Is Your Business Taking Advantage of Instagram Stories?

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram is a social platform to be reckoned with. In the past year Instagram has launched some pretty cool features for business accounts including access to user analytics, paid partnership tools and additional features on Instagram stories – such as the swipe up function – that personal accounts cannot currently access.

If your business isn’t utilising Instagram Stories. Why not?

The time to take action is now.

Start by implementing Instagram Stories in your social media strategy to see your business begin to reap the benefits of tapping into a potential new customer base. In today’s blog post I will share how you can use Instagram Stories as an additional marketing dimension to increase your website traffic and sales.

Below I have showcased five actionable ways your business can benefit by using Instagram Stories. So let’s look at these points in more detail…

5 Instagram Stories Features Your Business Should Be Using

Since the Instagram algorithm no longer chronologically displays posts in your feed, you may have noticed a drop in visibility and engagement across your Instagram posts. This is one of the main reasons why Instagram Stories have increased in popularity, with 64% of businesses planning to create more Instagram Stories in 2018.

Instagram Stories is a great tool for showcasing your brand, displaying your latest products, publishing BTS shots as well as informing followers about upcoming events. Below I have picked out five main features on Instagram Stories that I would encourage businesses to start using today…

GEO STICKERS

Instagram geo stickersBy adding a geo-sticker to your Instagram story you can instantly reach users in the local area. This function is particularly beneficial to local businesses such as bars, cafes and restaurants as it can draw in footfall from the immediate surrounding area. Some great tactics that can be deployed include sharing your latest lunch offers or perhaps what your chefs are cooking on Instagram Stories. Remember to include a geo-sticker tagging your location which will help hungry people nearby to find your business!

The seismic growth in active users means Instagram offers a huge opportunity for local businesses. In fact, for many people Instagram is the first point of call for searching a location before they go on holiday or out for a meal. Don’t underestimate power to reach people close to your business through Instagram Stories as they may be looking for exactly what your business has to offer!

HASHTAGS

As well as using the hashtags function within you feed posting schedule, you can also use them on your Instagram Stories. Adding a hashtag on your Instagram Story gives your post the potential to trend on “Instagram Stories highlights”, for that hashtag’s particular page. So just as your feed pictures have the chance to trend as ‘most popular’ hashtag images, Instagram Stories can do as well!

Instagram marketing tips

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

how to win at Instagram marketing

Another recently added feature is that you can now highlight stories on your profile page, which makes your stories available for longer than 24 hours. In addition this, you can also organise these stories into categories of your choice, adding stories and deleting them as you wish. This is a great function for grouping together product launches, blog posts as well BTS stories. You can even go one step further and have icons created for your Instagram Story categories for a more professional/branded approach.

POLLS

Perhaps predictably, the new Instagram algorithm favours interaction. We know this because images that receive lots of engagement (likes, comments, shares and interactions) gain better reach and more impressions. They are also more likely to appear on the most popular page for any used hashtags. So in order gain greater visibility and engagement across Instagram as a whole you should be interacting as much as possible with your audience on Instagram Stories too.

how to use Instagram stories for your business

One of the simplest ways to do this is by asking your audience a question! Just click the poll sticker, ask your audience whatever you like (remembering you can only have two answers/options) and wait for the votes to come in! Think of this also as a free market research tool where you can find out what your audience really wants.

SWIPE UP FUNCTION

All business profiles on Instagram have access to the ‘Swipe Up’ function. This essentially provides the ability to link to a webpage from an Instagram Story. To visit the URL of your choice a user just has to ‘swipe up’ on the story to be taken directly to your chosen landing page. This function is a great way to increase your referral traffic, shout about your latest blog posts, link to your latest offers and share your favourite products. The creative options here are almost endless for which web page you link to and how you promote these on your Instagram Stories.

My favourite editing app for Instagram Stories and creating imagery like the below is called Over.

Instagram stories marketing

So, are you using these Instagram Stories features?

If the answer is no then get yourself familiar with the Instagram Stories platform. Start planning how you will add it to your marketing activity and begin to have fun testing out all of the functions mentioned above.

Got any Instagram Story tips not mentioned in today’s post? Leave them in the comments below…

Want to be seen on social media by the right people at the right time? Get in touch with the paid social team at Marketing Signals today.

 

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Charlotte Lewis

Charlotte Lewis

Charlotte graduated in 2009 from Edinburgh Napier University with a degree in Media, Culture and Society. Responsible for managing content and outreach projects for our clients. Charlotte also shares her digital passion through blogging and social media.