Instagram is one of the most popular social media channels for audience and brands alike. Your audience has a soft spot for visual content in particular. They love the photos, the videos, the infographics and other forms of visual content.
Instagram with its photo and video sharing features, provides businesses with just the ideal social media marketing platform. Businesses can use Instagram in so many ways to create content that fulfils all their goals- to market their products, to drive traffic to their website, to convert followers into customers.
With the launch of Instagram stories in 2016, the Insta-game has completely changed, and that too, for the better. The Insta story feature enables brands with another creative medium through which they can share their content and influence their audience.
So if you’re not tapping the potential of this incredible feature on Instagram, then what are you doing?
Instagram stories cannot be seen by viewers after 24 hours of uploading. Once the Instagram stories have completed their 24 hour cycle, they naturally expire from the platform. While it is true that an Instagram story lasts for only 24 hours, it still holds great potential of creating an impact for a business.
Instagram stories appear on top of your feed, which means the first thing that any user sees after logging into Instagram is these stories. In fact, numbers are proof that Instagram stories’ users have been going up over the years.
You already know how the other features on Instagram help businesses in building a community and gaining traction and growth. We will now share with you a list of 9 ways by which you can use Instagram stories for your business:
1. Give them a peek inside your brand
Businesses can use the Instagram story feature to shape their brand’s identity.
Instagram stories comes with features like photo/video/slow motion/ boomerang, texts in different fonts, GIFs, emoticons, stickers etc. Instagram stories can be used to provide a peek into the culture that defines your organisation, your employees, the BTS of Instagram photos,etc.
While you can use Instagram photos and videos to share about your products and market them, Instagram stories can be used to show the other side of your organisation.
What your customers and followers see are products. But with Instagram stories, you can show the ‘human side’ of your organisation.
To give you a better idea, take the example of a designer clothing line. They are showcasing their pieces through Instagram photo posts every now and then. But with Instagram stories, they can project the behind-the-scenes, the people behind the products, their stories and so many other things that can be projected in different creative ways.
By adding the ‘human touch’ to your social media campaigns, Instagram stories help followers and customers connect closely with your brand. Most people will be compelled to visit your website, thus increasing the chances of conversion.
2. Make the most of Instagram Live
Instagram stories come with the feature of Instagram live. It involves a very simple set of steps to start a live video.
Cover important events, functions, seminars, launches of new products, all through Instagram live feed. Use your Instagram stories’ feature to make announcements ahead of holding Instagram live streaming sessions. Your audience can add comments and ask questions, and you can get those answered in real time. You can also lead your customers to your website through Instagram story.
By streaming Important events live, you are publicising your brand at zero costs. Through this feature of Instagram you not only increase brand visibility, but also increase the chances of followers getting converted to customers. At the same time, this may also help bring more followers on-board.
3. Make your stories more interactive with Q&As and tutorials
Instagram stories for business work best when adding value to the followers, viewers and customers. Sharing informative content related to your products through Instagram stories can be helpful in bringing more viewers.
People are always on the lookout for informative, educative content, and if you are sharing such content through your Instagram stories, it will work wonders for you. You can also conduct Q& A sessions via Instagram Live.
Regularly sharing tips on how to use certain products, providing tutorials and do-it-yourself steps to viewers will make followers and viewers come back to your profile again and again. Also, people who liked your content will refer others to look at your content, thereby increasing your visibility.
4. Add Calls to Action
Through Instagram stories, you can add CTAs that will lead people to wherever you want to take them. You can add location stickers, or hashtags, and you can use the ‘swipe’ feature to take viewers even outside Instagram.
The ‘Swipe’ feature can work wonders for bringing traffic to your website. By adding a simple ‘Swipe up’ call to action on your story, you can take them to your website or a new product or blog. In this way, you are not only bringing more traffic to your website, you are also increasing the chances of getting new customers.
You must ensure that you highlight and amplify ‘Swipe up’ in your stories. This is to make sure that the call to action does not go unnoticed by viewers while swiping through different stories.
5. Collaborate with Influencers
Influencers are one of the major components of Instagram. Many followers have joined Instagram because of certain influencers and at the same time, many influencers are successful owing to the support from their fans. In this sense, collaborating with other influencers will help you gain traction.
Use Instagram live streaming feature to collaborate with influencers. You can get them to show demonstrations or product reviews for you. You can also ask them to shoot short clips or a set of pictures showing them using your products and add these to their own stories as well as yours.
There are many ways in which you can use Instagram stories to collaborate with influencers and gain traction. Collaborating with influencers will allow you to influence not only your own followers but also their followers.
