According to Instagram, over 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories every day. That’s a lot of people!
Since its launch in 2016, Instagram Stories has become one of the best ways for a business to grow its engagement, build brand awareness and gain more sales. Not only are Stories fun and engaging, but they are also a great way to reach potential new customers and build stronger relationships with existing ones.
Although they are easy to create and upload, a lot of businesses get stuck at the idea stage and end up posting willy-nilly, without much thought. This is unproductive because without a strategy, Instagram Stories are pretty much useless and just end up confusing your customers rather than empowering them and enticing them to purchase from you.
Now if you’re sitting there with your warm cuppa thinking ‘holy sh*t this sounds like me’, then keep reading because we have put together a list of the 5 best ways that you can utilise Instagram Stories to grow your business and generate a captivated audience:
Use engagement-boosting features
If you’re struggling with inspiration on what to post on your Stories, Instagram has done a great job of giving content prompts. Their list of interactive features allows you to connect with your audience on a deeper level, open up a two-way conversation and, ultimately, gain their trust. Some of the best features include:
1. Poll Stickers – These allow you to ask a question and for your customers to pick which one they prefer. For example, you are wanting to launch a new shoe but are not sure which colour to use – ask the audience and let them give their opinion.
2. Question Boxes – This allows you to ask a question to the audience and for them to send you a private message with their response. You can then share this to your feed to generate more engagement and buzz around it.
3. Quiz Stickers – This is a great tool to test customers’ knowledge about your business. You can ask them a question with 3 answers and they have to guess which is right. Kind of like 2 truths,1 lie.
4. Go live – Now this can be pretty daunting, but it is a great way to talk to your customers ‘in the moment’ and interact with them on a deeper level. If you’re a beauty company you could go live about your top tips on a good skincare routine or if you’re a service you could do a training session.
5. Use Filters – These can be found when going to take a picture. Scroll past the automatic filters and you’ll see the ‘add filter’ icon. You can then search different filters that are trending i.e. random questions answer, never have I ever. This is a fun way to show a different side to your business/staff and let the customer in.
Use sales-boosting features
1. Product tag – Add images of your new product launch and link them in your Stories. Then customers can click straight on it and shop easily.
2. Links (if over 10K followers) – This allows you to add a ‘swipe’ function on a link you want to send your followers to. This could be a sales page, a new video you want to showcase, a cause you want to support etc.
3. Link in bio (if under 10K followers) – If you don’t have 10,000 followers, you can make your posts shoppable by adding the ‘linkinbio’ feature so customers can be led to their desired destination easily.
4. Countdown stickers – This is a perfect way to get your customers excited about a launch of a new product/service or an important date for your business. You could be hosting a new webinar, or dropping a new programme or new season collection.
5. Story Ads – To further your reach outside of your Stories, you can create ads for Instagram Stories that will appear on potential customers’ feeds as they are scrolling. Make sure this is eye-catching to stop the scroll.
Use location and hashtags
These are often under-utilised on Stories and are a great way to gain more exposure to new audiences. When you use a hashtag or location in your Story, people who search the hashtag or location can also view the Story, even if they don’t follow you.
Pro tip – To make sure you are not seen as spam, stick to 1-2 strategic hashtags and make sure they are visible, otherwise Instagram won’t pick them up.
This is soooo important for increasing engagement and making an impact on your Story. If you show up 12 times in one day then go dark for 2 weeks, it will confuse your audience and they won’t know what to expect from you.
Try to show up every day with at least 3-5 Story blocks, so you are constantly at the top of your customers’ feeds (and minds) and they get to know, like and trust your business. Mix it up with videos, boomerangs, stickers and photos.
Provide SO MUCH VALUE
There is NO SUCH THING as providing too much value.
Tell a Story, educate your customers through tips and tricks, do mini-trainings if you’re a service-based business, give away some of your trade secrets. A lot of people are afraid that if they give too much information away that it will reduce the likelihood of a sale. That’s completely untrue.
The more value you provide, the more you will be positioned as a thought leader in your industry. So your customers will see you as the ‘top dog’ and go-to for your product/service. Once you have their trust, it is way more likely that you will be able to convert them into a lead.
And that’s it! Five things you can start doing to utilise Instagram Stories for your business, grow your engagement and get more sales.
If you loved this blog but you still think you need more of a hand in developing and executing the right strategy for your Instagram marketing, get in touch. We’d love to talk to you.