Instagram Stories are one of the most powerful features available on the platform, and are great to use for marketing your business; helping to boost your engagement, build brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and even generate sales.
Over the past 12 months, Instagram Stories have grown massively in popularity, with 500 million daily active Stories users worldwide there’s never been a better time to start using the feature. We’ll be looking at how to use Instagram Stories for business and the features you should be making the most of to enhance your social media strategy.
How to create Instagram Stories
Instagram’s easy-to-use interface makes creating a story on Instagram very simple. However, with all the new ‘Stories’ features Instagram has released in the past few months, keeping track of them all can be a bit difficult.
We’ll take a look at these features later, but for now, here’s a quick guide on how to create Instagram Stories for business.
1. Open the Instagram camera
On the app home screen, either swipe right or tap the camera icon in the top left corner of the screen to open the Instagram camera.
2. Take a photo or video…
Take a photo by tapping the button or take a video by pressing down on the record button for up to 10 seconds.
Good to know: Here you also have the option to take a live video, create a Boomerang, superzoom, rewind, or hands-free video. Swipe through these options at the bottom of the screen to choose your desired format.
The other buttons at the bottom of the screen are the following features:
- Photo – Here you can select your most recently taken photos or videos
- Thunderbolt – Here you can turn your camera flash on or off
- Arrows – Here you can switch between your front-facing camera and back-facing camera.
- Smiley face – Here you can use Instagram’s face filters when taking images or videos to add cool effects
3. …or upload from your camera roll
You can also upload a previously taken photo or video from your camera roll by swiping up or tapping the gallery icon in the corner of the screen.
4. Add captions
Tap anywhere on the screen to bring up the text tool to add captions to your Instagram Stories. You can play with text size, style and colour, and you can also drag the text to move its position on the screen.
Tip: Use the “@” sign to tag other accounts and the “#” sign to share a hashtag.
5. Use stickers
Stickers can be added to your story by selecting the ‘sticker’ button in the top right corner of your screen or by swiping up on your story.
Good to know: Some of the more important stickers include the location sticker, hashtag sticker, mention sticker, poll sticker and question sticker – more on these later!
7. Apply filters
Filters can be applied to your videos and images by swiping left or right.
8. Share with your followers
Once you’re happy with your story, tap the ‘Send to’ button to share with your followers on your story.
Your story will appear at the top of your followers’ feeds but is also visible on your profile page by tapping your profile picture.
View your Instagram Stories Analytics
To find out how well your Instagram story is performing, swipe up while viewing your story. You’ll see the number as well as the names of people who have seen each photo or video in your story.
If your account is an Instagram Business profile, you can also view analytics from your Instagram Stories. To view insights, head to your profile and select the ‘Insights’ icon in the top right corner and tap ‘Get Started’ in the Stories section. You’ll be able to see things like the number of impressions and reach generated from your Stories under the Instagram Insights > Content heading.
Instagram Stories Features to Boost your Strategy
Upload Bulk Photos & Videos to Instagram Stories
If you’re going to be publishing multiple stories, Instagram’s bulk stories uploader is a feature you’ll definitely appreciate.
Before this feature was released, if you wanted to post several photos or videos to your Instagram story, you would have to go through the same process for each piece of content. Now when you go to upload media, there is a new ‘bulk media’ icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
Tap this button to display your phone’s media gallery and select up to 10 photos and videos to post in one go. From here, you can go through each piece of content adding links, text or stickers for each. When you’re done, just click the ‘Next’ button to share them all to your story!
Use Location and Hashtag Stickers to Increase Discoverability
Instagram first introduced stickers to Instagram Stories last December, allowing users to add fun emojis or graphics. Since then, new functionalities have been added to stickers, including the ability to see location-based stories on the Explore page, and, most recently, the ability to search for stories by location and hashtag.
These features have made a huge difference to the potential engagement of stories. Where previously you could only share stories with your followers, these search functions now mean new audiences can discover your account and brand.
Share Polls & Ask Questions to Encourage Engagement
Two of the more recent additions to Instagram Stories are polls and questions. These features are found in the stickers section and allow you to encourage engagement from your audience.
There are so many ways to use these features, from technology brands asking and answering FAQ’s about a new release to fashion accounts finding out which new clothing styles their audience prefer and even beauty influencers getting their audience to choose their makeup for the day.
Use the Countdown Sticker
If you’re hosting an event, launching a new product or preparing for a heavily anticipated restock, the new countdown sticker is a must have.
Add in the details of your event and choose a sticker colour that fits with your brand, to keep a consistent look.
You can allow your followers to engage with the countdown sticker, by turning on countdown reminders they will receive a notification at the time of the event. This feature also allows your followers to share the countdown to their story, helping expand the event reach to their audience.
Save Important Stories as Highlights
A big part of what makes Instagram Stories so popular is their spontaneous nature with less pressure for perfection than regular grid posts – anything you post to your story will disappear 24 hours later.
But what if you’ve answered FAQ’s or shared an important update on your story? With Highlights, you can save stories you’ve posted for your followers to refer back to later. You can organise your Story Highlights into categories or themes to help followers find what they’re looking for.
Tip: You should use professional looking cover images for your Story Highlights, in your brand style to keep a consistent look across your account.
Instagram Stories are an ever-growing and evolving social media marketing feature that you can’t afford to miss out on. Use our tips and tricks to boost your social strategy and start improving engagement rates, building brand awareness, driving traffic to your website and generating sales.
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