Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms used by small businesses to market their services and products, as well as stay engaged with their followers. Recently, Instagram introduced a new feature called "Stories" which enables users to upload a series of images throughout the day. At the end of the day, the pictures automatically disappear.
Yes, this feature is very similar to Snapchat's "My Story feature", though notably, Instagram Stories isn't equipped with tools similar to Snapchat's lenses and filters. Yet.
How does Instagram Stories work?
Just like with Snapchat's My Story, the pictures or videos you upload on Instagram Stories last for only 24 hours. Instagram Stories is a collection of pictures or videos that you upload to a feed separate from the regular one. With Instagram Stories, the "story" plays in chronological order, displaying pictures or videos from the first one uploaded to the most recent. This feature also allows you to edit your content using emojis, text, or finger paint.
So, how can Instagram Stories help your business? Well, just like Snapchat, Instagram does have its fair share of benefits. Here are some ways you could consider using Instagram Stories to market your business.
1. Tease your followers with sneak peeks and improve marketing
Give your followers a sneak peek of upcoming products or features. You could also take them behind the scenes of your business and include some of your key employees in the video.
This enables people them to feel connected and involved with your business.
Not only will this help build relationships, it can also help with word-of-mouth marketing.
2. Increase the number of Instagram followers
With exclusive content on your Instagram Stories, you could end up with a lot of people viewing your posts. Since Instagram Stories can be viewed by anyone - i.e. not just your followers - this is a great chance for you to gain more followers. You could also create a contest or drop hints of an upcoming sale.
3. Boost traffic
Given the prominent placement of Stories (at the top of the home page), an interesting Instagram Story could end up with thousands of views. This boosts traffic to your profile and helps spread information about what services and products you offer. You could also give people a heads up about an upcoming event.
4. Create bonus content
With Instagram Stories, you can download your videos and photos and use them again another day. This is a great idea for throwback posts or to keep your followers updated in case they missed the previous one. You could also use these pictures and videos on social media platforms other than Instagram to reach out to your followers there.
Instagram Stories has already proven to be a great way for small businesses to share more content with their followers. Brands can add more context to their posts, making them more appealing to their followers. Instagram Stories can also give you more opportunities to connect with your target audience and build a larger network.