This is one of the best features of Instagram stories. For a very long time, Instagram stories could only be seen up to 24 hours. Beyond this period, the stories expired. But Instagram highlights allow you to store these stories on your Instagram profile.
Instagram highlights appear below the bio on your profile. You can create small clusters of stories of different categories. For instance, you can add one set of highlights with stories detailing about your company culture, another with snippets of your new product, a third one containing a collaboration with an influencer.
Give each of these highlight sets an appropriate name. Also add a cover relevant to the title of the highlight sets.
Through this feature of Instagram, all your stories from the past become visible to new and old profile visitors. So whether it was a story containing behind the scenes or a product launch in the past, your highlights can capture all these aspects for as long as you want.
This helps build and shape your brand image and also increases the chances of getting more followers and customers on board.
7. Shout-outs to niche community experts and brands
Instagram stories can be used to shout to niche community experts and brands. By doing so, you can help build a fruitful partnership with fellow brands and subject matter experts.
This is different from collaborating with influencers in the sense that ,this involves appreciation story posts from one party to another without the expectation of anything in return. However, such stories with shout outs are often responded to with a return mention or follow back. This usually ends up helping both the parties gain traction.
By adding a story with a shout out appreciating your fellow experts’ content on Instagram, you can increase your chances of getting involved in a fruitful partnership. The other party is also likely to add a story appreciating your content at some point now or in the future. And you never know, this might end up leading to collaboration.
By shouting out to a niche community expert or brand, you increase your chances of getting more followers and customers, more visibility and engagement.
For instance, a famous blogger/influencer from your niche starts a new campaign and you find their content to be very creative and impressive. You can use your stories to shout to them and ask your followers to look up their content. Such a gesture will definitely be taken into consideration by them and next time your content appeals to them, you can expect a similar gesture in return.
8. Increase interactions with the help of polling and ask-anything boxes
Ensure increased interactivity through Instagram stories with the help of polls and ask anything boxes.
Take customers’ and followers’ opinions through Polls. Ask them about the kind of content they would like to see on your page, what they thought about certain products, etc. Give them appropriate options to choose from. Also share poll results through your stories.
Give your followers and potential customers a chance to ask you questions. This new feature of Instagram stories allows you to add a blank box with a call to action such as ‘Ask us anything about our new product’, ‘Ask us anything about our brand’ etc. This is a more open ended medium of getting feedback and opinions.
These two features of Instagram stories allow you to build a rapport with your audience and gain their confidence in your brand. This will encourage on-boarding of new followers and customers.
For instance,a food delivery and logistics chain can use this feature of Instagram stories to gather customer feedback. For example,they can launch seasonal campaigns and use this feature to get the opinion of their audience.
They can carry out polls with questions like- ‘What did you think about our rakhi special offer?’ and add 2 options, out of which they have to choose one. They can also ask their followers to pose questions to them through the ‘ask me anything’ box on Instagram.
By doing this they build a rapport with the audience. Through this, they are also able to instill trust among the audience in their brand, which will work wonders for them.
9. Instagram Ads for stories
This paid feature of Instagram Ads helps your stories get more views. Given the vast competition that exists for gaining organic reach, Instagram Ads for stories will help you keep up with that competition.
Instagram Ads for stories lets you run stories ads containing different kinds of content – photos as well as videos. You can target your Ads by video views,, traffic, brand awareness, reach etc. Also, you can track Instagram Ads metrics for stories. You can use insights derived from the stories to derive future marketing plans and campaigns.
Instagram Ads for stories is a sure shot way of getting more engagement on Instagram.
For instance, if you are a travel agency, you can add story Ads where you emphasise on new offers and schemes that you have started. All you have to do is add the swipe up feature so as to direct your audience to your website or to the page where they can check out these offers/schemes.
Instagram stories are a great feature of the video and photo sharing app. If you are not using this feature, you are letting go of many opportunities at upping your social media game and growing your business.
Here is a snapshot of the different ways by which you can use Instagram stories for business:
- Show your followers the human side of your brand through stories and snippets of BTS, employees etc.
- Stream live events through Instagram stories for business which can help publicize your brand at zero cost
- Share informative content through Insta stories, that brings value to your followers
- Add calls to action to your stories, leading your followers to your website
- Collaborate with influencers to get more followers and potential customers
- Optimise the highlights feature of Instagram stories to increase followers and customers
- Shout to niche experts on Instagram stories, as a token of appreciation for their posts and build a fruitful partnership
- Interact using polls and boxes to build a rapport with your audience and increase engagement
- Use Insta stories’ Ads as a sure shot way of getting views
So, what Instagram story ideas do you have up your sleeve? What is your strategy for using Instagram for growing your business?