Instagram Stories was launched in August 2016 and (almost) two years later we can confidently say that it sure is here to stay. This Instagram feature lets you share fun, light-hearted content that is not essentially ‘perfect’. It lets brands build an immersive storytelling experience in 10 to 15 seconds and owing to its ephemeral nature, posting attention grabbing content that strikes a chord becomes imperative.
What’s more, if you successfully create engaging content time and again, you get to appear on Instagram’s Explore tab which opens doors to a plethora of organic viewers.
So, are you truly making the best use of this platform? Here are 7 ways you can optimize Instagram Stories to boost your business.
01. Take them Behind the Scenes
You don’t always have to show your followers the ‘prim and proper’ side of things, take them behind the scenes at times and give them a glimpse of the work that goes behind the campaigns or projects as they see it. Instagram Stories with its host of features serves as the perfect tool for giving them a window into your business.
By showcasing this exclusive sneak peek, you are letting them in and showing them how you work. This kind of intimate content not only increases engagement but also gives your viewers a better understanding of your business thereby building trust and loyalty.
02. Host a Takeover
Let’s face it – influencers have their clout and the ability to impact purchase decisions. Why not take a step back and let them do the talking for your brand for a day? A fun way to promote content, takeovers on Instagram Stories let you tap into the influencer’s huge database of followers and get more visibility.
The most crucial step is to choose the influencer that resonates best with your brand. Secondly, as a brand, you need to be sure about the objective behind the takeover. Do you wish to create buzz about an upcoming launch, unveil a new product or build awareness about a campaign – your goal ultimately defines the brief and the outcome.
While collaborating, it is a good idea to involve the influencer in the content planning stage because they know best what works with their followers.
03. Go Live
Broadcast a launch party or an interesting workshop, indulge in a Q&A with an expert or announce a new contest – there is so much you can do with Instagram Live. Unlike Facebook Live, the footage on Instagram disappears after you are done streaming.
A direct mode of real-time communication between a brand and its followers, Instagram Live helps you build your community and have meaningful interactions with them. To maximize viewership, you can also announce the live session a day in advance.
Another important thing to remember is that however spontaneous and informal the content on Instagram Live is, it is essential to have a planned approach. After all, you need to make it engaging enough for your followers to be hooked on till the end.
04. Give a Demo
Whether your business is product or service oriented – no amount of print and digital campaigns can be as effective as the visual demonstration of your offering. Instagram Stories lets you do exactly that in the simplest possible manner.
When potential customers get to see products and their features in action, they are more likely to purchase it. Next time you are launching a new product, why not create a small campaign on Instagram Stories. Begin with teasers to create hype followed by the product demo and finally lead them to the landing page on your e-commerce channel by asking them to ‘swipe up’. Voila!
05. Conduct a Poll
Who knew conducting a research can be fun! Thanks to Instagram Stories, you can now conduct polls while keeping it fun and engaging. You can use this feature to take customers’ opinions on an upcoming product, get feedback on an existing product, ask them to choose between two styles and understand what works better or even get ideas for the next Q&A you wish to conduct on your page.
The poll analytics page shows you the results which includes number of votes and voter details. While this may not be a definite alternative to the good old market research techniques, it sure is a light-hearted and creative way to keep the engagement levels soaring.
06. Sale! Sale! Sale!
Everyone loves a flash sale or promotional offer. Keep your followers vigilant by posting offers on Instagram Stories from time to time. It is a good idea to use promo codes on the sale communication. That way, you can calculate the results of the campaign more effectively.
Instagram Stories is all things fun and quirky so no, adapting that print sale ad for Stories will not do the trick. Get creative and use those cute stickers, GIFs and hashtags to bring the messaging alive. If you have an e-commerce website, remember to link the stories to the page to generate quality traffic.
07. Showcase User-generated Content
A brand can market its product all it wants but the true power lies with end users and their real reviews of your brand or product. Instagram is a visual platform and many take to it to post picture and video testimonials of products.
Why not devote some days on your social media calendar to just curating the top user-generated content and showcasing them on Instagram Stories? When potential customers see what the others have to say about your product, they are likely to give heed too. Remember to give credit and tag the users because who doesn’t love a mention on Instagram!
With everything that Instagram Stories has to offer, you must incorporate it in your social media marketing strategy because there is a lot you can do on this platform to boost your business. The key is to be creative and consistent in keeping your followers engaged. So, follow these tips and take your business to newer heights!
About the author: Adela Belin is a Social Media expert and a writer at Writers Per Hour. She creates content surrounding marketing with a focus on social media and digital marketing. Feel free to contact Adela on G+.