If your business isn’t using Instagram Stories to reach out to customers, you might be missing out on a golden opportunity! Instagram Stories have grown steadily in popularity since their launch in 2016, so much so that there are now around 500 million people posting one billion Stories daily. On top of that, over 60% claim to have become more interested in a brand or a product as a result of Instagram Stories. A persuasive statistic, by anyone’s standards. In this article, we discuss what Instagram Stories are, how they can benefit small business, and how to create them.
What are Instagram Stories?
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few years, you’re likely to have heard of the photo-sharing platform Instagram!
Stories is a feature within Instagram that allows users to post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. Stories appear in a bar at the top of your feed (separate to your main feed), with a ring around your profile photo indicating that there’s a new Story to view. To view a Story, the user taps on the profile picture and the story’s content from the last 24 hours plays in slideshow format in chronological order. Unlike standard Instagram posts, you can’t like or comment on a Story.
How can Instagram Stories benefit my business?
Instagram Stories offer an engaging and authentic way to communicate with prospective and existing customers. Users are drawn in by their addictive format and often spend longer watching things than they had planned to. Businesses are free to post a variety of content without worrying about it having to look ‘polished’ or fitting in neatly to the rest of their Instagram feed. Users tend to like them due to their intimacy and authenticity, and they can be a great way for a business to promote a new product or service, announce news or cover a special event, for example.
How can I create Instagram Stories for my business?
1) Click the camera icon in the top left of Instagram to access the Stories camera
2) Tap the white circle at the bottom of the screen to take a picture, or tap and hold it to record a video
3) Swipe up (or select the gallery icon) to incorporate existing visuals
4) Select a display format for your Story at the bottom of the screen (e.g. Music, Superzoom, Boomerang)
You can also:
- Add Stickers: These are fun visual additions you can add to your Story. They include hashtags (which can help widen your reach), gifs, emojis, locations, polls (to encourage audience engagement), and more…
- Create Reels: Instagram Reels is a new feature that allows users to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos with audio, effects and new editing tools. To use Reels, select it at the bottom of the Instagram camera and gain access to a host of creative editing tools to help you create your Reel. Reels can either be recorded in a series of clips or by using video uploads from your gallery. You can share them with your followers or make them available to the wider Instagram audience (through a new space in Explore), if you have a public account.
As with all things marketing and brand-related, consistency is key and keeping your Stories aligned with your brand identity is important. You can do this by using a consistent colour palette, fonts and Instagram Stories templates.