from Strikingly’s website

  1. Change the title of the section and edit the block
  2. Select HTML and paste the embedded Instagram Story link

Strikingly Custom HTML

Images taken from Strikingly’s website

  1. Click Save, then Publish — and you’re done!

Strikingly Publish Button

Image taken from Strikingly’s website

If you aren’t already using Instagram Story to build your brand, now is a great time to start. The features they offer definitely help budding entrepreneurs and existing businesses expand market reach. Don’t forget to take advantage of placing as many links to direct customers to your main website. By carefully crafting and scattering them all over your profile, you just might be surprised at your business’s booming sales.